I know this visual guide is a bit lame but I am focusing on some other artworks right now. I will make a better one sometime down the road. And I do want some other fun alternate forms but I haven't designed them yet! Time will tell ;]
Quadrupedal body resembling a dog or deer. Legs have three toes on each foot and have short, velvet fur. Body is covered with thick fur. Tail itself is short and thin with limited range of movement, it is covered with very long fur that drags on the ground. Size and physique vary.
Elongated with a snout. May or may not have nostrils, but there is no mouth or external ear structures. Face has very short fur with a velvet texture. Eyes are large, protruding, and unblinking. Eyes are dark, the pupil either takes up the entire eye or shows a very small sliver of iris around it. Expressions are muted and mostly unchanging, but they may have an overall smiling or frowning quality to the face (similar to a dolphin's "smile").
Mostly dark, muted or earth tones. Face and tail are often contrasting to the rest of the body and face is normally lighter than the rest of the body or a similar shade. Markings are mostly subtle gradients and fades, legs are usually darker than the rest of the body. A dark contrasting mask is unusual.
A defining characteristic is the integration of natural elements with the body including plants, fungi, minerals, and so on. Most commonly each Esk has a single element that sprouts from the torso.
Esk are not animals and are more like ghosts, so internal anatomy is a manifestation that does not necessarily have to be a skeleton and flesh etc (though it can if you want). There might be more of the nature element in there, a bunch of dirt, mud, sand... goop? nothing? This is up for creative interpretation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------Esk are a closed species created and owned by witherlings
NOTE --- CRYSTALS ARE A RESERVED TRAIT AND CANNOT BE USED IN ANY ESK DESIGNS
EDIT: decided to add some highlights from the Species FAQ I am working on...
Does the plant on the Esk grow with the Esk? Do they change with the seasons?
The plant on the Esk can be seen any age or stage of growth at any given time — the plants and nature features on the Esk are a supernatural manifestation of their personality, environment, and emotions; they are not normal organisms growing out of the body, the Esk and the nature features are all one entity.
The plants are likely to change with the seasons based on the Esk responding to its environment, but they do not have to.
How did Esk originate? Where did they come from?
Esk have been creating each other since prehistoric times — it is unknown how the first Esk were created.
Do Esk mate?
Esk do not mate, they are only created by transforming other beings into Esk.
Are there baby Esk?
Esk do not age like animals. They may appear or seem youthful based on how they were in their past life. If they were transformed into an Esk at a young age, they are more likely to appear as a young-seeming Esk, and if they were older than they might appear as an older-seeming Esk. The appearance of age can also represent a youthfulness of spirit and not necessarily the age they were when transformed. An Esk may have existed for a very, very long time and still remain in a childlike state, appearance, or frame of mind.
What do Esk eat?
Esk do not eat, they do not have mouths, tongues, or teeth. They are ethereal and do not need nourishment.
Can Esk die? Can they get sick?
They do not age and die like animals do, but they can give up their form. This leaves a mark in their environment that holds their memory — it might be a patch of plants related to the plants of their form, it could be a relic or unusual natural formation, or the mark could be some kind of phenomenon or subtle essence. Esk can only give up their form by requesting it from another Esk — it is a form of Transformation. Esk may remain immortal if they choose.
Esk can become sick but not from pathogens. Sickness for an Esk is a "soul sickness" where they may be depressed, slow-moving, or feel malaise based on poor emotional state. Their nature features may change in appearance to reflect this illness.
Can their plants or nature features decay or get moldy?
The plants and nature features are an apparition and not true organisms, so they do not go through a physical process of decomposition. However, Esk can appear with mold and decayed features as part of their manifestation. This simply means that mold or decay are just an illusion and the nature features are not actually breaking down, they can even appear moldy and then appear healthy again afterward. There can also be Mold Esk who always appear with mold as their nature feature without changing, or Esk that always have their nature features appear in a state of decomposition. This is pretty flexible and up for creative interpretation.
How big or small can Esk be?
As big as a large tree to as small as a tiny sprout.
Can parts of their plants break off? What happens if they break?
Esk's nature features can be broken and regrow. However, Esk that manifest with broken branches or stumps do not regenerate. If they started off with broken plants, they stay broken. If they started off with in-tact plants, they will regenerate.
How good is their vision or hearing?
The average Esk has a range of vision similar to ours, but with exceptional night vision. Some may not be able to see or hear, some may have extraordinary or supernatural vision or hearing, they are all different. This is also up for creative interpretation.
Do Esk make sounds?
Esk do not speak or make vocalizations, but can create sounds in other creative ways. Some might give off a humming sound or cause tinnitus in humans, some might make clacking sounds with their nature features or jangle something around that is hanging from a branch, etc. This is also up for creative interpretation.
Are Esk intelligent?
They can be as intelligent or more intelligent than they were in their previous form.
How do Esk behave toward humans?
Esk all have their own personalities and perceptions of humans; some are kind and others are spiteful.
Are Esk affected by human pollution?
Yes, they have an emotional bond with their environment and pollution affects them. Many Esk like to clean up their home environments. They can also accumulate human materials or garbage in their form as accessories.
What do Esk do?
All Esk have their own interests. For the most part, Travelers like to act as guardians of their environment and will assist those who enter it and the plants and animals that live there, while Trespassers are usually not so helpful and may be isolated or destructive. Esk interact with humans in their environment in all different ways. Esk may also have their own interests based on their past lives.