Tengu

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Anatomy:

Tengu warriors.

Tengu are bipedal monsters with bird-like characteristics including feathers, beaks, talons, hard-but-light bones, scaled bird-like hands and feet and excellent vision. All birdpeople tend to be on the thinner side due to the isle's harsh environment and scarce food. Male Tengu generally range from average to above average height(relative to pinkies). Female Tengu have a more diverse sizing, ranging from very short to very tall. Tengu come in thousands of different color combinations and feather types. Naturally strong, Tengu have high jumping and climbing capability due to their light bones. While able to leap and bound for great distances they cannot actually fly. Tengu are only able to have three hatchlings due to their low survival rate. When Tengu are born they have feathers as gray as the land itself. It is said that feather color come from personality and upbringing. When they arrive at adolescence their feathers become very vibrant and bright. As Tengu become older their feathers become darker and deeper in color. Tengu live on a diet of grains and meats and jealously guard over their caches ever vigilant for thieves.

Personality:

Tengu value self-attainment, determination, and willpower above all else. These values are influenced by the way in which one advances in the caste system. Those that strive to become greater and have the mental and physical willpower to defeat their siblings are rewarded with a better life and more opportunity. Because of the caste system and tribal wars, death is very common in the Isle of Wind and Bone and Tengu are not very affected by its presence. The Birdfolk that have never left the Isle hold a special place of hatred in their hearts for other Tengu of different tribes. This stems from the constant warring between the tribes for resources and territory. Thanks to the efforts of Cyrano Long-Beak and many others, the Tengu that left the Isle have attempted set aside their tribal differences in order to boast the power, greatness, and ferocity of their race as a whole. The Tengu of the mainland now believe the other races to be inferior because other races do not have feathers. Bird people pity and patronize them for being bald skinned weirdos. For a Tengu, life without feathers is nothing less than a living hell. Tengu particularly dislike pinkies. Pinkies are the ones who first raided and attacked the Tenguand have not been fully forgiven for it. Additionally the pinkies tend to think they are superior to Tengu and many of them talk down to them. Those are the ones that taste the best.

Lore:

Tengu live on a mysteriously remote island to the far west known as the Isle of Wind and Bone. It is there where nearly all Tengu live and die, few ever venturing from the isle. Socially, Tengu are incredibly self-centered and completely disinterested in anything that doesn't hold their immediate attention or fit to serve their goals. Tengu have been known form bonds with those able to hold their attention long enough Their society is built as caste system based on the hatchling's order of birth. The firstborn hatchlings are destined to be high-class, often becoming leaders or great champions of battle. First born are also known as the Wind-bearers for it is believed that those born first hold within them the potential knowledge of everything past, present, and future. Second born are known as the Earth-bearers. The second born are often farmers, merchants, and shopkeepers, the earth bearers are the backbone of society and take pride in it. The Third born are called Bone-bearers. The third child is a living tool, often living with hundreds of other Bone-bearers in labor flocks. They make up the bulk of the labor force. Bone-bearers are seen as expendable yet valuable since they are the only once fit for hard labor in the mines and mills. Although the system is unchanging, the Tengu believe it is possible to change one's caste status by killing the sibling of a higher caste. It is believed that when one sibling is killed by another, their destiny is absorbed. This is why Tengu are instinctively fratricidal.

There is another caste in Tengu society, the little known and scarcely mentioned Fourth. The Fourth are Tengu children who have been abandoned and grow up parentless and alone. Their feathers never change color from the original gray. Due to undernourshiment Fourth undergo a genetic mutation which they can not pass down genes for colored feathers to their children. Often times they spend their lives wandering the wastes picking a living from the barren rock. They are, for the most part, shunned completely from greater society however there are whispers of the Fourth forming a nomadic tribe out on the wastes.

The Isle of Wind and Bone:

80% of the isle is bleak, gray, and windy. The shoreline is a rocky steppe that eventually levels out into a wide plateau. The bleak landscape is devoid of color. This is why Tengu meticulously groom their feathers to make them shine and lend some color to the world. The climate of the Isle is between 20-65 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the season. The central part of the isle is the most fertile area and is also where most of the bird people reside.However, out in the flats there live scattered tribes of Tengu. These tribes are very mysterious and little is known about them.

The Isle of Wind and Bone as mapped by Sigurd Amundson.

The Isle of Wind and Bone is made mostly of volcanic rocks. The wide flats are former lava flows. Although all these volcanoes are now dormant. Generations ago, the Isle was not as it is now. Where there is nothing but gray wastes, there once were tall trees and wide grasslands. Large terrestrial birds roamed the lands while the great birds ruled the skies. Now only a few examples still thrive including the predatory terror raptors, the majestic and godlike grand eagles, and the herbivorous varieties the Tengu still hunt for food.

