Alsards (Ahl-Sards) are a Human Descended genoculture with a highly developed and enhanced nervous system that features an entire internal network of secondary nerve-cluster nodes that grant them incredible reflexes, balance and a form of self awareness of their physicality rivalled only by the Solmiri and few others. Passionate and highly empathic, the Alsard are by nature a sensual people who delight in rare and exotic scents, rich fabrics and good food. It is said that the way to an Alsard's heart is through their highly developed senses. They have been known to dare terrible dangers and to risk horrific fates worse than death or deletion in the pursuit of rare spices, the sealed datacaches of ancient gourmands, or the recipes of Withdrawn Hermits noted for their lack of a sense of humor and overwhelming antipathy for the rest of humanity. To an Alsard a challenge is as good as an invitation and they relish adventures almost as much as more sensual pleasures.
Alsards are intrinsic empaths with an impressive emotionally-linked pheromonal capability that some learn how to use to their best advantage in dealing with others. Others who are more oriented towards espionage learn how to convert this capability into a weapon for temporarily beguiling or incapacitating an enemy. The combination of heightened tactility, empathy and pheromonal capabilities make the Alsards very persuasive, to say the least.
The Alsard tend to be tall, shaggy-maned and possess four quadridextrous arms. Their hands are fine-boned, their fingers long, delicate, sensitive and extremely dextrous. Their sense of touch and their incredible dexterity make them capable of astounding feats of misdirection, sleight of hand, martial arts, and climbing. Alsards in particular excel at climbing, sometimes rivalling, sometimes even beating Dezhu climbing-teams, depending on the situation or circumstances.
The features of an Alsard are not truly 'fixed' until they reach physical maturity, and even then they retain a slight amount of plasticity, even malleability in their facial features, allowing them to adjust their appearance in subtle ways. It is not enough in itself for any sort of lasting disguise, but it can be further developed or trained and turned into a real asset for covert operations, cons, or other less than scrupulous endeavors.
In most other respects the Alsard display the full range of human expression and appearance, often cosmetically enhancing or adjusting their features to suit a particular look, style or fashion. For the most part, Alsards are fascinated with being able to adopt disguises, change roles, rearrange costumes, and generally manipulate appearances. Many become thespians, poets, dancers, entertainers or the like precisely because of this deep-seated interest in changing appearances, dressing up or taking on alternate identities. Others become notorious con artists, swindlers or jewel thieves. As long as it is challenging and exciting.
Alsards are often accomplished Duellists, Poets, Guides, Erotopaths, Explorers, Extremoventurers, Athletes and Competitors. They delight in testing their personal abilities with worthy opponents and don't much care if the contest is friendly or not; either way they play to win.
Alsard society is fragmented into smallish tight-knit clans dominated by proven and still relevant and active elders with extensive track records of notable successes. Each such Alsard clan watches over all other Alsard activities within their domain. They generally do not interfere, at least not with adults, and they rarely get involved unless it is deemed necessary to prevent some sort of disaster or tragic loss of prestige.
An adult Alsard, who becomes an adult only by meeting the criteria of their respective clan regardless of age, has the tacit backing and support of the clans, but it isn't until they prove themselves and establish a reputation that they will ever really see any actual, meaningful support, acknowledgement, or assistance from their clan or the clan that oversees the domain they are within.
Alsard children are an unruly and ferociously precocious lot. Most run away from home before they reach physical maturity and set off on idealized adventures calculated to establish their reputations, glory, honor and prestige. Those that survive often do develop impressive resumes of adventures and escapades that few others would have dared to attempt, let alone even think of, quite frankly.