Just south of Ghal Ankhar is a region of alien inhabitants and strange magical sciences. Until recently this was an empty coastal region that belong to the mountain Dwarves but when the Tengu refugees made landfall the dwarves were quick to offer them a nearby place of their own. With no particular gratitude or reluctance, the tengu people accepted the generous asking price for the land and began trade with their neighbors.
It was not a subtle gesture and the other kingdoms knew exactly what motivated this generous gift. The Tengu possessed a number of very bizarre arcane sciences and one of them happened to be the means of creating Manacite. The tengu undertook great labor and effort to forge even the smallest amount of the rock, amounts that could have been created by the Fae with trivial ease. No matter how long it took and how small the output of stone it was still a priceless commodity that the dwarves were eager to buy up.
Ghal Pelor and Homestead are their other largest trading partners. Both cities frequently send merchants to Tengu Town to bring back wonders from across the great ocean. The Elves deeply distrust the refugees. Many believe it has to do with what happened with the arrival of the Autumn Queen. Others believe it’s simply because the elves have the largest remaining stockpile of Manacite and the arrival of the tengu threatens that
Early History and Speculation
Few inhabitants of Tairos know that the tengu story begins far across the ocean on a distant continent known as Kiruma. All the tengu will ever say of their home is that disaster and darkness took it from them. It’s both vague and curious, for many wonder what drove an entire race to take to the dangerous waters of the great ocean and seek a new home. And many of the tengus’ greatest detractors such as the highborn elves often ask if that disaster and darkness might follow them.
What little of their history that is known publicly comes from one of their barges that wrecked off the coast closer to Baradrad. All of the Tengu on board perished and the wreckage that washed ashore offered many clues to those able to translate the avian language.
And the noble houses of Baradrad were able to do just that by reanimating a few of the water-bloated tengu corpses they found intact. Yet, even that offered only fragments. The continent of Kiruma is ruled by a corrupted demi-god named the Jade Emperor who is said to be a master of both the infernal arts and undeath. The tengu fragments say he was once a good man and a child of the heavens but jealousy, deceit and hatred made him embrace the Shadow Path, as they call it. These fragments say their land is a place consumed by conflict as the Emperor looks to expand his territory and extinguish his opposition. He wars with resisting cities and with agents of both the divine and infernal who want to depose him from his throne and either take Kiruma for themselves or set it back on its proper course.
The Voyages Before Tairos
These fragmentary pieces of stolen knowledge also say that Tairos was not the first choice of the tengu. It shows they traveled to many distant shores looking for a suitable home. They found a large island dominated by a hive mind of insectoids that hungrily consumed all matter they came across. Another island infested with slimes, oozes and puddings that all seemed to spawn from ancient factory. Yet another was found where every nation is ruled by dragons who push their servants into never-ending wars for the sake of a great game. They snuck past the naval patrols and nearby coasts of the Rakshasha Paddisha-Emperor, the equally insidious enemy of the Jade Emperor. They passed desert islands dominated by beetle-like Umber Hulks toiling away to build vast empty monuments for seemingly no reason at all. They fled from the shroudlands of the Dark Callers and their sleeping masters. They even say they crossed paths with a nation on the back of a giant turtle and another island with a single ancient city home only to hundreds of pelicans and nothing more. But even among all that wonder their records say they mostly found barren islands and empty ocean. It was only when supplies and hope were fully depleted that they gave in and landed on Tairos.
These fragments say they reconnoitered Tairos a decade before they settled there. Their scouts found it to be a war-ravaged place where magic was all but dead. The tengu never considered it a viable home then. Yet, when their resources were pushed to their breaking point it became the only option and so they made landfall 80 years ago in the emptiest area they could find.
Arrival in Tairos and the establishment of Tengu Town
Dwarven patrols of Ghal Ankhar quickly noticed their arrival and made contact. They could see that even though this new people were numerous they were not a threat but an opportunity. The tengu were approached by gregarious and generous dwarven lords with gifts, welcome and cheer. This saccharine veneer is one that fell deafly on the tengu. They are a very direct and logical people. This false kindness was viewed as manipulative and wasteful. They’ve traveled far and wide and seen a number of honey-tongued races trade promises for enslavement. Instead they chose to buy the land from the dwarves rather than accept any gift from them. They did so with relics and a small cache of manacite. The dwarves eagerly sold off a useless plot of land and pushed for a stead trade of dwarven resources in exchange for more manacite.
