Zahhak

Summary

            Zahhaks are a race of reptilian humanoids that originate from the mesa regions of Terpes.

 

Physical Attributes

 

General

            The Zahhaks have Human-like bodies, but with a few differences. Zahhaks have no ears or noses, but instead have small slits where they would be; along with a few other distinctive features such as long, tilted canine teeth.

 

Skin

            Zahhak skin is entirely normal apart from its hue, which ranges from a bright yellow to a deep green, and the occasional scales that dot their skin much like freckles or moles do on common humanoids.

 

Eyes

            Zahhak eyes can be yellow, green, blue, or red; and are lizard-like in nature as they blink by using a clear film that slides horizontally across their eyes.

 

Hair

            Zahhaks have no hair, but instead have a thick layer of scales where large quantities of hair would normally be. This includes eye lashes, head hair, and facial hair.

 

Body

            Zahhaks are very unique in that they have large tails that grow out to drag on the ground behind them; but due to tradition, most have their tails cut off as babies. They also have two small lizard heads (one on each shoulder). These heads look exactly like a lizard’s, and though they wriggle from time to time along with the Zahhak’s emotions, they are not sentient and the Zahhak uses them as an extra set of eyes and as a last resort close combat attack. The heads are usually slightly larger than a normal lizard’s head (but can be smaller or larger depending on genetics), and have very sharp, poisonous fangs (regardless of the type of lizard head). If the heads try to eat anything according to the Zahhaks wishes, they will simply spit the food back out; as the heads are not connected to a digestive system.

The average height of a Zahhak is 6’0” – 7’10”

 

Age

            The maximum life span of a Zahhak is 170 years.

 

History/Information

 

            Zahhaks have been around as long as any other race, and were one of the first to evolve a humanoid form. Their origins are assumed to be in the mesa regions of Terpes due to the finding of remains of early ancestors in that area; but no one is entirely positive. In fact, no one started looking into their History/Information until about a thousand years ago, as the tribal Zahhaks had often scared away any adventurers that dared to get close. But, luckily, as their population increased, so did the battles between tribes, until eventually one tribe reached out to adventurers for help in their battles. After they had helped the Zahhak tribe win, they were accepted and this allowed them to conduct intensive research. After about 20 years of being with this tribe, the adventurers managed to coax the Zahhaks into more modern practices, until eventually they had adapted to it enough to build their own city and governmental system. Though this took roughly 200 or so more years, it was a fruitful endeavor; as the Zahhaks were able to provide a thriving market economy, plentiful and unique goods, and a colorful, resilient culture.

            As for their earliest History/Information, Zahhaks not only look like reptiles, they are directly related to them. Some researchers traced their origins back to a mutation that had resulted in a type of three headed lizard. These lizards also had many health issues due to this mutation, though, so researchers are unsure how they lived long enough to reproduce and gain enough adaptations to be on the road to evolving into a humanoid form. Some people that are less scientifically inclined like to believe that these lizards bred with an early ape species, but of course it is not logical nor is there any evidence to suggest that.

 

Culture

 

Religion

            Originally, the Zahhaks did not believe in one particular God, but instead worshipped themselves as superior beings. They had superstitious beliefs about every part of them, but the most notable was about their tails. They believed that their tails were a physical sign of how much power an individual had. So, if a Zahhak had a very long, thick tail, they were heralded as the strongest warrior of the tribe, regardless of accomplishments.

            But, this fascination with themselves ended when they began to develop into an established civilization and grow away from tribal life. As they modernized their way of life, they also modernized their beliefs and embraced the worship of the Sun Goddess who they referred to as Ekhi. Due to their new religion, they found their affinity with fire magic. This new ability came with a new staple of life, as they now performed all ceremonies surrounded by a circle of fire. Even on the hottest summer days, the Zahhaks would hold their mass surrounded by the scorching fire.

 

Family 

            When a Zahhak turns ten years old, they are forced to leave the family home to make a life for themselves as an apprentice. Due to this, most Zahhak families are quite distant, and many of the basic parent and child ties that are common in other families are absent in Zahhak families.

 

Traditions 

 

            With the new religion also came new values, and where once they viewed their tails in high regard, they now viewed them as unclean. This belief emerged because of the physiology of the Zahhaks. Zahhak genes ensure that no matter what extremity of the body is cut off, that it will grow back (other than the head of course). But, while other body parts will grow back to their original form, when the tail is cut off, it will only grow back to be about 6 to 12 inches. So, their new beliefs saw this as the tail’s ‘true form’. This new belief led to a new tradition, and due to this, whenever a baby Zahhak is born (regardless of whether or not the family believes in the practice), their tail will be cut off out of dependence on the tradition.

            Another Tradition is relating to their priests. When a Zahhak has completed their training and is approved to become a priest, they will endure the initiation rites. These rites include meditating outdoors for a week (so they learn to ‘truly embrace the sun’), consuming little to no water for a month (only enough to keep them barely alive), and the ‘final embrace’. The ‘final embrace’ is the most horrific of these rites, as the to be priest will be laid upon an altar and molten gold will be poured into their open eyes. This does not kill them, but permanently blinds them. They do this in order to help the to be priest truly embrace the Sun Goddess as they believe that the only way one can truly understand the beauty of the sun, is to do so without sight to aide them.

            Other traditions are seen in their holidays. There are not many Zahhak holidays. In fact, there are only three. These holidays are the Winter Solstice Festival to mourn the loss of the Sun’s strength, the Summer Solstice Festival to rejoice at the Sun’s return, and the Fire Walk Day to embrace a Zahhak’s coming of age. The Fire Walk Day is by far the most unique of these holidays, as during this day long ritual, the Zahhaks who have turned 16 during the previous year, will make ‘the walk’. ‘The walk’ is a trial of sorts, where the young Zahhaks will walk through the city all day in the scorching sun without rest nor water. If the young Zahhaks succeed a bucket of burning coals is poured over their heads (fire does not hurt them) as a symbol of them being reborn by fire into their faith. However, if they fail, they are forbidden to sleep under a roof for an entire year until the next Fire Walk Day where they must retry the trial.

 

Fighting 

 

Powers 

            Zahhaks have innate fire magic powers.

Preferred Fighting Style

            Zahhaks usually prefer using their magic to fight from a distance.

 

Weaknesses

            Zahhaks are weak to ice magic and extreme cold.

 

Names

            Zahhak names are thick and difficult to say due to the nature of the Zahhak language. To create a Zahhak names, simply use as many consonants as is both possible and coherant.

Male Examples:

Ablopnarg, Byzevmlak, Cajityrng, Dargnil, Eprnias

Female Examples:

Female names always end in an ‘a’ or ‘e’

Anginturka, Buqzolna, Codhelgne, Drithnasble, Ejslika

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