Lore:Tsaesci (race)

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A Tsaesci sword master (ESO)

The Tsaesci (Snake Palace; /ˈs.ʃi/ (About this soundlisten) say-she, /ˈs.ə.si/ SAY-ess-see,[1] /ˈs.i/ say-chee,[UOL 1] or /ˈzi.ʃi/ zee-she),[UOL 2] also known as the serpent-folk or snake men, are a race originating from the continent of Akavir, east of Tamriel. While the racial status of the Tsaesci is ambiguous, with some sources claiming them as a human race[2] while others claim them as a race of beastfolk,[3][4] all known encounters with Tsaesci show they are at least a race of humanoids, with some looking indistinguishable from humans. However, the possibility of Tsaesci being shapeshifters further increases the ambiguity of their status.[UOL 1]

Black hair is a known genetic trait of the Tsaesci,[5] with some claiming them to also have scaly feet.[6] Sources which identify the Tsaesci as beastfolk attribute to them other physical traits such as tails, and describe them as having the bodies of "inverted gorgons".[3][7][Note 1] Adding to these contradictory claims, it is also claimed that the so-called serpent-folk apparently not only "ate" the men that lived on Akavir (although this statement can be interpreted in many ways), but also resemble them. Numerous legends shroud the origins of the Tsaesci. Some claim their forebears fell prey to a vampiric serpent race, while others suggest they were captured by them.[4][8][Note 2]

Although immortality is attributed to them in literature,[4] descendants of Tsaesci refugees in Elsweyr claim that longevity is not a trait of the race and speculate that the longevity of figures such as the Potentates had magical origins.[9]

Individuals with Tsaesci and Imperial ancestry are said to be barely distinguishable from their pure Cyrodilic cousins, with the eyes and hair being the most recognizable traits of Tsaesci ancestry.[5]

History[edit]

An illustration accompanying Against the Snakes of a person facing an Akaviri opponent with a serpent-like shadow cast over them

The Anuad creation myth asserts that the Wandering Ehlnofey were divided onto three continents, with those on Akavir becoming the Tsaesci (and therefore related to the Yokudans and Atmorans).[2] The Tsaesci once invaded Tamriel in 1E 2703, but were driven back by the forces of Emperor Reman I.[10] Surviving Tsaesci in Cyrodiil served as mercenaries and personal guards of nobles.[11] They left many influences on Imperial institutions and culture, including the doctrines and equipment of the Imperial Legion, the creation of the Akaviri Dragonguard (a personal bodyguard organization for the Emperor) and Fighters Guild, a reverence among the Imperial aristocracy for all things Akaviri, and the adoption of the dragon as a symbol of the Empire.[Note 4] A number of Tsaesci even served the Second Empire as Potentates, among them Sidri-Ashak, Versidue-Shaie, and Savirien-Chorak. The latter two ruled the Second Empire outright during the first half of the Second Era, a period known as the Akaviri Potentate that was brought on by the demise of the Reman Dynasty.[12]

After the fall of the Akaviri Potentate in 2E 430 most Tsaesci fled Cyrodiil, joining other Akaviri that lived in Rimmen and the surrounding area. These Akaviri would later be known as Rim-Men[13] and would help the resurfaced Dir-Kamal armies to conquer Cyrodiil.[14]

Society[edit]

Four Tsaesci deity sigils (clockwise): Zisa (oceans/water), Nyfa (earth), Ilni (weather/air), and Myn (sun/fire)

Ancestor worship seems to be an integral part of Tsaesci culture,[15][16] although at least four deities, symbolizing different elements, are known: Ilni (weather/air), Myn (sun/fire), Nyfa (earth), and Zisa (oceans/water).[17] Z'en might also be worshipped by the Tsaesci, as origins of his mythology can be traced back to Akavir.[18]

Unlike the other races and cultures on Nirn, the Tsaesci do not follow the tradition of constellations in accordance with their "subdermal culture", meaning none of them possess birthsigns.[UOL 3]

Water occupies a special place in the Tsaesci faith, as they believe that all waterways connect the realms of the dead and the living.[19]

The Proving Festival is an important, yearly holiday of the Tsaesci to appease the ancestors and prove one's worth.[15] It consists of three proofs which a participant has to pass: The first is the Proof of Reverence by which the ancestors are invoked and invited to enter the living world as spirits. The inhabitants of Hakoshae, Imperial descendants of Tsaesci, let a paper lotus be carried down a river. The lotus symbolically swims into the realm of the dead to attract the attention of the ancestors.[19] The second proof is the Proof of Strength. It serves to show the ancestors ones strength and that one can resist various dangers.[20] The last proof is the Proof of Wisdom. Traditionally it consisted of scholars drafting grand essays, writers composing ornate poems or philosophers performing lengthy debates. However in Hakoshae the inhabitants use riddles for that purpose.[21]

Tsaesci are known to have had marriage,[22] a tradition they shared with the Imperials of Hakoshae.[23]

