Senai

Average Lifespan: 500 years
Average Height: 5’3” – 5’8”
Average Weight: 60 – 130 pounds
Pregnancy Duration: 5 months

Adopting a life of peaceful neutrality, the Senai have lived out their lives in contentment, far away from the rest of Valindir. Their haunting beauty and striking architecture has captured the eye of artists for generations, and people from all about the realm have sought out their unique artwork for generations. Criticized by some for being weak and passive, the Senai have simply ignored such claims, pleased to be left alone by those who might mean them harm. No nation has been foolish enough to wage open war with them, as their alliance with the Daphinae has proven them to be formidable opponents, despite their meager physical prowess. The Senai have never had need of the outside world, save for their woodland neighbors, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon, much to the dismay of merchants.

Physical Characteristics

Their lithe, streamlined bodies have served them well over the years as they have created a symbiosis with the waters around them. Their frames, only about five and half feet high on average, are thin and can form to look almost like a fish darting through the water. They weigh only about sixty to a hundred and thirty pounds, looking rather spindly when on dry land, but graceful beneath the waves. Their skin tones can range from pale browns and whites to deep greens and blues, and often people will have a mottled mix of those colors. They often manifest themselves in symmetrical patterns about the body, which is a sign of beauty and elegance in their culture. Their hair is most often a silver or white, but many people have been born with golden blonds and dark blacks and browns. A few redheads and even some with blue or green hair have been spotted, but they are quite rare and are looked upon as unique.

Their Sylvan cousinship is noted in their pointed ears, extending out about an inch or two off their heads. While they were not directly created from the Sylvan, but the Danava, the Senai don’t like to acknowledge that, and simply refer to themselves as kin to the Sylvan instead of recognizing their closer bond with their seafaring neighbors. Their eyes are often looked upon with having a somewhat insidious nature because their entire eye is completely black, but the Senai are simply amused by people’s assumptions about what a lack of color in one’s eye has to do with ones heart. Their unique eyes have allowed them to see in even the murkiest of waters and darkest of caves, so they are always quite proud of them.

History

The Senai still hold a deep respect for their creator Lady Louvenia, but that reverence is all the remains of what the two once shared. The Goddess of Change and Growth had always been good to them and provided them with anything they had needed, and for that they are always eternally grateful. It was when Al’Drenra begun that the opinion of their creator began to sour as they watched the horrors of the war unfold at their doorstep. The Senai had always adopted a peaceful attitude towards the rest of the world, so when neighboring armies began moving into Hellios to resupply, they wanted to find a nonviolent resolution. Louvenia however could not allow her precious children to place themselves in danger, so she sent word to her siblings Pardu and Hienle of what was happening in their homeland. It was a mere week before the armies of the Daphinae had returned and the rivers ran red with the blood of their enemies. It was later discovered that those armies had planned to dump toxins into the water supply in order to wipe out the Senai, and that they were contracted through the Eiltia Empire. Still, the Senai insist they should have still been offered the opportunity to reason with them.

After the wars settled, the Daphinae and Senai went back to their peaceful coexistence and for the most part, neither were disturbed for years. It was then that the Senai adopted their current government, one of the people choosing a leader to do what is best for the society. Every twenty years a new election is held, but it is not uncommon for the current leader will be reelected for most of their life. They also have what most people see as a Senate that advises the ruler, made up of elected officials from different interest groups. While they have no real power in the government, this panel of advisors is often invaluable to the leader, as it connects him or her with the masses and makes sure he is always providing for them. To this day, this way of life has served them well and they continue to practice this manner of running their society.

In more recent history, the Senai have started to undertake a project of barricading the waterways that flow into their homes. It has been a massive undertaking, as they still want the natural wildlife to move freely about their blockades, but to keep out invading neighbors, primarily the Danava. Thin netting made from incredibly strong, lightweight metals have proven effective in testing, but nothing has yet to be implemented; a fact that has many of the Senai on edge.

Culture and Religion

Senai have always adopted a passive view of the world, and manage to keep themselves out of the conflicts of Valindir. They pride themselves on being self sufficient, trading mostly with the Daphinae, and even then it’s mainly because the two share a deep friendship and not out of necessity for goods. They have had few visitors to their city beneath the waves, but it’s contended that Sinola, their capital, rivals the size of Danzibar and the beauty of Enaryn. The Senai make no such claims, simply stating theirs is different, and no better or worse than anyone else’s way of living. They have always been accepting of other ways of life and thinking, and are open to folding these new ideas into their own culture, but are still somewhat hesitant of outsiders themselves. Because of this openness to new ideas, the Path of the Enlightened has found a home among these people. However, most people religiously follow the Elements and see the Path of the Enlightened as an interesting novelty rather than a true faith.

