In the murky past, The Old World was seeded with life. Eventually four distinct races came to be known, each with their own patron spirit to bless their lives. While they are still collectively considered human and part of humanity, they still have distinctions which separate them irrevocably from the other strains of mankind. Free will is intrinsic to all of humanity, but there still exists general cultural trends among each race. Individuals are not absolutely beholden to their tendencies, but on average a Hysen may find it more difficult to express outward extremes of emotion than an Esche might.
Ultimately, a person is their own person. The kind of individual they become is a mix of their parentage, their culture, their experiences, and their own will.
Born between thick, stony walls, Hysen are creatures of the dark and of the underground. While the sun does nothing to harm them, really, they're still clearly of another world: tall, lanky, and usually either pale-white or soot-black, they look like veritable moon creatures. In reality, their color has simply been bleached by millennia spent beneath the surface, preparing in paranoia of some grand disaster yet to come. They are famed for their astounding constructs and dwellings.
Ever the embodiment of the wind, Aiphe are free-flowing tinkerers and nomads. They are known to never stick to one place for long, and frequently change homes simply for the sake of it. It's more common to find predominantly Aiphe-run trade centers than it is to find an actual Aiphe "city", though there are many, many Aiphe caravans at any given point in time regardless. These caravans were, in some eras, the target of ruthless theft- but as Aiphe are known to transmit knowledge and technology quite effectively, many cities learned to send protection with them to escort said caravans around.
Gifted with the ability to scale forests and other land-based obstructions with ease, the Vaien were the first to take over a generous portion of the surface of Rhyst. At one point, they even maintained an empire, though that has since fallen to ruin for various reasons. They, unlike Esche, do not take on random animal features, but rather all of one animal's features. In other words, they adopt a single species to take the traits of, which allows them to better fit their ancestral environments.
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.