“...these Zagresi, terrible zealots of a bygone age, are so out of place in modernity...”
- - One Thousand Years Gone By: A Treatise on This Past Millenium by Roshir, c. 2,098 UE
Zagresi are a species of quadrupedal synapsids native to the planet Zagre. Zagresi are a noble race, with many forcing themselves to conform to a set of morals. Much of the Zagresi population is religious, with the church and the state being one and the same. As a noble race, Zagresi have an intricate hierarchy based on honor, with the King at the top and those with no morals at the bottom. However, this strict moral code was tested during the Zagresi Wars, and since then fewer and fewer Zagresi recognize this hierarchy as being significant.
Anatomy and PhysiologyEdit
Since they are carnivorous synapsids, Zagresi have very strong jaw muscles, allowing them to very easily cut through flesh and small bones with their teeth. Their jaws are filled with sharp, serrated teeth, and in the back are a few pairs of crushing molars. Zagresi have a palate that separates their oral cavity from their nasal cavity, allowing them to both breathe and eat. Zagresi have highly sensitive noses, mostly because vision is not as important in a dark environment. Their sensitive noses are large in order to heat up the air that they breathe. Zagresi have four eyes, two on each side of the head, that give the Zagresi binocular vision. This helps them when hunting prey. Another distinctive adaptation used by the Zagresi is the ability to see in infrared. This adaptation developed to help the Zagresi better track warm-blooded organisms on the cool and dark world of Zagre. Zagresi have long necks that were once used to look above the tall grass-like plants in many Zagrean environments. These necks are only possible with a powerful heart to pump blood up, and as a result, Zagresi have a large heart and large lungs to fuel the heart. These internal organs are in turn protected by thick ribs, which is surrounded by an insulating layer of fat. The necks of the Zagresi also cause a severe balance problems, and so Zagresi have four evenly-spaced legs to keep the body upright and maintain balance. One of the last adaptations that Zagresi have are two long arms with three dexterous fingers. Zagresi are blackish-gray when seen under visible light, allowing them to absorb lots of heat. This color scheme is seen in both Zagresi skin and the other lifeforms on Zagre, making visible light almost useless on Zagre. However, under infrared light, every organism displays a different pattern, allowing those organisms that see in infrared to distinguish predator from prey from flora.
Early HistoryEditThe Zagresi species evolved 290,000 years ago on the cool world of Zagre. Their society was primarily nomadic tribes that would go around the land hunting anything they could find. Eventually, some nomadic tribes began to herd animals, and with the discovery of agriculture, Zagresi could finally settle down to feed their livestock. Now that civiliaztion had developed, much of the Zagresi population concentrated in the areas around the equator, where warmer temperatures led to longer growing seasons. Many cities develpoed during this time, each with their own god-king, and wars soon erupted between the neighboring states. As such, a few strategically located and resoure-rich city-states conquered their neighbors to become Zagre's first full-fledged empires. These empires continued to amass land, resources, and wealth until they could fund large-scale naval crews to expolre the planet's coasts, ultimately leading to the discovery of untouched continents. Many empires quickly colonized the lands, but while some empires' efforts were concentrated afar, others chose to focus on their home continent. Imperialist ideals spread across the non-colonial powers and they quickly alligned to conquer their wealthier neighbors. This massive war became known as the Great Colonial War, and it took place in 503 BUE. The non-colonial powers were eventually defeated, but tensions with the colonies led to rebellions and the formation of dozens of new countries. A tense relationship existed between these independent states and the older monarchical powers, and this tension ultimately resulted in the Great Unification War, where the Azesan Empire conquered over seventy percent of all land on Zagre. With such a large variety of resources under the banner of the Azesan Empire, scientific development increased tenfold, with the Azesan Empire launching its first spaceship in 145 BUE.