Accused of being barbarism, the breeding habits of the Senai are perhaps simply misunderstood. Like their Daphinae neighbors, the Senai have a deep respect for nature and the natural order of things, and so their view their offspring in much the same way. When a woman becomes pregnant it is a joyous occasion, as their fertility cycles are quite complex and most women only become pregnant three or four times in their lifetime. Often times a woman is already married, and being pregnant out of wedlock is seen as somewhat unwise and irresponsible. She will carry her young for five months, but its pointed out her stomach will grow to the size to accommodate a baby dragon, or at least it is joked that it looks that way. When the tips of her fingers start to turn orange and yellow, the community knows it’s time for her to lay her eggs in their sacred birthing caves. It is a two day swim just to reach the mouth of these tunnels along the bottom of the lake and the families and friends of both parents will often accompany the two there. From there it is another eight hour swim through the caverns, which the pair will make alone while the community awaits their return to the city. They will choose just the right cave, and she will lay about twenty to thirty eggs. The two will take great care to make sure they are nestled and hidden among the plant life, and then they will leave their offspring to finish their maturation. The two will eagerly await their children in Sinola, and within four or five months, the eggs will hatch. Only about half will ever reach maturation and burst from the round, squishy cocoon, and even less of them will make the trek all the way to their homeland. The weak often cannot fight the rumbling rapids and are swept away, and some are devoured by creatures that live in the deep. To help these babes, however, is seen as disrespectful to the way they were designed and would lead to massive overpopulation. Two or three will make it back to gates of the city, and they are met with a celebration of their strength and survival abilities. By instinct, the child knows its way to Sinola and its birth parents, and will swim into their arms upon their return. From then on, the child is reared with the utmost care and the mortality rate after reaching Sinola is incredibly low.

It has been reported that some of these babies that washed away were found by Daphinae or even by Sidhe and Pixies as far away as Aeponae. Often times these children are raised away from the rest of their people, but they are always welcomed back into the fold if they ever wish to return. The Senai view this as just another way of proving that they are among the strongest and can survive anything that fate has to offer. These individuals have often provided a unique insight to the outside world, and they often write books about the other cultures of the realm. Many of them have gone on to be ambassadors of the Senai, as they would be better equipped to handle the outside world. They also permit the Senai who dwell outside Ponti Lake to come there and birth their children and live in Sinola while they await their offspring before they leave back to their true home.

Geography

Dwelling deep in fresh waters of Ponti Lake at the heart of Hellios is a rich culture and civilization that few have been privy to see. Referred to as the one of the hidden jewels of the world, the Senai have lived in peace beneath the waves since before the times of Al’Drenra. While others were concerned with expanding their territories and building their empires, the Senai focused on their own city and culture, building a towering metropolis beneath the crystal clear lake. Sinola has been hailed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but the Senai modestly insist that there are far grander places to visit than their simple home.

Relations with Other Races

The Senai have tried not to meddle in other races for the most part, but that is not to say they are not educated on the rest of the population of Valindir. Often a dignitary or ambassador will bring back literature, clothing, art, recipes or other cultural artifacts from their travels about the realm. They are content to admire from afar however, and would rather have things they enjoy imported rather than travel there themselves.

Alubra – Because of the vast separation of their living spaces, and Senai’s dislike of heights, the two races haven’t interacted for the most part. However, from what they have learned of them, they are a kindred spirit, and the two races have enjoyed trade facilitated by the Daphinae. In fact, Alubran clothing has become incredibly fashionable, as the same materials that float through the air will dance when put in water.

Centaurs – The Senai don’t know really what to make of such a rigid race. They cannot understand why a culture would adopt a caste system based solely on birth and not on one’s talents. For this reason they are pitied, but thought of as somewhat archaic in their ideals.

Danava – If there were a race that the Senai would consider declaring war on, it would be the Danava. Despite their similar roots, the Danava have insisted that the Senai were spawned from traitors, and the Senai do not appreciate such accusations, nor do they tolerate their people being kidnapped and slaughtered. They are seen as vicious conquers that are veiled with pleasing words and are not to be trusted under any circumstances.

Daphinae – The Senai have shared a deep, lasting friendship with the Daphinae long before Al’Drenra swept the lands. The two have lived in harmony and even intertwined their cultures slightly, sharing many holidays and celebrations on the shores of the lake throughout the year. It’s not uncommon to see a Senai in Puan or Fwi, despite their dislike of high places, and the races often intermarry.

Drakien – While the Senai may be a bit tentative of the Drakien because of their physical prowess and intimidating appearance, they do not see them as vicious monsters. They see them as a culture that has been trodden upon by the rest of the world, and hope that one day, the people can unite and build their grand city so they can garner the respect they deserve.

Dwarves – Dwarves are seen as somewhat superstitious, but are deeply respected for their industrious nature and loyalty to their friends. The two people have enjoyed peace with one another and several Senai have gone to study with them to learn metalworking techniques to bring back to Sinola.

