GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ UF Author Niki McAlister: What the heck is a naga, anyway? + excerpt | I Smell Sheep

Monday, July 27, 2020

UF Author Niki McAlister: What the heck is a naga, anyway? + excerpt

What the heck is a naga, anyway? 
An informative interview featuring Djinn (a bonafide naga,) Tiki (Our faceless assistant,) and Niki McAlister herself!

Niki: Welcome everyone to this up close and personal....interview/TED talk about what a naga is, at least on the continent of Iruli. With us today is my faithful, faceless assistant-bot Tiki! Say hello, Tiki!

Tiki: ~waves nervously~

Niki: Awesome! I'm so excited to show you what we have today. Tiki, will you bring him out for me?

Tiki: ~drags a rather grouchy, hungover Djinn into view of the camera~

Djinn: Ugh, what the hell is this? Where am I?

Niki: Don't worry too much about it. Hop up onto the table and we'll have you on your way in no time!

Djinn: ~shrugs and lays down on the large, metal table that's totally been there this entire time.~

Niki: At their very core, a naga is half human and half snake. That is to say that the upper half closely resembles a human and from the waist down they are all snake.

Djinn: Hey now, that's not entirely true. ~he runs his hand across the thick scales covering his genitals~ I'm all man here baby.

Niki: Thank you for that wonderful imagery, Djinn. ~facepalm~

Tiki: ~swats Djinn's hand from his crotch, chastising him with one finger~

Niki: Now, I said they closely resemble humans up top, but in reality, humans in Iruli are long gone. This is because-

Djinn: ~interrupting~ It's because they couldn't keep their junk to themselves! They screwed their way across an entire continent, spreading their seed on, in and around any creature that gave them the time of day.

Niki: ~chuckling nervously~ yeah...that. Humans were gross, but it's okay because they're extinct now! Yay! Let's get a closer look at a real, live naga...shall we? Tiki, restrain our friend!

Tiki: ~grabs Djinn's head and holds it down against the table~

Djinn: What the hell? What are you doing? Get your hands off me!

Niki: You'll notice that nagas have varying shapes to their ears, for starters. Some are more round, some are more pointed, and some have fine scaling across them. Djinn here has horns too, see how they curl around his ear and slope gently down toward his shoulders? Naga horns are as varied as their ears, noses, eyes, and pretty much everything else. They serve little to no purpose anymore as they are mostly leftover from back when nagas were actual dragons.

Djinn: Rude.

Niki: Tiki, let's see them chompers!

Tiki: ~uses two fingers from each hand to yank Djinn's mouth open, holding him down on the table with superhuman strength~

Niki: Now, you'll see that nagas are omnivores. They eat whatever they like so their teeth are much like ours, with one big exception. Djinn is a Python, so he doesn't have fangs but several clans of the naga species like the Rattler or the Cobra are born with fangs that allow them to produce venom. Basilisks also have a pair of glands under their tongue that secrete a type of toxin that is known to paralyze their prey, though these days they hardly have to hunt for their food. Let's move on to the body.

Tiki: ~releases Djinn's mouth~

Djinn: ~snaps his teeth at Tiki's fingers but gets no rise out of her. Frowns~

Niki: Djinn has dark skin, just like some humans do. It's important to note that unlike our society, skin color means literally nothing in the naga world—just like tail color. This is largely due to the fact that nagas, like most of the creatures on Iruli, are heavily interbred with other species to the point that they have so many genetic options packed into their DNA that even siblings from the same clutch come out wildly varied. For example, Djinn's brother Junard is white-skinned, but with a red tail. Djinn is dark-skinned with an olive green, almost anaconda type coloration with similar patterning. The only thing that really sets nagas apart is heritage, they can be a bit of a snob in that respect.

Djinn: Not all of us! I couldn't care less about my “heritage.”

Niki: ~nods~ My bad, thank you for correcting me. So because Djinn is a Python he's inherited a very special ability from his father. It's a big part of his identity and has allowed him to schmooze his way across the naga kingdom his entire life, just like his father—who uses his power to sway the votes of the council in his favor.

Tiki: ~lifts one of Djinn's arms to reveal his armpit with a flourish of her hand~

Djinn: ~averts his eyes in annoyance~

Niki: I won't be able to show it without a microscope, but Pythons have retained specialized scent glands throughout their bodies. Back in the old days when dragons terrorized the landscape, they lacked the ability to communicate with the common tongue. Instead, they would communicate with scenting, similar to dogs and cats when they poop except that it's an invisible I guess it's closer to body odor than poop...

Djinn: You think?

Niki: ~clears throat~ This ability is referred to as a Pheromone. Each naga that can produce a Pheromone has a unique scent that might even smell different to different people. It cannot be bottled or used by anyone other than the creator of the scent themselves. It works by tapping into the emotions the naga is feeling and coercing the minds of whoever is inhaling it. As you can imagine this ability is rather dubious as it allows the naga greater power over their fellow naga. It is important to note that most other nagas have developed an immunity to this ability over time, but the elves, centaurs, dragons and anyone else who isn't constantly around it have not. Specialized abilities like Pheromone are just one of the things that makes nagas so unique. Well, that and their tails. Tiki! Show them the tail!

Tiki: ~flourishes hand over the tail unceremoniously~

Niki: ~grips the podium in frustration~ can see here, this is a naga tail. It's basically a supersized version of a snake's body. Naga's range in size from about six feet in length to over twenty feet in length depending on their clan, and that's from the top of the head to the tip of the tail. Most of them have the ability to control the thinner end of the tail pretty prehensile-ly, yes that's a word, no I didn't make it up. ~flips through note cards~ Their genitalia are stored in a built-in pouch located just below the waist that is covered in thick, protective scales.

