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Ska'a

Short and stout lizard-folk, with wide mouths studded with sharp teeth, and long and flat tails, excellent for swimming. According to Ghol legend, the Ska'a were created by the Ancients to serve as soldiers and guardians, and their heavy-set physique and rapid reproductive cycle is testament to that. Standing hunched at around 160 cm for males, and 170 for females, with relatively long arms and broad shoulders contributing to a weight that as adults relatively seldom drops below 100 kg. Ska'a are covered from head to clawed toe in scales – though fairly soft ones by most standards – varying in colour from deep sea green, blue, and grey to muddy brown or reddish terracotta. Male Ska'a often have a frill or crest on their neck, usually in a deeply contrasting hue to their scales. Females tend to be a little more drab in colour, and are generally larger. Ska'a breed in an unusual fashion, as a female lays a clutch of eggs in a spawning pool, which are then inseminated by males, often several males from different clutches per female. This procedure is in no way related to relationship dynamics, and is instead almost a religious ceremony, guided by an elder of the community, referred to as Shaper. The eggs hatch after several months, though the hatchlings are still immature. Moved to a secondary spawning pool, the Hatchlings are fed a mush of rice, fish and seaweeds until they are large enough to survive life outside of the pool, after a period of one to one and a half year.   Because of the Mindsong, a sort of low-level telempathic communication instinctively carried out between all Ska'a, there is a remarkable lack of individualism among Ska'a, at least in the eyes of the other peoples. Most Ska'a seem happy with the emotional stability and presence given by the Mindsong and their Clutch mates, and formal romantic relationships are relatively rare because of this. Among those Ska'a who live without the presence of a large group of their kin, however, there is a great drive to find other bonds to replace the Mindsong, which leads solitary Ska'a to attach themselves to other groups with an utterly fierce loyalty.   The Ska'a are a culture of refugees, outcasts and the descendants of exiles from the Great Clutches, where they lived as simple-minded drudges in squalor. As such, they have little in they way of cultural tradition, and instead adopt cultural expressions from the cultures within which they seek refuge. Ska'a rarely wear much in way of clothing, at least not for comfort, though wealthy individuals often wear robes or tunics in bright colours for their appearance. Armour is all the more common, however, and even those who do not expect to be in combat often wear light armour, if their environment is hazardous. Jewellery and other adornments also depend largely on their adopted culture, and is mostly individual. Religion is another area where Ska'a conform to their adopted culture, as the Great Clutches do not follow any recognizable faith other than a belief in the superiority of their Clutch Mother.

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