Elves – Prideful, vain, close-minded, arrogant and spiteful are just a few of the choice words the Senai use to describe the Elves. They cannot stand a people who are so hostile towards others, and yet insist on their superiority. The only thing they can respect is their desire to be left alone, and the Senai are more than happy to oblige.

Gryphons – Seen as a force to be reckoned with, no Senai is foolish enough to cross a Gryphon. They tend to avoid contact with them, and believe that these protectors of the Elves are more warlike than their peaceful demeanor implies.

Humans – While the Senai have nothing against Humans, they are not eager to befriend them either. It is no secret that they have a close business relationship with the Danava, and they would rather not risk getting entangled with a people who might turn on them in favor of their ocean-dwelling enemy.

Kithras– Choosing to disregard the rumors they have heard about how dishonest the Kithras are, the Senai have actually struck up a budding friendship with them. When they saw the Kithras struggle to find sources of water beneath the vastness of the desert, the Senai offered their aid and sent a handful of teams to help carve wells to these hidden pockets of fresh water. In return, the Kithras have started trading with them, and Kithra trinkets are often sought after by people in Sinola.

Kren – The Senai have always disliked the way the Kren govern their territory, and they firmly believe that one day their city will collapse in on itself.  It is a fact to be pitied, as they Kren are a charming, kind people who understand that life is to be valued and cherished. They do admire their deep ties to their community, and hope that one day they can break from such a stifling way of running their country.

Melrog – Treated with both fear and fascination, the Melrog are seen as artificial vessels for living souls, and are therefore acknowledged as a sentient race. While they do not agree with trifling with nature and attempted to imitate the gods, they cannot fault the Melrog for that. Most often, the two simply don’t interact, as Melrog don’t commonly visit the depths of the Ponti Lake.

Minotaur – They admire a people that have lived peacefully on their islands, but they are still regarded with a bit of hesitation. This is mainly because Minotaurs are known to be in league with Humans and Danava, a fact that makes the Senai uneasy. They fear that if the Danava enlisted enough Minotaurs to their cause, they might declare war and invade Sinola.

Mithyrn – Since the moment they were discovered, the Mithyrn have been a topic of conversation among the Senai. They hold a deep respect and understanding of a people that wish to remain neutral, and several ambassadors were sent to Talei with gifts and trinkets for what they see as their extended family. The two have enjoyed a rich friendship since they, and the they often visit one another and often trade goods.

Orcs – The Senai cannot trust a people that were bred only for war, despite any progress they might have made since then. Their militaristic background is clearly evident in their government and how the conduct their day to day lives, so to the Senai, they have not changed at all.

Sidhe – These two cultures have always enjoyed peaceful friendship with one another and several Senai have gone to live with them in Aeponae. The Sidhe have also been outspoken about a need for nonviolence and acceptance from the Danava towards their aquatic cousins.

Talmori – The Senai have only recently come into contact with the Talmori, and at first they were quite taken aback by their appearance. Since then, they have discovered that despite their animalistic exterior, they are people who embrace a serene lifestyle that focuses on family and community. It is considered a privilege to be friends with the Talmori and the two people have often enjoyed each other’s company.

Language

Embracing their past ties with the Sylvan, the Senai have adopted Sylva as their spoken language of choice, as well as learning common to interact with the outside world. While some assume they have the same telepathic abilities as their Danava cousins, they in fact do not, but have learned to speak underwater. Unlike other races who rely on air to move across their vocal cords, the Senai possess a second set of vocal cords that can create the same noises when water passes over them, allowing them to speak fluently, even in the depths of the lake. They also often make hand gestures to reiterate their speech, and have come up with what many consider a language made up entirely of hand signals.

Names

It is said that the sound of Senai names flow as smoothly as the waters they call their home. While some can be choppy like stormy waves, it’s more likely to hear soft, lyrical sounds in their name. It’s not uncommon to see sibling’s names that start with the same sounds, and only have subtle differences between them, as families often use those as personal identifiers, since most Senai don’t use their surname in everyday happenings. Other races have noted it’s often hard to tell if a name belongs to a male or female, as they often sound similar to the untrained ear.

Male Names: Quotish, Lashan, Micilash

Female Names: Sashiqo, Laurcorshin, Hopash

Player Difficulty Level

Difficult – The Senai can be one of the harder races in Valindir to play, despite their peaceful nature. They tend to keep to themselves, and are not fond of going out and exploring on their own. They are wary of Humans, which are one of the most populous races in the world, and would avoid coastal areas because they fear the Danava will kidnap or kill them.

Notes on Role Playing this Race

The Senai can breathe air perfectly, and would not gasp when they emerge from the water, nor would they flop around like a fish on dry land. While they do have fish-like traits, they don’t see fish as their “cousins” and often dine on them. In fact, it’s their primary source of food, and anytime they can import fish from the sea, they do.

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Posted September 21, 2011 by belimedra

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