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NotabilityUnknown (Excepting Dhani and Falyndarian Natives)
LeaderQueen Snhamtanabis
Dhani (Constrictor)85%
Dhani (Viper)14%
LanguagesCommon, Snaketongue
CurrencyBikka, Miza

Located in northwestern Falyndar, Zinrah is the nest of primarily Constrictor Dhani, but also a small number of native Viper Dhani as well. Flanked on all sides by hostile Myrian scouts who make sure that the nest is always watched, Zinrah is an underground city that depends on the strength, stealth, and cunning of its inhabitants for the survival of all within.


The City

Zinrah is an underground city built beneath the ruins of a Myrian village that was all but obliterated in the Valterrian. As a Dhani dwelling, it is called a nest - and it is one of the three major Dhani nests in Mizahar. Where Taloba is a sprawling, open (albeit walled) city, Zinrah is a twisting mess of tunnels and caverns. Zinrah has three carefully-disguised ways in and out, but those that think to explore it in search of relics and treasures often find something else entirely. It is a pit of snakes, and they are always, always hungry.


'Dead' glowstones.

Zinrah is comprised of a series of subterranean caves and tunnels heated by underground hot springs. There are three tunnels in and out, all of which are carefully made to ensure that the rainwater that comes during the torrential summer season of Falyndar doesn’t get into the tunnels to drown them all. The rock walls have beads of sweat from underground hot springs, which in turn supply warmth to the caves... giving the heat and moisture that the Dhani enjoy. Very little in terms of wildlife survives down there - not enough, certainly, for the Dhani to survive on - they are forced to hunt prey aboveground. There are plenty of fungi, lichens, moss, and bacteria, and these, in turn, feed the frogs, salamanders, fish, shrimp, spiders, and insects that live down there in it.

The hot springs run throughout Zinrah, and provide not only warmth and fresh water, but light as well. Moss that grows over the springbeds glows white-blue while it is submerged and is still connected to its roots, casting an eerie light throughout the caverns that mixes and mingles with the steamy vapours that rise upwards. During construction, the Dhani found that the stones through which the waters ran had interesting properties - namely, that stones left in the water for long enough periods of time, emitted the same blue-white light of the moss. The Dhani, in turn, call them glowstones - they are the primary source of lighting in Zinrah, and are renewable: once they’ve been submerged for several days, the stones can be retrieved from the springbed and used to create a faint light. They can be piled together to form stronger lights. The general ratio is that for every two hours the glowstones are submerged, they will produce one hour of light. Torches and other fire sources aren’t as common, but are used occasionally. It is far too damp and the smoke is trapped.

'Live' glowstones.

There are plenty of insects, beetles, and grubs that feast on the detritus and bacteria along the rocky ground of Zinrah. The ketomoss, which is what the Dhani call the moss that grows in the streambeds, also feeds on bacteria and tiny insects and larvae in the water. Shrimp and blind cavefish also habituate in the hot waters of the hot streams, and frogs and salamanders lurk around the edges, snapping up whatever they can catch. All of this helps provide food for the hungry hatchlings, and helps teach them how to hunt, as well as honing their skills. However, the Dhani tend to keep a close eye on the salamanders, since if allowed to, they can get very large, and become a bright orange - in which case, they become toxic, and can kill a hatchling that tries to catch one.


Before the Valterrian, Zinrah was a Myrian village. Before then, it was a stony bulwark that was the site of hundreds of deadly battles between the savages of the southern jungle of Suvan as tribe after tribe held and lost Zinrah. Its original name was Zinarah, named by a tribal chieftain called Rahkma. His descendents held Zinarah before it changed hands thrice more... and was finally lost to Myri the Merciless in her bloody conquest of the jungle. Now called Zinrah, it continued to be a battleground. Twice more it was nearly lost, but remained part of the chieftainess’ growing territory.