The Tsaesci are also known for their use of magic.[9][20] Additionally, they utilize a special magic called 'kiai',[Note 3] which shares similarities with Shouts of the Nordic Thu'um.[24]

Known for their resistance to poison and prowess in combat, tales even speak of their mastery over Dragons, purportedly enslaving the mighty beasts.[8]

Arms and Armor[edit]

Two Akaviri "Blood Drinker" swords, known as Dawn/Duskfang and Bloodthirst, emulate the rumored traits of their Tsaesci creators. Although some sources claim Tsaesci fight without shields or armor, using only swords such as the Dai-katana in combat,[25][26] eye-witness accounts from the battle at Pale Pass describe the Tsaesci not only using armor and shields, but also various types of weapons.[27] The nature of the race is a tapestry of historical contradictions, so what little is known about them is uncertain. However, all known encounters with the Tsaesci have not only confirmed that they are humanoids, but that they also use armor and shields in combat. However, it should be noted that the Tsaesci use shields mostly as a form of ceremonial and decorative armor, and don't find widespread use in combat.[28]

Akaviri katanas, while elegant and efficient, are too expensive and sophisticated a weapon to be popular with the Legions or hero-adventurers. Well-heeled nobles, collectors, and swordmasters prize the blade for its superior balance and effectiveness.[29] However, they are part of the standard arms for members of the Blades.

The tanto is a stylish dagger variant of Akaviri design. For obscure reasons, the Telvanni prefer them to standard daggers as a matrix for their enchantments, and Telvanni mercenaries are often equipped with enchanted tantos by their mage-lord patrons.[29]

The wakizashi is an elegant and refined single-edged version of the more common double-edged longswords of Western design. Because the weapons themselves are rare, and few smiths know how to make them, they are not common. [29]

Gallery[edit]

Depictions[edit]

Other[edit]

Notes[edit]

1.The Last Year of the First Era uses the verb "to slither" when Versidue-Shiae or Savirien-Chorak move.
2.The meaning of the term "eaten" as given from what is known of the land of Akavir is not clear. Although the description of the "vampiric" Tsaesci might suggest literal meaning, it could be a metaphor for being subdued. In Mysterious Akavir by an anonymous writer, the Tsaesci are told to have "tried to eat all the Dragons. They managed to enslave the Red Dragons, but the black ones had fled to (then) Po Tun".
3.Children of the Sky only mentions "Akaviri swordsmen". However, this probably refers to the Tsaesci, as they are said to heavily rely on swords in combat.[25]
4. The main used emblem of the Second Empire however remained the Red Diamond.
  • "Xhiado Kas" is a known Tsaesci title for The Flame Maiden, given to Luciana Pullo.[30]
  • Diagna's cult originated in Yokuda during the "Twenty Seven Snake Folk Slaughter".[18] Whether the "Snake Folk" were the same as the Tsaesci serpent-folk is unknown. Carlovac Townway once asserted that Redguard culture and their greatest heroes have been heavily influenced by Akaviri and Tsaesci culture, specifically citing Gaiden Shinji, a leader of the Order of Diagna, as an example of this cultural exchange.[UOL 4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grommok's JournalGrommok gro-Barak
  2. ^ a b The Annotated Anuad
  3. ^ a b 2920, The Last Year of the First EraCarlovac Townway
  4. ^ a b c Mysterious Akavir
  5. ^ a b Meet the Character - Chevalier RenaldAbnur Tharn
  6. ^ Chronicles of the Five Companions 8Abnur Tharn
  7. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 7Vivec
  8. ^ a b Kiseravi's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
  9. ^ a b Avita Pitio's dialogue from Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr
  10. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Other LandsImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  11. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: CyrodiilImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  12. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Seat of Sundered Kings: CyrodiilImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  13. ^ The Tonenaka Shrine — Magnate Feina-Darak
  14. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: The Elsweyr ConfederacyImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  15. ^ a b The Proving FestivalLaije-Palak Rulician
  16. ^ Magnate Feina-Darak's dialogue from Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr
  17. ^ Tale of the ElementsNalae-Polek, Poet Laureate to Potentate Versidue-Shaie
  18. ^ a b Varieties of Faith...Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
  19. ^ a b Domitia Nasica's dialogue from Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr
  20. ^ a b Vek-Drassi Secunia's dialogue from Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr
  21. ^ Valoria Marius's dialogue from Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr
  22. ^ Akaviri Diary TranslationXhaferi
  23. ^ Ashur's dialogue in ESO
  24. ^ Children of the Sky
  25. ^ a b 2920, Morning StarCarlovac Townway
  26. ^ History of the Fighters Guild
  27. ^ Crafting Motif 92: Ancestral Akaviri StyleCaelius Calogerus, Imperial Captain
  28. ^ Crafting Motif 53: Tsaesci StyleKiasa-Veda, the Chronicler of Blades, Dir-Tonenaka
  29. ^ a b c Garothmuk gro-Muzgub's dialogue in Morrowind
  30. ^ Meet the Character - Proctor LucianaGrimrald Brassbones

Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.