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Dhani

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Dhani

A female Constrictor Dhani
HeightDiffers.
WeightDiffers.
Lifespan300-350.
Major featuresSlit-like eyes, sibilant speech.
AbilitiesShapeshifting; differs amongst subraces.
Population600
Most common inNorthern Falyndar, Ekytol, Southern Taldera
ReputationGenerally disliked.
Racial godsSiku, Caiyha.
Racial bonuseither +10 Poisons or +10 Wrestling
SubracesConstrictor, Viper, Rattler


The Dhani are the children of Siku. Despite their shared worship of their goddess and her mother, Caiyha, the three sub-races, or factions, do not get along. At all. This dysfunctional infighting has decreased their numbers considerably, and allows other races to pick them off when and where they can. The hallmark of the Dhani is their ability to assume three shapes: snake, which is how they are born; half-snake, half-human (Dhani); and human... which allows them to walk around, hiding their serpentine selves, from others. The Dhani spread out, ranging from northern Falyndar to Eyktol to southern Taldera, which are where their nests are located, but they can be found throughout Mizahar. Those whom the Dhani take an interest in should be wary. Their stomachs, it is said, know no limits.

Contents

History

Siku is considered the mother of the Dhani race. They say that in the beginning, before the Valterrian, the Dhani had no sub-races. Sure, there were factions that fought internal battles, so much so that they divided the great nest and each went their own way, spreading out throughout the two empires, establishing their own nests. But the Valterrian changed the lives of the Dhani, wiping out many of their numbers. The survivors found that they were no longer the same as their cousins of different lands - but that they had adapted to their new environments. The least changed were the Constrictors, a fact that they pride themselves on. They call themselves Siku's most favoured - they, after all, had been changed the least from the image that their goddess created them in. This point of contention leads to ever more fighting, and distrust.

What's From Where?

Mizahar has some extraordinarily different climates. The Dhani appeared in three regions - Falyndar, Taldera, and Eyktol. Each was suited to that unique climate, and as such, the nests for each subrace of Dhani are only found there. The Constrictor Dhani are kept to Zinrah, boxed in by hostile Myrians. The Rattlers have their own nest in Southern Taldera. The Vipers prefer the dry heat of the Eyktolian deserts, and find most other regions quite cold (except for Falyndar, and then the complaint is that it's too wet).

What Is A Nest?

When one is referring to the Dhani, a nest is actually an underground city. There are three main nests (which include Zinrah, one in southern Taldera, and one near Ahnatep, where a great number of Viper Dhani show up at some point or another. There is one smaller nest that very precious few actually ever find out about, consisting of Rattlers and Vipers who shun the more praised, voracious lifestyle of their fellows and prefer to follow Caiyha to a greater degree than Siku. These from the tiny nest, which numbers only perhaps 20 Dhani, never hunt human prey, but stick to whatever animals they can catch instead. A nest is a very protected area. It's more than a sleeping area - it descends into a nightmarish labyrinth of tunnels and chambers that is often staunchly defended at each turn.

Biology

Physical Appearance

Dhani, over the course of their lives, are encouraged to master their three forms, from snake, to Dhani (a hybridized mixture of human and snake, with a serpentine body and head and a humanoid torso, arms and shoulders) to human. They believe that using a combination of all three shapes, human, Dhani, and snake, maximizes their strengths. And in a world where strength is a means to survival...

How Do the Dhani Forms Work?

The Dhani have three forms, snake, Dhani, and human. Shifting from any of these three forms takes 30 seconds, and they can shift from snake to human and vice versa, without needing to take the Dhani form. While Kelvic shifting is instantaneous, going from one form to the other, the Dhani actually seem to rearrange their bodies to take on one shape to another. A snake going to human will grow legs and arms, or a human becoming a snake will have their arms fuse to their sides and their legs to each other, lengthening and becoming a tail. Hair sinks inside the skin, skin and bones rearrange in a grotesque display as the body shifts and lengthens... all in 30 seconds. For the Dhani, shapeshifting is not painful - it's actually quite cathartic. They look just like any other human in their human form, with no distinguishable physical feature that would reveal them to be Dhani.

Any clothes they are wearing remain as they are. That is, if they are in their human shape and shift into the Dhani shape, the clothes are likely to tear. If they go from snake to human or Dhani, they're going to be naked... snakes, after all, do not wear clothing. Clothing, jewelry, and possessions do not go anywhere - they remain exactly as they were. A Dhani with pierced ears that goes from Dhani to human will certainly keep the piercings when they shift back, but lose the earrings, but if they were to go to their snake form, they would similarly fall out. In their Dhani form, while having a humanoid torso and arms, they have a serpentine head to allow for their mouths to unhinge and swallow much larger prey.

