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Why the Tsaesci May or May Not Have Legs: The Facts

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Tailin Sero's picture
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So, there is an ongoing debate regarding the Tsaesci and their legs, or lack of. There is also a theory that the Tsaesci ate the Humans of Akavir. Smoe say that this is just a metaphorical eating and that the Tsaesci really devoured the human's culture.

What ever the case, I thought I would take upon myself to collect any information I could find on this subject and share it here.

1) Description:

"They are tall, beautiful (if frightening), covered in golden scales, and immortal." ~Mysterious Akavir

Personal Note: It could just be me, but I don't normally call snakes "tall".

2) Eating Men:

"The serpent-folk ate all the Men of Akavir a long time ago, but still kind of look like them."~Mysterious Akavir

As mentioned above, some people think of this as a metaphorical eating, while some take it as it's literal meaning.

3) Potentate Versidue-Shaie:

"When natives of Tamriel think of the Akaviri they think of the Serpent-Folk, because one ruled the Cyrodilic Empire for four hundred years in the previous era. He was Potentate Versidue-Shaie, assassinated by the Morag Tong." ~Mysterious Akavir

Personnal Note: I find it interesting how the author of Mysterious Akavir would say that the best known Tsaesci would be Potentate Versidue-Shaie and that in the 2920 Last Year of the 1st Era series, the Potentate is a main character. Seems a bit too coincidental to me.

"When Potentate Versidue-Shaie spoke, the Emperor jumped. How that Akavir could slither across the grass without making a sound was a mystery to him." ~2920, First Seed, Book 3

Note: "slithered"

4) Akaviri Messenger:

"Last night, I encountered another one of our messengers who had been beset by a pack of mountain wolves. His leg was hurt badly, but I managed to help heal it with an ampoule of medicine I carried with me. He said his name was Sylaj, and he was on his way from Pale Pass to request more supplies." ~Akaviri Diary (Messenger's Diary)

This Akaviri messengers states that a fellow messenger had his leg wounded. His "leg". This either means that the Tseasci (who were the ones invading Tamriel, and to which side the messenger belonged, during the writing of this diary) have legs, or that the word "ate" mentioned above in Mysterious Akavir, really is a metaphor.

5) Alduin's Wall:

Ignore the Dragonborn (the larger humanoid on the right) as he was carved in Reman's image. Look at the Dragonguard (The Blades) kneeling on the left. They have legs. To be fair, this is the part of Alduin's Wall depicting the return of Alduin. The prophesied return of Alduin (as appearently shown in the Elder Scrolls) may not have contained the Tsaesci Dragonguard and so the Tsaesci that built Sky Haven Temple and carved Alduin's Wall excluded any Tsaesci from Alduin's Return portion.

"Alduin's Wall is our gift to those that come after us." ~Annals of the Dragonguard

Personnal Note: It makes sense to include future Dragonguard gernations into the future part of the Wall. But to be honest that last one was a bit of a stretch for me.

 

That's all folks.

Infragris's picture
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You missed a couple of interesting things in 2920:

One combatant was the Potentate's son, Savirien-Chorak, a glistening ivory-yellow eel, gripping his katana and wakizashi with his thin, deceptively weak looking arms.

No one in the crowd, aside from a few scattered Akaviri counselors and the Potentate himself wanted Savirien-Chorak to win, but there was a collective intake of breath at the sight of his graceful movements. His swords seemed to be a part of him, a tail coming from his arms to match the one behind him. It was a trick of counterbalance, allowing the young serpent man to roll up into a circle and spin into the center of the ring in offensive position.

These seem to indicate snake-men.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Oh nice. Thanks Infragris.

Od the Absent's picture
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"Rolls up into a circle" Only Tsaesci and the masochistic contortionists of Alik'r can do this.

What I never understood was how divergent their portrayals  were. Sure, if our only guesses what the Tsaesci were came from nuances left behind in ancient texts, only legible to a dozen bureaucrats still using the antiquated Reman Reckonings, it'd make some sense. As is, I'm just left with the impression the Imperial Department of Homeland Consistency revolted over compensations and burned their records. I also never liked the metaphorical reading of Mysterious Akavir. I'll take the Thulsa Doom version.

