Saira had been born three years after the war between the Burmese and the Company had come to an end. The economic sanctions had left the people crippled in debt and in spirit, the war had killed most of the younger men. Saira was the fifth to hatch from the Karim's clutch that year, reinforcing to her parents that they had too many mouths to feed to consider being anything but peaceful and law abiding.
Others did not feel the same. Saira was only 23, still in most ways a child when war broke out again between the Company and the Burmese. That war lasted less than a year, and when it ended with no treaty, it was as though the entire countryside was holding its breath for the next war. It came in 1885 and with it, the end of the independence of Burma.
The Karim family had not escaped the war, Saira had only her mother left when the Company finally seized full control over their home. Her mother was elderly, nearly 225, and as she was finally considered an adult, Saira was left in charge of the two of them. She decided that it would be better to leave the place with such horrible memories behind them, and go east.
The Company made that easy. Passage on a ship could be booked if only for enough coin. Saira never regretted doing what she had to do to earn the money for the booking, though she never speaks of it. She had thought to settle them in France. They had considered moving to French Indo-China for a time before the final war. It seemed like the right thing to do, especially to escape the Company's rule. However once they reached France, there were rumors of a different place...a place with people more like them. Emeraude. They had a fairy King and Queen...certainly such a place would be better than trying to hide among humans.
Emeraude, was at first, like a dream. Saira took care of her mother, selling potions and poisons and medicines from a tiny shop they opened. They had provided such services in Burma, the Karim's were known to be able to brew cures for almost any ailment. In the right dilutions and controlled with the right amount of anti-venom, Naga poison could be quite beneficial to the vain. In her spare time, she worked as an apprentice alongside a witch, and in doing so she learned how to work with all sorts of ingredients she had never had access to before.
The war in Lairea came as quite the shock to Saira, who thanked the gods daily that her mother had passed before she could see another war. Saira joined the flood of refugees when Emeraude was rendered uninhabitable. She moved through to the common grounds where she chose to stay and reopen her shop.
Nowadays Saira operates a stand in the market, making medicines for the sick and elderly, though occasionally she will make something to cater to the vain and wealthy. She feels as though she's holding her breath again, waiting to see what will come next. After all, things can stay the same, but it's more likely that they will change.
Mistakenly identified as a chimera class shifter, Naga are actually a cousin species of mermaids that long ago lost their ability to breathe underwater. They can however hold their breath for several hours, so it's not uncommon for Naga to have adopted a half-terrestrial and half-aquatic lifestyle. All Naga are poisonous, like mermaids they can grow their nails into sharp claws at will, the index finger of the right hand is the one that delivers venom. Naga will typically wear jewelry, most notably a ring casing of sorts over their right index finger. The only known antidote is made my the Naga from their own venom, and is typically carried in a vial with them when they leave their homes in case of accidental poisoning.
Apart from their poison, Naga are generally defenseless. They have a very quick metabolism and must eat in large quantities to keep themselves from starving or being too sluggish to get anywhere. In cooler climates, the amount of food needed to keep them awake and active becomes nearly impossible to provide, so they will hibernate for at least three months out of the year once outside of the Tropics. Most Naga live only about 250 years or so and until they reach about 50, give or take a couple years depending on mental maturity, they are considered juveniles by other Naga.
Naga have the upper-half of a human and the lower-half of a snake. They can turn human, much like mermaids can. As many Naga keep snakes in their homes, this has led to the confusion that those snakes are simply Naga in their snake form. However they do not have a snake form, which means they are not chimera class shifters. They are generally lithe, and their movements are controlled and graceful.
Generally Naga are quite calm and easy going. They have a concentrated culture and though they refer to their species as Naga; females are generally referred to as Nagi while males are referred to as Naga. They can be easily entranced by rhythmic movement, like the movement of a snake charmer's pipe, and are very susceptible to hypnosis.