The creation of manacite was an ancient art they were skilled in but it is not something they have ever done lightly. They know the stone is made by ripping droplets of pure mana from the Leylines of the land and turning it into a more condensed and potent rock. In their homeland it is only used sparingly because of the dangerous effect it can have on magic. In Tarios it seemed that the kingdoms craved it like a poppy-milk addict craved one last drop despite the damage it does to both mind and soul.
And so the tengu agreed to the trade. They needed the resources and knew that refusal could spark a conflict they were not willing to engage in. Their shamanistic shugenja could feel the damage done to Tairos and knew that if they produced too much stone it could cause a fatal cascade of damage that would engulf the land in flame or wear thin the barrier between the planes and release horrors upon Tairos. The tengu learned to walk the fine line between balancing trade and damaging the leylines.
In recent years their shugenja have felt a subtle yet noticeable rejuvenation in Tairos’ leylines. They’ve seen a small handful of magic users across their adopted homeland learn to use magic again without receiving a fatal dose of tainted mana. They do not believe this a natural occurrence at all. When they first studied the damage ten years before their landfall the leylines were ravaged beyond all repair. They likened the The Queen's Rebuke to a serpent’s envenomed kiss. The body is filled with toxin; every action becomes harder as healthy blood withers. There is no surviving, only managing the time you have. This sudden respite in the deathspiral intrigues them. Many scholars, shugenja and adventures have left the otherwise insular community to try and solve this puzzle.
Almost entirely Tengu. A considerable number of dwarven merchants have set up permanent residence here to benefit from the Tengu manacite.
The Tengu Conclave and its Speakers
The Tengu are ruled by a council of elders called the Conclave. This is not a living body of politicians like so many other races bend the knee to but instead a collection of manacite-like stones each of which contains the bound essence of ancient founders of their race, heroes from times long past or even celestial entities that joined this body.
The stones are installed into a great mirror-like tapestry that contains them all and shapes their experience into a single voice known as the Conclave. Tengu believe that when a mind joins the Conclave it is stripped of individuality and becomes part of the choir-song that is their ruling body. Great tengu leaders are joined with the Conclave upon their deaths, their essence transferred to a manacite stone to join the others. It is also known that many races, spirits and entities other than tengu have become part of the Conclave and that such a joining is seen as an honor and a form of immortality. Many natives to Tairos wonder exactly how willing these joinings are and if the tengu might send emissaries to take away the essence of non-tengu intellectuals and heroes without permission. The tengu have never denied this but they’re fond of saying that a great life should not conclude as wasted meat in the earth and energy in the ether. A great life should have purpose for every life that comes after it.
The Conclave is tended to by Speakers. The Speakers are great scholars and shugenja that hear the choir-song and interrupt its will. The Conclave is often scattered in its thoughts or speaks in fragments. It is believed this is because of its many voices and experiences all merged into a great living library of knowledge on the past, present and even the future. Speakers are treasured members of society deemed equally as vital as the Conclave itself.
The Tengu have some stores of manacite and trained shaman-like spell casters at their disposal. They also have considerable defenses donated by Ghal Ankhar.
Industry & Trade
The tengu ability to produce manacite, even in the small quantities that they do, has made them an invaluable asset to Ghal Ankhar, Ghal Pelor, Homestead and the Stormlands.
Large functional fleet of transport ships, magical workshops, network of merchant spies (The Tengu Trade Union)
Manacite, experienced spell casters, growing wealth
Guilds and Factions
Tengu Trade Union- Merchant activities are handled by a different body entirely- The Trade Union. The Union is made up of prominent industry leaders who oversee fair trade with the other races and within their own community. They also perform the vital function of seeking out new profitable opportunities in other lands for tengu to take advantage of. Union representatives are the government leaders most often encountered by other races. They take up the role of merchant, peacekeeper and ambassador for the tengu race. Other races are fond of calling them Mime-Birds. Union members are extremely efficient at mimicking the behaviors and practices of other races. They can mimic dwarven false generosity, human double-speak and elven honor-protocol flawlessly. Many say that if they every treated with the Saughin they’d find a way to show up drenched in blood and with beaks full of razor teeth.
The Union is also responsible for helping tengu seek employment in other nations they are visiting. It is often why tengu find themselves in less than desirable lines of work elsewhere. What is generally not known is that each foreign worker is also being paid by the Union to watch, observe and learn. And then to eventually return and share his knowledge. It is by this method that the Union teaches its traders to become masters at pitching their services and wares to the other races.
Tengu architecture is noted for its simple and functional aesthetics. They place little regard in the beauty of buildings. They also do not build sturdy, long lasting structures. Buildings are either made to be abandoned quickly or broken down and packed up.
Flat plains along the warm coast. This region is part of the Balmoran plains.
Access to good fishing waters, some safe forested regions for lumber