Ages ago, before it was known as the Isle of Wind and Bone, the home of the Tengu was a paradise. Across the island, colossal, ancient, trees pierced the sky, surrounding a great volcano. The trees provided for the Tengu all that could be desired. From their mighty limbs bright, succulent fruits hung in abundance for all to enjoy. Their vast, chambered boles provided shelter from the elements and held pools of sweet nectar to quench thirst. It was this place, the land among the heavens, where the Tengu prospered. For the Tengu life among the trees was simple and untroubled. They had nothing to fear. Perched high in their kingdom, the ground below seemed like a figment. Days were spent pruning in the sun, feasting on fruit and nectar, and fluttering among the expansive of their paradise. Come nightfall many would rest with in the abundant boughs that dotted the trees, while others would sing soulfully amongst the starlit branches. It was truly a time of peace.

Among the many Tengu there was one who was more curious than the others. Rather than lazing about like his brethren he would often wander far and below, determined to see what mysteries lie below the treetops. This Tengu’s name was Pell. While no one can recall his true appearance, one feature was prominent: his piercing golden eyes, always looking down, towards the unknown. One day Pell set off on a grand excursion through the trees. His aim? To reach the roots no Tengu had dared to dream of. Had he known the outcome of his actions that day, perhaps he would have opted to celebrate with his friends. Perhaps not. He travelled for days on end, slowly scaling down the forest as the branches were far too thick to allow for flight. He pressed on and the ground slowly approaching. Finally the day had arrived, Pell became the first Tengu to ever set foot up the earth. Amongts the magnificent roots of his home was where he found a single wooden seed, buried just below the base of the tree. The sphere was like nothing he had ever encountered, deep and mysterious, thrumming with a strange energy. He hastily grabbed the seed and placed it in his pouch. That night Pell gazed at the sphere under the light of the stars, its mystique enthralling him. Hours passed like seconds, and soon the sun had risen. Pell had not even realized that he had been staring at the seed all night. The seed would remain at his side for the rest of his life. What Pell would never learn was that this wooden seed he had grown so curious of was an eye of Obellys.

As the weeks went by Pell began slowly became more and more attune to the energy emitted by the eye. Eventually he became able to unconsciously feel the presence of the eye. It wasn’t long after that Pell began to have visions. Each time, he would feel the continuous thrum of weaken, only for a moment. It was in these instants that Pell would see things. Instantaneous at first, he would see quick flashes of a great black mass. Sometimes he could perceive them as taking the form of a wing or a talon or a beak. These images would disappear as quickly as they came and would often leave Pell pondering their meaning. Pell continued to have these flashes for an entire year, until one day the sphere ceased to thrum entirely. And then Pell was plunged into darkness. When he came to, Pell was standing beneath a colossal bird. At first Pell thought that the bird was enveloping the sky due to its massive size, but upon further inspection he realized that the bird was the sky itself. Stars and galaxies shone upon its feathery surface. Beyond the form of the enormous bird there was absolutely nothing. It wasn’t before long that Pell realized this gargantuan bird was expanding, outward, each moment its form expanded further and further replacing the void with its awesome wings. Up to this point Pell had never shown the eye to any other Tengu. Pell’s vision blurred and he found himself standing at another scene: A horrific battlefield, Tengu pitted against Tengu, the bodies of his brethren strewn about, and above them all, a great black bird pecking at their soles as if it were seed.

Over the course of the year Pell continued to have these visions in which this giant bird would swallow the souls of the Tengu whole and expand in size. He surmised that it was feeding on the souls for strength and had taken to calling it the Great Devourer. For every death Pell witnessed, his heart sank and he became fearful. For the first time in his life Pell was terrified of the unknown and of death. At this point Pell had no interest in exploring, opting to stay safely within the boughs of the trees. Every waking moment, Pell’s golden eyes would flit back and forth, endlessly searching for what would cause his demise. Pell’s final vision was the death of a Tengu warrior, sprawled out on the the blood soaked ground, surrounded by haze of smoke and ash. Pell could barely make out the sound of the Tengu’s labored breathing over the roar of battle. As Pell watched, the suffering Tengu let out one final ragged gasp as his soul was snapped up by the great devourer. However, unlike countless times before, the great devourer did not expand. It shuddered and, pulling its massive wings inward, it regurgitated this Tengu’s soul onto the mortal plane, losing a piece of itself in the process. The soul, now enveloped in the essence of the great devourer settled onto the mortal plan in the shape of an egg, waiting to hatch. Pell had seen the path that he must take.