On Shape Shifting and Mixed Blooded Offspring

Dhani very, very, VERY rarely mate with other races. There are, however, exceptions to the rule. They may well find others beautiful and attractive, and mate with them. A male Dhani has the ability to impregnate a female of most other races, a female Dhani cannot become pregnant from a male of another race. They, after all, lay eggs... and it takes a male Dhani to make the egg-laying work. A mixed-blooded child with Dhani in their ancestry is not able to change their shapes like a full-blooded one could. A Dhani cannot interbreed with another Dhani of a different subrace.

Constrictors

Constrictors tend to be a number of colours, and they are also the biggest and the strongest of the Dhani. Long and muscular as they are, they lack any natural poison of their own... the only nonpoisonous sub race of the Dhani. They are excellent swimmers and good at climbing trees. They tend to be very good at brawling and wrestling.

  • Snake: Reaching lengths between 30-45 feet when they're full-grown, they are pure muscle. While they have a sharp row of large, inward-pointing fangs and teeth lining their mouths, they have no venom to them, but are used for gripping and pulling things into their mouths. They tend to kill things by suffocating them in their coils.
  • Dhani: From snout to tail, these behemoths are generally between 18-22 feet long, and are thick and muscular with powerful arms that are used to break and snap and squeeze their opponents to death. In this form, they are about four times stronger than the average human. The teeth that they have as a snake are there, and just as big.
  • Human: Generally around 6'-6'4" as humans, they tend to be broad of shoulder and rather stocky. A Constrictor that is skinny is near death from starvation. They don't appear to be overly muscular, but looks are deceiving. They're about twice as strong as the average human, and have a similar speed.

Rattlers

The Rattlers are considered to be the middle ground between the Constrictors and the smaller Vipers. Slightly bigger than Vipers and less poisonous, they use their rattle like a club. They also tend to have a number of colours, but are more likely to be black, gold, brown, and copper, with a number of patterns.

  • Snake: Reaching lengths between 12-14 feet, these snakes do not have the gripping ability of the constrictors or their sheer strength, but they strike quite fast. They have two enormous fangs as well as a row of smaller teeth in their mouth, and through these fangs that seem to lengthen just before they attack that poisons are delivered. The poisons can destroy tissue and cause hemorrhaging, and can be fatal if not treated fast. They strike, and release, and follow their prey until it dies.
  • Dhani: The length of these Dhani is only about 14-16 feet, and they not as thick as their larger Constrictor cousins. They also lack the gripping and squeezing strength, and are not as fast as the Vipers. They can, however, crush an unarmoured skull with a very well-placed blow from the large, club-like rattle on the end of their tails. They are just as poisonous in this form as they are as a snake, with larger fangs and teeth. They are about twice as strong as a normal human.
  • Human: Rattler Dhani in their human shape are about 5'6"-5'10" tall and have an average build. They are, however, about one and a half times as strong as your normal human, but they are quite quick.

Vipers

The 'small fry' of the Dhani, the Vipers are the smallest and the fastest, with extremely potent poisons. They tend to be black, gold, red, white, and yellow, with various bands and patterns. They are not particularly strong. They are also the most susceptible to the cold.

  • Snake: A Viper as a snake can grow to be between 6-10 feet long, and strike fast and quickly. Each and every one of them has a hood that they can flare or flatten at will, and sharp, retractable fangs that transmit poisons capable of killing in minutes if untreated. They, like the rattlers, have a row of small, sharp, inward-pointing teeth.
  • Dhani: Slim with flaring hoods, these Dhani are generally about 9-12 feet long, but tend to 'spring' when they strike, coiling their tail beneath them and springing at their prey. Blessed with long fangs, their goal is often to bite. About one and a half times stronger than your average human, they are quite speedy.
  • Human: Slender in build and diminutive in height, the Viper Dhani stand between 4'11"-5'4" tall. Their strength is about the same as an average human's, but they are incredibly fast with their movements.

Common Traits

Despite the differences of the sub-races, they all share a number of common traits. These include:

  • Sibilant pronunciation and hissing accents.
  • Dislike of the cold. If in prolonged cold temperatures, get extremely drowsy. Can, and will, hibernate.
  • Carnivorous diet.
    • They have a tendency to swallow their prey whole, depending on the size and form. Depending on the meal size, they may well become stuck in the form that they devoured said meal for anywhere from one to five days.
      • For example, a Constrictor Dhani, in the half-snake, half-humanoid form, kills and devours a young Leopardbred horse. They would be stuck in their Dhani form for three days while they digest their prey.
  • Relative ease (comparable to age and experience) of shifting between any of their three forms.
  • Hairless as Dhani.
  • Excellent senses of smell, taste, and hearing, average sense of sight.
    • As a human, the only sense that is amplified is their sense of taste.
  • Night sight by sensing body heat and outlines to the point of being able to create an entire picture out of temperatures.
    • Dhani and snake forms only.
  • All Dhani have a bit of a homing instinct to know where their nest is.

