Full name: Apep, also known as Apophis
Pronunciation: Ah-pep, or Ah-poff-iss
Species: Demon serpent
Physical Features: Snakelike, with grey scales that look like pieces of shale. Silver eyes, long fangs, very, very large.
There are many Ancient Egyptian myths and religious texts containing mention of Apophis (or Apep) the Great Serpent. In one of the more popular myths, Apophis is the embodiment of chaos, a great serpent who swam through the primordial darkness. When life began, Apophis became the acknowledged enemy of Ra, God of the Sun, as the sun was one of the first signs of the created world and symbolised divine order, light and life. It was believed that if Apophis could swallow the sun, he could return the world to a unity of darkness and chaos. In many myths, he attacks the chariot of Ra that pulls the sun across the world, and Ra gathers a host of defenders around him to keep himself safe – one of which was Set, god of War and Chaos, who supposedly vanquished the giant demon serpent.
This is the basic mythology I drew upon when giving Apophis a character, and creating a personality for him. When I asked myself the question ‘what if?’ the creature who emerged from my imagination wasn’t evil, merely misunderstood, and the idea that he was enslaved by Set to do his bidding took root. Thus, we have the beginnings of Apophis as you come to know him over the course of the series.
First Appearance: The Heart of a Shadow
“I am Apep, Great Serpent of the Deep. I have many names, but the one perhaps with which you are most familiar would be Apophis.”
Out of the gloom, Apophis coalesced into a creature of flesh and blood. A serpent so enormous Liria and Raiden together would struggle to get their joined arms around his girth, covered in palm-sized grey scales that looked rough, like flint or shale. The cragginess exacerbated around his giant, wedge shaped snake’s head, giving him a dark grey collar of rocky protrusions that shimmered faintly in the meagre light. Two enormous silver eyes bisected down the middle with a snake’s slitted pupil, and when he opened his mouth on what she could only hope was a smile, a pair of fangs longer than Liria’s arms flicked out. Apophis inched closer, the murky shadows behind him writhing in response and leaving Liria’s stomach to knot as she registered coil upon coil upon coil of serpent.