With the technology of spaceflight under Zagresi control, the Azesan Empire expanded into many planets in nearby systems, widening the technological gap between themselves and the other Zagresi empires. After rougly a century of planetary colonization, the Azesan Empire returned to conquer the few other empires that remained on Zagre. These small empires were easily swallowed, with the Zianori Empire lasting the longest against the Azesans. However, the Zianori were ultimately conquered, and the now unified Zagresi people formed the Great Zagresi Empire. During the following five centuries, things were calm in the Zagresi Empire, with little activity relating to foreign nations occuring. Then, in 594 UE, the Zagresi Empire established formal communications with the Alliance of Yuapur and the Yshaena Dominion. Trade relations with the two empires were mainly positive, and the Zagresi Empire prospered greatly with the influx of resources and wealth, allowing them to promote military growth and found more colonies. However, these good times were not to last. In the late 900's UE, a small economic recession hit the Zagresi Empire, mostly because of the sudden cease of trade with the Beyur-run Alliance of Yuapur. Desperate for more wealth, the Zagresi sent out dozens of exploratory spaceships to find other empires to trade with. This exploration led to the Empire's discovery of the Stellar Union in 1,673 UE, and trade agreements were established.However, this relationship quickly soured when more zealous Kings were crowned in the mid-1900's UE, and anti-Union propaganda appeared in the Zagresi Empire. This led to a religious awakening in the Zagresi Empire, and the now-religious Zagresi found the Stellar Union guilty of defying Zobudo's Law, or the basic tenets of the Zagresi religion. Rogue zealots soon took action, bombing and killing for their god. While the Zagresi Empire did not support these attacks, citizens of the Stellar Union began to riot and protest the Zagresi presence in colonies on the Stellar Union's border. The Union's government did not react until a bomb detonated near the Embassy Spire on Iyescene, and the Stellar Union passed the Zagresi Exclusion Act. Angered, the Zagresi government began a massive military buildup, in case the Stellar Union decided to take things further. This military buildup was equalled by the Stellar Union, ushering in the twenty-five year long Zagresi-Union Cold War. Then, in 2008 UE, a display of anti-Zagresi propaganda led to a formal declaration of war, and the official beginning of the Zagresi Wars. The war was intense, with billions of casualties, and was forced into a stalemate by 2010 UE. By 2013 UE, the Zagresi had begun to turn thing around in their favor, and they were slowly advancing on Iyescene, but a surprise attack on Zagre halted this advance. The Zagresi military put up a good fight, but was ultimately rendered obsolete. Then, one of the Stellar Union's ships bombed Zagre with antimatter missiles, sterilizing a large portion of the planet. The civilian and military population not on the planet watched in horror, and were ultimately commanded to leave the system. Once they fled the system, a broadcast message alerted all surviving colonies that Zagre was defeated, and they were commanded to abandon their homes and join the others on a new world. However, some refused, instead remaining on their world as isolated planet-nations. The Zagresi that did flee their homes eventually landed on a far away planet which was christened Zagrenisi, meaning "New Zagre" in Orinisi. There, the remnants of the Zagresi Empire formed the Zagresi Cooperative, and remained relatively hidden from the Stellar Union, slowly rebuilding their empire.
The Zagresi religion is followed by the majority of the Zagresi population, with a reported sixty-three percent of all Zagresi attending the religious ceremonies. The religion is monotheistic, and followers worship the only god, Zobudo, intensely. Large temples and shrines are built in the honor of Zobudo, and devout followers worship at these locations one per week. These temples are decorated with bright murals depicting Zobudo's divine nature. The head of this religion is officially the Zagresi King, and he serves as the physical body of Zobudo. In the biggest religious ceremonies, the Zagresi King will head the main prayer and worship, but at other times minor priests will perform these duties. Oftentimes, Zobudo's name is used to invoke a war, but these wars are rare and only done when a major sin has been committed by the Zagresi's enemies.
Architecture and City LayoutEdit
Zagresi architecture is ornate and detailed, with more important buildings sporting fancier carvings and patterns. Buildings are usually constructed out of stone, metal, and glass. Skyscrapers are rare, but are more abundant in the capital city on Zagrenisi. Famous buildings like the Royal Palace and Royal Library are built almost strictly out of stone, and have awesome swirls, shapes, and images carved into the walls' recessions. Columns are often used to support these stone buildings, and are also carved with lines and shapes. Zagresi cities are layed out on a hexagonal grid, with large government buildings or universities at the centers. Spaceports tend to reside on the outskirts, near industrial and lower-class residential areas. Higher-class residential areas and commercial areas are located near the centers of cities, and follow a main commercial "spine" that extends outward from the city center.
Fashion and CuisineEdit
In Zagresi culture, many of the fashion trends are set by celebrities and powerful individuals. Currently, large flowing robes and togas are in style. They are often dull and dark in color, allowing them to absorb more heat and radiate it back out for other Zagresi to see. Colors are not important in Zagresi attire, as infrared light is not very much impacted by the visible light spectrum. However, different "shades" of infrared light are picked up by Zagresi eyes, and these shades are often incorporated into the attire, with the brightest shades being associated with a hogher social class.
Cuisines often lack an effort to be appealing. Most meals consist of simple cuts of meat drizzled in various types of sauce and spice. Sauces and spices are where most Zagresi flavors differ, as the sauces can be sweet, salty, spicy, tangy, etc. Spices and sauces are usually harvested from plants, but overconsumption of these by Zagresi has been known to cause severe stomach pain and excessive vomiting. Nevertheless, these sauces and spices are enjoyed greatly by the upper- and middle-class citizens. Beverages are also another accent to Zagresi cuisine, with fruit-based drinks popular in the upper-class.
Orinisi is the native Zagresi language, and was first popularized as the Zagresi lingua franca by the Azesan Empire of the first millenium BUE. The language has many vowels and sounds, with each one represented by a different symbol. Various diphtongs exist in Orinisi, and are written with conjoined vowel symbols. Consonants can also form conjoined sounds, with "ch" and "sh" being used. Dialects are very common in Orinisi, as each colony maitains a large amount of linguistic independence and liberty when pronouncing letters like Z, U, A, and G. More often then not, Zs followed by Os are pronounced like "zh" instead of "z".
Ceremonies are a very important part of Zagresi culture. Historically, a royal marriage, a declaration of war, and the crowning of a King were all celebrated by the populace with feasts, parades, parties, and gift giving. Birthdays are another popular celebration, with the biggest parties occurring every five years until death. In modern times, these celebrations are less grandiose, but the crowning of a King is still celebrated. Religious celebrations, however, have not lost their grand structure, and are celebrated with extensive prayer and occasional sacrifices to their god.