The depths may hold no mystery.
The Esche are a village-based race with scales and other odd features from head to toe. While they've gained a sour reputation for piracy, Esche as a whole tend to be, on average, rather honorable. Their culture is driven by the motive of proving oneself, either by combat or by craft, and the best Esche warriors will tend toward respect and valor over under-handed, cut-throat activities. There are always exceptions, of course, but few would argue that thievery and back-stabbing are not befitting of a proper Esche. Most Esche villages lie on coastline, or in coastal swamps.
Their elemental affinity is to Aqua.
AN: While Esche will always have scales/horns/fins/etc., the intensity of these features can scale from "borderline human" to "borderline lizardman". Uniquely, the Esche do not take on any given species' traits, nor do they have none at all. Instead, Esche tend to wield a myriad of odd, mish-mashed features from fish, amphibians, and reptiles. This means that, while almost every Esche will have an extensive set of scales, few will match oneanother directly in appearance. Some may have horns, while others may have webbed feet, ears, or gills. Most commonly, these traits are shown to react to the Esche's environment over genetics, favoring reptile traits in dry areas and fish traits in wet ones.
Esche culture is, among the races of Rhyst, relatively special. There is a strong dichotomy among members of the scaled race: those who walk the path of the artisan, and those who walk the path of the champion. Contrary to popular belief, both paths are incredibly difficult, and while only a handful will fall into these motives wholesale, even fewer will make it far. The general understanding is that walking either path is an attempt to prove oneself to heaven, which, in the eyes of the Esche, is something only achieved once you've become substantial enough to break your cycle of reincarnation.
- When Esche die, they are either entombed with all of their best crafts (to show to heaven), or they are entombed with their best weapons (to carry with them into battle in the afterlife).
- It is believed that there are tribes of Esche living at even the arctic and at the bottom of the ocean, though we don't have much proof of that.
- Most Esche can't breathe water. It depends entirely on their features, and while some can last hours without a breath, others have completely mundane lung capacities.