Lesù history begins with the settlement of Zaseshe by Kaème peoples, who came to the island on small canoes from Borea or Zephyria. They spread along the coasts, initially confining themselves to the savannah, but later moving along towards the steppes, sub-tropical forests and swamps, and the mountains.
The Lesù tend to have dark complexions, ranging in skintones from a deep sienna to a russet color. Lesù have relatively low cheekbones, and small ears. They have very dark eyes, and to be born with light eyes is a sign of bad fortune in Lesù society. Their hair is usually wavy or straight, and is usually black. It is usually worn short or close-cropped by women and men, except for a plait (gìshu) or series of plaits that act[s] as a status symbol. Women will wear plaits of equal length, while men can have one main plait and several minor plaits surrounding it.
Genetically, Lesù have a lower-than-average risk for diabetes and xeroderma pigmentosa, but are susceptible to glaucoma and breast cancer. There is a higher than average incidence of cris-du-chat (yayea) among Lesù children, but Downs syndrome is virtually unknown.
MealsEditMeals are a highly ritualized part of traditional Lesù life. The standard ceremonial afternoon meal features six plates: the large, scallop-shaped plate (lyùfeò), the shallow circular dish (miî), the small circular plate (miìyu), the small, deep cup-shaped bowl (gèshai), the boat-shaped dish (ekoyu) and the square cup (febe). An elaborate code of conduct exists concerning the serving order, and the meals allowed to be placed upon each plates. In addition, subtle (or not) messages and cues can be sent to diners; an unwelcome guest might be served soup in his miî, rather than the gèshai.
A typical Lesù meal would place a thin-brothed soup in the gèshai, a seafood meal with garnishing in the lyùfeò, a vegetable entree on the miî, some thinly sliced fruits on the miìyu, a paste-type dish consisting of grains, meat, and vegetables in the ekoyu, and a beverage of some sort in the febe, with some long, thinly cut fruits or vegetables placed within for extra flavor.
Lesù clothing may seem garishly colored by Western standards, consisting of plain, unadorned, or slightly embroidered fabric wrappings or robes, dyed in vibrant, often violent, hues, yellow and red being the most common. Clothing is not a status symbol, since the gìshu, bedecked with ties, feathers, beads, and other ornaments, already serves that purpose; peasants and nobles may wear similar outfits. The fabric is thin and porous, but during the warm winters, thicker textiles are used.
The Lesù lack deities in a traditional sense, turning instead to a complex system of ancestor worship and shamanism. Mummified remains and crematorial urns are placed in stone necropoli, partially over and below the ground, outside of settlements. Temples in the mountains and along the coasts are devoted to nature spirits, and are inhabited by priests who lead monk-like existences; these complexes are the sites of pilgrimages. Within towns and villages, wise men and women hold biweekly ceremonies to honour the dead and the spirits, and annual holidays commemorate events such as the solstices.
Piercengs and tattoos are reviled by the Lesù, who see them as sacreligious attempts to distance the body from the physical realm, or at least as hideous, gruesome and masochistic. However, paints and henna, which are applied onto the skin and not through or beneath it, are used in everyday life to adorn the face, hands, and back. Such uses are endorsed by the shamans, who see them as methods of connecting to the spirit world while remaining a part of the mortal one.