Tailin Sero's picture
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[I posted this on TIL's Discord page today and thought I should add it here, too.]
 
I like to think of it as a class thing. The upper class being snake-like people, while the lower classes are human-like.
 
If you were to think of Ancient Egypt the first thing that comes to mind is the pharaoh, or the pyramids/sphinx. You don't typically think of the Jewish slaves (unless you're reading exodus).
 
So in the game world of TES if you were to bring up the Tsaesci, the typical citizen would think of Snakemen like Potentate Versidue-Shaie, but now that they're starting to discover artifacts/texts from the lower classes things are getting confusing. If you think about it, the Akaviri messenger wouldn't be from nobility (or the upper class in general) he would most likely be from a low-class family and therefore be an Akaviri Human who was 'eaten' by the Tsaesci.
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I imagined them resembling the Greek "giants" or Typhon like creatures. Two legs which were snakes tails. I guess in that way though they could manage both, walk and slither. 

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Boots of the northern Akaviri tend to be simple and utilitarian, for trudging through the deep snows of Kamal. Those of the southern Tsaesci are more elaborate and decorative, with shoes and sabatons that look like Imperial sandals, though armored with thick leather or small metal plates.

Crafting Motif 18: Akaviri Boots

I lean towards the theory that they consisted of a caste system of humanoid bipeds ruled over by immortal, serpentine beings.  Yuan-Ti society in Dungeons and Dragons is organized the same way.

On a side note, I'd have linked to TIL, but they don't seem to have all the motifs.

Daelin's picture
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In the book "Lost tales of the famed explorer: Fragment VI" the "famed explorer, Matius" is guided through Argonia (literally) to an ancient city, once he reaches it he is left to walk the rest of the journey alone. Shortly into his walk he is confronted by a creature and this is how it is spoken of. 

1."The ancient Argonian strode towards Matius"

2."It was two heads taller than an average saxhleel"

3. "with golden scales.

4."it was not a bird, or a lizard, but a snake".

This is quite vague however when I noticed the connections I felt the urge to post it here.

1. The creature is said to have strode towards him indicating some kind of legs.
2. Tsaesci are said to have been tall as is said in the OP, it is said again here this snake creature is tall.
3. It is said to of had golden scales, much like our Tsaesci.
4. The creature is found to be a snake when thought to originally be an "ancient Argonian"  (interesting).

I could easily get into deeper theory here but I'll stick to the fact we're just talking about Akaviri biology.

 

Tailin Sero's picture
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Daelin wrote:

*snip*

That's pretty cool. Nice find! It would confirm some stuff said in the Mysterious Akaviri book. All that stuff is what you've just listed.

Od the Absent's picture
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A caste system fits and allows everybody to be happy. Except for me. Why didn't the Immortal. Vampire. Snakemen. reorder the empire after their system? Its not like these Tsaesci were 8-10 thousand years removed from their kinsmen. They even brought the Syfim concept and a lot of lore on dragons, but they left nothing behind indicating their society at home was a system of castes. Unless I'm missing something. This is one of those awkward areas that leads me to believe the Dragon Break is perennial.

Daelin's picture
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I came across this whilst furthering my knowledge on creation. 
Source: A Children's Anuad

"On the other continents, the Wandering Ehlnofey became men -- the Nords of Skyrim, the Redguards of Yakuda and the Tsaesci of Akavir."

I personally don't think this needs to be regarded in any way as proof but it's more context for the Tsaesci being men.

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Versidue-Shaie got into power by playing the existing system.  If he tried to tweak it too much, I suspect he'd lose support of those he needed to remain in power.  It was difficult enough for him to prevent the Empire from crumbling beneath him without making the vast majority of the population into a lower caste.

Od the Absent's picture
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Perhaps like vampires immortal vampire snakemen can disguise themselves. That's the whole vampire legend in a nut shell, the dead disguised as the living.