The zirus are insectoid humanoids with immense mental abilities, accented and added to by a unique hivemind, interconnected with one another through both hive and Queen. Their forms vary as much as there are insect species, giving them great genetic diversity.
Average Lifespan:: 200 years
Average Height:: 5'10
Average Weight:: 200 pounds
Location Found:: Primarily Lizzarkyth, though abroad.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Hives Zirus hives can take a variety of different appearances, and be found in a variety of places. Most common are those that are found underground, in cave systems - constructed of silk, stone, wood, remains, or any other variety of materials, these can be as large or small as the hive needs them to be. Forests and mountains may also have hives located in them, woven in-between trees or stuck to the side of sheer cliffs.
Hives may be of a single type of zirus, or multiple, depending on the reigning Queen and location of the hive.
Hybrids Hybrids between types are common, but unusual in the fact that the child develops as one type or the other, instead of a blend as most hybrids often are. For example, should a butterfly zirus breed with a spider zirus, the children would have the appearance of either a butterfly or a spider - not both. Any zirus may breed with any other to create viable offspring; it is not restricted simply to a Queen.
Hybrids between zirus and their subspecies is much less common, and is looked down upon in general zirus culture. These hybrids are fully capable of showing traits from both parents, an ill omen to any hive. Most of these hybrids are cast out or hunted down and slain.
Diet This is what this species, and any variants, may eat at any given time.
red meat, fruit, succulents, mushrooms.
white meat, nuts, grain.
tubers, fish, shellfish.
Zirus are omnivorous, and opportunistic feeders, eating nearly anything they can hunt, harvest, or scavenge. While they are quite willing to trade if need be, they prefer to be self-sufficient. They will only eat the flesh of any sapient being if provoked into violence against them.
Krastaeja zirus tend to eat mainly fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants. Kuraian zirus tend to be more aggressive hunters, not above devouring the flesh of any demon or hellwolf that happens to fall into their grasp. True zirus tend to be carnivorous hunters, though they tend to retain the same reluctance to prey upon sapient beings as their humanoid cousins. Lastly, the Unzirus are unscrupulous hunters who will prey upon anything that they should find.
Species info credited to Raven, JPG, and Verridith.
Appearance A typical zirus appears as a humanoid insect; bipedal insectoids drawing from any terrestrial and/or aerial arthropod in all the Realms. Common features include a set of ‘main-arms’ and legs alongside the multitude of other insect-like appendages in accordance to whatever species they are based on or the purpose of their existence. All zirus, no matter their type, have segmented bodies, jointed legs, and exoskeletons.
Their body shape, height, and build depend on what type of insect they most resemble, such as a spider, wasp, centipede, and a multitude of others. There is little variation between males and females, save that males may be taller and females more slender, but even this may not be the norm. Individuals within the zirus species can range greatly, depending on their type and role within the hive. These roles can generally be divided into two types: soldier (larger, stronger, with thicker armor) and worker (smaller, more delicate, with thinner armor if any).
Queens are more powerful, larger and stronger variations. They are not born often, and a young Queen will not reach her full stature or potential before she takes over or starts a hive of her own. When this happens, she will metamorphize and grow to tower over her fellows, often sporting mutations that were not there before - such as spikes, wings, frills, horns, etc. The appearances and types of Queens is limitless, though not so much that they resemble unzirus (unless hybridized).
Culture The most common type of zirus is one that is hivebound. These individuals live in hives ruled by a Queen, who work for the hive beneath her reign. They are intricately bound to its survival and mentally tied to its Queen; in return, they are granted with vast magical strength, protection, and purpose.
Each hivebound zirus has a task, a placement within the hive, that they are required to fulfil. Zirus may or may not choose this role themselves, though they will always be limited by their exact typing: either soldier or worker. Soldier zirus take heavy tasks such as building, policing, or fighting, while workers craft art, write, or design. Once a role has been assigned, it is very unusual for a zirus to take another, or quit for any reason. Doing so may result in that zirus being cast from the hive.
Zirus are a relatively peaceful, matriarchal race loyal to their hives and Queens over everything. Many hivebound zirus will only move to war if their Queen demands it, but if she does, they will usually act as she wills - even if it goes against their own moral code. Protection of the hive and Queen is more important than anything in a hivebound zirus' life.
