The dragonkin race of celestial feathered serpents known as the couatl were born on the continent of Sarlona. The majority of their ancient ruins still lie hidden today in the nation of Riedra, the realm of the Inspired. As the couatl fought the fiends during the Age of Demons, they established outposts across the length and breadth of Eberron. The greatest of these was the fortress-citadel of Krezent, located in the heart of what are now the Talenta Plains on the continent of Khorvaire. The city extends down into the depths of Khyber, and by the end of the war, terrible forces had been bound in its foundations. A handful of couatl remained to watch over the world after their race’s sacrifice, but they were too few to guard every seal, so they sought out helpers among the younger races. According to legends, a small group of loyal humans from Sarlona, the birthplace of the human race on Eberron, dedicated their lives to the service of the couatl. Over the course of thousands of years, this devotion and their constant proximity to the couatl’s celestial presence changed them in body and soul. By the time the goblin Empire of Dhakaan rose to power on Khorvaire, the guardians of Krezent were no longer human. They had become, in the Draconic language, shulassakar — the feathered servants.
The people of Krezent are a wondrous sight: humans blended with couatl, with serpentine features and feathers that glow with an inner, silver light. The shulassakar are dedicated servants of the Silver Flame and will give their lives without a moment’s thought to combat the forces of darkness. Yet, the shulassakar are very similar in appearance and physiology to another serpentine humanoid race of considerably less benevolent reputation — the yuan-ti. The yuan-ti seem to have first come into being on Sarlona, much like humanity itself. Like the shulassakar, they seem to possess some connection to the couatl and may represent the first, flawed attempt by the celestial feathered serpents to create human-couatl hybrids to be their servants or perhaps are shulassakar who were corrupted by the fiendish Overlords or other dark forces. Today the yuan-ti are found in small numbers on Sarlona and Argonessen but their main populations have taken refuge on Xen’drik.
In any event, the Silver Flame created by the couatl’s sacrifice is a force for good but its followers are often blinded by its light, and the shulassakar are no exception. They fight against darkness with ruthless efficiency and will make any sacrifice necessary for the greater good of Eberron, including the lives of innocents. No one can jeopardize the seals of Krezent. The shulassakar seek to repel outsiders peacefully before they venture too deeply into the ruins but those who persist are dealt with swiftly and harshly. The shulassakar have considerable racial pride. The feathered servants do not believe that any other creature can truly touch the silver light of the couatl as they do. The human Church of the Silver Flame and the Keeper of the Flame — these are inherently flawed. While they may mean well, they are tampering with forces they do not truly understand. A shulassakar is more inclined to work with a follower of the Flame than with any other creature, but he will still treat this person as an underling or a child. As far as he is concerned, the physical form of the shulassakar is proof of spiritual superiority. The shulassakar consider their serpentine characteristics to be a blessing and a sign of their bond with the couatl. They believe that a shulassakar goes through cycles of reincarnation like the couatl and that the different forms of shulassakar — identical to those of their yuan-ti cousins—represent this spiritual growth. Thus, when referring to themselves, the shulassakar refer to snaketongues as “bloodsworn,” malisons as “flametouched,” and abominations as “transcendents.”
The shulassakar devote their energy to guarding Krezent and other couatl ruins scattered across Eberron. They are aware of the rising darkness that affects the current age of Eberron — the Lords of Dust that have escaped from their bonds, the Cults of the Dragon Below, the lurking threat of the Dreaming Dark. The shulassakar face these forces directly when possible. A handful of shulassakar bloodsworn have hidden themselves among humanity, watching for signs of the rising darkness. A shulassakar always prefers to solve a problem on its own or to call in a more powerful servant to handle the problem. At the same time, the shulassakar recognize that victory is more important than pride. A shulassakar may approach adventurers openly, especially if one or more members of the party follow the Silver Flame. Because shulassakar have little respect for the young races, however, it is more likely that one will attempt to manipulate or trick adventurers into serving its purposes, believing that humans cannot be trusted to do the right thing simply because it is right.
Physically, the shulassakar are similar to the yuan-ti. There is one major difference between the two races: where the shulassakar have serpentine characteristics, their scales are hidden beneath brilliantly colored feathers. The mightiest of the shulassakar also possess powerful, rainbow-colored wings. Bloodsworn shulassakar do not have feathers but often possess colorful markings on their skin. These are easily mistaken for tattoos but they are magical in nature and can shift color and shape in response to the mood of the bearer. The extent of these markings varies from shulassakar to shulassakar, and generally they will not prevent the bloodsworn from disguising itself as a human.
Despite their physical similarities, the shulassakar and yuan-ti cultures have little in common. The shulassakar claim that the ancestors of the yuan-ti were chosen of the couatl who broke their vows to the Flame aftering being tempted away by the fiends of Khyber and who have since slipped into decadence. As a result, the shulassakar despise the yuan-ti. If the yuan-ti shared these legends, they abandoned them long ago, and they have no interest in the shulassakar. Mostly driven from Sarlona and their original kingdom of Syrkarn over a millennium ago by the rise of the Inspired of Riedra, the yuan-ti lurk in the shadows of Xen’drik and on the shores of Argonnessen, the continents where they sought refuge from the Inspired, plotting vengeance against the Lords of Riedra and searching for ways to use the draconic Prophecy to gain power.