Teyen is the region located in the north east of Sobukand. It is bounded on the west by the Bei Shui River and Dunbar Mountains. The southern boundary is Ziel. This region is mainly tropical rainforest. The major geological feature is the Qi Long River, also known as the Seven Dragons River, which stretches across almost the entirety of the region. This river is extremely important in the history of the region. It is said that once there were sections of the river that would boil with heat and spray up into the air in a great geyser. This has not occurred naturally for many centuries, but certain ceremonies will cause the water to boil with heat and the geyser to fill and spray.
Kings WarsDuring the Kings Wars, Teyen sided with Holthar against the southern kingdoms. Because this region is largely separated from the rest of the kingdoms by the Dunbar Mountains, the Tey (people of Teyen) were not as directly involved as other regions.
Transition to EmpireWhen the Empire was formed and Teyen was invited to join, there was some initial resistance. The Tey have many resources and were skeptical that they would benefit from joining. Empress Landra had good relations with Teyen in the past and was able to assure the people of Teyen that becoming part of the Empire was beneficial to all. She made an agreement that the Empire would buy a certain amount of goods annually. The Tey felt that this was reasonable and agreed. Treaties were signed, and Teyen became part of the Empire.
Present DayTeyen is a collection of city states, each with an appointed, elected or self-appointed head of state simply called “leader”. Each city and its surrounding area, often called the estate, has its own means of picking their leader. Once a leader is picked, they serve for life. Every seven years the leaders from each of the city states travel to one location and meet where they plan out shared public projects and trade agreements.
KoKo is a small city that sits on a patch of land which rises slightly over the surrounding landscape at the mouth of the Qi Long River. The forest thins as one draws closer to the coast, allowing the land to be utilized. This city’s economy is largely based on fishing, being so close to both the sea and the fresh waters of the Qi Long. The Fishermen take pride in the large volume of fish they catch and bring their freshly caught hauls upriver to the city of Tou to sell each week. The more open areas allow for some farming and the raising of small herds of animals, mostly goats. Ko also regularly trades with Liber as they are a short sail away. Frequently these trade goods also make their way up the Qi Long River into central Teyen. However, Ko does not have a deep harbor, so the larger trade vessels cannot easily dock here.
TouTou is the Northern-most city of Teyen. It lies on a bend of the Qi Long River and relies on this great source of water. The rainforest that covers much of Teyen is very dense in this region. Because of this, the city is a large cultivator of tropical fruits and wood from a wide variety of trees. The city of Tou is built on platforms and poles to take advantage of the bounty provided in the canopy of the forest where birds, small animals, monkeys, fruits and a variety of plants live. In the more dense part of the forest, very little sunlight reaches the ground. Houses and buildings are often built in the trees. Long bamboo bridges are built in the canopy, connecting each family dwelling to the common buildings and markets. A complex system of ropes and pulleys is frequently used to rise between levels of the larger buildings or to shift goods around.
NekkuNekku is nestled in the jungle on the banks of the Qi Long. It is known primarily for its artisans. The river is slower and more sedate here as it curves its way past the city. This allows the river folk from Tou an easy journey as they head upriver to trade. The work of these Artists often depict a motif of the Qi Long River as a though it were a living creature in sculpture and paint. Dye is a prized product of this area. The most prized dye is a deep blue in color and is derived from freshwater mollusks that live in the shallows of the Qi Long here. The dye, once harvested, can be made into several shades of blue, as well as purple and a deep midnight black. It is highly sought after for the dying clothing and in the making of ink.
Sangdan BaeSangdan Bae lies deep in the Jungle, surrounded by the bend of the Qi Long. The people of Sangdan Bae dwell in treetop homes and homes on stilts that are built on the floodplain of the Qi Long. The peoples of Sangdan Bae fish and practice a form of aquaculture, cultivating underwater herbs and pearls from the freshwater oysters known to inhabit the region. Their fisherman do not use nets nor line to catch their food, rather they are accomplished divers, descending into the depths of the river. The oysters here also produce pearls that are spectacular in their consistency and highly prized.
HaraHara is another large city along the Qi Long, most notable for its large plateau. Its settlers used the elevated ground to build the area of the city up from the surrounding banks of the river, to rise above its flood waters. Each spring the river can rise as much as six to seven feet from its banks, with rains making this flood surge even worse in some seasons. The floods provide much needed silt and fertile soil to the region. Farmers of Hara take advantage of the fertile soil, growing a variety of fruits, root vegetables, and green leafy vegetables. Unique to this region is a plant that supports the life cycle of the silkworm. The Tey spend time cultivating the plants, farming silkworms and harvesting silk. Hara supplies lumber, silk, and a variety of herbs and flowers to other parts of Sobukand.
WeibaWeiba sits south of the Qi Long on lower ground and contends with annual flooding most years. Known for a gigantic type of tree called the great Yellow Elder the land is dominated by towering trees growing from the waters and wetland along the river. This city is among what is believed to be the densest part of the forest. So dense is the canopy that all else is shrouded in perpetual darkness, and most of the wildlife uniquely adapted to this lifestyle. As in other parts of the forest, the people of Weiba adapted, raising their homes to the treetops. The treehouses are linked by bridges where the sun still can be seen. Rope and pulley lifts are very common here as well. The people are given to celebration and communal feasts. Bees and honey are common in this part of the forest high up in the canopy and some families actually have created homes for the bees so that they can harvest the honey. They use the honey in cooking and to make strong drink of fermented fruits sweetened with honey.
