College of Birds
The College possesses a loose organisational structure among six governmental bodies (called Standards) who also double as research bodies in the areas of Arithmetry, Artificery, Alchemistry, Archivistery, Teotl and Sympathy Studies. These bodies also encompass several smaller and flexible committees that have expanded, dissolved and involved external members both in developmental projects and in drafting Toik policies.
JoabinThe system is a bureaucracy of researchers, but when it comes to singular representation to the outside world: a temporary leadership position of Joabin is bestowed on a respected member of their hierarchy. It is a leadership position that only technically exists outside the mountain.
The original purpose of settling in Tlopetlan was to find sanctuary from invaders. To hide, and only venture out to offer measly tributes. All the while, growing their strength in secret and fostering various means to multiply their power projection safely from their mountain. The College of Birds has become known far and wide more as an exclusive institution, rather than as the settlement it is. In any case, the College continues to advance Toiks' understanding of physical law, including reviewing ancient knowledge, for the expressed purpose of creating spells geared to its own defense and survival. Inventions and experiences discovered by these the College's committees are published to its citizens, and when not; officials take an oath of secrecy for the concealing of those thought ill-fit to keep secrets.
Tlopetlan's Hidden GeyserInside Tlopetlan is a hollow shaft where the boiling water of a subterranean source erupts twice a day and is a great and reliable source of water. Because it was so hidden, the shadow people, (as the Toiks called the Wargs), were unaware of the true numbers of the Toiks capable of surviving in the mountain.
Exotic BirdsThe lonely Tlopetla Mountain stands in the middle of the East-West corridor, where the winds regularly and randomly change directions which tends to trap a great many birds of particular value. Bird feathers have been a highly valued commodity for as long there have been humans in the valley. Naturally molted feathers are collected as part of trade, but the College also specializes in training birds to entertain and direct the movements of war bands.
WanuThe hundreds of birds seeking refuge from the breezeway winds, find shelter atop Tlopetla's cratered crown and excrete tonnes of waste valuable as fertilizer.
Sang from the Shadow plain and into conflict with the original Toiks in the region. The Toiks named it so as the shadow people (specifically the Sang) bound the land and its people to their will for a century. Those not mobile enough to find sanctuary in the mountain or across the lake were enslaved into a hereditary class of servants to their conquerors. While the Toiks who got away via the Sauoomsae evolved into a more aggressive culture than their ancestors. Or than the Toiks who hid in the mountain. The mountain Toiks were not far enough away to avoid further collisions with the sang, but were allowed to stay confined to their mountain in exchange for costly tribute.
Temple Column DeceptionSeveral decades later, a lone Toik messenger pensioned on behalf of the mountain Toiks to be allowed to build a grand outside temple to the sun and sky god they worshiped. This was granted, and construction on enormous sandstone column were feverishly started but mistakes and complications over the course of 10 years forced Toik planners and builders to repeatedly relocate the intended site. Until at the end, a semi-circle of tall columns encircled Tlopetlan Mountain from lake shore to lake shore. The excuse of surveying errors and cultural inferiority given to the Sang overlords for the sorry state of the temple construction site(s) was finally revealed to be a ruse to build formattable defenses. In the 25th year of the Cocao War a detachment of soldiers left Crochide to take the stronghold before the new wall (as the Sang thought it was) could be completed; as it was only columns that were built.
Sunflower SiegeFound out, the builders retreated into Tlopetla at the sight of a marching dust cloud. Emboldened and unconcerned with the half completed structure, they marched in rows under an overcast towards the main mountain entrance. Then, without notice, the clouds parted and the full sun beamed its rays on polished sheets and mirrors mounted at the column tops. The result was a force multiplier no one ever encountered. Unaware of the Toiks' discovery, the warriors walked into a fire trap, the rear guard watched helplessly and the van continued on none the wiser. Half of the men caught inbetween the pillars were set aflame and the other half either got away with the rear guard or vanished into the mountain entrance. Never to be seen again.
Joining the EnemyThe college's intervention during the Blue Battle both impressed and terrified their former sang enemies such that they wanted them as allies. The Standards agreed under strict conditions that essentially boiled down to not undermining the Alignment in exchange for access to trade and foreign markets. Although unsaid, what Sangsalgu hoped for was access to the developments of the College of Birds.