When the Valterrian struck, djed storms rained over the jungle as earthquakes, volcanic activity, and other natural disasters struck: the fallout of the warring, raging gods wrecked havoc on Mizahar. Many made for the protective walls of Taloba, and many perished in the long trek to the Myrian capital. For those that remained, Zinrah became a stony tomb as pillars and carved totems fell, buildings caved in and collapsed, and walls crumbled. And while the world healed, and people hid behind their walled-in cities and underground, another type was moving.

The Dhani found Zinrah perfectly adequate in its demolished state. The ruins, now overgrown and covered with vines and plants, made an excellent front for their new nest... and they promptly set to work constructing it, digging down below. As time passed, more and more of their population died off from starvation - there was far too little prey to survive on, and pickings were meager. But as the air cleared and the jungle had grown anew, the Dhani found that others had also made a home in this inhospitable place. To the southeast, a small, pale people with blackened patches all over their body had taken up in the ruins of Syka, and others still further. They found something else: The Myrians had not been mellowed by the cataclysm. Not at all.

One by one, the Dhani spied and prepared as the Myrians slaughtered anyone who wasn’t them - peoples less resourceful and less resilient than the exalted Dhani. The Charoda were chased back to the sea, and six other races were wiped out - every trace of their ever existing removed by the territorial Myrians. By now, with all other distractions taken are of, the savages were able to focus their attention on Zinrah and its serpentine inhabitants. Despite their massacring of the other races and the losses to their numbers, the Myrians still had far greater numbers than the shapeshifters, and the Dhani soon found themselves boxed in on all fronts.

The battle was hard on both sides, but the Dhani were massively outnumbered against an enemy ruled and guided by the goddess of war herself. It was a slaughter. Siku, knowing that her mother was on far better terms with Myri than herself, went to Caiyha. Caiyha, more than familiar with the Myrian way of life, approached Myri on her daughter’s behalf. Eventually, a deal was made, even if only reluctantly so on Myri’s part: the Dhani could have Zinrah. It would be a sanctuary. The Dhani, equally, would stay out of and away from Taloba. But any Dhani caught in the jungle away from their nest was free game. For that reason, the Dhani remember Caiyha for her part in ensuring their survival and home.

The ceasefire meant an immediate cessation of outright warfare, but ever since then, the Dhani knew that caution is needed. Some of them see it as a challenge - since they feel that they are naturally better than the Myrians... what’s a few thousand of them? The ceasefire bought them time and a bit of room to breathe, both severely needed by the beleaguered Dhani. Ever since, left in relative peace, the Dhani have occupied Zinrah, eking out survival and smug in the knowledge that the Myrians rage impotently at the audacity of it all.

Image:Scroll2.png "To be loved is to be fortunate... but to be hated is to achieve distinction."
- Siku


Each Dhani nest is ruled by one Queen - the descendants of the original Queens hand-picked by Siku long ago. She chose them based on their abilities, their cunning, their intellect, and the title of Queen has been passed down along that bloodline ever since. The Queen picks her eventual replacement from her daughters or granddaughters, or even nieces if her own children, for whatever reason, are not up to par... or did not, in fact, survive. Because of the long lifespans of Dhani, a new Queen only happens every hundred-odd years or so - Maskevesshna, the great-grandmother of the current Queen, Snhamtanabis, ruled for 250 years before handing the title over (reluctantly) to her granddaughter, Sshnanhamo.

Sshnanhamo ruled for only a fraction of that - 100 years. Her reign was cut short, quite literally, by the Myrians. Enraged over the loss of three of her children, including her heiress, she had left Zinrah under the cover of darkness and went on a killing spree of the Myrian scouts that surrounded her nest. Twenty-five corpses were taken back to Taloba - including the arrow-ridden, decapitated body of Sshnanhamo. Her head was mounted on a pike and paraded through the Myrian city, and her body fed to the dogs, much to the disgust of the Dhani. While others wanted revenge, Sshnanhamo’s sister, Head Priestess Sshnahiari, urged caution - the provocation into murderous rage had been the downfall of her sister, and that following her example would have been exactly what the Myrians would want. For the time being, they needed a queen. The only eligible one of Sshnanhamo’s blood that still lived was Snhamtanabis... barely a snakeling who had yet to master her Dhani form... or even shift into it. It was decided by the priestesses and lesser Queens who made up the heads of the family units that Sshnahiari would act as Queen-Regent until Snhamtanabis was older. If she was unsuitable... then Sshnahiari would take the throne.