As the Queen has the ability to take over and control zirus bound to her hive, any hivebound to her are not distressed or alarmed whenever this happens; it is expected, and fighting it will bring shock and distaste from other zirus.
Zirus with no hive are often solitary creatures, and may suffer from loneliness and lack of purpose. They stay as far away from known hives, and hivebound zirus, as possible - and thus often become wanderers or adventurers, even mercenaries or tradesmen in far away cities where they will not be found.
Abilities Hivebound zirus are gifted with a repertoire of powerful mental and magical abilities connected to their hivemind. Each hive binds together a vast pool of reiatsu connected and shared between them, and they pull from that to use an array of elemental and non-elemental magics. All zirus, hivebound or not, have incredible mental acuity - they are all capable of telekinesis, mind-reading, and other psionic abilities no matter their role or other skills they may possess.
Zirus that are not bound to a hive will lose all elemental and non-elemental magics unrelated to the mind. However, these zirus are incredible psionics, and are stronger mentally than their hivebound kin. This is thought to be because they are not sharing their strength with the hive; not being drained by its myriad connections. They are also free of their Queen and her mind control, though this will be reestablished should they ever join another hive.
Queens have the ability to take over hivebound zirus in a few different ways. If mentally connected to another zirus through the hivemind, she may take control of their body and see through their eyes; she is also capable of using their magic through them, and speaking with their voice. This can be done individually, in small groups, or even completely hive-wide depending on the circumstance and need for the Queen to take a hive's population over.
When a hivebound zirus is overtaken by their Queen, it is not an unpleasant experience if they do not resist. A Queen is unable to read or hear their thoughts and memories, but will feel any pain or emotions that they do at that time. She may allow them to use some of her own abilities, endowing them with her own magic, though this changes with focus and range: when her focus is charged only on one individual, that zirus will be endowed with abilities as strong as her own - but as her control spreads, it weakens, and any powers shared will be thinned considerably.
When a Queen speaks through them, their voice is often the same tone the Queen herself uses, and their eyes change to whatever color the Queen's may be. Their entire demeanor may change to reflect the Queen's, and if she does not focus, all affected may speak with one voice and move as one.
Death had never been one to let an opportunity to spread misery or suffering go to waste. He had witnessed time and again even some of the bravest of people draw back upon being confronted by lowly insects and arachnids. But, it wasn’t until he came upon a particularly large, black, hairy spider feeding on a bird that he decided how best to put that almost primal fear to use.
He drew a drop of blood from his own flesh, and fed it to the spider, which greedily consumed the dark god’s offering. Then, with his essence within its body, he wrought a great and terrible change upon it. It began to grow, increasing greatly in size until it rivaled the dragons, and its carapace thickened, growing rough as it formed into a thick natural armor. Its long, slender legs thickened to the point where they could easily support its great mass, and its sharp fangs filled with venom even as they grew long and powerful.
Eight gleaming red eyes stared out of its head, and its mind awakened, made exceedingly potent by Death’s influence. Though it had no true magic of its own, its enormous will could bend existing elements to serve its desires, and it could shift objects with its mind alone. Spider that it was, it was capable of spinning a vast web, touch enough to ensnare a dragon.
Pleased with the monstrosity he had created, Death left it to its own devices, knowing it would soon take to terrorizing other creatures simply through its size, appearance, and desire to feed. He gathered more insects and arachnids, and made several more of the zirus, as he named them, though none would ever reach the same size or mental power as the first.
Many millennia later, many of the zirus began to shift their base forms, becoming bipedal to better fit in with humanoids, though many were still looked upon with distrust, as they still retained many of their insect traits. These humanoid zirus are the type most commonly found by other species. However, there were some zirus who refused to change, steadfastly holding to their original forms, despite knowing the difficulties they would face when dealing with other species. These original zirus are now called the True zirus, and are becoming more and more difficult to find.
This Ancient First was a giant silvery-brown spider with many scarlet eyes. She was a regal, cold creature who directed the other zirus with her awesome telepathic powers. She also seemed to endlessly spawn a constant supply of help via a constant stream of insectoid eggs.
Classification: aquatic zirus based on crustaceans. Location: abroad.
As the True zirus shifted their bodies into land-based humanoids, so did the krastaeja as their aquatic counterparts. Taking the oceans, rivers, lakes, and swamps as their homes, their shells became harder, solidified by calcium; their eyes grew accustomed to seeing beneath the waves; and their powers attuned to water, for that was where they had made their homes.
