The Gish are a lizard-like people that arose out of the Great Pit of Doom and Flourished in The Blight.
This species stands at an average of 6 1/2 feet for Males and 6 feet for females and will weigh around 250 lbs for males and 200 lbs for females upon maturity. They stand upright on 3 toed feet which have a sharp spur on the heel. The Gish possess 3-fingered, clawed hands with a soft opposable "thumb". They also have large, muscular tails that help with balance and can be used in a powerful sweeping manner. A Gish hatchling will gain full maturity in about 25 years and will live to be well over 100.
The Gish are cold-blooded and are most comfortable in warmer climates. While the cold will not kill them, it will slow down their ability to move quickly or think clearly.
The Males tend to be brightly colored in an almost neon shade of green splotched with brilliant blues and purples. Males will develop a golden ruff that runs down the crest of their heads and necks as they mature. This ruff can be raised and lowered at will, although among the Gish the manner and height to which the ruff is raised often indicates the emotional state of the Gish in question. The size and coloration of the ruff is a point of pride among the Gish males.
The female Gish will present a very much more subdued coloration. Her scales will range from a dull green to browns to grays. The female has the ability to blend into her surroundings and some even exhibit the ability to change colors in order to do so. The female Gish has no ruff, however, upon maturity she will develop a sharp, venomous spike at the end of her tail. The poison from this spike is only mildly venomous to the Gish themselves, but can cause paralysis and death to other species.
The Gish do not give live birth, but rather will lay leathery eggs. A female will lay a clutch of 2-6 eggs, although not all will be fertile. These eggs must be kept relatively cool and moist. The eggs will hatch sooner in warmer conditions, but if they are allowed too much sunlight, the hatchling inside will perish.
The Gish live quite nicely in the harsh conditions of The Blight. They are omnivores and will readily devour all manner of warm-blooded beast, lizard, insect, or bird, as well as the plants commonly found in The Blight. The water in The Blight is largely tainted and quite acidic, but the Gish are not bothered by it, and, in fact, will have to supplement their diets with more acid if they are away from The Blight for a prolonged amount of time or their muscles will begin to slowly atrophy.
The Gish are an intelligent, war-like race who adhere to a strict set of laws and ethics. Their culture exists around their army. Only men are allowed to train and enter into battle, except for the few females who find themselves as Shentai Riders. There is a strict hierarchy of value on positions in the Gish culture as follows:
1) Trades people who largely cater to the population as a whole
2) Trades people who cater to the army
3) Staff at The Academy
4) Gish attending The Academy
5) Foot Soldiers6) Cavalry7) Officers
8) Master Level Instructors at The Academy
10) Shentai Riders
All rules and edicts governing the Gish are mandated by higher level generals and enforced by soldiers.
The Gish are largely a no-nonsense civilization. They thrive on routine, law, and discipline. Non conformists are punished by being publically beaten, held captive in stocks in the city common areas, and often killed. Play for children consists largely of running, balancing, throwing, and emulating the adults, especially the Soldiers. Every Gish youngling dreams of becoming a Shentai Rider. Entertainment for adults typically consists of feats of strength, agility, and endurance. Disputes between the Gish are most often decided by physical means such as a wrestling match. Such disputes are almost always between members of the same class, as a lower class Gish would not consider challenging a higher class Gish…it simply isn’t done.
The Gish are quite advanced. They forge steel and make fearsome weapons. They have the ability to create simple machines based on clockwork technology. They also have the ability to harness light magic. Facing a Gish in battle is not an easy task. He is strong and agile, trained in hand to hand combat, armored, equipped with edged weapons, as well as range weapons that shoot beams of light, or in the case of the Shentai Riders, bomb that explode using light. A Gish will not hesitate to kill any opponent, and may even consider feasting on him later.
The Gish have domesticated a large breed of lizard which also emerged from The Great Pit of Doom and lives in The Blight. These lizards, known as Teeka, serve as mounts for the Gish. Male Teeka are earth bound, but can run quite fast and can easily carry a Gish soldier and his equipment. They can be trained to ride and fight in formation. Female Teeka are winged and fly gracefully and swiftly. The adult female Teeka also has a breath weapon of pure light that can burn and even disintegrate matter which comes in contact with it. Female Teeka are less common than males, hatching out of the eggs at a rate of 2 males to one female. They are then further compromised during their adolescent years, as many of the Teeka females become horribly maimed and often killed as they attempt to master their breath weapon. The females are much more independent than the males and much less likely to be tamed and harnessed. For these reason the female Teeka are prized by the Gish. Those few Gish who manage to saddle and ride a female Teeka are the revered Shentai Riders.