As time went on, Snhamtanabis was groomed for the throne - and proceeded to surprise everyone with just how much she resembled Maskevesshna. By the time she reached young adulthood, it was clear that Tanabis, despite her age, was ready for it. Sshnahiari acceded, as promised, and Tanabis became the new Queen. She has held the throne for 50 years, and shows no signs of letting go of it. Cunning, vicious, and very much in control, Tanabis is widely considered one of Siku’s champions, and is the youngest of the three Queens of the sub-races... not to mention the youngest elevated to that status as far as any Dhani can remember. She encourages religious fervor to their Mother-Goddess, unsurprising because of her adoption and upbringing by her aunt Hiari and her teaching as a priestess. While she has many mates (and no permanent consort), she has yet to produce any children. Tanabis is considered to have absolute power over the Dhani - her word is law - and is at the top of the food chain. All executive decisions are hers alone.

Beneath her are the Queens of the individual families, who deal with minor matters amongst their own bloodlines. Each of these matriarchs is usually at least 250 years old most of them are closer to 300. If these lesser Queens fight and no solutions are reached, then the matter is elevated to Tanabis for her arbitration. The Priesthood of Siku also has a fair bit of power, considering their importance in everyday life. They guide and teach - and are rather involved with the running of Zinrah, considering many Queens are, or were, priestesses. The Head Priestess, Hiarisspanyin, answers directly to her younger cousin, Tanabis.


Zinrah, due to its size, has a very, very small economy. Almost everything that comes into Zinrah must be gained from outside - it is usually traded for in Black Rock or further away, and the trip back is fraught with peril. Luxury goods are a favourite - the Dhani can be very, very vain and enjoy adorning themselves and their living spaces. Aside from food, everything is paid for. The Dhani do not have much use for the bartering system, except perhaps providing materials and a payment to any artisans.


Zinrah uses a combination of Bikka and Miza, whatever they can get. They do not have their own currency. Mizas are generally easier to get a hold of than the Bikka, and therefore see a wider use. The currency conversion (of 3 Gold Mizas to 1 Bikka) applies. Some traders also have a balance of Ashls for use in Black Rock, although these coins never leave the island.


Zinrah’s smuggled-in raw materials are usually passed to artisans, like tailors, to be made into the final goods. These are then sold to others. Dhani are quite dexterous, and while they do not much care for manual labour, they view more artisanal professions (such as tailoring, carving, poisoncrafting, and such) as art, and not so much labour. Professions that require fire are quite rare (nearly non-existent) in Zinrah, because of the climate of the nest.


Zinrah is a nest where survival and repopulation are very, very important, and as such, its inhabitants are rather heavily focused on hunting, eating, and copulation. In each of these, the worship of Siku is intertwined and interwoven. Killing can be homage to Siku. Lengthy, days-long orgies can be a form of worship. If one was comparing the three sub-races of the Dhani, the most likely conclusion would say that the Constrictors and Vipers of Zinrah are, perhaps, the most fervent devotees of the Snake Goddess. Some of the sentient beings they catch are sacrificed in glorious, torturous rituals that involve long prayer sessions as the sacrifice is stretched slowly, limbs outstretched, by the priests and priestesses. By the end of the ritual, the sacrifice has been torn apart. Sometimes they are bled to death after being severely beaten to ‘get the blood flowing’ prior to being stretched out and rent from limb to limb.


One of the watery tunnels.

Zinrah’s architecture is rather simple and rather rough. It is not at all elegant. Most of the ceilings in the caves are somewhat high, allowing for tall Constrictors to avoid bashing their heads. Almost every cavern (and tunnel) has some of the hot springs going through them, and their streambeds are carved into the bottom of these tunnels and caves. Three tunnels, two lesser and one main, open Zinrah up to the surface, but the tunnels are long and twisted, looking to confuse and trap outsiders who stumble into them. The tunnels of Zinrah, connecting the caves, are not very tall - their height is only a maximum of 8 feet, and they are, perhaps, half as wide.

