Sri Yantra KundaliniNickname(s): “Lini,”
by close friends and colleagues. Billed as, “Princess Tantra, the Promise from the 8TH Plane.”
Fellow nāgā gave her a nickname equivalent to, “Small Crawler,”
in their own tongue (much to the amazement of her friends) whilst outsiders refer to her conversationally as, “That green lass with the nice ti…erm…tail.”Age:
Primarily a trainer of exotic beasts; she sometimes aids the magicians in their acts as an assistant, and offers unpaid contributions to the dancers in one of the smaller tents. Apart from sharing a ring with potentially deadly carnivores, she works with more docile creatures that members of the audience can pay to ride around on, done to keep them satisfied during set-up intervals.Plane:
8THGender / Sexuality:
Female / bisexual, open to experimentation.Appearance:
From her head to the tip of her tail, Sri Yantra reaches approximately 13 foot in length, and her weight would suggest somebody far from petite (which, funnily enough, is her borderline weight classification when ranked against other specimens of her kind). The tone of her muscles is indicative of regular but in-obsessive training, being athletically inclined but not aggressively developed. Her entire body is covered in sea green scales, with gold-and-black patterns leading down from the back of her neck and shoulders, and light gold scutes that start on her humanoid half’s abdomen and continue down her front to the end of her tail. Decorative and ritualistic markings adorn her shoulders, arms, clawed hands, chest and throat. Her face is freckled with gold. Bundles of interweaving gold lines start just underneath her shiny, red eyes and trail away over her cheeks and meet again at a small gold spot on her chin. She has no visible ears or nose, merely a slightly protruding snout with thin, slit nostrils and a lipless mouth that stretches right across her face, and can distend further so she can swallow prey whole. This maw is lined with two rows of pearly, inward leaning fangs and contains a writhing, purple, forked tongue that seems constantly slick with green, luminescent ooze. Small, white spikes jut out along the lengths of her shoulders and down either side of her spine, providing an added level of defence from any predator that gets too close. Her hair in this form is composed of thick, oily, black masses that are reminiscent of leaves, many of which are tied up in a high ponytail with a golden clasp, while some hang seductively over the left half of her face. Embedded in Sri’s skin are clusters of reflective scales that appear to be gemstones to the naked eye, and much like the sheets of skin her kind shed, they are valuable to other races. She specifically has a red, teardrop-shaped one in the middle of her forehead, flanked by two teal crescents, a teal orb in her belly-button, and two larger, slanted, oval groupings above her breasts, which cycle through many colours depending on the light. These physical flaws are the source of untrue rumours that a nāgā’s advanced senses are the result of having multiple eyes.
When Sri Yantra assumes her human guise, much of her length is lost, leaving her at 6 foot 3 inches in height. Her skin still has a vaguely greenish tint, and the gemstones remain, but she is almost indistinguishable from a human being in all the other proper places, even including rudimentary ears and shorter hair in a page-boy cut. One thing she has difficulty changing is that she has transparent “brille”
caps instead of eyelids, which she hides by donning a set of mirrored wraparound sunglasses. This disguised self is bedecked with a number of silver piercings in her ears, lip and nose, as well as other, less immediately viewable places, and her scaly patterns manifest as tattoos. Her build is somewhat stocky and in both these states she could be considered to be generously endowed, but not to the point of being unrealistic or obscene. She likes to look good, dangerous, and is determined to maintain her sex appeal just as much as she does the excitement that comes with going toe-to-toe with the deadliest animals the planes have to offer.
(NOTE: One of my key influences for Sri Yantra’s human form is Rie Rasmussen’s character
in the 2005 paranormal romance film, “Angel-A,”
directed by Luc Besson, albeit my representation also draws from the British heavy metal and punk scenes during the ‘70s.)
On the stage, Sri Yantra wears clothes that are designed to offer protection, but also appear provocative to the audience by accentuating her figure. These outfits will vary from show-to-show, but some of her recurring articles include long, silken scarves or collars with attached ribbons, studs to compliment her spikes, and a black mask over the lower half of her face to defend her from noxious materials some beasts exude as a threatening gesture. When assisting magicians or dancers she chooses a distinctly Arabian ensemble, wherein she replaces masks with veils. Overall, she arranges her wardrobe to take full advantage of the mesmeric properties of her bodily patterns and if that means leaving her back exposed to some angry hell-beast’s acidic claws, well, that’s the type of risk the punters pay to see. Due to her affinity with water, discussed below, the designs of her suits and sets make recurring references to shells, sea-life and the element itself.
