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Ah, gosh.. Is it 20xx with you?

I bet Gwenthia was started somewhere in 2004 or 2005, so we're about 16 years in! However time moves so much slower, and so it's been but a few moons.. [:-}]

The site is fairly robust, but no changes since 2012 basically..

Sadly gwenthia dot org has been seized, copied and use by malware scum, so avoid

Tom Aug 2021

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Tribes of Khur-Ishida

Nhi-Tual nestles between the realms of Meravaenia, Parkhesh and Quatzadua, in eastern Thurian. An island, Lô-Tual?, is part of the Tual lands and is located a kilometre or so off the east coast in the wide bay of the Golden Sea. It is a dry and barren land, battered by harsh winds and extremes of heat and cold, but was once lush and verdant, with an abundance of crops, fruits and wildlife to support its people, the Tual. Watched by the Seven, the gods who ensured Nhi Tual was a land of plenty, the Tual grew and prospered.

Around 3,000 years ago, the Goddess Khur-Ishida came to Nhi-Tual and challenged the Seven, exposing them as trickster demons who had beguiled the Tual and led them away from the only true path to enlightenment and happiness. She drove the Seven from Nhi Tual and returned the land to its rightful state: hard, harsh and unforgiving, a place of winds, drought, and the constant threat of famine. And now, the Tual give thanks to this most benevolent Goddess, for helping the scales to fall from their eyes, and understand that life is never without suffering, and that every scrap of food and drop of water must be fought for with sweat, tears and blood.

A detailed history of the Tual people can be found under the History of the Nhi-Tual.

The People

The Tual are a hardy and vigilant race of humans, living in the lowlands and flats of Nhi Tual. They are of stocky build, with black hair, usually worn cropped, and a skin with a reddish hue. They are sturdy , used to a life of toil and conflict, and wrestling with their harsh environment. Despite the hardship of their existence, they are a well educated people, being taught skills and crafts from early age. The land is hot and semi-arid, and the Tual people scratch a meagre living by driving livestock along feeding trails.

The Tual are semi-nomads and split into four tribes: Shikün, Hôkurik, Mutsümo, and Takôda, with each tribe consisting of several different Clans. There are a handful of permanent settlements along the Nhi-Gha River, which are no more than villages made of simple primitive wooden structures, surrounded by a wooden palisade. Each settlement is controlled by one of the many Clans, who only grant access to the village to kinsman and recognised traders. Since the land along the river is more fertile, and rife with vegetation, a few Tual have set up permanent farmsteads, but these are rare. Where the Nhi-Gha River meets the sea, there is one major seaport, called Gha-Shasta. This is the main hub of the river; where goods from all over Nhi-Tual are gathered for trade and barter.

Each tribe controls a region of Nhi-Tual, and possesses its own unique customs and beliefs. The tribes, through the clan structure, have the military might, or economical power, to maintain control over the smaller, lesser Clans. The only thing the Clans have in common is the worship of the Goddess Khur-Ishida. The Shikün tribe is the smallest numerically. They believe in racial purity and are unbending in their beliefs, unwilling to accept even the slightest change. This makes them rather insular and xenophobic. They are devout in the worship of the Goddess, imposing their religious view points on others, and are quick to put heretics to death.

The second of the tribes, Hôkurik, is the largest and most cosmopolitan. They are looked down upon by the others, because they are quick to adopt new customs and to accept outsiders. Quite a lot of their customs have been inherited through marriage and trade with people from Quatzadua. It is believed by the other Tual that the city of Nhiaquat was founded by members of this tribe. The Hôkurik dwell in the southern and central regions of Nhi-Tual, in regions less suitable for agriculture. This has forced them to drive cattle along feeding trails, which often brings them into confrontation with the other tribes. These meetings can often be bloody, and has forced the Hôkurik to trade their meagre livestock and belongings to hire mercenaries for protection.

Mutsümo are known as the River People. They dwell along the banks of the Nhi-Gha River, and on the coastal regions of Nhi-Tual. They are excellent fishermen and boatmen, but poor warriors. They have built up an economical power based on their resources. They control much of the trade along the Nhi-Gha River, levering a hefty duty to those merchants that wish to do business. It was the Mutsümo that built the town of Gha-Shasta on the mouth of the Nhi-Gha River, creating a hub for river-trade. The other tribes have become envious of the wealth that Mutsümo has acquired, often plotting to bring them down. It is only fear that prevents them from doing this, as Mutsümo can use its economical might to buy mercenaries.

