The Áðexe are a clan oriented people. Even in the great cities that cover Læccan, the Áðexe huddle in family units, each living in a single dwelling made of many different houses merged together. Towns and cities are built up of clusters of these family units, with each family compound being a hexagonal shape with only a few doors and windows, and cleared ground between it and any next to it. In cities, where room is harder to find, the Áðexe have learned to adapt, and live in giant beehive shaped buildings, dug partially into the ground as a defence against the bitter cold of the winter storms.
In Æbb, they lie in sod houses made of dried mud brick strengthened with lattices of reeds and brush. On Þracian, they build with stone, permanent structures that have stood for generations. The Áðexe of ?gflota have broken with the old ways and live in many small houses of breeding pairs, rather than in the great family units of the other kingdoms. This forms one more reason why they are viewed as strange and unclean. Many other kingdoms will not let a Áðexe from ?gflota within their borders, for fear of moral corruption and dissolution. Citizens of Hálsiend burrow down into the earth, their homes shallow tunnels just underneath the surface, pockmarked with breathing holes and windows that let in air, but designed to be plugged easily when winter or a hurricane comes close.
Elders are considered the fount of knowledge amongst the Áðexe, and councils of them are found ruling in many places, although some kingdoms prefer hierarchical rule, with a single family exercising dictatorial power over the rest. Stories and tales and laws are rarely written down, but instead passed down by speakers and archivists, whose jobs are to hold certain memories within their heads, and pass them to a worthy successor. However, should this fail, each speaker must spend a month a year reciting all that he knows to scribes in his kingdom’s capital, where the knowledge will be interred for future generations.
The Áðexe are gifted with a magical talent seen nowhere else, for they can shift their own form or that of someone they are touching. The magic allows them to shift other peoples forms in certain physical ways, by altering the muscle and bone structure. The Áðexe can only do this to those they are in contact with, or to themselves. The more sudden the change, the more energy and the more dangerous it is. Even gradual changes become dangerous if a creature moves too far away from its norm. Energy for this magic comes from within, or from the person being changed, in which case the burden is shared.
This talent is fairly rare amongst the Áðexe, and in some places is considered a sign of evil, of being cursed to an untimely grave. In other areas, the shifters are considered a holy sign, a gift from nature to the family. Families that produce unusually high numbers of shifters are prized, and often find their daughters and sons placed above their station into high class breeding families.
In appearance, the Áðexe are vaguely reptilian, their bodies low slung to the ground and capable of walking either upright or on four of their six limbs. Two limbs form vestigial arms, used for fine manipulation but little else. The upper pair of arms are much more massive, mounted with strong hands and webbed claws excellent for swimming. The legs are short and stocky, strongly muscled but not capable of great speed except in short bursts. Their torsos are squat but muscular, with scaly skin the toughness of thick leather covering their head, back, and limbs. Fur sprouts from between the scales, a testament to the chill temperatures that arrive in winter. The jaws of the Áðexe are short but wide, capable of swallowing fish whole. Their colour varies with the season and location, but most have wave-like patterns on their stomachs, to disguise them while swimming.
The Áðexe primarily use tools of stone, wood, and obsidian, although the Þracians have discovered metalworking, a secret they do not share with any others. Armour is formed of reeds or grass woven about wooden plates with stone facings, strong but light. Their ships are more primitive than those of Bedwar Barthu Dirio, but very sturdy and built with extremely thick hulls, due to the prevalence of ice.
They are a greedy people on the whole, with the various kingdoms involved in near constant warfare with one another over the small areas of habitable land. Thus, when the Enaid Brudiwr or spirit mages of Bhreac Veryan came calling, the Áðexe listened closely.