Floating above the greenish waters east of Berowen and South of Vendaeros is a group of levitating land masses that together make up the Tentetsu Collective. These beautiful floating ‘skylands’ are covered in the greenest of flora with long vines dripping off them and blooming with flowers. At any given time there is a cloud of mist covering the collective that both aids in protection and keeps the vegetation lush and green. On top of these skylands are natural pools of water called natatoriums, providing hydration for the many varieties of plants and living inhabitants. These inverted cone shaped landmasses have moss covered tunnels on the underside allowing for access throughout the skyland. Each Skyland is not very large, and has room for only one town full of stacked structures called a hive. The inhabitants of a hive work peacefully together to provide food and shelter for all. They have a strong sense of community and work together in such harmonious alignment they have earned the name ‘collective’.
Skylands and Towns
Serenia, Primos Skyland
The capital of Tentetsu is Serenia, located on Primos skyland. Primos is home of both Merd Fiddle, famous philosopher, and The Quagmire of Belathon. Plateila is the current leader of Primos. She is fair and good, and leads her portion of the collective with little to no resistance from the colony.
Trissol Town, Tolboia Skyland
This skyland has lots of stacked hive homes and small gardens, rising high into the air and piled on top of one another. Located on its center is Trissol Town which acts as a center for entertainment, as well as a great many stores for food and essentials. Trissol Town is also known for its large healing guild called The Mystery of the Promised.
This skyland is also full of tall, stacked hive homes similar to Tolboia. It hosts an upper level school that many nearby skylands attend.
Home of Harmo Viol, inventor of the Skyland Floaters. These dirigibles use a magickal glowing mist found in the mines in the moss tunnels of many Skylands. This is also the home of Skyreach Gardens.
The Lonely Archipelago
This skyland is essentially the prison. Tentetsu who have broken a major law are brought here for punishment, though this is extremely rare in a society based upon teamwork and harmony.
The Bone-Dry Ait
This is the one skyland that doesn’t have any water on it. This skyland is rarely used except for abandonment when The Lonely Archipelago is full. There are rumors of secret meetings there from time to time by those who disagree with the collective.
Places of Note
The Quagmire of Belathon
Located just outside the capital Serenia on Primos syland, there is a large disfigured tree that has a dim blue light in the cracks of the thick bark. At its base is a moss covered stone bench with engravings underneath. There sits a small stone jar with a lid that is magically sealed shut, with an unknown symbol upon it. It is rumored that a soul is trapped in this jar, an evil spirit from years before the breaking of the world. Tentetsu feel unsettled when here and don’t stay often when they visit.
On the Bexnan Skyland there is a lush and radiant garden where a great variety of interesting flora grow. In the corner of this garden is a small set of small graves arranged in a tight circle. The garden radiates an aura of peace and harmony, and as such has become a place for meditation or a good picnic around the small natatorium that many love to visit.
The Isle of Verlet
Though most of the people of Tentetsu live high in the skylands, there is a mainland below called the Isle Of Verlet. It is frequented by visitors who are curious about the skylands or simply seeking trade. This area is not as densely populated as the skylands, housing primarily mortals who are not as fond of living in the hive structures above. There are quite a few ships used for trading, and a few of small towns where trade and crafting are common. There is only one school and they do not train healers. The winged Incarna that live on the skylands above see the mortals below as a curious but useful buffer between them and the outsiders, and a harmonious relationship has developed between the two areas.
Bathed in the astral winds from from the east, and washed in the wyld waters to the south, Tentetsu has the unique conditions necessary for many strange forms of life to flourish. Here are just a few of the more well known.
One of Tentetsu’s most valued resources, it is said to be fused with a spiritual energy which remains after it has been picked or even subjected to high heat. Tentetsuns cook with lavender, form it into tea, and use it in healing potions amongst other things. Most skylands are full of small lavender fields.
Tentetsu are known for a strange plant called Vysicle that, when in bloom, sends a mass of bubbles into the air. The bubbles are mostly harmless and may contain minor healing powers. These plants grow in the shade of trees and bloom at night as long as it’s not freezing. For those with a strong alignment to Umbra or Weave, they are harmful and cause damage. This is one of the main reasons many travelers from Landonia and Velkaria do not commonly wish to visit the skylands, considering it to be a poisonous land.
Located in the quagmires of the lands, these small, pink, squishy sponges are considered a delicacy. They are also sometimes found in the natatoriums. Heating them up over a small fire in a pan or adding them to other sweet things is a favorite for the Tentetsu.
When essential air from the Astra combines with essential water from Wyld, the result is a glowing watery mist that collects deep in the tunnels inside the skylands. The moist environment is perfect for growing the yellow-green luminous moss that light the way through the passages.
There are a great many varieties of moss that grow in Tentetsu, from the luminous moss within the tunnels to the thicker shaggy moss found growing on the roofs of the hive homes. These mosses have many different uses, known mostly to the herbalists of the land.
Magick and Technology
The Tentetsu people have a natural affinity for Alluramancy, and thus find themselves often attracted to shining lights, bright objects and thoughts and ideas which draw them together in harmonious alignment. This prominence of this magic in the culture often makes the Tentetsu people appear strangely alluring or even bewitching.
