Zaruka, Xia`cri Racial Disorder

The Xia'cri term for this disorder is Zaruka, and since it is unknown outside of some very narrow circles of Humans and Elves, the only term ever used for this disorder is Zaruka.

Zaruka is hard to define, and is placed here as a "disease" only because there is no other really good place for it. It could be considered a type of social disorder, although it is more than that. Every Xia'cri has the potential to become Zaruka, but due to social restrictions, ethics and morals, the vast majority would never even consider it.

Definition:

Zaruka occurs when a Xia'cri consumes Human and/or Elven flesh for an extensive period of time. They become, in a sense, addicted to it and its effect. This meat source is forbidden to the Xia'cri by the Laws of Wola (the Xia'cri term for Volai - their patron Goddess). When a Xia'cri breaks these laws and begins to consume the flesh of Humans and/or Elves, a strange series of transformations begins to occur within them. It is unknown why these transformations are triggered by the consumption of Human and/or Elven flesh, it is only known to occur. Once a Xia'cri has been consuming this forbidden meat source for a period of usually two to eight weeks, they begin to alter in strength, speed and size. In their human form, they do not appear any different. However in their half-cat state, Zaruka are roughly a foot taller on average than the standard Xia'cri. They are three times as strong and twice as fast. They also heal quicker, have greater endurance, and are far more vicious and feral.

One other point to be noted about the Zaruka is that they lose the ability to transform into a full cat. They can only maintain a half-cat form, and any attempts to convert into a full cat result in an even more hideous transformation - that of a Rakanna.

The Rakanna Form:

Rakanna are what the Zaruka now transform into when they attempt to achieve the full-cat state. Rakanna are similar in shape to the half-cat state of a Xia'cri except that they are covered with a chitinous outer hide that boasts sharp barbed spines. Even most Zaruka will avoid this transformation, because they lose most of their cognitive capabilities in this form. A Rakanna is completely bestial and relies on instinct only. It kills everything around it, and is sinister in its desire to slay and consume any and all creatures it can get its claws into. The tough exoskeleton of the Rakanna is strong enough to repel arrows, and may even turn a sword stroke. Once in a Rakanna form, the Zaruka typically continues slaying and killing until it tires and sleeps. Only then will it return to a human form.

Treatment:

There really is no effective treatment for a Xia'cri who has become a Zaruka except death. Once a Xia'cri has obtained a taste for Human and Elven flesh, they are not at all interested in returning to their previous state. They revel in the power they have gained, and their perception of Humans and Elves changes completely. An aggressive predatory philosophy is adopted in which Humans and Elves are considered intelligent meat. And while the Zaruka do not deny to themselves the danger of their prey, they also do not fear the ramifications of their actions enough to override their hunger for their chosen food source.

Other Xia'cri who have not become Zaruka are given to them by the Laws of Wola the responsibility to slay any and all Zaruka they encounter. These abominations are not tolerated by the Xia'cri race.