The Serpent Emirs
The Virtuous Scaled Lords; Heroic
Usual Location: The Serpent Emirs maintain a number of secret cavern domains beneath the sands, mountains, islands, and oases of Khavayin. They are attuned to fresh water, and their presence may indicate a particularly pure source of water — or vice versa.
Agents: Benevolent serpents, fae, chosen mortals, drakes
Common Knowledge: Many tales speak of benevolent, shapeshifting serpents that come to the aid of the honest and compassionate. Sometimes they elevate virtuous paupers to riches and power. Sometimes they advise the brave, teaching a hero an enemy’s secrets or giving her a long-buried treasure to aid her quest. Wise elders say that the Serpent Emirs wish to refine the mortal races into something finer, as a jeweler cuts a perfect stone. Whatever the truth, in many parts of Khavayin it is deemed exceptionally bad luck to kill a snake.
Characters and the Serpent Emirs: The Serpent Emirs are drawn to heroes renowned for bravery and compassion. They might disguise themselves as patrons and commission “adventures” meant to better the lot of a settlement, paying in wondrous treasures from beneath the earth. Some of the regal serpents are even prone to matchmaking, guiding one champion to another virtuous soul that seems of compatible temperament.
Allies: The Serpent Emirs have a mutual agreement of understanding with the other Overworld meddlers, the Queen of Birds and the Beasts of Stone. At least one Emir visits the Enlightened Caliph’s court in disguise. They offer support to the Sentinels of the Broken Wall, but they are careful to conceal their patronage lest the Sentinels be too proud to accept it.
Enemies: No enemy is more despised than the Brotherhood of Vipers, and the feeling is mutual. The Serpent Emirs hate the Brotherhood for their perversion of reptilian blood. They also regularly oppose the servants of the Ghul Queen, Slumbering King and Ogre Khan, though this is a much more businesslike rivalry.
The True Danger: The Serpent Emirs are at heart creatures of the Overworld, and their friendship is by choice — or perhaps fashion — and not by nature. If sufficiently insulted, or if they become disillusioned with mortal civilization, they may show their fangs.
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