Shentail Riders are the highest level of the Gish societal system. A Shentai Rider is given everything he or she might want or need. It is a great honor to have a Shentai Rider visit your home. Even a high ranking army general will defer to a Shentai Rider. The only higher position would be the General of the Shentai Rider Corps. The Riders themselves rarely have the time to reap the benefits of their positions, instead letting their families bask in their good fortune. Shentai Riders must be trained to maneuver perfectly with their mounts. They must fly with extreme precision, both low to the ground and high in the air; solo mission or in formation. Shentai Riders must make the best use of their Teeka’s breath weapon and must be trained in the use of aerial weapons, the most devastating of which is a bomb: half clockwork, half light magic, which on impact wreaks great distruction. Because of the dangerous nature of their positions, Shentai Riders seldom reach The Age of Wisdom, where they could enjoy the benefits of their position personally.
Because of the bond that must exist between a Shentai Rider and his or her mount, Many Gish parents pay exorbitant amounts of money to place their eggs in underground nesting caves alongside unhatched Teeka eggs. Quite often the outcome of this arrangement is benign. If one egg hatches before the other, or if the Teeka hatchling is male, the Gish hatchling is simply returned to its parents. However, rarely, a female Teeka egg laying near a Gish egg will hatch within hours of a Gish hatchling. This pair will then carry an uncanny bond. There is a communication between the two on an unspoken level. They will become an unparalleled flying and fighting team. It is though this arrangement that a female Gish may become a Shentai Rider. Some parents are so enthralled with the idea of having a Shentai Rider in the family, they consult with a Veeza in order to better their chances.
The Academy is an incredibly important institution in the Gish society. All male Gish attend The Academy. After the introductory period, the students are tested with multiple physical challenges, as well as tests in logic and military strategy. Those who score low are sent home in disgrace. After the introductory period, the real training begins. The Gish are bred and raised to become ruthless hardened fighters. They are trained in bare handed combat, hand to hand combat with steel weapons, and long range combat using light magic based weapons. They can live off the land and are extremely resourceful and resilient. Upon passing all tests, physical and mental, the Gish students are almost ready to become soldiers. The final test is to wander alone into the blight. There the student is to remain without food, water, protection from the elements, or weapons until he is granted a vision. From that vision, about which he will never speak, he will shape his adult life as a soldier. Those students who are not granted visions either never return from The Blight, or return disgraced, unable to become soldiers, and are put to work as servants at The Academy.
The Gish arose out of the Great Pit of Doom and made their home in The Blight, an area too hostile and toxic for any other race to consider habitable. The Gish at that point were largely cave dwellers and hunters, a fierce society where the stronger males ruled and claimed one mate with which to raise their young in smaller family groups within larger clans.
Things changed when the Great God Tik came to them. The Great God taught them the discipline and organization to form armies for their mutual protection. He taught them to build great cities which could hold many warriors and their families in the same place. He gave them the gift of forging steel for tools and weapons. He gave them the gift of light magic. They praised Him, named their cities and their young after Him, and built The Academy in order to pass on His gifts to the future generations. And then….He left them.
The Gish quickly consulted the Veeza, for surely with their gifts of visions and fortelling and seeing, they would know what to do. Here The Gish made their first great mistake. They believed the Veeza witches would guide them correctly. They believed their generous payment would yield true guidance. They were wrong. This began a reign where the Veeza controlled the Gish with half truths, withheld information, and outright lies. The Veeza crippled this proud, fierce, noble race and hobbled them so that they hid in The Blight like toothless old hags and then used them as the weapon that the Veeza claimed not to weild.
The Veeza unleashed a chaos upon the world like none had ever seen. The Gish gnashed their teeth inside their city walls and stood by, impotent, and there was Great shame. And the chaos swelled and grew in the world until it lashed out, leveling cities and the Gish roared with anger. Still the only satisfaction they could attain were as dogs, sent out on Veeza leashes.
Out of the Blight came Gor. Gor was the God they prayed for: A Gish half again as tall as the largest of them, stronger, smarter, with a ruff that glittered gold in the sun until you had to turn your eyes away. Gor turned them away from the Veeza, taught them to stand for themselves again, reminded them of who they were as a race and showed them where they were to go. Gor helped re-build their cities: cities fortified with walls that contained armies that no one could hope to stand against. Gor reminded them of their devotion to TIK and ordered the construction of a great clockwork wall: in constant motion, made of swords and flails, maces, hammers, and blades: A wall that no one could possibly breech. And Tik saw. And Tik returned.
And Tik ordered a war and the Gish leveled the Veeza and sent their vermin kind scattered to the winds. And the Gish were a proud, noble people again. Never again would they be tethered.