Carved into the vast rock formations and shoals that lurk beneath the waves,are the dwellings of the Shura. These highly aggressive beings posses the muscular upper bodies of humans and the streamlined bottom half of a shark and have both gills and lungs,allowing them to study the ships that sail on the ocean surface above.
There are many different clans and tribes of Shura,each with their own High Chief and war leaders. Screaming praises to the savage Shark Spirit,they make fierce war upon one another for control of the undersea amethysts deposits that are scattered in the Shura lands. These deposits are rather scarce and the Shura tribe that controls the greatest number of them is easily the most powerful. Amethyst is important to the Shura for many reasons,foremost among them being the heavy dependance that their tribal Shamans have on them. Shamans who enjoy a large stockpile of amethysts,are able to cast awesome summoning spells that can compel even the dread Sea Spiders and Sirens to obey them. In battles between the most powerful tribes,it is not uncommon to see magic controlled Sea Spiders fight on behalf of their Shura masters,unable to refuse the demands imposed on them. Not that the Shura really need them. Shura berserkers are able to channel the unrelenting hunger of the Shark Spirit through heavy use of the sacred weed. When whipped into this frenzy,they rip open the bellies of their foes with their barbed bone tridents and devour the entrails that spill open. The more entrails of a foe that a Shura warrior devours,the stronger he is believed to become.
Shura society is utterly brutal and ruthless,as befitting such a merciless folk. Physical strength and the ability to fend for one's self is a quality revered above all others,as all young male Shura learn from the day they are first brought into the savage world of their people. Tough and determined to survive from the very start,the young males are born with the inherent hunting instincts of their kind. For two months,the young male juveniles have these instincts honed to a razor keen edge under the baleful gaze of experienced hunters of the tribe. Then,upon completing this phase of their lives,they are expelled from the domain of the tribe to prove their worth in the dangerous waters that lie beyond. There for a period of four months,they must fend for themselves against the dangerous predators that swarm the seas of Acqua,as well as warriors of the other Shura tribes that will have no compunction against slaying and devouring them should they find these younglings hunting in hunting grounds claimed by them. Only the strongest and most resourceful of braves survive this brutal rite of passage.
Upon returning to the tribe once their term of exile is over,these victorious survivors are now permitted the right to impregnate the females during the great breeding orgy that takes place in the middle of the month. During this frenzied time of copulation,each male will attempt to plant his seed in as may females as possible,all to aware that most of his children,will in all likelihood,not survive the brutal period of exile...
The Shura are known by many islanders of Acqua as the Old Ones. It is widely held,that in an age now lost forever in the mists of time,the Shura were once air breathing beings that dwelled on the islands until the coming of the children of Acqua. According to the old tales,the Shura had almost wiped each other out when the sons of Acqua arrived on their shores. There the latter made a wager with the three warring Kings of the Shura. What the wager was,none can recall. But what they do know, is that had the sons of Acqua lost it,they would have had to leave the islands,never to return. Fortunately for humanity,the sons of Acqua won and it was the Shura that had to leave. So the islander version goes.
The Shura resent this as a foul lie. They tell a different story to those willing to hear it. The Shura people were driven into the sea they say,by the ruthless invaders with their burning weapons of iron. This old wrong still burns in their hearts,with many of their chiefs and Shamans woving to work towards the day the vile humans are driven off the islands that once belonged to them.
Idle talk perhaps,for a people terrified of iron weapons and tools. But the Shura are sly and willy foes. They have shown themselves to be more than an idle threat. Many smaller ships of the mighty De Madden company have found themselves shattered upon treacherous shoals,after following the beacon from what they believe to be a light house showing them the safest way out of dangerous waters,unaware that these lights are actually cunning spells cast by Shamans of the Shura to lead them to their death. The crews of the ships are quickly devoured,while a big part of the amethyst is given to the Shaman,with the rest going to the chief and his bravest warriors. The tribes of the Golden Shore call the deadly lights of the Shura 'Demon Lights.'' A Sea Wizard or Witch can recognize the magical aura emanating from them,and will order the captain to ignore them.
But it seems that the Shura are no longer content with preying on their hated foes at sea. Unknown to the people of Acqua,after much argument and debate,some of the strongest tribes of the Shura have formed a pact to rid the islands of the human plague. Agents have been sent out to secure the support of ambitious Krakens that aspire to attain the power of the fabled Big Red. The Shura have promised to deliver to them great amounts of the precious amethyst in return for their assaults on the great docks and ports of the humans. Quite a few have already chosen to join the Shura cause. The time may come when the people of Acqua find themselves cowering and cringing before the wrath of the Shura.