Instead of being fluent in Lliyani, as most other natives are, they speak some garbled English (think Cajun; thickly accented and with some words replaced) and some of their own language, which they refuse to either reveal to, or even speak before outsiders. However, from what they replace in their English, there are a few words that are known, and they always substitute those words in place of their English counterparts. The only exceptions here are those SaaShiyovisa who are born away from U'Lliyani and learn to speak from their caretakers, so they have no accent and may not know their native language.
Being so isolated helped their evolution, however, it also allowed their gene pool to shrink until nearly all the dragons in the valley are too closely related to breed. What is needed now are some outside genes, though they refuse to mate with any other species of their home realm, mostly because the only other sentient species in their genus is amphibian, and mating with the lower forms disgusts them so much that they'd rather die out as a race than mix their lines. However, this leaves open other dragon species from outer-realms. So the SaaShiyovisa have decided to put forth a few of their kind in hopes that they'd be able to bring in new blood, as it were, and allow their kind and culture, if not their purebred species, to survive.
What is known is that the small creatures known today as dragon~flys are the root species of the SaaShiyovi, though they themselves have gone through evolutionary changes. Back in prehistory, they had both fore and hind legs, where today the modern dragon~fly has only hind legs. The SaaShiyovisa are thought to have evolved from these first creatures, or something like them, and were likely magically enhanced by the gem dragons that kept them.
While the race does have a general look about them, there are differences. The most notable difference is that the magic-users of the clan are smaller and frailer than any non-magic individual, and they also have a higher chance of mutation. Other than that difference, there are two basic wing types, the normal, solid wings, and transparent wings, called 'lacewings.' There is no discernable difference between the wing configuration of the two types, but lacewings carry a gene that allows them to have markings. Any non-lacewing individual can have gradated colors, such as Siamese points, but lacewings have actual markings, such as stripes, spots... pretty much anything goes with these guys. These markings can and are passed on to their offspring, while tattoos, obviously, are not generally (unless the kid wants to get the same design as its parent when it reaches adulthood).
Lacewings are extremely naturalistic (and vain about their markings) - as opposed to their solid-winged brethren who are more materialistic with their adornment and physical beautification - and will nearly never wear jewelry or tattoos. Also, lacewings who are Skilled (see culture) use only natural magic, drawing from the air and earth as opposed to drawing from within their own selves. This does not make lacewings more powerful, however, it simply allows them to use a different kind of magic.
If another species of dragon wishes to mate with a SaaShiyovi, they are more than welcome to fly the chase, as long as males are close to the same size or smaller than the female or are willing to be 'sized down' for the duration. Basically, the dragon is shrunk down (if they do not possess some sort of size-shifting magic of their own) to more closely match the female's size. This is done partly because the male will have to be able to follow where the female flies, possibly densely forested areas, if he wants to have a chance at catching her. It is still unknown whether the offspring of such a chase will grow to be it's father's natural size, as so far no oustiders have attempted the size change in a chase. Male SaaShiyovi may chase other dragons, but if there is a fight or contest involved that is not based on agility or speed, they will most likely not participate, as they won't want to risk injury and miss out on other chases because of it.
Female SaaShiyovi will lay 1-5 eggs per flight, though there is a chance that not all of them will survive if both parents were purebred. Hatchlings are named in any language or manner, but tend to pick up nicknames as a result of their colors and personalities as they mature (for examples of this, see the notes on all of the residents).
There are two categories and five levels, and are determined as follows.
The categories (Artists and Shields) depend on the spirit or personality of the individual. Those who are more playful or enjoy the spotlight will most often be illusionists, called Artists, using their powers to entertain others and just generally have a good time. They keep the clan's spirits high, especially in the winter and early spring when there is less food available and members may feel like giving up.
Individuals who are more serious or have a deep desire to protect those around them use their power to create magical barriers (or in the case of lacewings, physical walls created through magic). These are known as Shields, as they provide an almost continuous protection for their territory from nearly all natural predators. They are most likely at least half of the reason the species has both evolved and survived.
The level of a Skilled individual is determined at birth, and the youngling decides which field to pursue as it grows. All Skilled have stunted wings, though they don't need them to fly with; their sense of strong magic around them allows them to hover midair with almost no effort at all when they become adults. Even Grounders have this talent. The five levels are Grounder, Spark, Star, Moon and Sun. The higher the level, the more likely it is for the individual in question to present unusual physical mutations, and/or have extremely stunted growth of not only their wings, but their entire body.
Grounders carry the lowest level of magical charge, though they are Skilled. Nearly the only way one can tell a Grounder from a non-magic dragon is through it's stunted wings and ability to hover using magic. Other than that, Grounders can only sense magic use, or act as a channel through which natural magic users (all lacewing Skilled use natural magic, some others do as well) can draw power from the earth and air.
Spark level magic-users, usually Artists though it is not impossible for one to become a Shield, can do some simple magics. Spark Artists may entertain the hatchlings of the clan, while a Spark Shield might be able to keep the rain from leaking in through the roof.
Stars are the average level of power, and can be either category. Star Artists can put on illusionary light shows for the entertainment of the clan, or show through imagery either something from their real-life experience, or something entirely made up. Star Shields are able to create both opaque and transparent barriers, and generally help keep the wall around their valley hole-free.
Moons are the second-highest level. They are less common than any other level except Suns, but can be either category. Moon Artists may create dazzling illusions to entertain the clan, or lead predators that may have penetrated the protective shield on a merry chase right back out of it, with the predator having no clue, unless it is a telepath, that the meal it is pursuing is a fake. Moon Shields make up most of the strength of the shield itself when Eikida is resting, and can fully cover a third of the whole valley, a good forty acre expanse, all on their own.
Suns, the highest possible magical level, are normally Shields, though it is not impossible for one to be an Artist. As Shields, they are able to create perfectly impenetrable barriers, both opaque and transparent, covering an immense area. The resident Sun Shield, Eikida, is stronger than most others; she can cover the entire valley with an invisible barrier that prevents all predators from entering. However, she is extremely small and frail, and her wings have mutated nearly into non-existence. Sun Artists would be able to create perfect fabrications, complete with sound, touch, taste and scent, as well as sight. Even an experienced telepath or magic-user would have trouble seeing through these illusions.
In general, a Skilled SaaShiyovi will store up a magical charge within and discharge when they use their talents. Suns have a huge reservoir to draw from, whereas Sparks have a limited space to keep magic. Grounders can sense the magic around them, but have nowhere to store it, though they can lend power to a lacewing in need by simply lending what they can sense. Lacewings, who use natural magic, don't store it within themselves, but are able to draw from their surroundings. For them, a Sun would simply be able to collect and control a large amount of magic, and a Spark would only be able to control a limited amount.