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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.


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.


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 seemingly kind, however, deep down every one of them contains the capacity for violence. When insulted, a Tengu will always retaliate.

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 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.


The Isle: A History

In the early age of the Tengu their small island was known as Okah, or "mother". Okah was their protector and their provider. In return, the Tengu protected and revered Okah's beauty living peacefully along side her. In these days the ancient Tengu had the ability of flight and knew no bounds. They lived as one tribe, remembered as the "Sky Rulers". The people lived peacefully alongside each other. All her children were equal in the eyes of Okah. However, as time went on a Tengu by the name of Pel Sharpbeak grew ambitious. He believed that the Tengu were capable much more than simple existence scratching a living from rocks. Pel was a dreamer, and believed that the world could be shaped to the desires of the Tengu. Pel took a simple obsidian axe and felled one of Okah's mightiest trees, and built a grand hall for himself. Fueled by creativity he began to manipulate the land as he saw fit, marring Okah. When others saw what he had done many were outraged they exiled Pel, banishing him from the forests to the wastes. However, Pel's actions had caught the attention of four other Tengu. They joined him on the edge and soon they founded a separate society, a new tribe. Others soon followed in suit intrigued by a new form of life. No longer bound by the constraints of their religion.

The new tribe began to hunger for resources that were scarce on the wastes and began to encrouch onto the more fertile lands desecrating sacred groves and chopping down trees. When the forest tribe (also known as the protectors of Okah) caught wind of Pels actions, they ordered them to cease their actions immediately. Pel responded by slaughtering the messengers and hoisting their bodies onto spears made from the very trees they were defending. Pel's response of blood against diplomacy encouraged his tribe to become more warlike. They began to conquer and enslave smaller villages in order to support themselves. They thrived and were known as War Wings. As they conquered the War Wings recruited more warriors. Soon he fielded a true army, the first of its kind on the Isle. Realizing that there was no other alternative, the Tengu of the forest chose to wage open war on Pel and his heretic tribe. Trails of fire and smoke traced the bloody route of their engagements. The earth began to quake and the great Bald Peak began to smoke. Okah was clearly enraged by Pel's actions.

Pel's victories drove the Army of Okah north onto High Feather Point. Alas they met for their final battle just South of Bald Peak and west of Hawkbeak Bay. During the climax of the battle the earth quaked with great violence. Late in the afternoon Pel's tribe gained the upper hand and the protectors of Okah retreated towards the Eries covered by the emerging darkness. Pel pursued his enemies relentlessly ignoring the protests of Okah. Finally, as the last rays of sunlight faded, the snow-capped peak cracked belching fire and smoke. A great wave of heated ash poured forth from the mountain and seeped across the Shells and the Wastes. Fires spread across the forests that burned for weeks. Ash fell from the sky blanketing the land and choking the rivers. Even the sea itself turned gray. Forever after tales of this day lived on in a song called "The Deep Night". The following lines come from this song.

Dark followed the last rays of light
The winged brood took to the skies
Wings bent to their last flight
battle they went sounding war cries
Ash fell, they fell, bodies wrent.
Battle songs shrill, blood they spilled.
Until the last each died.
Bodies crumpled, broken,
'neath the skies.

Pel and many of his followers survived the eruption but found life to be very difficult after the war. Food was scarce and that passed through the fires unscathed was the deep bowl valley in the center of the island. They attacked this stronghold but the brave defenders repelled their advances. Eventually Pel and his people returned to the Flats and took to hunting and fishing for food. In time they were able to farm and thrive. Even the trees began to grow back but these were often mistreated and cut down for fuel and tools. Eventually they became the many tribes of the Tengu, colonizing the rest of the Isle although their wings grew weak and diminutive and so they lost the ability to fly. Meanwhile the defenders of the forests became the Broad Wings and continue to defend their homeland to this day.

After the war's conclusion the remaining Tengu had a chance to rebuild. They lived in a age of relative peace for some time. After all those years the land grew tired. The hills were over-farmed and the land was stripped of trees. Wood and lumber have become the most valuable commodity on the Isle. The constant struggle for resources has led the Tengu tribes to more wars and in-fighting increasing their already deep distrust for their own kind. The lack of food availability gave rise to the caste system that now binds Tengu into their many roles. The eldest being given the lions share while the lower siblings must work to earn what they can.

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 are generally peaceful and skittish tribe. They keep to the southern coasts and inlets. Divers are the most skilled fisherman. They practice incredible patience sometimes standing along the shore, in waist deep water, or atop a rock watching the waters carefully choosing their moment to dive in and catch their pray. Some use spears but most enjoy the thrill of catching the fish in their beak.

Water Riders Otherwise known as the Shells. These outcast Tengu live on the Shell islands on the west side of the Isle. They once built incredible ships that could fly across the waters and would raid the Bright Feathers and Broad Wings for food and valuables. As wood is now in short supply, they are "shells of themselves" barely living on their rocks separated from main society. They are still the finest swimmers of all the tribes.

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 which they mine from the Eyrie Mountains. They can be found living in cave dwellings all throughout those mountains although they are most common on High Feather Point. Naturally, due to this material wealth and life style, the Bright Feather's are thought to be rather snobbish and pretentious (although this may just be a stereotype).

Broad Wings The last tribe closely resemble the Sky Rulers of the ages past. Just like them, Broad Wings are slightly of smaller stature and have a knack for invention. They are flightless like the other tribes but they lightest of them can glide gracefully from tree to tree. Broad Wings build their homes in the last trees of the Isle which they guard with their lives. They make the strongest weapons and construct devilish traps. Broad Wings are also very fast and nimble, able to outmaneuver most opponents. They worship the large eagles that live in the Valley of Bones (the place where they leave their dead to rot and decay - it is a holy place for all the Tengu to dispose of the dead and is so a honored place of peace).

Ash Walkers The Ash Walkers 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 Walkers do have is their feathers are strictly varying shades of gray. The cause of this trait is two-fold: undernourishment resulting from being Fourth and a genetic mutation that prevents the passage of an active gene for feather color resulting from said undernourishment. The Ash Walkers are very reclusive and deeply resentful of the other tribes and Tengu with with colored feathers.

Extinct: Sky Rulers The original tribe that consisted of all the Tengu during the pre-eruption era. They lived peacefully under the binding worship of Okah. After Pel Sharpbeak's war and the Deep Night they tribe was shattered. Its descendents make up all the tribes however their creed lives on most strongly with 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 before the Deep Night. Since then, inner schisms and power struggles have divided them into the aforementioned tribes.

List of Known Tengu





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.

-Male Tengu semen tastes like poultry or other game birds, varying with the particular Tengu.

-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.

-Because of constant danger Tengu have become more and more hostile, often preemptively attacking and raiding others for both safety and to display dominance.

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