In her disguise, her attire is decidedly less promiscuous. Once again, this differs with dependence on the occasion, but her most common preference is a grey, light brown or dark green vest or tube top, one of her collars or scarves, denim jeans fastened by a chain-link belt or black drainpipe trousers, cowboy boots or New Rocks and a black leather jacket with a snake motif on the back and around one sleeve. She sometimes includes a black leather cap, worn askew, dark lipstick and nail varnish, and rings of silver on her fingers.Being / Species:
Recognised in belief systems spread all across Earth’s easternmost continents and cultures as entities from a divine netherworld, the nāgā (general term, genders are known as nāg and nāgī, though most outside species are not fully aware of this) are a species renowned for their enlightened approach to life. They are mortal, but some have shown they are capable of living for centuries in good health. In fact one widely held belief is that the original progenitors of the species are still alive, but have since retired to an underwater paradise. They are a dominant influence in their homeland of Pātāla, a chain of islands, some of which float above the sea, encircling a dormant volcano Mount Kadru, and their dominion spreads out across several of the nearest landmasses. They pass on their teachings through some of the finest academies and are regarded for their contributions to the arts, sciences and magicks. Naturally, this means they are not immune to bouts of intellectual arrogance or hubris, and have as many detractors as they do supporters, or at least close enough to it to prevent their empire from passive-aggressively swallowing up the rest of the world.
The eternal enemy of nāgākind are the garudi, shape-shifters like themselves who assume the forms of mighty birds of prey. The exact reasons for the disputes are not altogether understood or have been diluted by each race’s respective lore, but garudi feed on the serpents with gusto, and are the only ones who can prompt the nāgā to re-embrace their crueller, cunning roots, as it is the only means to survive against an onslaught of shredding beaks and talons. In times of conflict, they will take up arms, often traditional spears, bows and flexible swords not unlike Earthern urumi, as well as modern cannon and in fewer cases hand-held firearms, which they find distasteful but occassionally necessary evils. A favoured tactic against troops is to disable their wings, leaving them grounded and robbed of their natural advantage, then to swarm the would-be victim. Unfortunately, some smarter garudi generals began sacrificing their own birds just so they could pick off large bands of snakes at once. This contest of strategy saw immeasurable fatalities and even more casualties, and drove the rival kingdoms into the dirt. The bloodshed was on par with Lucifer’s campaign in the ages past itself.
Many nāgā became dissatisfied with the fighting, because endless conflict only acted to impede their path to divinity. Under the leadership of Sri Yantra’s great-grandfather Sumukha, they abandoned their old land and re-established themselves in what then became Pātāla. Without an enemy, the garudi collapsed in on themselves, vanishing almost utterly by the time the snakes achieved the prosperity they hold now.
Like their serpent cousins on the 7TH plane, nāgā periodically shed their skin, which is valued in some circles as a textile material. In the days preceding the shedding itself, their flesh becomes moist and bluish and their eyes cloud over. Behavioural changes also occur, as the nāgā in question becomes unsociable and prone to spending their time away from friends and family. There are sometimes rituals they will perform with the purpose of calming their minds, but there is no escaping the ungodly discomfort of ecdysis. Once the shedding is complete, the new skin is bright green and notably soft and sensitive. This lasts for approximately two days, after which it will return very quickly to its customary hue and firmness. Ecdysis takes place on average every two to three years, with biological variations based on the individual’s metabolism.
They speak with husky, whispering voices and hissing accents.Personality:
First and foremost, Sri Yantra loves her animals, and balks at the cruel methods used by animal tamers in the past. She engages in rough play with them in order to exert her dominance, or just for fun if it suits her, but she would hand in her whip before intentionally hurting one. She had to show violence when she was wandering, if only to protect herself, and it is not an experience she is eager to relive, and God help anybody else she catches mistreating wildlife. Outside the ring, she is a spiritual person, often spending her time alone in meditation. Of course, she’s also a social creature, and believes that indulging one’s senses, just having an all around good time, is productive to walking the path of ascension; getting utterly off her face at concerts, the exploration of art through random scrawling, and engaging in casual sex, among other activities, all contribute towards a journey, though sometimes they involve a little detour on the way. Reaching for higher realms of consciousness is a great way to get to know one’s friends more intimately, and she can always find the time to sit with somebody if they ask.
A quirk of her species is that Sri Yantra has little regard for personal boundaries, and usually has her paws, or a coil or two, around somebody. She does not understand why this behaviour is considered discomforting, or even offensive, to certain people, and can get upset when her affections are rebuffed; the real reason she does this, as anyone who can spot the correlation between nāgā and snakes will tell you, is simply a cold-blood’s natural reaction to sources of heat, but not everyone is so educated or tactful, and the consequential rumours that have been spread regarding Sri Yantra’s openness with substances and bedpartners only worsen things for her. In short, Sri Yantra is naïve about what other people think because of her and her actions. Also attributable to her kind’s nature is her attraction to bodies of water. Whether it be the functioning features that decorate her bedroom, a bath to lounge in, or a beach she can sun herself on, she enjoys being near the stuff, preferably with the temperature turned up.