Pell abandoned his life of leisure in the trees and set off for the ground below. Before long he had become a master of the earth, hunting the terrorbirds that roamed the land for food and hewing away the flesh of his once beloved home to make his shelter. In this time Pell grew strong and his heart had steeled. He had finally gained the strength to save his people. Saddled with treasures from the ground and the muscle he had gained, Pell could no longer fly. With his newfound strength he reached the treetop with little effort. However once there he realized the height and frailty of the branches of the trees would not accommodate his weight and size for long. This place could no longer be his home. Even more determined now, Pell cawed out to his people, preaching of the wonders of the ground and all the bounties it offered.

Many of the Tengu were intrigued at the thought of this fanciful land but only a handful were willing to follow Pell at first. There were a number of Tengu who were willing to give Pell a chance. They believed they could simply return to the treetop if Pell’s lifestyle didn’t suit them. Pell refrained from revealing he had lost his ability to fly. As time passed Tengu continued to visit the ground, and some even chose to stay with Pell. As a result a new flock was born. They called themselves the Stone Talons and the original flock were now known as the Wind Wings. For a time life was prosperous and both flocks lived in quiet cooperation. But Pell knew that for the sake of his race, this peace could not last.

As the Stone Talons grew in size they continued to take more and more wood from the great forest. Eventually the Wind Wings began to notice and demanded the Stone Talons stop the deforestation. Pell couldn’t let this happen, he need his people to prosper and become strong. He offered an alternative: Join the Stone Talons on the ground and reunify their flocks as one. He argued that there was much more prosperity on the ground and that the resources were seemingly endless. The Wind Wings declined. Tensions rose between the two tribes as the Stone Talons prospered, trade dwindled and interactions between the flocks were hostile. It wasn’t long before violence broke out between the two tribes. The Wind Walkers, fed up with the deforestation, planned to lay in wait for the Stone Talons and ambush them from above. The goal was to drive the Stone Talons out of the area surrounding the forest and kill a few as a message. The Wind Wings had no idea how strong the Stone Talons had become. There were no survivors. Pell had learned of the attempted ambush and, pleased by how powerful his flock had become, but feared for his people if the ambushes continued. It wasn’t long before reached a decision: The Wind Wings would join the Stone Talons or they would have to perish. It wasn’t an easy choice, attacking his brethren, but he believed their continued resistance would doom them all. So Pell climbed to the Treetops one final time to issue his ultimatum. It wasn’t long before the war began. It was at this time that the Stone Talons came to be known as the War Wings.

The War Wings had one goal: convert or destroy any and all Wind Walkers. Pell believed this would be a simple enough task given that the Wind Walkers were much frailer and not accustomed to fighting. Unfortunately for Pell what the Wind Wings lacked in to strength they made up for in ingenuity and deceit. Ambushes from the air, poisoning of food and water, and even burning sections of their beloved forest to trap the War Wings, all of these tactics were employed by the Wind Walkers. Pell was taken aback at the ferocity and strength of will these Tengu had displayed. The War Wings and the Wind Walkers clashed over and over again, countless lives lost on both sides. All for the sake of maintaining their respective livelihoods.

This war would last decades, and eventually Pell grew old. But his golden eyes stayed sharp until his dying day. Driven by the unbending will, Pell was determined that he would save his people. He believed the only solution was to crush the Wind Walkers so that his people may live in unity and gather strength to defeat the god had seen so long ago. It was only near the end of his life that he realized that he was the one who had torn the Tengu apart, was the cause of the violent deaths that the eye of obellys had shown him. And he wept. There was only one one thing Pell could think to do. The Eye of Obellys was the catalyst for all of the pain he caused. With it Pell had condemned his people to a terrible fate. He would not allow that to happen again.

Pell climbed the summit of the great volcano, passing through the dead trees that had once surrounded it. The journey took all of Pell’s strength to complete, and this would be place of his death. Climbing higher and higher Pell reflected on the memories and dreams he had in his youth of a perfect unified world where everyone lived in harmony. He questioned whether he had been right to shatter the harmony of the original flock in defiance of spiteful god. Was there no such thing as a perfect existence? Should he have accepted his fate and lived peacefully among the trees, only to be swallowed into nothing? In the end it didn’t matter, for Pell knew his time in this world was coming to a close. He approached the rim of the volcano with the Eye in hand and took one long look at the war torn land he had created. Clutching the eye Pell leaped into the volcano, his last thoughts of the world he failed to create. As Pell turned to ash, something curious happened. The Eye started glowing and the volcano began to awaken. The earth began to shake as ash and fire exploded forth, blanket the ground and blotting out the sky. The warring Tengu fled the calamity and were scattered across the isle as a result. Smoke and fire filled the land for what felt like months. When the eruption had subsided, the world was desolate and covered in ash. War had ended and the result of the volcanic even had left a world filled with even greater struggles to be had. The surviving Tengu rose from their hiding places and attempted to rebuild, isolated from their brethren in small sects. This was the founding of the flocks that are known today. Pell created a world full of chaos, but what he left behind was the strength to survive.