All of these tunnels open up into one big cavern, which is the center of the city, and its hub. The bottom of this center is a deep pool where many of the hot springs pour out into, and this pool sends its steamy vapours upwards. This massive cavern is lined with its own tunnels leading to smaller caves, including the stores (which are linked directly to the main cavern for ease of access), and the residential areas further in the back. There are a number of rather thin rope bridges crossing over and above this main cavern, allowing Dhani to get to other levels. Away from this main cavern are numerous grottos, the so-called steam baths of Zinrah. Much of Zinrah is quite slippery, and the walls are damp. Great piles of glowstones are loaded into carved holders in the walls, causing shadows above and below to dance on the walls and against the vapours that rise from below.

Living quarters are great hollowed out caverns, and most furniture is made of wood or bone if it was not carved from stone itself. Some prefer large, raised beds, some prefer circular ‘nests’ made of stone, but Dhani in general love draping their lengthy selves over things. The individual tastes also depend on the circumstances - some have more money than others, and they may well spend it on comfortable furnishings and luxury items and decorations. They don’t need them, but they like them.


A lot of ‘art’ enjoyed in Zinrah is usually physical. They appreciate finely crafted items, and they enjoy seeing others move. Wrestling is in itself an art - it is what Constrictors do best, and not only is it a way to advertise for prospective mates, it’s about keeping one’s body in prime condition, and that, itself, is art. The Constrictors, like all Dhani, are extremely vain - they are particularly proud of their bodies, and like to show them off through performance art. They can see the beauty of a tangled, writhing mass of bodies when others would see it as little more than a snarled knot. The Dhani can and do enjoy music, and what sort they do like depends on the taste of the individual. Not being as adept at wrestling as their larger brethren the Vipers of Zinrah tend to enjoy performance arts of wrestling.


Dhani cuisine is very simple. It consists of meat, meat, and more meat. Older Dhani like big prey that they have suffocated fresh. Food is simply eaten raw. They do not care for cooking it, or adding seasonings, or anything else. The Dhani cannot digest plants or plant material and this includes fruit. Most of the foods that the hatchlings eat are those that are found down below in Zinrah, like the fish, shrimp, salamanders, and frogs. They will also eat some of the larger grubs and beetles. Some prefer things that have been dead for a little bit, but these select individuals are considered as being rather ‘odd’ in that regard.


The Dhani of Zinrah have really only two ‘holidays’ that they celebrate, and these are for Siku and Caiyha. They do, however, celebrate when one of their number hatches an egg, and when the hatchling ages and masters each form. These celebrations are rather like birthdays, with the families hosting a large party. Dhani celebrate rather simply - it may begin with torture, if there’s something there for them to torture and sacrifice in any number of elaborate ways, wrestling and coiling and entwining (as a precursor to sexual congress), and then eating (usually... depending on when they last ate).

Every season, there are massive rituals dedicated to Siku that are attended by the majority of the nest. Missing one without a very, very serious reason leads to serious social stigma, as it is considered a very blatant display of disrespect to her. These rituals have been attended by the Snake Goddess herself from time to time, as she watches to see just what her children have been up to. These are massive, nest-wide parties.

Caiyha has her own day of respect in the spring. The Dhani understand that nature itself can be cruel: you must kill to live. But the Constrictors and Vipers of Zinrah respect Caiyha also for the fact that she intervened in their war with the Myrians, and coaxed Myri into a truce. This day is usually mid-spring.


The language of Zinrah is Snaketongue, which Dhani use to communicate with each other and with other snakes (including normal, non-Dhani snakes). Snaketongue is an ancient language, which dates back to before the Valterrian, when all Dhani were one, with no sub-races. The language has stayed the same. A Dhani cannot speak Snaketongue in their human shape. They can understand it, but they cannot speak it: their tongue does not work entirely the same way. Snaketongue, to hear it, sounds much like a very wide variety of hissing and guttural rattling in the throat.


