Biology and appearance
Like the Chiss, the Iscali evolved in a cold climate and into skin tones of blue, along with shades of white as well. Their hair also came in shades of cream, including pure white, and purple, from dark royal purple to soft lilac. Most Iscali were slender for their heights (adults stood between 1.65 and 1.80 meters tall), though males were customarily more muscular than females.
Though mostly humanoid, Iscali had horn on their heads; females grew a single pair of down-curved horns from the sides of their craniums, while males grew a second pair of smaller horns from their temples as well. The downward curve had arisen from evolution; male Iscali, before developing sentience, would fight over territory or females by ramming their heads together. Even millennia later, male Iscali had thick skulls which were difficult to damage through blunt force trauma.
Iscali had a gestational period of roughly ten standard months; younglings were born without horns, though these began to develop within the first year of life, and grew to full physical maturity around the age of nineteen. The Iscali were omnivorous.
The Iscali, like most of the species of Iscandar without heavy fur coats, evolved in the tundra and permafrost around the planet's equator. Living in gorges, canyons, and cave networks, they gradually went from small tribes huddled together out of the wind to large societies which dug ever deeper into mountains and hillsides, forming complex city networks below ground. Even when they eventually developed electricity to provide heat indoors, the Iscali tended to prefer warming their cave-cities rather than building heated buildings on Iscandar's surface.
The Iscali quickly developed many strategies to counter the environmental hostility of their homeworld, building enormous farms underground which were heated and nurtured with ultraviolet lights and water irrigated from snow on the surface. Further, Iscali society developed numerous technologies common to the known galaxy, but without any influence from the Republic or the Rakata, including energy weapons, repulsorlift engines, and even hyperdrive technology.
The Iscali had fully traversed their own system and established small outposts on all four of Iscandar's moons by 900 BBY. In 503 BBY, Iscali explorers colonized Tershin, expanding their influence to an entirely different system. They also made contact with the natives of Keliso and Yin, establishing trade with both planets and exporting some of their space technology.
In 94 ABY, Iscali explorers encountered the Prime Fleet of the Golden Empire, and invited the Empire's Queen, Rin Sakaros, to Iscandar to parley. After listening to Rin's vision for a unified galaxy, and observing what she had accomplished so far on less-developed systems, the Iscali leaders came to believe that Rin shared their desire to better all societies, and willingly brought Iscandar and Tershin into the Empire. Further, they shared their navigational researches with Rin, supporting the quick expansion of the Empire through the sector.
The Iscali became a crucial part of the Empire very quickly; as one of the only space-faring races in the Empire's territory at the time, several Iscali quickly rose to command positions in the Royal Navy and led ships during the Great Liberation.
Society and culture
Warfare between societies on Iscandar was relatively rare, compared to most emerging sentient species throughout the galaxy. Due to the Iscali tendency to build cities in caves and other underground locations, attempts to conquer other city-states usually degenerated into long, costly sieges which could be as devastating to the attacker as to the defender. Over time, this developed into a mostly unwarlike nature.
Iscali city-states were ruled by a small oligarchy elected for life from among the citizens of the city-states. Both male and female Iscali eventually acquired the right to vote upon reaching adulthood at nineteen. Some time before 1,000 BBY, the Iscali city-states on Iscandar united to form a loose confederation, with each city-state sending two representatives (one male, one female) to the assembly. The confederation could not interfere with local politics, but represented Iscandar as a whole, including authorizing the establishment of colonies off the surface of the planet. When Iscandar joined the Golden Empire, the motion was first proposed by the confederation's assembly, but had to be subsequently ratified by every city-state in turn.
The Iscali were an inquisitive people given to exploration, and were unstinting in sharing most of their technological achievements with other races they encountered, though they tended to keep weapons technology to themselves.
In the galaxy
The Iscali acquired early distinction in the Golden Empire, with several Iscali assuming fleet command positions; perhaps the most famous of these was the pilot Kesanion, who succeeded Tariun Sakaros as the commander of the elite Redblade Squadron. The Iscali also contributed at least three Centurions to the Order of Keltrayu: Melnanooin, Noelle, and the traitor Vessyk. This last led biologists and some members of the Order to speculate that, like Ufali and Humans, the Iscali produced an irregularly high number of Force-sensitives.