Tengu Tribes

Talons The Talons are a tribe who focus primarily on hunting. They are skilled in the uses of leather slings and can kill with a well placed stone to the temple. No prey item is safe from the terrestrial birds to those in the skies. They reside mostly on the Flats and have some cities on Cape Talon. They are reclusive creatures. They like to make flutes from the hallow bones of their prey. In the dark nights you can hear their music carried by the wind over the hills.

Hawkbeaks Hawkbeaks live in coastal dwellings along the eastern coast of the Isle. They have one major mecca in the jaws of Hawkbeak Bay. The only major building is a stone gladiator pit where young Hawkbeaks test their skills of war. From a young age they are taught how to fight using spear and knife. Once they reach manhood, Wind-Bearers of this tribe are given a hatchling terror raptor to raise. Once the raptor reaches adulthood itself it becomes a terrifying mount which Hawkbeaks ride into battle.

Divers Divers keep to the southern coasts and inlets. Divers are the most skilled fisherman, and are capable of holding their breath underwater for over 2 hours. They are masters of patience, often sitting beneath the waterline, in waist deep water, or atop a rock for unsuspecting victims. They often adorn themselves with driftwood and other items that wash ashore. Some carry overly decorated spears and poles adorned with trophys from kills.

Bright Feathers' As their name implies, these Tengu have the grandest plumage. Even though well endowed at birth, they still feel the need to highlight their superior grooming with fine gems, baubles, and bright colors. They can be found living in cave dwellings all throughout the mountains although they are most common on High Feather Point.

Broad Wings The Broad Wings are of smaller stature and have the ability to flutter for short distances. They are the remnants of the Wind Walker flock, that now attempt to draw the power of the great devourer through ritualstic sacrifice. Broad Wings concoct an ichor from the souls of their sacrifces and consume them for strength. This method has shown to bestow the Broad Wings incredible strength and has halucinogenic properties at the gradual cost of their sanity. Another method of soul consumption is cultivating plants using this soul ichor and consuming the seeds produced. The seeds grant less strength than the ichor, and are addictive, but prevent insanity. The Broad Wings are located in the only surving copse of needled poisonwood trees surving on the island.

Ash Hoppers The Ash Hoppers are a nomadic tribe originally formed by a group of Fourth caste Tengu. They actively adopt other Fourth outcasts into their ranks, providing a home and family for those who have never known one. The Ash Walkers are diverse in physique due to the varying tribal origins. One trait all Ash Hoppers do have is their feathers are strictly varying shades of gray and are often adorned with long ragged cloaks. The Ash Hoppers are very reclusive and deeply resentful of the other tribes and Tengu with with colored feathers.

Extinct: Wind Walkers The original tribe that consisted of all the Tengu during the pre-eruption era. They lived peacefully under the binding worship of Okah. The tribe was shattered in the war. Its descendents make up the Broad Wing tribe.

Extinct: War Wings Founded by Pel Sharpbeak and his followers, the War Wings are the forefather's of all the living tribes of Tengu, excluding the Broad Wings. They excelled in war and conquered much of the Isle . Since then, inner schisms and power struggles have divided them into the aforementioned tribes.

List of Known Tengu

Cyrano

Apteryx

Skreech

Rebel

Chirp

Tengu trivia:


-When one Tengu defeats another in battle it is a common ritual to skin and wear their pelt to show their strength.

-Because of their love of their own feathers, a common punishment for breaking the law is to remove a number of feathers from the criminal based on the severity of the crime.

-Tengu take great stock in fertile land, natural beauty, vibrant feathers, and the bones of past enemies. So much that they will go to war to obtain them.

-In addition to feathers, bones are a highly valuable commodity in Tengu society. Value is based on shape, size, and hardness.

-All Tengu have a two part name. Their first name is a given name by their parents and their second name is a physical attribute unique to them. Some second name examples include: Long-Beak, Strong-Song, Loud-Screech, Sharp-Beak etc.

-When aroused, Tengu's legs turn red.

-Tengu feces makes a fine pancake batter.

- Tengu meat tastes like semen tastes.

-Male Tengu beaks are a known aphrodisiac. If a beak is ground into a fine powder and consumed with tea or another liquid, it stimulates sexual prowess for hours on end. If the powder is consumed in a greater concentration (like inhaling) it can cause explosive results in the genitalia of the consumer (i.e. detachment in a rocket-like manner). Alternatively, a Female Tengu beak is an equally powerful laxative when consumed in a similar way. Again, if consumed improperly, the results are explosive causing complete intestinal ejection. The Tengu are hunted and prized for their beaks, though very few succeed.

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