Zinrah, strictly speaking, has no formal military. Every Dhani is expected to know how to fight, be it with or without weapons. Wrestling, unarmed combat, and using their most primitive defense (their own serpentine bodies) are skills Dhani learn. Some learn how to fight with weapons - if their enemies are going to use them, after all, it may be worth learning. But they know weapons can break, projectiles can miss, and their best weapons are their own strength and suffocating coils. While the Myrians cannot attack Zinrah directly, they can and do try to cut it off from the outside world. All Dhani are expected to protect the nest however they can, by whatever means necessary.

Locations of interest

Listed below are some of Zinrah's important locations.

The Queen's Lair

The Queen’s Lair is the collection of caves belonging to the current Queen of Zinrah: Snhamtanabis. This suite is her private area - normally, the Queen’s family would also live in or near it, but because Tanabis’ immediately family is dead, so she has the run of the place to herself. It includes her private spring and steam bath, her nest, and other rooms in which she would normally raise a family in.

The Gathering of the Queens

The Gathering of the Queens is where Queen Snhamtanabis convenes a meeting of the Queens if she needs to. This is a large, circular cave near her lair. She sits in the middle of the circle, on a raised pedestal, where she faces the speakers. In a semi-circle in front of her, the other queens gather, each permitted one attendant (which may be her daughter or her heiress, or possibly a sister, depending). This is where Snhamtanabis convenes her court - this is where she hears grievances, where crimes are aired and argued over, and sentencing is passed.

Steam Baths

The steam baths are a series of smaller caves off of the main cavern which allow for plenty of privacy for those who want to bath in them... not that anyone much cares about modesty in Zinrah. These steam baths are perfect for those who want to enjoy an intimate encounter with another.

Siku's Shrine

One of the caverns closest to the surface is the one that serves as Siku’s shrine. In the far back of the cavern, the springbed has been diverted to flow around a massive stone statue in Siku’s Dhani likeness, her arms spread wide, her long body coiled around the altar in front of it. This cave is large enough to contain the entire nest, and is where the rituals to Siku are performed.

The School

Off of the Shrine cave is a smaller cave, hardly much larger than a nook. This is where the priestesses teach the younglings the rudiments of education - reading, writing, history, and the basics of math. Religious education for those who would be priestesses is also carried out here.

The Training Gallery

The training gallery is where young Dhani learn how to fight - wrestling, armed and unarmed combat, in all three forms. They can also learn the basics of hunting, tracking, and moving stealthily here. To go out into the jungle, they need to learn how to get past the enemy scouts... and this is as good a place as any to learn.


Society in Zinrah is matriarchal, and there is a certain sort of gender-worship directed to the females. The females, after all, are the only ones who can lay the eggs. If they cannot repopulate, then the Myrians will have all of Falyndar for themselves... and the thought of the Myrians winning their long, undeclared battle will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of any sensible Dhani. With as many of their numbers that are killed by Myrians, reproduction to keep from dying out is necessary – this is why, generally, the males are the hunter-gatherers, as well as the primary defenders of the nest, while the females become priestesses and artisans. This is the rule, but there are exceptions, and this is not to say that females do not learn how to hunt or never leave the nest. They do.

Cunning, intelligence, and stealth are prized as much as strength and fighting ability in Zinrah. The most successful hunters are those that live, after all, and are able to slip past the guards who keep a close eye on Zinrah, and bring their bounty back. These providers are the Dhani who get the highest accolades and honors. They consider themselves vastly superior to each and every other race in Mizahar, and it shows in their attitudes - Constrictors will also look down on Vipers and Rattlers. After all, it’s really not their fault that they are smaller and weaker, now, is it? In this respect, the Constrictors can be quite nasty to other Dhani and to each other, particularly over perceived weaknesses. The Vipers born and raised in Zinrah are considered a step above those in other nests to the Constrictors of Zinrah, while these Vipers see themselves every bit as skilled and superior. Though outnumbered the Vipers of Zinrah are just as cunning and have carved themselves a piece of Zinrah with their own powerful lesser Queens. While a mother is extremely protective of her hatchlings, she is also highly critical and demanding of their offspring. If they do not learn to survive, they will die. If they are weak or soft in the mind, they will die. If they are useless, there is no point in wasting precious resources on them. Weaklings reflect poorly on the nest that bred them. There is usually at least wary respect between one Dhani to another, but there are intense rivalries that sometimes end with one of the rivals having an interesting accident. Those who would do away with their fellows must be careful... particularly if the intended victim is an otherwise useful contributor to the nest.

