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The Naga Rajs by Imperator-Zor The Naga Rajs by Imperator-Zor
The Primary Continent is bisected by the Dragonspine Mountains, a massive set of peeks which can rise up to ten kilometers above sea level. Sparsely populated, largely inhospitable and being home to the lairs of many great dragons: this mountain range has distinctly cut the continent in two. To it's west lays the Coldlands, the lands of the Qanthrathi, the High Kingdom of Ilvanas, the original Drow States and Ilvamicum (a roughly defined area which constitues those lands who's human civilization has it's origins in the Student Men). To their east of them are the northern Steppes and the Eastern Empires. To the North these mountains reach to the pole, petering out to foothills. To the South they dip into the ocean forming a set of large fertile islands with above average magic levels at the crossroads between the east and the west. Said crossroads are home to one of the more unusual races, the Naga. The states in which they rule are known as the Naga Rajs.

The Naga are often described as being half woman and half snake, which while a simplification is generally considered to be accurate enough. They have a (usually) Human torso with a 4-5 meter long snake like body below the waist. Naga also generally lack fingernails and have slited eyes and a set of canines enlarged to fangs. Some exhibit more reptillian characteristics including forked tonges, scales or have flattened reptilian noses. All Naga have some magical abilities. Nagas weigh about 200-300 kilograms on average. They usually slither about at 4-5 km/h but can sprint at up to 20 km/h on land over short distances. They are able to easily swim at 15km/h and can hold their breath up to 20 minutes. All Naga are magical and have are near equal to elves in terms of average magical ability, though their lifespan is about that of a human. Naga require about 3-4 time the food as a human and are more sensitive to cold.

Nagas are most unusual in the means by which they reproduce. As a general rule Naga are fully capable of natural reproduction (though they are biologically speciated from humans, elves, dwarves and similar) but the majority of Naga are not born but made. Naga have a pair of glands which are analogous to a snake's Venom glands. Over the span of about a year a Naga develops enough Venom to provide a sufficient dose to transform a human or elf into a Naga. The process takes from a few weeks to a year depending on the availability of magic (either background magic, magic the individual generates, magic ingested in potions or other sources, etc) and food (growing a new tail requires a lot of biomass). In the case of male subjects 99% of the time the transformation also turns them female (both in terms of their exterior and interior). Those that remain male through the process as a general rule become sequestered away in Naga society for breeding purposes. The birth rate for male Nagas is even more narrow at one in 10,000. In Naga a society this fact has created a notion of generational pedigree: the more generations you are removed from your transformed ancestors the higher your prestige. Third generation Naga generally receive a degree of reverence, forth generation Naga are exalted being seen as blessed by the gods.

The origins of the Naga are shrouded in mystery. The general myth of the Rajs is that the Mother of Life incarnated herself as a Naga Avatar and stopped a warlord from laying waste to the world by promising him power for him and his warriors, but gave them the temperaments of women and snuffed out their bloodlust, though this story is generally considered apocryphal at best by those eyond. High Elvish explorers during their age of exploration who explored the area of the Rajs simply found human tribes and a few Dwarvish clans. The first reports of "snake/lizard people of the east" are recorded in ancient Quanthrathi documents around 6,000 to 6,400 BIA, which are corroborated. Even so the reports are vague. Some high elvish reports from survey missions in 6,470 BIA, 6,230 BIA, 6,032 BIA and 5,712 BIA give a better if still incomplete glimpse into this time period.

The first report documents the emergence of small city states from farming villages on some islands. The second has the first hard mention of "Serpent Warriors" and "Snake Priestesses" in some of the more heavily forested southern islands of the archipelago. The third involves the first solid description of a Naga as we know them today which had ceased power in several of the island, though there were also reports of a race of what were termed 'reptile men'. Man sized humanoid creatures with scaled skin, claws, sharp teeth and other reptilian features (though these were usually concealed under concealing garments) who could not speak beyond hand sights and hisses that served as warriors. The forth of these surveys had found that the Naga had spread through most of their current range, but also found an absence of the Reptile Men and a resistance to questioning on the subject (though some mention of them would arise in what fragments of information we can collect from the first Naga civilization over the next two millennia and they are known as Skelyudhi). After that there were non Elvish records based around trade between them and the student men. This first Naga civilization would persist until about 3,600 BIA when it suffered a collapse, which involved the last rise of the Skelyudhi in it's aftermath and a five century long dark age before recovering. With this fall came the loss of their writing system, which was mostly replaced in the subsequent years.

