Mythology

In Polish and Wendish folklore, earthquakes released the gods from the Void and left behind hollows in the ground. There are many creatures living in this hollows, and one of them is the impish Skrzak. They live in highly-vaulted chambers underground and attack anyone nearby without warning or mercy. Descriptions of the Skrzak are vague, but do include sharp fangs and claws (which is probably the most important/dangerous part of them) and purplish-black skin with large wings. When the imp-like creatures attack, they let loose with a crazed laugh that can drive a man mad.

Once on a quarry, the Skrzak are said to never relent, never give up, and will constantly let loose with their laughter. It is difficult to escape the Skrzak because they rarely walk or run, but use their large wings to fly after their prey.

Modern Usage

There isn’t a lot to go on here because there are very few sources that differ in the description of the Skrzak. I also couldn’t find any “origin stories” or attachments to other myths or legends. There were certainly no motivations or other character attributes tied to the Skrzak beyond their physical manifestation. This is good and bad. It’s bad in that I have little foundation to go on in including them in a modern story. The good side is that I’m not fettered by volumes of lore that I must get “just right” to be faithful during representing this mythology.

As I typed the first two paragraphs of this post, I was reminded of the “killer bees” or Africanized bees that migrated to the southern and southwestern United States sometime in the late 1980s or 1990s. While I’ve never encountered them myself, the descriptions of the incessant flying, buzzing, crazed attacks of the Africanized bees and the descriptions of the attacks by Skrzak align quite well.

There is an implication through the word “imp” in their description that the Skrzak are small or short. Honestly, I would make them very small in my stories (maybe 8 inches tall or so), but give them a wing span of about two feet just to amp up the grotesque nature of their flying attacks. I’d probably also give them rolls of belly fat and multiple chins sitting above an overly-large mouth lined with razor sharp teeth.

As far as their use in a story goes, I’d have them be cultivated and taken care of by a crazed magician of sorts. Kind of like how some folks in large cities will have pigeon roosts on the roofs of their high-rise apartment buildings. (NOTE: I’m not calling pigeon lovers crazed, sorry for that accidental association, but we’re talking about raising and caring for imps here, not birds.) I could see the “tamed” Skrzak being used as messengers, spies, lookouts, and of course, guardians of the crazed magicians home.

References

“Skrzak.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 May. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skrzak.