BihaengBihaeng lies on the shore of the Bei Shui River, the border that Teyen shares with Holthar. Being so close to the neighboring Holthar city of Bergerai, the city is a fascinating mixture of cultures. Dense jungle separates the village from its sister towns of Teyen, and the river that divides Teyen from Holthar runs into Gegnum Straight rather than the bay. This isolation from the bulk of the culture of Teyen has produced a city that blends the culture of both Regions. Its primary industries are fishing and livestock, which consist mostly of goats, with some farming homesteads in the surrounding area. Both descendants of Holthar and Tey mix freely here and their traditions are often shared.
BaBa sits far from other settlements and in the thinning edges of the rainforest. It is thought that, at one time, this fork of the Qi Long would change in temperature during certain times of the year. It is said that the waters once boiled along the banks with heat. This boiling had the effect of creating holes in the bedrock and filling to form geysers. It is also remembered that, on occasion, the banks of the river, especially where it forks just north of the city, would overflow and boil the land. Evidence to support this is an extensive network of caves. The people of Teyen see this area as a sacred place and will sometimes journey for days to visit during important celestial times of the year.
Dan NanDan Nan is the largest city in Teyen and is situated at the edge of the rainforest on a beach stretching along the West coast of Sobukand. The sand here is black but pristine, as the nearby volcanoes left their mark on the area. The rainforest contributes its fertility to the area, and the docks bring in their share of trade and food from the sea. The climate and soil are ideal for growing tea plants. A wide variety of tea plants are grown and the leaves are processed by drying, fermenting and smoking to achieve a plethora of flavors. While ancestral shrines are a part of many communities and households, Dan Nan has some of the largest shrines, built as tall pagodas reaching toward the sky. Dan Nan trades by sea with its neighboring provinces, as well as its sister cities along the Qi Long by way of the coastal routes to the headwaters of the great river.
Culture, Clothing, and TraditionsThe Tey are hardworking and hard playing. Each city state has a few areas of specialization, which encourages trade with close neighbors. Family and Ancestors are central to life in Teyen. Because of this, every family builds and maintains a shrine containing the ashes of their ancestors. The Tey see their lives as a continuation of the lives led by family members that have passed on, and take comfort that their life will continue in the lives of their children. The people of Teyen do not do things by half measures. They take great pride in craftsmanship and quality goods. They focus on one field and become experts. Most folk have a job they attend to during the day. At night they gather to tell stories or watch puppet shows or play music for each other. Each city is surrounded by a series of well-planned rural areas. Once a month or so the rural folk travel into the city for market day where goods are exchanged or purchased.
ClothingThe Tey trade silk for wool from Holthar, but do not usually make clothing from it. Instead, they use the wool blended with silk to make blankets and rugs. Most of their clothing is made from silks, dyed in vibrant colors as provided by the rainforest and the Qi Long. Much of the cloth produced here has animal motifs dyed or woven into it. Cotton and linen cloth is relatively rare in Teyen.
FoodThe Tey have a cuisine that varies and includes a plethora of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Spices are also found in abundance and great variety. As far as meats go, chickens, fish and goats are common fair. There are some mushrooms that grow on the rainforest floor, but only enthusiasts will spend the time hunting for them. Both coffee and tea are grown in the foothills of the Dunbar Mountains. Cocoa is also grown along the mountains and then turned into chocolate after harvesting.
MusicThe music of Teyen features woodwinds, water sounds, drums, and the sounds of rocks being clicked together. Flutes and pipes made from bamboo and other lacquered hardwood are also popular. While stringed instruments of all types are favored, the humidity is not good for them, so they tend to be rare.
EntertainmentThe people of Teyen spend leisure time singing, storytelling and playing games. One sport that is very popular is Bao Taishi. The game is played with two teams of twenty, and two long poles held upright. The object is to topple the opponent’s pole. The usual tactic would be to send half the team to try and wrest the pole from their opponent, while half stay to defend their own pole. The result usually is a confused scrum at each pole, as there are no other rules. It becomes a no holds barred wrestling match that can take hours for a winner to be decided, usually by exhaustion.
Birth and Family LifeThe Tey extend their concept of family to include their friends, neighbors, people they shop with frequently, recurring business associates and so on. The local community is their family and they all support each other regardless of blood relationships. It is common for a child to be born into one family but then be raised by another family that needs children but hadn’t been able to produce any. Adults have been known to be formally adopted into other families when their own immediately family grows too small. Each individual essentially chooses their own family ties as they grow and so family can be a tangled web. Children are given names when they are born but as they grow their name may very well change to adapt to their chosen family. A child name Greyce Wier might change their name to be Genie Wizen as they grow. Usually they will still answer to their older names unless something dramatic has caused them to abandon their then family.
TraditionsThe Moon of the Dragon is a holiday celebrated during the second month of the year. February marks the end of Summer and beginning of Fall. During this time of harvest, the Qi Long River is at its lowest ebb. This time is seen as the beginning of the renewal of life under the Dragon’s watch. Observances to honor the ancestors occur throughout the month. Towards the end of the month, festivals to honor the Dragon begin with the burning of sweet smelling incense at shrines along the Qi Long River. The Qi Long River is considered sacred by many. Those who revere the river believe that it represents the flow of life. This is evidenced by the ebb and flow of the water. In the spring months, the river will swell and overflow, granting life to plants and animals that may not survive without it. In the winter, there is a ‘dry’ season where the level of the river is at its lowest and some areas will experience a drying out causing the death of some plants and animals. Because of this, the Tey will attribute luck, joys and sorrows to what is happening with the Qi Long.
DeathWhen a person dies in Teyen, the tradition is to mourn for only one day. After that, the severing ritual is performed. This is where the Spirit is invited to leave the body and go to join the other Ancestors. After this ritual, there is a large celebration. There is food, music, and dancing that culminates in the burning of the body. After the body is completely consumed, the ashes are gathered and placed in the Ancestral shrine.
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