The Zun are a race of reptilian humanoids. They stand between 5' and 5'6" and have silver-white scales and claws. They have a high intelligence and are known for their skill and closeness with magic.

Zun Literature

Zun literature has always been weak on poetry and not of the strongest on prose. They are at their best with their histories and scientific and magical treatises, and they have always been the best mathematicians. The Zun dearth of poetic imagination has always been the strongest evidence for their rather ridiculous legend of the creation, as opposed to the TTambroc (for instance), who have made up no less than seventy-two distinct creation stories for fun, and don't believe any of them dogmatically.


The Zun's old orthodox religion is monotheistic; they believe that the one God made the whole material universe as a work of art. They think it the highest endeavor to study and explain the interrelation of the parts of this work of art.

Creation myth [of Rectek]

The Zun priests tell the following story every year on their New Year's Day:

Immeasurably long ago there was a clan of angels who had been away from the center of Heaven for awhile, investigating some peculiar mathematical formations God had made to surprise them. When they returned, God showed them His newest creation.

"What is that stuff?" asked one, trying not to let his disgust show.
"I call it 'matter'," God said.
"Oh. What are those things moving about amongst it?" inquired another.
"Those are 'animals'. They go about absorbing 'plants' and other 'animals', each motivated by various concerns of his own. Individual 'animals' wear out eventually, and making new 'animals' is a rather complicated procedure; I did it by making each 'animal' in two different models, 'male' and 'female', and letting the interactions among them produce new 'animals' when the conditions are right. It will take awhile to explain. The actions of all the individual 'animals' produces a delightful overall pattern. Sit and watch it a spell. What do you think of it?"

"It looks rather coarse and inelegant in spots, Sir, if you want my opinion. Those numerical series you made three aeons ago were rather smoother and more logical."

"These 'animals' have their logic, if you will see it," God replied.
"Oh. Well, we don't see it, Sir."
"Perhaps I can give you a closer-up view," He answered, and forthwith placed those angels in bodies of animals, four male and four female Zun.

When those Zun had had a few minutes to adjust to their abruptly limited senses, and realized with horror that there seemed to be only three dimensions in this creation, they heard a voice from the sky.

"Here, now you can see my new creation in a new light. Right now you are the only souls in this matter-world, but I will be giving souls to some other animals shortly. You will meet them sometime later. I will make six more besides you, to make seven, which was the first number I thought of and I have always been partial to it."

"Sir! You can't strand us here like this!"
"You'll get used to it, and your children will positively enjoy it. You'll find out about them later too. Go 'long now, I'll keep an eye on you. I'll give you a way out too, but by the time you are about to leave you won't want to."

Later those Zun realized that matter and life were really a lot more fun than pure mathematics, and weren't totally illogical. They explored about some, and made a place in the forest to live safe from the dangerous animals. They discovered a fascinating point of interaction between matter and mathematics, and decided to call it 'magic'.

They found some of the other races that had been given souls, and these had found the others. The Slithu they benevolently took under their care and gave them work to do, which the Slithu, being rather deficient in intellect, did not appreciate properly. They enjoyed the company of the Glaethryn, but found them tiresome for long periods, as they were always wanting to talk about things they had found in the jungles and mountains. They found the 'TTambroc' to be even worse, not even having proper respect for the Zun's accomplishments in civilization, preferring to gad about hunting those nasty 'reptiles' of the forests. The Krinth aroused their envy when the Zun, who remembered the delights of an infinite number of dimensions, learned that the Krinth could maneuver in four -- four looked so sweet now, when they had been confined to three for so long! The Pliv were interesting, though obviously inferior, and respected the Zun's magic, though they wasted a lot of time fighting with the Krinth and neither race ever amounted to much.

When the Yith were discovered, some years after all eight of the ancestral Zun had died, some excitable explorers announced that they had found the seventh race. However, more level-headed Zun announced that God would not have wasted souls on creatures with so little intelligence. We still search for the seventh race, believing that God knows how to count and would not lie to our ancestors.

[End of the Zun priests' tale.]

16.4 Social System

The Zun are divided into three groups: Holy Zun, Master Mages, Merchants & Traders. The Holy Zun are those believed to be most like their angelic ancestors. They are the priests and high rulers. Master Mages are those who have devoted their whole life to the study & betterment of magic. They are slightly lower than the Holy Zun. The Merchants & Traders are the bottom of the pole, but still quite high in comparison with the aliens. There are three substrata of importance: local officials, shop owners, and wandering traders. This is a very strict caste system which is possible, but difficult, to break out of. {how possible? save the life of a holy Zun, marry someone of higher caste, make a great scientific discovery, go on a quest, what?}

When a M&T meets a Holy Zun, he must bow twice and make a hand motion which signifies his acknowledgment of their lineage. When an M&T meets a Master Mage, he must bow once and chant a small song of thanks that the mages have not deserted them as they deserve. When a wandering trader meets a government official, he must make a slight bow and offer greetings. When a wandering trader meets a shopkeeper, he must offer greetings. All this is sufficiently inconvenient that people of different castes try to avoid meeting one another too casually; strategies include living in different parts of cities, not going to the same parties, and not using the same sanitary facilities.

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