Djinn: Is this where I whip it out?

Niki: No, we're not whipping anything out here...

Djinn: You sure? I'm sure the audience hasn't seen anything like it before.

Niki: ~shoots him a look~ If the audience wants to know what it looks like they can buy the book. No spoilers!

Djinn: ~dejected~ Fiiine.

Niki: That's pretty much it folks. Thank you for coming to my TED talk, you've been great.

A voice from the crowd rings out: But wait, you haven't told us how they poop!

~Audience members murmur in agreeance.~

Niki: Do I really have to?

Djinn: ~nods solemnly~

Tiki: ~shrugs~

Niki: ~runs hand over face~ Yall couldn't just google how snakes poop?


Niki: ~sigh~ Fine. There's a slit near the end of the tail where the poop comes out, but they don't poop often at all, maybe like once a week. Their bodies have evolved to absorb pretty much everything from their food. Satisfied?

~Murmuring grows louder~

Niki: Alright! Now that I'm sure you've got plenty to discuss I'll be going. For more information about Djinn please check out his standalone prequel story which is available for preorder now! 

Djinn (Serving the Scales Prequel)
by Niki McAlister
August 1, 2020
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Number of pages: 132
Word Count: 45,690
Cover Artist: Niki McAlister

From Silver Spoon to Silver Tongue
Born into a wealthy family on the west side of the Naga Kingdom, Djinn De’monte has always lived a life of undeserved luxury. He parties every night courtesy of his father’s money and, with a flick of his hand, can bed any woman he chooses.

Why would he ever give any of that up to settle down and work a regular job? Everything he needs is right at his fingertips, but when an unexpected tragedy strikes the rug is suddenly yanked out from under him. Djinn is forced to sink or swim.

Join him on his forced pilgrimage as he reluctantly discovers that there is more to life than having everything served to you on a silver platter. Will he learn just what he stands for, or will he be swept up with the rest of the garbage?

In this short prequel we travel back to Djinn’s youth to find out exactly what transpired before he met a very unusual servant girl. This story can be read before Serving the Scales, after, or by itself. Though Djinn’s story isn’t part of the Serving the Scales Trilogy, it is an important part of the history that took place in Iruli.

“You can’t go in there right now, he’s in a meeting!” The butler elf cried, trying to insert himself between me and the double doors of my father’s office. I slapped him aside with a brush of my tail, sending him clattering into the wall. As he sputtered in surprise I threw open the doors, my faded green locks whipping in the artificial breeze as I met my father’s deadpan stare.

“Djinn, now isn’t a good time.” He said, dismissing me with his hand but I would have none of it.

“Are you directly responsible for the suffering of countless pregnant women and children?” I seethed, glaring directly into my father’s eyes.

“Djinn..” Dad’s face was blank as I heard someone clear their throat to my left.

Councilman Wartez was seated on a cushion there, looking up at me in disapproval—but I didn’t care. “Well? Are you?” I repeated.

“Djinn if you could come back later I’d be happy to—”

“No, we’re going to talk about this now dad.” I huffed, raising my tail to tower over him.

Dad sighed. “Where are you hearing this from? Is this about Jess? I assure you she received the best care.”

“Why aren’t all of the pregnant nagas in the East city receiving that type of care? Are you aware that they’re being treated on the damp ground?”

“Surely those people must be used to doing things on the damp ground.” Councilman Wartez snickered beside me.

“Are you fucking with me right now?” I spun around to the councilman. “People are dying and you’re over here making jokes? Why isn’t the council doing anything to help?”

Dad glared up at me through his tiny glasses. “Not that you’ve ever cared before, but we’ve been conducting tests on the female naga’s issue for decades. We’ve informed everyone that, should they find themselves pregnant they should seek proper medical care.”

I slammed my hands down on his desk, remembering all the times he’d had the maid whip me for touching his desk. His eye twitched as he looked down at my hands. “You do realize that most of the citizens in the East city can’t afford to see a doctor, right?”

“That’s being quite presumptuous. I’ll have you know that we installed Deklyn over there to care for the elves ten years ago. They’re being cared for better than they ever did in that backwoods place they hail from.”

“You know damn well I’m not talking about the elves.” I seethed.

He shrugged, making my blood boil. “You and your council buddies could easily extend a hand to these women but you’re not!”

“That’s enough Djinn.” Dad rose, grabbing my hand and pulling it off his desk.

“It’s not nearly enough dad.”

“I must ask you to go home and we’ll discuss this at another time.”

“Fuck you.” I spat. “You’ll just send Natasha over with more money or a fucking fruit basket to shut me up, you bastard.”

“That’s enough!” Dad boomed, coming around the side of his desk. “One more word out of you and I’ll cut you off.”

“I dare you.” I grinned, spitting on the ground in front of him. I raised my gaze back to his face to relish in the shock I’d caused but to my surprise I felt my father’s fist collide with my cheek as he snarled at me. I flew backward, hitting my head on the back wall of the office and pulling down a bunch of books as I slumped to the ground.

“I’m sorry for this outburst Councilman Wartez.” Reginald was saying, shaking the councilman's hand. The last thing I remembered was both of the councilmen looking over at me in amusement as I passed out.

About the Author:
Niki McAlister is new to the author scene, but don't let that stop you from checking her out. She's spent twenty-nine years dreaming up entire universes with fantastical creatures and now she's bringing their stories to you. In the real world she resides in Eastern Tennessee with her husband and two boys. Their family also consists of several dogs, cats, gerbils, degus and pet snails.

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