The Naga history is mostly unknown to the rest of the world. However they have made relations to the other nations of Ashan and made settlements on the surface world, even some Human tribes have pledged loyalty to the Eternal Empress and adopted the Naga's culture.
What else is known about the Naga's history, is that several Naga kingdoms were founded, such as Shanriya in the glaciers of the Dragons’ Causeway, or Sayama in the Sahaar Desert. These smaller Naga kingdoms are supposed to be vassals of the Lotus Empire, but time and distance made them grow independent, eventually attracting the ire of their immortal ruler.
Also early in the fifth century, the wizards of the Seven Cities created a hybrid beastmen between man and shark, a breed which the wizards hoped would make unsurpassed naval troops. The members of the Wizard Council were not convinced and decided to trade the military use of the Sharkmen for a political one: they offered the creatures as a gift to the Naga lords. The Naga welcomed the Sharkmen as equals rather than slaves, and offering them honorable positions as guards of their underwater palaces. In return, the Shark Guards follow their masters with unyielding pride and loyalty.
During the Second Eclipse, the Naga came to aid Irina Griffin in her escape and later vendetta against Gerhart of Wolf, becoming a Daimyo to the Eternal Empress. Ironically, Irina aided Gerhart against the Demons but later defeated Gerhart and took his place, becoming the leader of the Wolf Duchy. Years later, Irina gave birth to her child and then returned to the Lotus Empire.
Early in the seventh century, the Eternal Empress intended to reconquer Shanriya, who had become too free-spirited for her tastes. To support her war effort, she sent her best generals across Ashan to gather powerful relics. This was known as the Crusade of the Autumn Wind. One of the Empress’ most trusted advisors, Daimyo Oshiro, got his hands on a Tear of Asha whose power was at a magnitude never seen before. Rather than bringing it back to his mistress, Oshiro decided to harness its power for himself, turning his armies against the Eternal Empress. It is said Oshiro came as close as the gates of Nariya, the Nagas’ underwater capital city, but his rebellion was eventually crushed when the Empress herself came to the battlefield and demonstrated how powerful she truly was.
Oshiro managed to escape the Empress' wrath by making a deal with a kingmaker spirit, a Kirin. He offered his life to the sacred creature, asking it to get his people to safety in exchange. The Kirin accepted, touched by Oshiro’s noble and selfless sacrifice. Thanks to the Kirin’s powers, Oshiro’s people escaped the Empress’ wrath – although they were condemned to a miserable life where the Tear had been found, in the subterranean lakes and rivers hidden underneath the Vantyr mountains. But Oshiro had fooled the Kirin: instead of giving his life as promised, he used the magic of the Tear of Asha to shield himself from the creature, driving it to rage and madness. Since then, Daimyo Oshiro became known as Oshiro the Accursed.
Tuidhana’s people, the Dark Elves, encountered Oshiro and his renegade Nagas in their quest for the very same Tear of Asha. Commander Yrris led the Elves to victory against Oshiro, even killing the enraged Kirin. The surviving Nagas were then forced to recognize the Clanlords as their new masters. Their priestesses received Malassa’s gift, and in accepting the mark of Darkness they also rejected the ways of Shalassa in favour or her destructive aspect, the goddess of the dark depths, the Wrecker. These Naga priestesses became what their people call Medusae.
Oshiro’s rebellion had put an end to the Eternal Empress’ plans to bring Shanriya back into the fold, and the Ice Nagas had used the time to fortify themselves, even making strong alliances with the Free City of Stormcliff and the Dwarves of Ostgerd. After the losses suffered against Oshiro, any new attempt to wage war against Shanriya would be foolish. While she had technically been victorious against Oshiro, the Eternal Empress’ perfect rule was now stained, and her ability to lead was being questioned. In the following decades, the Lotus Empire slowly descended into disunion. More and more Daimyos were becoming insolent, even rebellious, and the Eternal Empress had to begin a great campaign to prove herself worthy of Shalassa’s favour. This has proven her greatest challenge yet, one she hasn’t yet overcome. For now, the Lotus Empire has remained isolated until the disunion ends or if the Eternal Empress actually becomes dethroned.
Society and Culture Edit
The Naga's live under a military feudal structured government called the Lotus Empire, which contains vast underwater realms as well as islands, like the island of Hashima. The supreme ruler of Hashima and all Nagas is the Eternal Empress. Several Daimyos serve under her as lords, advisers and generals.
They are equally at home on land and in the sea, though they move faster in the water. Viewing their time upon Ashan as fleeting and illusory, they strive for perfection in their behavior and skills. The ideals of purity, simplicity, and harmony are reflected in their magic, their warfare, and their life philosophy.
