The Sehali ((Sehali: Sä̗hāli) [sjaħalγi]) are a species of considerable power in the eastern hemisphere. Nomadic and made up primarily of individual ships, fleets, and ports, they keep no law outside of the structure of a ship's command and, of course, the rule of platinum. Combined with their natural ability to survive the harsh conditions of their desert environment, this has allowed them to thrive as traders, pirates, and slavers, particularly with recent advances in technology.
The Sehali are reptilian in appearance, with tall, lanky bodies and long, thin tails. They walk on the balls of their feet, allowing for a straighter spine, and their faces are pointed and flat. Their mouths are lined with small, but sharp teeth, referencing their carnivorous diet, but they are also known to swallow their food whole without difficulty. Their scaly pelts vary greatly in hue; even albinism is not terribly uncommon. Some sport protrusions or hoods along their necks and skulls, similar to the cobras of Natural Earth.
The Sehali have no standing government uniting them. The closest thing to law is the rule of the ship's captain and his or her mates, or the ruler of an estate over his or her slaves. For the Sehali, there is no happy medium between anarchy and despotism.
Sehali will eat anything that is moving or once moved. They have a strong resistance to most infection, and will even eat carrion. Completely ignorant of the protests of the other races they come into contact with, they have a natural preference for living prey, swallowed whole with an unhinged jaw, although due to the difficulty of living in the desert often must rely on preserved meats instead. Either way, most of this meat is gained from domesticated animals, bred and sold by both sedentary Sehali ranchers as well as mobile ships and caravans that raise livestock onboard.
The Sehali have benefited greatly from the use of technology devised by Humans and, to a lesser extent, T'ikts. They very rarely innovate on their own, but prefer to appropriate the creations of others. The exception to this is in their devise of economic systems: many of their members have a great mind for mathematics and social theory, and lack the morality to not put it to use in becoming very rich at the expense of others, and utilizing slave labour to its most efficient extent.
Wealth is important in Sehali society, and they enjoy showing it in the form of colourful, flowing gowns at port, and heavy, metal-laden outfits on deck, with each tailored to appear intimidating to the right people. They wear little for jewelry, preferring to leave their scales unmarred, which they guard jealously.
Sex and Reproduction
Uniquely among sentient races, they have a cloaca and ventral hemipenes for waste and reproduction, and are hermaphroditic. They lay one to three eggs at a time, and exercise great control over not only when they will do so, but also which partner's seed will fertilize them if they have more than one partner. Despite their hermaphrodism, they tend to identify as either male or female depending on their preferred role in intercourse and society. Although there is little differentiation between genders socially, those who identify as male are typically viewed as more outgoing and physical, while those who identify as female are more economic or authoritative. It is considered an intimate gesture for a Sehali to give another one of their own unfertilized eggs. In the case in which the recipient is another Sehali, this egg is, of course, eaten.
The Sehali may on occasion adopt foreign religions if they believe it will benefit them, but do not typically hold any faith in the supernatural, or have any uniting philosophy beyond the pursuit of individual wealth and power.
The Sehali language is characterized by its high number of guttural and fricative sounds, and a flexible movement of the tongue necessary for articulation. It is difficult, but not impossible, for learners of other species to understand spoken. The written system is an abjad, written from top to bottom, right to left in long, painted strokes with dots and diacritical marks.