THE AENYA BESTIARY: SEPTHERA

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The Septhera (plural), snake-men, reptile-kin or lizardfolk, ruled over Aenya approximately twenty thousand years ago, between 10,000—9000 BGM (Before the Greater Moon). They are infamous for having enslaved the early race of man, or protohuman. Traces of their civilization have been mostly lost to the sands of the Dead Zones, though the ruins of Shess, a prominent Septheran city, can be found far to the west of the Great White Flat. Despite certain extinction, descendants of the Septhera continue to thrive. Remarkably adaptable, these “snake spawn” alter their skin, much like a chameleon’s, to adopt a more human appearance. Despised by the native races of Aenya, these progeny of the Septhera live in hiding as nomadic merchant traders, though some become hired assassins.

HISTORY: With little material evidence, what is known of Septheran history is conjecture, pieced together by pictographs found on stele ruins, and fragments from the Ages of Aenya, the lost tome of Zo historian and mathematician, Eldin. Despite a lack of knowledge, Septheran history is of crucial importance to understanding the development of the human race.

Aeons ago, before history was recorded, a civilization flourished among the stars like a pale dot against the sun. This world was wet, warm, and tropical. Massive reptilian creatures, saurians, dominated its landscape, and of these, two became self-aware. The first was the Xexaz, but so little is known of them, that they are referred to by Eldin as the Forgotten. Xexaz were large, slow-moving, and deeply curious about the nature of existence. But as they focused their acumen on their ever-expanding understanding of the universe, their bodies deteriorated, and the lesser race, which valued strength over knowledge, came to wage war against the elder. Stealing technologies they could not replicate or comprehend, the Septhera soon dominated the planet, and in doing so, doomed themselves and their world. What they did not know was that their sun was expanding, and had been for untold aeons. Only the Xexaz knew to keep the sun from scorching their planet, but as the Septhera had slaughtered them to the last, intent on driving the elder race to extinction, their only recourse was escape. In a massive ship, the Ark, the Septhera gathered those of royal blood and their servants, along with the giant saurians they valued for meat and labor, and set to the stars in search of a new home.

When the Ark landed upon Aenya c. twenty millenniums ago, the Septhera found a primitive world, far different from what is known today. Only the merquid, who dwelt in vast coral cities spanning planet-wide bodies of water called oceans, could contest them, but being elusive creatures, the merquid paid the newcomers little mind. The protohumans on the surface, however, were scattered among small tribes of hunters and gatherers, and were no match for the Septhera. For centuries, men and women were herded like livestock, forced into labor or to fight for entertainment, and at times, were used as a food source. It was not until a human slave, who was made to battle the Septheran prince, did the protohuman revolt en masse. Martyring himself to defeat the greatest of their race, Batal proved humans capable of overthrowing their masters. Once organized, the Septhera were overwhelmed by superior numbers, and when the last of their kind, their Pharaoh, was slain, the newly united race declared themselves, “free from slavery and death,” calling the new age, The Age of Life, and taking the name, Zo, after Zoë, the goddess of life.

PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES: The Septhera vary in appearance, with elongated necks that can turn in complete circles and move independently from their torsos, and tails between half and double the length of their bodies. Females stand between 5′ and 6′, while males can grow up to 8′ with their neck extended. Septheran scales range in hue from black, green, red, and purple, to multicolored. Fangs grow from 3″ to 9″. Stripes, ovals, and diamond patterns along the arms, legs, and tail are common among females, the more colorful, the more attractive to the male. Septheran royals are identified by their hoods, a membrane that expands from their head and neck, and are the only of their kin to produce natural venom. Death by venom, the “purple death,” is quick but painful. Bony ridges and hard scaly protrusions define the lesser castes. 

While clothing is unknown to the species, Septhera adorn themselves in ornaments of gold, with bangles, necklaces, and tattoo-like plating implanted directly onto their scales. Their weapons are finely wrought and deadly works of steel, curved like their teeth, which include daggers, scythes, sickles, khopeshes, and the moon blade, shaped like a waning crescent moon. 

Septhera are ambidextrous, are stronger and swifter than humans, and can jump from a standing position to a height of 15′. Despite these advantages, their lack of imagination and inability to organize served their eventual downfall.

CULTURE: Females abandon their eggs in the sand, so a Septheran comes into the world alone and fights for survival from birth. Consequently, they are incapable of empathy or mercy. Mating between Septhera is a brief and often violent affair, and it is not uncommon for the male to be killed in the process.

Divided into castes, the lowest in Septheran society are the workers, followed by the slavers and then the warriors, with the royals sitting at the top of the power hierarchy. Status is attained by killing someone of equal or higher rank, which is why those of the royal caste continually vie to prove themselves. 

When, ultimately, a lowly human managed to slay the prince in battle, the social hierarchy was thrown into chaos.

 

TRANSLATION OF GLYPHS FROM A SEPTHERAN STELE
First came the Xexaz
And the Quid bowed to them
And the Ilman bowed to them
And the Seps bowed to them
But with Time the Seps envied
And stole the fire of the stars
And stole the words from the minds
And the Life from the Xexaz
Now the Quid hid in the waters
And the Ilman of the mountains in the clouds
And the Ilman of the woods in the woods
But the Ilman of the land hid in himself
and became Man
Then was the Seps
And Man bowed to them.

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