She dislikes cold places, and strives to avoid them by any means possible.Items:
-Whip: While Sri Yantra prefers to employ her serpentine mesmeric abilities to charm her animals without hurting them, and is quite confident that she can defend herself, she carries a whip, the classical tool of the beast tamer, as a little extra insurance, as it never hurts to be over-cautious. More often than not however, it’s naught more than a cosmetic prop, or an object of misdirection.
-Animal trick props: Though they have little to no use outside the ring, Sri Yantra puts a number of colourful props to use when the fun really begins. Whether it’s a brightly coloured chariot to be pulled by a trio of cerberi, a platform for a skeletal elephant to stand on whilst juggling, or even just cute, whacky costumes for the Russian bears to wear during their dance routine, chances are she’ll scrounge whatever her elaborate ideas need from the circus’ storage coaches.
-Dagger: a curved, jewel-encrusted weapon from her native land, this blade features in many of her costumes as a prop, but if self-defence is required, Sri Yantra is more than capable of using it.Skills:
-Animal taming: Using a blend of eye contact, misdirection, coded phrases and select movements of her long, winding body, Sri Yantra can bend beasts to her will, as well as a few lucky sentients who give her enough attention.
-Physical prowess: Nāgā are naturally very physically strong, particularly breeds that share similarities with Earth’s constrictor snakes, such is the case with Sri Yantra and many of the younger members of her family. While lacking venom of their own, which some forms of nāgā humor indicate to be a disadvantage, their added muscle mass gives them the strength and stamina for prolonged fighting and brawling. Their prized tool is the tail, a multi-faceted limb that allows for, among other things, climbing trees, snaring prey and suffocating victims, though as a surprisingly peaceful race, this last is normally utilised when hunting and rarely sadistically, though cases of rogue nāgā indulging in sadomasochism have been documented. The breed are generally larger than their cousins, so they are not quite as adept at sneaking, thievery or infiltration, but that is not to say they are incapable of any of these, using their slinky bodies to squeeze and manouvre through tight gaps where most life-forms would encounter difficulty.
-Sensory prowess: Being natural-born hunters, the sensory organs have been made to adapt and accommodate. Nāgā do not possess ears, but instead use an ossicle bone to detect the vibrations made by soundwaves. They can pick up soundwaves in the air, but only on very low frequencies, and these are usually dull, muffled or plain gibberish by comparison. They have nostrils, but do not smell the way mammals do, instead relying on the Jacobson’s organ, located on the roof of the oral cavity, which is fed information by the flickering, forked tongue. These senses mean that nāgā can follow the trails left by prey and people over great distances, and are the commonly accepted reason for their lack of respect for personal boundaries as they will usually stand extremely close to or gently paw or rub against those around them.
-Shape-shifting: Like all members of her species, Sri Yantra can metamorphose at will between three distinct guises; fully human, fully serpent, and the point halfway between both, which is her preferred state amongst non-human audiences. All for making the punters feel at ease, you understand.
-Magic: The nāgā race are attuned with the element of water, and while advanced hydrokinetic abilities are better left to older or more intricately trained individuals, Sri Yantra is at least versed in techniques taught from a young age; she can apply some preliminary healing enough to stabilise an injured victim if both they and herself are immersed, detect hidden nearby bodies of it by tasting the air with her forked tongue and lower the resistance around her in order to move through it at higher velocity. It is another of the objects she favours in her personal practises.
-Music: Due to their unique method of hearing, many nāgā found ways to derive both pleasure and discomfort from different kinds of vibrations so, understandably, music is close to them as a culture. The sounds of her homeland were often soft and tame, and this was satisfactory until, like many things in paradise, it got boring. When Sri Yantra was exposed to Earthen concepts of music, she almost immediately found herself caught as if addicted. She plays a number of instruments, though is sorely bad at using some, and favours a slightly battered bass guitar and a keyboard, which she affectionately calls, “Rouser,”
Hailing from an 8TH dimension region known as Pātāla, its architecture not unlike what one would envision in some serene, Oriental heaven, and one of many children from a prominent line of spiritual leaders, Sri Yantra was expected to follow in the same teachings as the rest of her kind that would allow her to achieve a sort of oneness with their concept of the universe. Indeed, for the first few years of her life she did just that, but with the conflict with her people’s eternal enemies, the vicious, avian garudi, long escaped and a thriving empire that spread through diplomacy and mutual benefit rather than hostilities, inner peace got a bit tedious. There seemed no point in attaining that without an outer chaos to stimulate her senses. She was not the only one to hold such a sentiment, but she was the only one who actively spoke about it, much to the chagrin of her parents and their closest viziers. This was only exacerbated when Sri Yantra’s nights were troubled by dreams of unholy alliances, a motley band of travellers that went from existential realm to realm without any regard for what consequences might be wrought in their wake. It made her realise her kind, once a thoughtful and learned society, were growing too complacent in the extended peacetime, even as discord danced in the worlds above and below. Worse still, none of them appeared to realise it. It made her realise one other thing: she was enthralled by these travellers. No, not enthralled. Enchanted. She wanted to hold onto the ideas of her people as much as any of them, but she could not do it their way. If she could somehow find her way to these wanderers in the void, this eccentric circus of thrills and fear, their very path of entropy and madness would show her the way to propel herself to new spiritual heights.