Psychology

The matriarchal Dhani are predators first and foremost. On more than one occasion, people have referred to them as walking stomachs. But such a title fails to forewarn of the vicious cunning these creatures possess. They harbor fierce biases against their other sub-race, but despite these, will always help a fellow Dhani out against an outsider, or take their side. What happens after... well, the two Dhani may well fight in private.

Younger Dhani are driven almost purely by instinct, especially as hatchlings and until, and even shortly after, they begin to learn their Dhani shape. But as they mature, the Dhani seem to have a special spot for cruelty. The Constrictors, for example, will capture prisoners and use these prisoners against their own people. The Vipers are fond of torture. Rattlers will create havoc simply because they can. The Dhani are absolute fanatics when it comes to Siku, and many will begrudgingly admit a fondness for Caiyha.

Dhani can be quite sensual when it comes to their mates, but it does depend on the coupling. It can bring out an almost tender side of them that is rarely revealed.

Lifespan

The Dhani are fairly long-lived... reaching ages of 300-350. Assuming, of course, that they don't get killed first. Another reason why Dhani are slow to repopulate and increase their numbers is because it takes a while to get to the age of sexual maturity where reproduction will be successful.

  • 0-5 years: Hatchling.
  • 5-25 years: Snakeling. At about 25 years of age, a Snakeling begins to learn how to shift into its Dhani form.
  • 25-50 years: Youngling.
  • 50-100 years: Young adult. Learn to take the human shape at approximately 100 years of age. They also become sexually mature after around age 100.
  • 100-150 years: Adult.
  • +150 years: Elder. Hell, who's counting any more?

Society

A matriarchal society, the Dhani are all about the females and the mothers, primarily because only they can birth the next generation. Each nest is ruled by a Queen, and this title is often passed from mother to daughter, or grandmother to granddaughter. The males are usually the hunter-gatherers and providers while females keep everything running smoothly. However, the females are just as vicious, particularly when their young or nest is threatened.

Social Structure

A group of Dhani is called a nest. This nest is broken up into smaller nests for the individual family units. There are only around 200 Dhani to a single sub-race, and that is about the size of the nest. The Queen is at the top of the chain of command - she calls the shots. Disputes between nests are settled by a female who is chosen as head of the nest. This female may or may not be the eldest in her family, but she usually is.

Mating between Dhani can happen in any of the three forms. It's a matter of individual preferences. Monogamous partners are commonplace, but sometimes males are shared, and a female may well pick between any number of suitors for mating.

Language

The Dhani communicate through two languages: Snake-tongue and Common. Snake-tongue is their natural language, and often communicate with this in snake and Dhani forms... though some use it as humans, but it takes practice, as the human tongue simply isn't meant to imitate those sounds. It also allows for communication with snakes.

Names

Dhani names are generally long, and bear an element of the mother's name that gets passed down to all children. To differentiate, the individual portion of the name becomes their shorter nickname. An example of a Dhani name would be Sahssvanhamo, where Sahssva is the shared element of their mother, and Nhamo would become the individual's (nick)name. A sibling of Sahssvanhamo could be Sahssvagasira... where the individual name is Gasira. A child of Sahssvagasira could be Gasirayosel... where the child's nickname would be Ayosel.

Family Life

Dhani are fiercely protective of their family. The hatchlings are watched closely and cared for, and by the time they become younglings, they may leave the nest to explore and practice hunting, sometimes accompanied by a parent, or an older sibling, or family member... or by themselves. The underground nests can be tunneled and expanded into in order to accommodate greater numbers in a dwelling. A mother may raise a number of clutches, and then one of her elder daughters will take a stab at parenting herself by raising the next clutch of hatchlings.

Everyday Life

Art and Industry

Religion

The Dhani worship Siku as their primary deity, and often offer bloody sacrifices to her in elaborate rituals that can involve torture and worse. A number of them also pay homage to Caiyha.

Active Dhani PCs

Constrictors
heightSsafirarhysatiSadist. Masochist. Torturer. From Zinrah, Falyndar.
heightSserapelhamDhani Diva. From Zinrah, Falyndar.
heightNoravennsalarA firm believer in "strength determines worth." From Zinrah, Falyndar.
heightSashisaxaniHunter of Myrians. Archer. From Zinrah, Falyndar.
heightZharaizuranStrong Man, Keeper of the Glowstones. FromZinrah, Falyndar.
Rattlers
heightCinderFrom Taldera. Currently in Ravok.
Vipers
heightKalasshamalahFrom Eyktol
heightNyahna SasinCruel, fun loving, ambitious, cheerful. From Syliras
heightYanessavhanetFrom Alvadas
BethsylissFrom Eyktol
heightSoshakuakamamushiAzenth, Acrobat-Reimancer, Fiery Viper. Born in Eyktol. Currently in Zinrah