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Teluani - Children of the Dream

Their dreams are said to keep the world alive. Yet their actions create nightmares worse than death could ever be.
— Venaria Marten, Feran Diplomat
  "Before I launch into my report on one of the great tribes of the south, I have to make a note...nay request of his majesty, to be taken into consideration with every future diplomatic mission or message: Do not treat these people as Barbarians or lesser Men in any way. For they are the heirs of ancient Theoucal and lords of a civilization that is the equal of the Eternal Empire in pride, prosperity and power."  

On the Physical

 
"Where Teluani common outside of their homeland, one would be easily able to spot them. Far from the tallest of people, even the larger Teluani are more than a head shorter than the average Rhomeian. Female Teluani are shorter than that even. Their small stature should not create illusions of weakness, however. In exchange they possess broad backs and strong extremities, easily applied to the take down of taller enemies."   "The second big distinguishing feature compared to the other tribes of the Divide, is the colour of their skin. Across the board, the Teluani possess skin tones that range from dark tans to full on brown, many would probably count as the darkest if not for another group of people I will report on. It is a great rarity to find someone with skin that is pale in any way and in some remote parts such humans will be seen as imbued with strange powers."   "Compared to other characteristics, their facial features seem rather mundane. Somewhere in-between angular and round, a nice medium so to speak. Their noses are often long and broad, their lips a bit on the thicker side and their eyes round and large as if to shout whatever they may feel at you. Hair is often thick and rather coarse and of various shades of brown or black. Eye colours are similarly earthen, with greens and browns dominating."
 

On the Mental and Social

 
"To understand Teluani society, one has to understand their cosmology. In-depth explanation of said topic will follow in another report, but I will try to give as concise as possible overview. It is quite important a topic as it influences most aspects of southern life. Teluani religion will seem both familiar and strange to any foreigner and I believe that it will take a learned priest to give a truly accurate account of the southern faiths."
 
The Dream

"All that you see, smell, feel and hear, all that was, is and will be, everything is but the result of Mexhani dreaming. This one sentence summarizes how the Teluani view the world. Mexhani, the Great Mother, is a being far beyond our understanding, more equal to the cosmic forces of other mythologies rather than your average god. The essence of this Dream is the blood in our veins and as the dream children were made to live and multiply, there are beings closer to the original dream and those further away. It is this difference that serves as the basis for Teluani society."
The Others

"Mexhani, however, is only the last of a pantheon of great beings. A survivor who perpetually flees from some great unknown horror any Teluani text does its best to mention with as few words as possible. It constantly attempts to devour the dream and is only warded off by the strength of the Great Mother. To strengthen her, the Teluani utilize ritual sacrifice for blood is power and every drop spilled equal to her essence returned to her. Depending on status of the person, a sacrifice will be of greater or lesser use. How this is applied does vary, however."
  "From this distinction originates the system of Blood Castes. Four major castes are known and all but one further divide into sub-castes. They determine social status, quality of life and all possibilities that are open to one. Entry is gained via birth while exit from one caste is more...lets say complicated."  
Ethereal Blood

"First among the Teluani are those closest to the original images dreamed into existence. Tlenama, those of Ethereal Blood, serve three purposes which form the basis of the three upper castes. Purest of all are the Tle-Tatcl, Priests in some cases even Priest-Kings, for they connect directly with the dream. Then come the Tle-Savatl, a sort of nobility which serve as temple workers and are used to breed the best sacrifices. Last are the Tle-Astai, the scribes and archivars who keep the realms of man running."
Burning Blood

"You will find that there are no Kings or Nobility removed from faithful duties among the highest cast. For the pursuit of power and status in any way not connected to the Dream is seen as diluting and those doing so or descending from such people are seen as lesser. Hecheotl are they and this caste includes all who either pursue power and order or serve this pursuit: Anacti, the kings; Coaceti, the soldiers and Salameti, the mercenaries. Few of this caste are ever sacrificed in the normal way, however."
Earthen Blood

"Last and most definitely least are those who pursue matters wholly disconnected from the dream. The Hecheotl at least keep the order necessary for the Tlenama to do their duties, but the Sekaskel are merely focused on living for their own sake and not what is important. Unlike the other two groups, the Sekaskel do not have names that are shared by all Teluani. They vary from region to region and to list them all here would take days for everyone above a beggar and below a noble is a Sekaskel."
  Vermin Blood  
"Furthest from the dream and not considered worthy to live in it are the Tlacoli, the Vermin. Those begging, the Naski; those who steal, murder or cheat, the Allaki; and those who are slaves, the Temoi. They all do nothing but feast on the dreams of the Mother and sacrifice of them, be it in blood or sweat, is duty so they may do at least some good while on this earth. And yes, those are the same Temoi I have previously mentioned."
 