The Naga nation is based on a master-apprentice relationship. All Nagas swear allegiance and promise obedience to their chosen master. Duty and loyalty are expected. The basic goal of a Naga is to achieve self-perfection; they hope to live lives of purity and simplicity, believing that those who do so are reborn as the spirits of the ocean who aid Shalassa in her works. Death is not to be feared, but to be accepted without worry; the hope is that the Naga has raised itself to a level of spiritual perfection such that it will be welcomed by Shalassa.
Perfection is pursued through rigorous physical training and weapons practice, prayer and meditation, and by withstanding great rigours and hardships. The body and mind are soft tissue to be hardened in the crucible of exercise and prayer. When a Naga feels that he or she has surpassed their master, they must defeat him pr her in a formal duel. If successful, they becomes a master themselves, or seeks further training from a superior master. These duels are not necessarily fought with weapons. They could be contests of poetry, ritual meditation, or even cooking.
The highest master in Naga society is the Eternal Empress, who is considered as the living incarnation of Shalassa. Some historians have suggested the Eternal Empress is merely a persona adopted by a succession of rulers – men and women alike – as they must shed their old identity and become the embodiment of perfection once they ascend to the highest position of the Naga society. Of course, that theory has never been proven, and no Naga would ever confirm it. The Eternal Empress is both the military and spiritual head of Naga society. She has led the Nagas since times older than History, and she has never ever been defeated in a duel. The Naga culture being what it is, however, that has never prevented ambitious Naga lords to try.
Many times during its history, the Lotus Empire has known terrible civil wars instigated by one of the Daimyos willing to overthrow the Empress and take her place. Because war among the Nagas obey many rules and victory cannot be less than perfect, Nagas never involve outsiders in their conflicts. They usually cut their political relationships with the other nations, and retreat to their dominions of the Jade Ocean until one of the contestants emerges victorious. Naga traders, explorers, and seekers of truth will still be met outside the borders of the Lotus Empire, but do not expect to make any deal involving the Naga nation as a whole.
Civil wars in the Lotus Empire are usually followed by a period of expansion and interactions with the rest of the world, as if to make up for the times of isolation. These periods are known as Diasporas, and are usually times of evolution, progress and change within Naga society. For instance, the great weapon smith Hagane Goro studied the art of forging Starsilver among the Elves of Irollan during the first great Diaspora. But Diasporas are also times of conquest and military aggressiveness.
The Naga's respect those who adhere to their code and show worship to Shalassa, such as the human tribes who allied with the Empress, some becoming Daimyo's. They also treat the Sharkmen as equals instead of slaves, like the wizards originally treated them.
Coral Priestesses serve as healers and diplomats within Naga society. They come from the Coral Nagas, the smallest of the three Naga species who dwell in the lagoons and on the shores of the Jade Sea islands. Spring spirits are often summoned by the Naga priesthood to participate in one of their rites of cleansing, they also guard Naga warriors on the field of battle by melding with these allies and providing them with spiritual and magical protection.
The fabled Kirin have a unique place among the Naga, as they are powerful Water Spirits linked to the celestial waters in all their aspects (rain, hail, clouds, fog, mist…), the Kirin is known in the Naga culture as the bringer of wisdom and chooser of lords. It is said that a warlord who brings a Kirin to battle is blessed by Shalassa and the whole army benefits from the spirit's heavenly aura. However, it is also said that one who rides the Kirin may travel faster than the wind, but at the cost of their own life. Those who sacrificed themselves to the Kirin are remembered with honor but it is considered pure treachery to fool a Kirin, as doing so drives them to madness.
Nagas are masters of the “quiet” magic sphere of Water, that renders the body and the mind as malleable as a liquid. They place much store in wisdom and in study. For this reason, their magic tends to work overtime and build gradually to a smashing crescendo. Attack spells may echo the effects of tidal waves or hurricanes; blessings permit the troops to attack in unstoppable waves; curses leave the enemy slowed and off balanced.
Since the Naga's tend to be isolated from the surface world and as they are an underwater civilization, their relationships with the other nations of Ashan are at a minimum at best.
The Lotus Empire, however, maintains friendly trade relations with the Free Cities, the Seven Cities, the Dwarves and the Holy Empire in most cases.
The one nation they probably have a hostile relation too are the Dark Elves of Ygg-Chall. The Dark Elves conquered those that followed Oshiro and forced them to accept the Clan Lords as their new leaders. This lead to the corruption of the coral priestesses into the Medusae. In turn, they have have abandoned Shalassa in favor of Malassa.
Heroes V plansEdit
The Nagas were, at one stage, planned to appear in the Academy, but were replaced by Rakshasas when it was decided to develop them as a focal race. Concept art for their prospective town, the Sanctuary, exists, and several unused models were left over in the data files, but they are not present in the game itself. They are also portrayed in concept art appearing in Heroes of Might and Magic Kingdoms. They appear as a playable race in Might and Magic: Heroes VI.