The general consensus among the High Elves, the bulk of secular academic circles, the Apocryphists of the Order of Keepers and the Central Committee of Infrastructure is that some time around 6,300 BIA the Naga were created by some long lost exotic spell or a series of spells applied over years to generations. The Skelyudhi were another such product of said efforts, though one which proved to be less suscesful. Our knowledge of this sibling race (to use a term which the people of the Naga Rajs would generally find extremely offensive) is limited as all that remains of them are a handful of skeletal and skin remains, a few depictions in sculpture and frescos and a variety of tales and myths which generally speak of them as being 'demons in mortal form' and always speak of them as being male. They have been compared to Orcs in several respects (being a race presumably made for war which possessed superhuman), though they lacked any evidence of family life (they are described as living in camps and ruling over enslaved lands and their interactions are always described in terms of warlord, vassal or comrade in arms), were more organized and regimented than your typical orc tribe and with a greater fondness for kidnapping people. A fact which leads many to believe that like the naga they reproduced by turning men and women into more of them.

But regardless of their origins the Naga have for six thousand years make up the ruling class in their section of the world. There are currently thirteen Rajs which have an estimated population between 80 and a 100 million which some 2.25-2.75 million Naga ruling over them. These states are Theocratic Monarchies. Every office of government and every religious post (often one in the same) is held by a Naga, as are all mages, generals and so forth. The Humans and Dwarves live in a stratified society with formalized classes of warriors, artisans (a class that is 85-90% composed of Dwarves who have been quite thoroughly intergrated), merchants, peasants and a Discarded class who do all the dirty jobs and who can only escape this lot by five years as cannon fodder shock troops, 30 years as indentured servants or by being born a mage. Some Rajs practice limited slavery, but this is fairly uncommon (less than 1% of their population is chattel). Leaving aside Dwarves (who are immune to Naga Venom) all mages born into this are considered to be nascent Naga and are turned into Naga when identified, as are a few mundane humans who are deemed worthy of becoming Naga. Naga usually adopt those that they've transformed into their family. All of which is held together by religion which stresses the importance of knowing one's station.

While this rough system has endured for centuries the Individuals Rajs are not set in stone. Over the past three millennium there have been three instances in which a substantial portion of the Naga Rajs have been united under an Rajkiraj (Raj of Rajs, or Kingdom of Kingdoms, sometimes translated as Empire), though none of these has lasted more than two and a half centuries. The Rajs also suffered significant setbacks in 2200 BIA when they were caught up in the Second Cataclysmic War of the Eastern Empire and from an internal conflict in 906-838 BIA known as the War of the Constrictor. There are regular wars between the Rajs. For all that, however they remain a wealthy civilization even if Infrastructural technology is only beginning to trickle in by 37 IA.

The Naga Rajs do regularly trade with the civilizations to the east and the west, both as an intermediary and providing their own products. Spices, textiles, runic blades, ingredients for potions (in particular Naga Venom, even though it is illegal to sell that) and more come from the Rajs. Among the more important trades however is slaves. Over the last four centuries the Dark Elvish merchant houses have come to see the Raj as a prime source of chattel. Members of the Discarded class kept in bondage can be traded and sold during their tenure and the Drow are quite willing to pay well for these, though they also have to pay the family of those they buy. Slaves can be bought with less legal complications, as are a number of criminals, defiant prisoners of war and victims (often but not exclusively of the discarded class) who 'disappear'. Doing so is controversial among the Rajs. Several of them have instituted outright bans on such exports, others have instituted strict ceilings as to how many could be sold into slavery. Slaves acquired from the Naga Rajs are also more expensive to import compared to those that had been obtained from Avesia or the pre-Infrastructural Coldlands. Even so there are now a large number of slaves in the Drow States and Colonies which are either from or trace their ancestry back to the Rajs.

A small number of Naga live beyond the Rajs to the east and west. Even so they are few in number as not many people are willing to become Naga. They don't do well in non tropical climates, require a lot of food and even though they do have magical powers they don't have magical powers the level of power they have is rather scattershot. A powerful mage may actually loose some power in becoming a Naga though most mages can gain power by becoming a Naga. Even so there are a few who elect to become Naga, though these are seen as eccentrics as well as a few who are made into Naga forcefully. The most famous foreign made Naga were the slave gladiators created for the arenas of the Last King of Venoa, who started the Rebellion which toppled that regime. The Naga who rule the Raj generally see these foreign Naga as simply being foreigners who happen to be the same species and give them no special respect or contempt. Though they do feel that there is something disgraceful to sell one's Venom despite its high demand.

This individual is a Low ranking Zamindar (a title roughly equivalent to that of a count in the reckoning of the western states) of the Raj of Jheveh carrying a staff and scimitar and wearing her hat of office. Naga typically wear tailored garments with embroidered fabric and pleated skirts, clothes which are barred to the lower classes.
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PieGeo190 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2017
Nice job :)
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