The Tsaesci, which means Snake Palace, are a race of vampiric serpents originating from the continent of Akavir, east of Tamriel. The serpent-folk apparently "ate" the men that lived on Akavir, although this phrase could mean that they assimilated with them as a culture. Their appearance has been described differently on many occasions, the only consistency being that they are "tall, beautiful (if frightening), [and] covered in golden scales." They have been described as having human upper bodies and serpentine lower bodies in some cases and being entirely snake-like in others. The Tsaesci are known to fight without shields or armor, using only swords in combat. The nature of the race is a tapestry of historical contradictions, so what little is known about them is uncertain. It is impossible to separate fact from possible embellishments by storytellers eager to make the Tsaesci more monstrous.
The Tsaesci once invaded Tamriel in 1E 2703, but were driven back by the forces of Emperor Reman I. Surviving Tsaesci in Cyrodiil served as mercenaries and personal guards of nobles. They left many influences on the Imperials, such as the doctrines of the Legion and its equipment (such as the Dai-katana, Blades and Dragonscale armor), and a high society that revered all things Akaviri. The Interregnum cemented the significance of the dragon as a symbol of the Empire. Several Tsaesci even served as Potentate, acting in place of the Emperor when the Reman dynasty ended. The first Potentate, Versidue-Shaie, ushered the Empire into the Second Era, an era of chaos and upheaval. He, and his heir, ruled Tamriel for four hundred years asAkaviri Potentates, until the assassinations that ended their reign in 2E 430.