The Yavmir Bestiary is an ongoing project, where Michael and Radiostorm brainstorm ideas for a slavic-themed fantasy setting. More information can be found at the WoR Wiki.
Zmey – known colloquially as serpents, dragons, or vipers – are gigantic three-headed reptiles that are featured heavily throughout the folklore of Yavmir. It is often boasted that the mighty heroes of the Radiant Age would fight these creatures for honour and glory; engaging in epic battles that would last for days and ending only when the vile serpent lay dead at their feet.
The reality, however, is much different from the legends. Zmey were actually rare and powerful eidolons, created during the early days of the Skywrath Wars. Known for their massive strength, ruthless cunning, and impenetrable hides, the four great clans of primordial Yavmir quickly grew to fear these seemingly invincible behemoths.
Despite their loyalty to Triglav and Chernobog, the Zmey were not rewarded for their service during the war. After the conflict concluded, the Zmey were banished; their brutish appearance and violent natures deemed unwelcome in the lands of man. With no place left in the world, the remaining Zmey became transient; wandering unseen through the furthest reaches of Yavmir as their numbers dwindled.
Once powerful and imposing beasts, the Zmey that roam Yavmir today are shadows of their former selves. Although still large and massively strong, they lack the speed, cunning, magic, and flight of their ancestors. Little more than shambling monstrosities, they are slow to rouse and prefer to avoid contact with any species, especially humans.
Although eidolons, Zmey are not tied to any particular season. Their attributes change subtly as the year progress; for example, during autumn a Zmey may be coated with orange and yellow scales, but in the dead of winter it may take on a more crystalline appearance. These changes are generally aesthetic, although some rare Zmey may develop minor powers based on their metamorphosis.
Illustration Credit: Howard David Johnson, Talisman Coins
[…] tales of Zmey circulate freely throughout Yavmir, knowledge of the mighty Zmey Gorynych is much harder to come […]