Appearance and Physiology:
The Sar’za are a species of humanoids known especially for their inborn resistance to fire, warlike nature and bad temper. From a distance they might resemble a tall human, however they can’t be mistaken for any other species at closer look. Their skin is transparent, revealing blood vessels and muscles, which make up most of the Sar’za body. They lack most organs as we might know them from human physiology, instead they have clusters of undifferentiated tissue, which is capable of sustaining all the needs of their body, including the supportive function normally performed by bones. However, this tissue can be damaged and doesn’t provide the Sar’za any advantage over humans or any other species inhabiting the realms. The only distinctive feature of their physiology are their two hearts, one pumping blood into the body, the other supplying the main nerve cluster located in the Sar’za head. This evolutionary trait is thought to be caused by the Sar’za’s unusual height and one of the hearts can’t work without the other.
The Sar’za are overall not very pleasing to look at, having large, completely black eyes, long, sharp teeth and horns protruding from their lower jaw. They display a variety of adaptations to hot climate in which they usually live, such as complex system of cavities in their heads which prevent the loss of water through respiration. Another such adaptation are their head tails (the closest comparison could be the Predator “dreadlocks”) which store fat and water and are also indicators of good condition and wealth in Sar’za, therefore individuals with larger head tails are considered more attractive. Their eyes are not black all the time, their blackness is caused by thin layer of light-filtering film which prevents damage from intense sunlight and drying out of the eye. In the dark, this film will turn transparent and reveal highly contractible U shaped pupil (as seen for example in catfish) and dark ochre coloured iris. This allows the Sar’za to have excellent vision in both dark and light environment.
It can be difficult for an individual who has never encountered Sar’za before to tell the difference between males and females. This is not only due to the fact, that they all look very similar and distinguish themselves mainly by pheromones, but also because in theory Sar’zas have four genders – true males, true females and male and female hybrids. In practice, an individual Sar’za will be either a male or a female, but due to several evolutionary aspects it is important to distinguish between the true and hybrid genders. With a large female to male ratio (for every two males there are seven females) and the scattering of the race the Sar’zas adapted to the inevitable lack of males in their own way. A true male or a true female will stay that way their whole lives, however their hybrid counterparts can once in a lifetime change gender in order to prevent dying out of the race. This doesn’t happen very often in modern Sar’za society despite the fact, that males are still a minority.
The Sar’za themselves believe they were created ages ago by a nameless Avatar, who intended them to be warriors fighting for his cause – strong willed, determined and merciless. The Sar’za proved to be all of it, however they also tended to question orders and be reluctant to obey their master’s will – for that the Avatar rejected them and banished them outside his realm. Yet by doing so, he pronounced a verdict that ultimately led to his doom. Enraged, the Sar’za breached the gates of his stronghold and while the unsuspecting God worked on a new army for himself, they ambushed and killed him in the heart of his own kingdom. The Avatar’s death was only a cause for further disputes among existing Gods, since they waged a war over the place of the fallen Avatar and seeing their work the warrior race named themselves Sar’za – those who sow chaos.
Leaving the devastated land of their former master behind, the Sar’za scattered into the realms, offering their service to anyone – be it God or mortal – who would appreciate their zeal for fight and creating small armies they became dreaded folk that no one dared to oppose. Finally living the life they were intended for, Sar’zas started to feel they were invincible and it has long been known, that pride goes before the fall. The Sar’za have no unified view on the disaster that was loosed upon them – some believe it was the dead Avatar, resurrected and more powerful than before, some think it was a disease that another God unleashed in fear the Sar’za might become too powerful – but they all agree it caused a massive extinction of their kind. At the same time they believe it was a trial for them – the weak were eradicated and the strong were meant to rise and thrive once again, when the time was right.
Searching for remnant of their once proud race the Sar’za formed small settlements around the realms, keeping to themselves, trying to rebuild the ruins of what they once were. Despite the distance between the tribes, Sar’zas always stay in contact with the other splinter groups of their race, as young adults (around 16 years old – the average lifespan is 80 years) have to leave their homelands and join another tribe to keep the blood strong. Up to this day their numbers are few, but they keep believing their time will come again.
Sar’zas have very tense relations with humans, ranging from hostility to fierce hatred, since it was mostly human settlements which competed with the Sar’za over resources and influence. Sar’zas consider humans soft and useless, with no sense of honor, while humans call the Sar’za savage monsters. Probably the most remarkable conflicts between humans and Sar’za were the Desert battles on the border of Carrathon and Dracarra. The Sar’za tribe from the Scorched plains, which have lost great number of their men in there, are known to be the most radical in their view on humans.
Sar’za live in tribes of about three hundred individuals divided into clans, each governing their own affairs, being subject to an elected tribe leader and Sar’zenth, the Chaos Overlord. The Chaos Overlord is usually the strongest and most reputable of the Sar’zas, a man (or a woman, for the Sar’za are a very gender-neutral race) of both sword and diplomatic tongue. The new Chaos Overlord is not elected but usually arises on his own. Only in case there would be a dispute over who the new Chaos Overlord should be, the tribe leaders hold a vote.
In standard Sar’za society there are no gender-specific roles. Women work as battlemasters and blacksmiths and men as teachers and medics and vice versa, strong do the work of the strong, wise the work of the wise etc. Even though their population is slowly growing, old habits die hard and Sar’za are trying to use every member of the society to their best. The Sar’za names determine not only the name of the individual, but also their parental clan and the clan into which they were accepted in adulthood. Un of parental clan Sor and adult clan Iir would thus be called Un’Sor Iir – it is a name of the woman who is the current Chaos Overlord.