On Women and Ethnicity

 
"A point of note is that women do not enjoy the same status in the far south as they do among Rhomeians or Vardanians. They are most definitely seen as lesser, and their lives determined by husband or farther. How strict this view is does depend on region, but even the most open will pale when compared to lands in the north."   "While the main two ethnicities of this land are Teluani and Temoi, there is a third group as of yet unmentioned. Millennia of co-existence have seen people of mixed origin emerge. These Mexati are usually treated as something unique and alternatively tolerated, oppressed to various degrees or purged wherever found."   "It would do well to mention now that the Teluani are not one singular block. Many hundred tribes are Teluani, often divided in how close they follow the old ideals of fallen Theoucal and its last daughter Atzlan. How strictly these ideals are followed can often influence foreign policy and determine who is ally and who is foe."
 

Government and Culture

 
"Inferra is very much a continent in the grip of theocratic government. Even if many cities are nominally ruled by Kings, their power is partially based on the support of either the Tle-Tactl or Tle-Savatl castes. Rule of any kind, in the Teluani mindset, can only be justified in accordance with the Great Mother and her dream.   Any ruler therefor has to balance his own interests with those of the Ethereal Caste. Only a fool would believe that this would forge the Teluani into a unified force, however. The will of the Mother seems hard to truly divine and the people of the south are as divided as any other. Dream Divination plays an important role in Teluani society. Many decisions both personal and business are made based on how a divination might go. Those proven to be capable in such matters enjoy great renown and wealth.   As the Great Dream constantly shifts, so do the effects rituals have. The result is that outside of a few set occasions, the scale and timing of celebrations change constantly as do the rituals employed. Blood sacrifice in one way or another, often in the guise of a game or competition, is perhaps the only constant."
 
Quite honestly it is lucky that Inferra was rediscovered after Empress Anteia's death. I fear the way Teluani dignitaries would have treated her would have been cause for a dozen wars alone.
— Meleis Aganis, Rhomeian Diplomat
Significant presence in
Origin
Primordial Empires
Class
Inheritors
Status
Alive
Spoken Languages
Teani
Old Rhomeian
On the Faith  
"Teluani religion is organized in so far as that it possesses a hierarchy with rigidly determined positions, codified texts and operates out of vast temple complexes. In other aspects it is much closer to the old faiths of Rhomeia with multiple sub-cults, worshiping various saint-like figures and demigods, competing for the attention of the people. There is no overarching hierarchy, however. Every larger temple has its own interpretation of the Will of the Great Mother. Which dominates is often determined by which city-state currently has the greatest influence over Inferra."
  On the Powers  
"Out of the five powers currently dominating Inferran politics, four are largely under Teluani control:"  
  • Heocan:
    Oldest of the great cities in both age and outlook. Heocan still follows the old ways to the letter, pure Teluani being the at the top, both Temoi and Mexati treated as vermin at best.
  • Teoktilan:
    At present the preeminent power of the south, Teoktilan is inhabited by both Teluani and Mexati with the former being most definitely the dominant one. Mexati are barely tolerated and Temoi only found as slaves or sacrifices.
  • Xhonoco:
    Most liberal of the five in many ways is Inferra's northern gate. A city founded by outlaws it does welcome anyone regardless of characteristic. It also is less hesitant toward foreigners, although this attitude is a more recent development in an attempt to sustain and increase trade relations with the wider world.
    Death and Unlife  
"The end of life holds a special place in the minds of the Teluani for it allows the souls or spirit or essence of the deceased to reunite with the Great Mother. Suicide is discouraged, however, as those that commit it are said to be rejected by the Mother and devoured by the Other, enduring an eternity of torment."   "Wherever the deceased is reborn into the Dream again or remains part of the Mother is hotly debated among southern men of faith and presents a particularly sensitive issue similar to the Great Schism that is currently ravaging the faith of the Vashin ."   "In terms of burial rites, the Teluani are rather simplistic so to speak. The deceased's body is drained of all blood and later incinerated, the ash serving as part of a variety of substances such as fertilizer or cement. Teluani faith holds that those living from the dream should give back to it."
  On Sacrifice  
"To say that human sacrifice is important in Teluani society would be a gross understatement. It is integral to their way of life. Sacrifices are held to bring in beneficial weather, good harvests, prevent disaster both natural and man-made, ensure victory in war and so on. Almost any aspect of life can be influenced by the right sacrifice. The success of said sacrifice is determined by the quality of the blood used, which serves partially as the basis for the Blood Caste System. How it is sacrificed varies from full on Human sacrifice over animals to rituals using drained blood."
 

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Cover image: by Lucas Parolin

Comments

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Sparkles2.0
Nella Sparkles
15 Sep, 2021 19:07

I liked the perspective of somebody reporting on the culture from within the world and the writing was pulling!