Krastaeja zirus are based on aquatic arthropods; primarily crustaceans. Most can be seen to resemble humanoid crabs, lobsters, shrimp, krill, crayfish and other such creatures, though rarer individuals - such as remipedes and water fleas - may also be spotted. Their colors can range across the board, from completely natural to bright and gaudy, depending on the individual and where they may live. Eye color tends to be darker - most commonly black - but may be any hue. Most are noted for their lack of facial expressions, as their exoskeletons are composed of hard chitin that is not easily manipulated.
These aquatic and semi-aquatic zirus live both underwater and on the shore, depending on what type they are and where they may dwell. All may tolerate being on land for short periods of time, though some are unable to leave the water for very long. Unusually, krastaeja zirus go through a larval stage after hatching, and often several stages of metamorphosis and molting, before they reach adolescence and true adulthood. Some of these larval stages can appear quite frightening to outsiders, and thus krastaeja children are kept far from those that may harm them until they resemble more or less what they will appear to be as adults.
Classification: demonic zirus. Location: Kurai.
A very new subspecies of zirus crafted by Lord Icarath and his predecessors - all Death demons of the Silus Clan - within the last hundred years. Taken from colonies of existing zirus, imported under slavery into Kurai, these hives were subjected to intense magical experimentation before they eventually escaped their captors to adapt themselves within the last quarter century. Though the original intention was to create large, insectoid warriors for the Death Kingdom, Icarath saw the ingenuity of designing four types of zirus: one with the strengths of each of Kurai's demonic Kingdoms.
All Kuraian zirus are gifted with powerful natural defenses, such as very durable exoskeletons, spikes and spines, horns, claws, and other such mutations. Most are far larger than their non-Kuraian kin, though this also depends on what insect type they adhere to. Soft-bodied insects, arachnids, and other arthopods are not found within Kuraian variations. Many Kuraian zirus hives tend to swarm in response to anything disturbing their hives or nests, and prefer to dig many hidden entrance/exit tunnels to their homes well away from demon settlements.
Each Kingdom type has their own unique attributes, both magically and physically. Death zirus are dark - often black - in coloration, and always have extra horns, spikes, and plates; accent colors are always red or of a similar hue. Their eyes are invariably scarlet. Famine zirus come in many base colors, and are almost always of flying types such as mantises, beetles, dragonflies, and other creatures with wings. Their accent colors are consistently of green or similar hues, and their eyes are always emerald. Pestilence zirus are lightest in coloration, and are possessed of long spines, claws, and fangs filled with potent venom. They have yellow, bronze, and gold markings and their eyes are never anything but bright gold. War zirus - considered the rarest of all the types - are of medium coloration with thick plates, great size, and ram horns. They have markings and accent colors in blues,and always have sapphire eyes.
Death zirus have the ability to heal very quickly, move stealthily, and grant invisibility to one another for brief periods of time; their Queens are able to kill with a sarka-like shriek. Famine zirus have the ability to siphon energy from living things, see aura and energy, and command strong elemental magic; their Queens can suck an individual dry within a matter of moments. Pestilence zirus have the most dangerous and potent venom of all, and may spray it up to twenty feet, as well as combine its properties with their own blood; their Queens' venom is doubly as powerful. War zirus have greatly enhanced stamina, immense physical strength, and greater senses; their Queens are much, much larger than any others.
Classification: bestial zirus. Location: rarely abroad.
The True zirus are the zirus that refused to become humanoids. As the original variant of the zirus, they are stronger and more animal-like than their humanoid cousins. While not more aggressive than their kin, they commonly have more strained relations with the surface world. In addition, they are entirely carnivorous, eating whatever meat they can find. Their abilities are more dependent on the type of insect they are based on, though in general these abilities can carry them closer to true magic without the need of a hive than their humanoid cousins. The most common is the spider, though other giant True zirus have been reported.
The abilities of the True zirus are based around the type of insect they most resemble. For example, spider-like zirus are much better at stealth and ambushes than a beetle zirus. Despite their enhanced abilities and great size, due to the fact of their carnivorous nature and tense relations with the surface world, the True zirus have been hunted to near extinction. Large colonies of the Trues are no longer in existence, such as giant ants, termites, and other such things.
Classification: Tormented, intelligent zirus. Location: Anquil, Evylon.