The ansu, known to Zarcosian biologists as Homo shorragensis
, are clearly related to humans, but separated from them at some unknown date. How the ansu even got to their small, isolated continent in the middle of the Vast Ocean is currently also unknown. What are known are their major differences from H. sapiens
. First, and considered most important by the ansu themselves, is something called "truth-sight"+ntl. žakírðúyen
. This describes the incredible perception of the ansu for detecting lies, insincerity, and other falsehoods with little-to-no error, including in other species. The ansu claim this ability is not magical in nature, and preliminary tests done by Toletskan researchers+Koronov et al., 3:774
corroborates this. The ansu also universally have red eyes. It is not yet known to science if this causes the truth-sight, is a secondary effect of it, or is unrelated.
Second is the skin colour of ansu. It is very variable and mutable, ranging from very pale to very dark within the same colour range as humans. A single ansu can change from one end of the spectrum to the other within a week or two. Furthermore, what triggers this change is the reverse of humans and all other known mammals - ansu skin becomes paler in the sun and darker without. Pale ansu skin actually reflects light and heat to a degree, while dark ansu skin better absorbs it. In this way, the ansu are well adapted for environments of almost any temperature on the surface of Maikros. They are known to be able to live comfortably in the harsh, almost lifeless western deserts of their continent as long as they have access to water.
Above: the Octagram of Shorrag.
A History of Shorrag
It is currently the 890th year of Truth and Freedom in the "Kingdom" of Shorrag, as the country is styled by the humans. But Shorrag is nowhere near being a kingdom - it is a theocracy ruled by the Eight Archpriests, one for each of the primary Shorragite gods that constitute Zhal's Family. The ninth, forbidden god, Ashkozen - Zhal's shadow brother - is the god of lies, darkness, and... lizards. And it was 890 years ago that the ansu revolted en masse and freed themselves from slavery at the hands of a reptilian people only known to them today as the Lizards.+ntl. Jrĥna
According to the histories, the ansu were enslaved for thousands of years - some claim even tens of thousands - by these Lizards, who were the great and powerful disciples of Ashkozen, who took great delight in having stolen the ansu from the watchful gaze of Zhal's Family.
The Lizards primarily lived in the Badlands - the western desert encircled by mountains - but they also had a presence in the east, where agriculture could be practiced. The Lizards themselves were mostly carnivores, but their omnivorous slaves needed more than just meat - or rather, something other than meat, as the Lizards weren't very willing to share. It was from the agricultural east where the revolt began, and where it was made strong. The ansu marched west through the passes of the Neshechon Mountains and freed the rest of their kin. This left the Lizards disorganized, as they were now without an agricultural base, and the revolt destroyed many of their powerful devices. With their freedom won, the ansu returned east and formed various tribes. Some remained in the uplands and practiced agriculture. Some went to the coasts to fish. Yet others went to the savannah to herd and hunt. And the last retreated into the southern jungles for privacy and protection. For three centuries this was the state of things, but then, in the year 314, there were stirrings from the Badlands. Though there had been occasional raids across the Neshechons both ways, the Lizards were getting more organized again, and bringing larger and larger parties across the mountains. This forced the eastern ansu to themselves organize, and bring great hosts into the desert to end the Lizard threat once and for all. Not a one lives today, though some heretical, superstitious legends claim otherwise. However, as a final, desperate, spiteful tactic on the part of the Lizards, they cast a great spell, forming a dome over the whole land that was impenetrable to all but light, air, and water. The Great Curse Barrier.
From the ansu's organization and forming of hierarchies arose Shorrag, which has remained strong for 576 years, though it is perhaps not as strong as its people think it is, in comparison to the strange people called humans who first visited Shorrag upon large boats ten years ago after the Great Curse Barrier disappeared when its magic finally ran its course.