The I’iskatha

The I’iskatha are the newest and rarest members of the body politic.  While they’ve been in Astlan for many centuries, only within the last few decades have they appeared within the Body Politic in any number, and only within the last few years that politicians have included them within the Body Politic.

Where the I’iskatha come from is not clear, however it is believed their origin is outside of Astlan.  The details of this are, however, not well known  Further the I’iskatha themselves are not forthcoming with this sort of information.

The I’iskatha are an aloof, reptilian race rumored to be marooned dimensional travelers trapped in Astlan for the last several centuries. An intelligent, predatory species, I’iskatha have adapted well to life among the members of the body politic; some say too well.

The physical characteristics of these reptiles resemble those of humans almost as much as lizards.  The I’iskatha stand 5 1/2′ to 6 1/2′ tall, have two legs with clawed feet, opposable thumbs on their hands and opposable eyes on the crown of their head.   Holes in the cheeks of the locust-shaped face allow ventilating air to cool the creatures’ warm blood and also let the heat sensing pits function.  Rigid tendrils emerge from the back of the neck, attaching to nerve endings that detect motion quite well.   Also on the neck are the ears, non-protruding tympanic membranes made more sensitive, but also more vulnerable, by their location.

The last notable feature of the I’iskata is their coloring which determines an individual’s function in the overall society.  All I’iskatha have scaly plates covering their skin, and for most of them, these scales are tan, beige, brown, olive, or green.  Such earth-toned reptilians become hunters, while their brilliant-hued brethren train as warriors.  The brown or tan I’iskatha tend to tend to be correspond to rangers or sometimes rogues.  The brighter colored I’iskatha are generally either barbarians, mercenaries or occasionally knights.

I’iskatha fight with a few select weapons, favoring crossbows, nets, short swords and their own kmongu, a three-armed dagger that the reptile warriors can wield in each hand or throw with deadly accuracy.  The only place to learn the use of the kmongu is from another I’iskatha warrior, so it is very rare to see this weapon used outside of I’iskatha society.

As one might guess by their predatory appearance, the I’iskatha are a martial race where might makes right.  Some of their physical characteristics necessitate this warlike spirit, as do their cultural traditions.  When an I’iskatha captures prey, he or she must bury the carcass and allow natural decay to set in before eating it; the reptile’s teeth hold game fast, but can not easily chew it.  Another practice that reflects I’iskathan draconian tendencies is their tradition of removing the hide from dead relatives, boiling the skin in oil to harden it, and then fashioning the equivalent of leather armor from the dermis.

For the most part, I’iskatha are remarkably deft and quite skilled with missile and thrown weapons.  The ability to focus their eyes independently gives the I’iskatha very good range finding  and targeting ability.  Their hearing and motion sensing tendrils also aid them when being attacked from the side or rear.  Furthermore, I’iskatha can see in the infrared spectrum, and need no light sources other than ambient heat.  The sense organs are vulnerable to high intensity heat attacks, further their necks are also known to be sensitive spots.

Finally, not all I’iskatha choose to become warriors,however, wizards, clerics and animages are very rare, albeit revered in I’iskathan society.  Males and females seem to enjoy relative equality with both sexes incubating the clutch of 1 to 4 eggs, which the female lays each year. Of course, young I’iskatha are often prey for their non-parental elders and many don’t live long enough to reach maturity in five years, much less their full lifespan of 40 years.

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