Biology and appearance
The Echani had anatomy similar to humans, but a common feature was that they had light skin, white hair and silver eyes. They exhibited among themselves a remarkable sameness in body type and facial traits. In comparison to their Echani conspecifics the Thyrsians shared only few physical features, remaining Near-Humans never the less. Their look equated the exact opposite: the skin was dark instead of chalk-pale, the hair dark alike and not silvery.
Due to the all-encompassing use of combat in all levels of their culture, Echani Generals were seen by others as having a 'special ability' to predict their opponent's next move. This, however, was simply a tactical skill arising from living in a culture where combat was seen as something akin to a form of communication.
Society and culture
Communication through combat
Echani culture held the belief that to know one fully, you must fight them. Echani fighting was not only self-defense, but a form of self-expression, a means of communication similar to art. For the Echani, it was not at all unusual for children of the same parents to be born so as to be completely indistinguishable from one another to outsiders. Thus, being able to distinguish between like individuals through reading of body movement became an essential requirement.
The Echani were also known to be able to read feelings and emotion through combat. To an Echani, a combat between two people said more than hours of talking. They saw a certain purity in the way techniques were used in battle. The Maktites learned this to their own sorrow circa 3,951 BBY, when their stores of thermal weaponry were rendered ineffectual by relatively simple adjustments in the traditional Echani light armor.
- "Personal shields, I love you so.. crafting and fighting with you… exhilarates me. You are the MAIN focus of my life… (except for my melee weapons and armor)… I love you so."
- ―An Echani Poem
The Echani were known to focus on unarmed combat and melee weapons, such as vibroswords. Echani-made double-bladed vibroblades were used by Palpatine's Royal Guard, yet again influencing their look. Though their personal energy shields were popular during the period surrounding the Meetra Surik's travel through the galaxy, they eventually fell out of general use.
With rare exception, such as the Sun Guard of Thyrsus, the Echani eschewed the use of armor, preferring to fight in minimal clothing. Their fighting style focused more on agility and movement, and so anything that hampered their freedom of movement would be avoided.
Ergeron, a Mandalorian mercenary, was disgusted at the Echani and their relatively "light" weapons.
The Thyrsians were in many views a diametrical contrast to other Echani. Men dominated whereas the society of the rest of the Echani showed matriarchal traits. Their warriors relied neither on light armor nor combat without weapons, but preferred being heavily armored and blades in their hands. In spiritual terms, they focused on the sun rather than the moon. Their military units wore the stylised red suns of Thyrsus as emblems for example.
More than hundred years before the Imperial Period, Thyrsians developed a fixation on matters of the Force, especially the prophecy of a galaxy's savior known as "the son of suns". The Order of the Sith Lords, keeping their existence a secret after the Battle of Ruusan, exploited the Thyrsian faith that the Sith were the subjects of this presage and encouraged the Sun Guards to follow Sith interpretations of Jedi belief, so converting into a Sith cult.
The Thyrsians kept a traditional element of Echani arts in at least one way: the weird skill to read the body language of counterparts and to forecast their next move.
The Echani were a culture of respected warriors. They held a long-standing rivalry with the Mandalorians, with whom they shared many similarities. Important differences, though, are that the Echani focused on light weaponry and armor, relying more on agility rather than heavier weapons and brute force. Sources indicate that females played a large role in their society. Though the details behind the conflict are unknown, it is said the Echani fought against Revan at least once, but were defeated. Like the Mandalorians, who were also defeated by Revan, they respected the combat skill of their enemy.
At one point, an offshoot with an opposite look and its differing culture, originated from Thyrsus, rebelled against the female council that ruled the Six Sisters, a confederation of six worlds dominated by the Echani. In the conflict, known as the Bengali Uprising, the so-called Thyrsians seceded. Their special-missions division made it possible and emerged as the Sun Guard.
- Brianna - The half-Echani youngest handmaiden in the service of Atris. She also was a companion of Meetra Surik, the Jedi Exile.
- Raskta Fenni - The most skilled Echani duelist of her time.
- Handmaiden Sisters - The five elder sisters of Brianna and daughters of Yusanis.
- Raskta Lsu - So named for the legendary Raskta Fenni, Jedi Weapon Master also the most skilled lightsaber duelist of her time.
- Yusanis - Echani General, and later senator, who was father of the six Handmaiden Sisters.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two
- Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
- Crimson Empire (First mentioned)
- Handbook 2: Crimson Empire
- The Emperor's Pawns
- Hero's Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Galaxy at War
- The Essential Atlas