Takôda are a militaristic people. These are the true warriors of the Tual. As infants, boys are trained in the arts of archery and swordsmanship. They are excellent riders, taming and riding the Targheth Lizards that live on the plains. They are the most Nomadic of the people, and make a living as Mercenaries, hiring themselves out to the other tribes. At sometime or other in the past, each of the other clans has hired members of Takôda. They believe in honour, living their lives by a strict code of conduct. But this hasn’t stopped them in the past from butchering women and children. Women of Takôda are the ones that choose their husbands. Not the other way around. Usually the most powerful of the eligible women will select the strongest and bravest of all the warriors.

Finally, there are the Monks of Lô-Tual?. The Monks live a simple lifestyle, spending much of their time in prayer to Khur-Ishida. The Monks do not hold allegiance to any particular clan. They welcome one and all to the island of Lô-Tual, even traders from other nations such as Quatzadua, Gara-Dien and even Spiria. The Monks of Lô-Tual? would never trade with the Parkhesh or the Tharux. The Parkhesh are devils, and insult the Sleeping (the Tual term for the dead), raising them from their eternal slumber as slaves. The Tharux were blighted by the power of the Night-Blind Plague, which the Monks believe was sent by Khur-Ishida, as a sign of their wickedness. However, many Monks believe that the recent She-Eth incursion on Lô-Tual? is a sign that they are becoming complacent, and too reliant on material wealth. This has led to the rise of a new Cult, who sees the invading She-Eth as a sign of redemption.

There are many smaller, lesser tribes. However, they are not large enough to control vast territories, or hold economical or military power. They associate with one of the four larger tribes depending on the region they inhabit. Often, they are forced to choose sides in disputes between the main tribes, which have often led in the past to a number of small tribes being wiped out in a terrible bloodbath. Since many of them hold no allegiance they have been known to swap their loyalty to another in the blink of an eye. Usually, because they are threatened, paid off, or they feel that they will better off with the new ally.

See Tual Society.

Language

There are three principle languages: the first is Ishid, which is a derivation of the Quatzaduan language, and spoken by the majority of Tual. The second are the clan dialects. Each clan has its own dialect, but they are similar to one another, and can be usually understood by members of other Clans. The Clan language is used in communicating formal clan affairs and for ceremonies; the everyday language is Ishid. The final language is Celestial, or the tongue of the Dragons. It is said that Khur-Ishida spoke it, and the Monks of Lô-Tual? are fluent in it. Not many Tual can speak this rather strange dialect, which is made up of a high pitched hissing and spitting. But there are rumours of it being spoken by the She-Eth invaders.

Names

Names consist of three parts: the family name, the given name, and the Clan name. Family names are no more than two syllables: a stressed consonant followed by a short, vowel/consonant combination (T’sua; H’sha; V’esk, for example). Given names are three syllables and softer (Shaleena, Junatas, Korhinir, for example). The Clan name is simply the name of the particular Clan of birth (for example, Hasta, Kotu, Mosata) People that have proven themselves in life, such as great warriors, high priests, chieftains, will often have a Dragon Name. The Dragon Name is always three syllables: Khar for males, followed by an annex (Khar-Shadasher; Khar-Jigeren) and Khur for females, again followed by a three syllable annex. A typical name might thus be: Shaleena T’sua Kotu In most cases, the given name is the usual name used, but sometimes the full title or even the Clan name might be used, depending on the import of the situation. A typical Dragon name could be: Khur-Jigeren T’sua Shikün.

See Personalities of the Tual.

Khur Ishida’s Awakening

In the Distant past, the Tual were ruled by Seven Demons, who demanded to be worshipped as Gods. In return, Nhi-Tual (which means Land of Tual), was kept vibrant and fertile. Thanks to the reign of the Seven False Gods, the Tual became a technologically advanced people, building great cities and wondrous machines. The rule of the Seven False Gods went unabated for thousands of years, despite several rebellions, incursions by other nations, and the Crusades against the Night Hag. But four warriors rose up against the Seven False Gods, and overthrew them, with the help of mysterious Goddess, Khur-Ishida, who appeared in Nhi Tual shortly after the eighth moon disintegrated in the sky.