Unfortunately, she had no idea how to find them, but she chafed worse in the city of the nāgā every day, and so opted to set out on a personal pilgrimage, taking only a few meager supplies to keep her going. Still only in her teens, she was in well over her head, and it was not too long before she started to encounter the beasts roaming that deceptively harmless landscape. She naïvely took shelter in the hold of a sailing ship, which was populated by brigands from one of the lower planes who had fallen through one of the portals left behind by the same travellers she sought. After being their prisoner for several days, made to dance for their amusement, she was able to charm her way into the captain’s cabin, where she promptly killed him with a dagger one vizier had hidden amid her belongings and dove out the window to freedom. The pirates, frantic, steered their ship right into the mouth of a sea monster soon after. In the meantime, Sri Yantra made it to the closest landmass, and was forced to slither across a desert on her belly, fending off the wild beasts, learning to spot the warnings so she could better prepare herself, and eventually even discovering how to mimic a few of their postures as a crude form of communication and defence. Several weeks of this torment passed, and then she found civilisation, a place to recuperate, and to gather information. The villagers took her in and nursed her wounds, but they had nothing to tell her. Even their Elder, though aware of what she was talking about, did not know how to predict where she might find it. Exhausted, homesick and now very severely depressed, Sri Yantra fell into a slump and refused to respond to anything for some considerable time.
When she at last decided to surrender and return home, she witnessed some of the villagers being attacked by wild beasts. Acting purely on instinct, she snatched a long switch from the ground and, using it as a makeshift whip, snapped it to get their attention. It was a duel of wills, and with her almost debilitating ennui lost in the heat of the moment, hers prevailed and the animals fled. This is not to say that village was never going to have trouble again, there were plenty of other packs for them to worry about, but it was an astounding day all the same. After the adrenaline wore off, she was in low spirits again, and was getting ready to leave the village when she ran into a man by the clearly fake name of, “Snakecharmer,”
which was probably chosen to see how much it would irritate her. Charmer offered her an opportunity to finally find the circus, so long as she allowed him to mould her mastery over animals. Since the only other alternative was to go home in defeat, Sri Yantra’s hands were tied, so she agreed, but remained wary of this odd, hooded figure. The pair journeyed all across the 8TH plane, and Snakecharmer challenged Sri Yantra to study each wonderful or terrifying new monster they met, to discern their level of understanding and discover what she needed to do to control them.
More than half a decade went by, and Sri Yantra developed from an adolescent, all elbows and awkward gestures, into a fine nāgī and dominator of the animal kingdom. To his credit, Snakecharmer honoured his end of the bargain, but during the night before they would depart for the circus, Sri Yantra gave into the admiration she had been harbouring for so long, and went into his room. He was gone, leaving only his empty hood, his whip and a note thanking her for the years she had dedicated to the craft and wishing her well for the future. She wanted to feel heartbroken, abandoned, but part of her had expected this in a way. Snakecharmer had always kept the barrier between teacher and pupil apparent. Still, it was nice to know he cared at least a bit. Following the instructions left to her by him, she was able to track down the Circus de la Nuit, and convinced the management she would be their best choice to train their beasts. It turned into a tiring affair, as the limits of both her and the animals she had with her were pushed and stressed to impress them. In the end, she succeeded.
Sri Yantra, or, “Lini,”
as she became known, worked to quickly establish herself as a deeply integrated part of the group. Tantric rituals had always been practised by her people, but her proximity to certain members allowed a somewhat more promiscuous part of her personality to flourish, and during a stopover in the 7TH plane, she tasted aural orgasm for the first time in the form of the native music. These factors affected her in a profound way, and she modified her human disguise to emulate the culture attached to them. Her once sheltered little life of study and contemplation seemed so paltry in the wake of this mondo overload. If there was a path to real enlightenment for her, then surely this was it.Themes: “Slither,”
by Velvet Revolver (Contraband, 2004). Were this presented in a visual medium, her appearances would be accompanied by predominantly snake or serpent-themed songs, or by melodies influenced by elegant, Oriental instrumentals but driven by the intense beat of western rock n’ roll, a proud representation of the outer chaos she was searching for.