Demography and Population
Toiks are not an expansionist people. They much prefer to stick within their lonely mountain but the river Toiks like to range freely along the sauoomsae river and lightning lake.
Sky CoastThe mountain's apex is a sunken haven for the many birds trapped in the cross winds. Toik aviary workers manage rope and hemp nets, and net walls connected to balloons and kites to wrangle the birds for capture to trade.
Mountain Trunk MazeThe only entrance into the interior of Tlopetlan Mountain. Moving from the outside inward, starts with a decent on weathered steps into dark unmapped rooms where no non-Toiks has ever made it through.
There exists a great deal of mystery and towards the College's true capabilities. While others seek to regain past forgotten spells or steal them from far-flung place, the College actively develops its own. Catching many friends and foes off guard with secret spells.
Predictive ForesightDevelopment of secretive calculations combined with a host conventional methods of clairvoyance to gain insight on its varied neighbours for a great many political issues.
War Birds TrainingWhy the College is called "of Birds" is due in large part to the brilliant and huge birds that are trained to deliver messages and direct troop movement through coded flight patterns.
Medical SurgeryThe College recognizes three main causes of illness and injury: supernatural cases, malevolent curses, and practical causes. As exemplified by the yearly Texotlaticiliztli competitions, many types of doctors publicly experiment/showcase dilemmas and resolutions in both living and dead bodies. The sorts of successful treatments, however, are only available to ethic Toiks of the mountain and river. Outsiders must chance themselves on the whims of the Texotlaticiliztli experimenter.
Materials StudyNearly every substance under the sun has been put under the College's scrutiny for their feasibility in constructing complex spells. And while a great many lesser technologies have been made under the Standards. The slow advancement of the Toiks' collective progress in spells are kept to themselves. Although, it is generally acknowledged by outsiders that salt and glass are the only natural conductors of teotl and the continued existence of material and teotl committees together have raised speculations of artificial materials, similar to focus stones, that greatly expand potential magics.
Teotl TestingDefined as 'spirit' by those famous witches and denoted as a unit of time by Quetzalcoatl priests. Teotl are the energies internal to all living things and the means by which most spells can be performed. Once, it was thought that all cities were equal in their understanding of teotl; but as with a quiet child in a full class, the Toiks displayed a tremendous feat when a surge of teotl smited an attacking wight army, and left a pale red trail streaming from the Tlopetlan peak.
The Toiks answered a complicated question, then sat back down.
Mytenii on the StepAlly
Member of the Triple Alignment with peaceable trade relations existing long before either joined
Closest foreign settlement relationship
Through the Alignment, trade connections are established that circumvent Sangsalgu beneath the Range's shadow
Trade & Transport
East-West CorridorWhere the Tlopetlan mountain rises splits the wide opening between the mountainous Northern Range and the Bad Step into two openings that Toiks, by their position, possess total control over. Both easily connect Sauoomsae, the Wilds and the Deeper Swamp to the Shadow Pass which detracts trade from the Black Road.
Shadow PassAlong the foot of the Range, from sunrise to sunset, casts a massive shadow that extends and retracts, and lines a sliver of valley ground in perpetual shadow. Within this shadow is a major stem of trade that grows towards Salt Side with branch paths that break off along the way to markets in constant need.
College VaultA secured storage hall of the accumulated mineral and feather wealth of the mountain Toik. The resources kept in the vault are used to back the value of their Notes, although no outsider can actually request feathers themselves.
Library HallThe depository of all the Toiks accumulated knowledge. Of particular interest to outsiders is its study of teotl, medicine, and cosmology.
Sun PillarsA collection of simple 40 foot pillar regularly arrayed and crowned with focusers of various materials (mirrors, polished brass, lenses) that redirect sun rays onto the pathways between them.
- Specialized Contractors
- Bird Feathers
- War Birds
- Food Stuffs
- Arithmetician Standard
- Artificery Standard
- Alchemist Standard
- Sympathy Courts
- Archivist Reviews
- Naming Tribunals
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