The Tual realised that they had been tricked by the seven false gods into believing that the world was a nurturing place, when in reality, it was harsh and bleak, only overcome by toil and struggle. Awoken from a dream, the Tual would no longer accept any other Gods, save for Khur-Ishida (or Dragon Mother). After the four warriors drove out the false gods, Khur-Ishida transformed them into the four Guardian Dragons of the Tual. The four major clans of today are made up of their direct descendants.

After the Awakening, the Tual people left their cities and techonolgy behind (which had become symbols of their decadence), and became nomadic. The Tual returned to the simple life, scratching meagre livings by driving their bipedal Targheth along the feeding trails, or cultivating what little fertile land there was. For the next thousand years, the Tual moved from area to area, rarely settling in any one given place.

Religion

For thousands of years, the Tual were forced to worship the Seven Demons. When Khur-Ishida came down from the havens, she chose seven warriors, and empowered them with the ability to overthrow the Seven. The four surviving warriors reward was to be transformed into the four Guardian Dragons of Nhi-Tual, and all Tual believe that they may be given the Dragon mantle when they die. The Tual thus believe Goddess brings eternal life, allowing all Tual to ascend to the heavens as dragons and to join her in her Celestial Court.

Dragons of Nhi Tual

The Gold Dragon of the Sun, whose light shines down during the day; the Silver Dragon of the Winds, who breathes life into Nhi- Tual ; the Red Dragon of the Mountains; and the Blue Dragon of the Sea, that washes away the impurities of the people. Upon death, the Tual believe that the soul is transformed into a dragon of great power that flies to the Celestial Court and takes-up residence in true paradise, awaiting the time when the final battle is upon the world, and Khur-Ishida calls upon the Dragon-kin to deliver the world into a new, golden age.

Cult of the Metal Grinders

One of the consequences of the Lô-Tual? rejection of the Tharux Traders is that Nhi-Tual has been prohibitted from accessing the advanced technology of those people. No sane minded Gwenthian would sell Tharux machinery to a Nhi-Tual for fear of Zathurian repercussions. This has condemned the people of the land to scrabble around in a dark age culture of technological poverty. However to the Monks this is a blessing, which desire and claim that Tharux machines are blasphemous and must be destroyed. The Cult of the Metal Grinders (Cha-Ead) seeks to actively smash foreign inventions that enter Nhi-Tual's borders. Their numbers are normally drawn from the Shikün clan. The only way into the cult is by invitation. They wish to keep their ranks pure. Only the most holy and fanatical are allowed to join.

International Relations

During the rule of the false gods, the borders of Nhi-Tual were closed to all outsiders. When the Goddess came, the Tual opened their borders to the rest of the world although not all nations were to their liking. The Hôkurik have had good relations with Quatzadua, allowing them free access to their borders, and it has been known for the Takôda to trade with the Khal in southern Parkhesh. On the island of Lo-Tual, the Monks welcome traders from as far away as Spiria.

The majority of the Tual distrust Parkhesh, who raise the dead as mindless slaves, denying them their Dragon death-right, and the Zathurians, who the priests of Khur-Ishida claim to be the enemies of the Mother Dragon, and servants of the false gods. Indeed, Tharux traders from Zathur were driven away by the deadly Night Blind Plague, sent by Khur-Ishida as a warning.

Magic

It is forbidden for the Tual to practice any sort of magic, under the teachings of Khur-Ishida. Many Tual break this law, and study in secret (like the Dark Magus and his circle of apprenatices). Of course such people are seen as heretics. It is believd that the power of the Dark Magus is taken from various sources; from She-Eth artifacts, to secrets stolen from the Seven False Gods. Other practitioners of magic are likely to have gained their knowledge with the help of outsiders. Rumours have it that one or two Parkheshi or Quatzaduan sorcerers are willing to teach a Tual their secrets.

Only Kh’Nhar comes close to any form of magic. This is an ancient marital art that employs the use of “Ki” like abilities, which draws upon a persons inner strength. The technique was first employed by the priests of Khur-Ishida for meditative purposes, but later grew into a martial art. Many priests still practice Kh’Nhar, but it is now mainly used by a chosen few warriors. Those that practice Kh’Nhar have been seen performing fantastic feats, such as leaping great distances, cutting arrows from out of the air, and even subduing an opponent with a single touch.

->Page last modified August 24, 2020, at 10:10 PM BST