The males are expected to do what they are told by the females of their nests, or risk the penalties for failure to do so, which can include shame and the loss of possessions and money and even mating rights. The males are free to court any female they wish, provided, of course, she hasn’t already taken a steady mate. They do not marry, though they may stick together. The Dhani do not much care to be tied down to any one mate, though if they have decided one suits their purposes more than another, they may well stick with them. A Dhani in good physical condition is his own best advertisement - if he isn’t lacking for food and is a consistent provider and fighter, that increases his chances as far as females are concerned. Male Constrictors often have wrestling contests designed to impress the females, while male Vipers can win over females of their subrace by defeating a Constrictor in battle or proving himself in someway superior to a Constrictor male. Successful hunters can brag about their triumphs, and for some of the females, a prospective mate’s sexual stamina goes a long way.

Dhani subraces not born of Zinrah are -somewhat- welcome in the city. They’re rare - usually ambassadors or other Dhani looking for a brief respite from the Myrians. However, the denizens of Zinrah do not care for freeloading outsider Dhani, especially with the scarcity of food. However, common sense dictates that some level of hospitality is extended to other Dhani - they are all children of Siku, even if the others are somewhat inferior... and most Dhani will lend a hand to another against an outsider. Other races... well, they would need to be invited guests of the Dhani of Zinrah or those whom Siku has shown favor. Otherwise, they can expect to be invited to dinner... with themselves as the meal. Zinrah is very difficult for non-Dhani to get around, and it usually takes the assistance of a Dhani to get something like a human to where they want to go.

Crime and Punishment

'Crime' is a rather loose word in Zinrah. If you kill another Dhani, that's one. If you are stealing, and you’re caught at it, that’s another. Maiming, killing, or otherwise harming another’s hatchling is perhaps one of the biggest offenses. Punishment is decided by Queen Snhamtanabis. She hears any and all matters like that in the Gathering of the Queens, and decides on punishments and restitution that will be made. She is not above torturing her own people to make them learn a lesson if that is what it takes to learn it. One young male learned that the hard way, drowning another youngster over an argument. Snhamtanabis had him tortured for the better part of the season, bringing him close to death several times and holding him there at the brink... and he hasn’t been the same since. A mere look from the Queen can send him into staves.

A Dhani killing another is rare - they prefer to settle disputes and arguments through wrestling and unarmed combat. They know that Siku is watching, and they believe that she judges during these intense grappling matches - that she will favour the party in the right... they will win. This is a non-lethal way to settle arguments, and they are usually watched - by the lesser Queens to whose families the Dhani involved in the dispute belong, and sometimes by Queen Snhamtanabis herself.

The Priesthood

Priestesses (and the very rare occasional priest) are responsible for the education (religious and otherwise) of the hatchlings. Older siblings often teach the younger ones how to hunt larger prey outside of Zinrah, but the Priestesses teach the Dhani their past, about Falyndar, and about the Myrians. They offer the basics of education - the common tongue, reading, and writing, sums. They learn about Siku and Caiyha, and the virtues and values that Siku expects to see in her children. The Priestesses lead the sermons; often performing the rituals, including the stretching and rending of the sacrifices. They are also considered the doctors of the Dhani of Zinrah, and are skilled in medicine - often having to patch up wounded Dhani so that they can go out and fight another day. The current Head Priestess is Hiarisspanyin, one of Tanabis’ older cousins, and daughter of the last High Priestess.