Weapons and Armor
The Tentetsu prefer ranged weapons or spellcasting where they can fire from a distance. When using melee weapons, they prefer light and fast weapons where they can evade enemies and use their speed and mobility.
For those without wings, the Tentetsu use dirigibles filled with radiant mist. The mist inside them gives them a soft glowing emissive quality, creating a perfect nourishing environment for luminous moss to grow. These floating glowing globes with draping green foliage paint the skies in a beautiful serene scene of firefly like lights against the midnight blue night sky.
Most of the inhabitants of Tentetsu are Incarna, and have evolved a set of common features.
Their hair tends to be brightly colored, as may be their nails, eyebrows, lips or teeth. This is a phenomena of the strong mixture of Wyld and Astra energies, causing their features to grow brightly and often highly saturated. It is fascinating that these colors can change from time to time based on mood, age, attitude or what they may have eaten. Thus it is not uncommon to see a Tentetsun with bright orange hair, lips, nails and eyes one month, and see very different colors the next. Most Tentetsu also have what looks like antennas growing from their head. These vary in shapes and size, almost like fingerprints. They can also have very large eyes, and often like to wear large glasses, exaggerating their appearance. Finally, many Tentetsuns have colorful insect wings they use to fly short distances from skyland to skyland.
The Tentetsu Incarna are not born with a gender. They define it as a choice, an instinct or desire that may be felt as early as age sixteen. If one wants to define themselves as what is perceived as feminine, one is free to do so. It is the same with masculine energy; they are free to display things that other cultures might define as masculine. The Tentetsu often show no specific gender in their appearance before the age when they may feel the desire to choose one. Once, and if, they choose a gender, they wear whatever clothing, jewelry or hairstyle they feel defines them the best.
The very rare risen mortals, called Yokai, look like mortals except that they possess a variety of animal features depending upon the role they play in the collective, or the manner in which they were brought back.
Tentetsuns want to be in touch with the spiritual world, which manifests in the many colors which come out in their features. They are connected to the natural world and its manifestation in the physical world around them. Thus they often wear clothes that reflect their environment, such as leaves, sticks and natural cloth. Moss clothing is a very common sight, especially when you see Tentetsun working in the forest, for it helps them blend into the world around them. This is more than just a form of camouflage, it is a way to be in harmony with the natural world around them. When there are holidays or festive occasions, they will tend to wear colors to compliment their hair and other vestments. Tentetsu is primarily an asexual society, so they do not wear clothing specifically designed to attract a mate of an opposite sex. This means clothes that show off body parts are not important; a low cut top or brassiere would be no different than showing a foot. In terms of gender fashion, a Tentestun that feels masculine might wear a suit covered in moss, another might wear a dress draped in vines.
The Tentetsu are for the most part peaceful people. They have a strong sense of the common good and what is best for the community. This common group thinking is what has earned them the name “collective”, and can appear almost like a hive mind mentality to outsiders. Because of this, they do not tend to have much political conflict; they think so similarly that disagreements in politics are rare.
To outsiders this may make them appear like drones, yet they are actually quite philosophical and independently minded, and will show this side to those they trust. In fact, one of their most revered spiritual leaders is the philosopher Merd Fiddle, who is credited with the famous quote, “some languages are known to all’, a statement which the Tentetsu tend to all collectively understand but has left many an outsider’s head scratching. Many feel they know truth based on the channeling “Z” through Merd Fiddle, a perceived being of great spiritual power who has chosen Merd as a vessel for imparting knowledge.
Tenetetsuns are strongly connected to both the natural and the spiritual world. They are not fond of unnatural arco-mechanical things nor the abhorrent “inventions” found in places like Landonia, Corbin and especially the Badlands. They do approve of creations which improve their magick and spiritual connection, such as healing or anything which makes things more beautiful.
Life to them is precious, yet mortal death is something that they accept and can even make them a bit sad. They wish to preserve the dead in ceremonies in the ground, as they know that mortals may return as spirits called Yokai. Depending upon the conditions in which they died, the mortal may come back as mononoke; vengeful spirits who wish to harm those they encounter.
Etiquette and Society
Tentetsu are not raised as ‘boys’ and ‘girls’. They are raised as children. Though some Tentetsu will choose a favored gender, many may not ever do so. Masculine and femine ideas are generally not part of the culture. Harmony with others is of utmost importance, and anything which negatively impacts this communal understanding can be considered disruptive or offensive.
Though they are largely gender free, this does not mean that they do not choose ‘mates’. At some point a Tentetsun may find another similar being, called a reciprocal, and both may decide to bond and find beauty in their decision to be together forever. This bonding can be made official in a ceremony called The Symbiosis Sacrament. This is a magick ritual where two spirits become intertwined as one.
Tentetsu do not reproduce by the methods of others. In the palm of the Tentetsu hands are small slits, barely enough to slide a cell through. After taking a reciprocal, the Tentetsu feel a time when they may like to reproduce. They join hands, traditionally after a romantic evening.The slits in the palms of each will produce a cell. They continue to hold hands for anywhere from 6 to 8 hours. This is followed by the merging of cells that form and grow quickly into a small egg like sack. This sack is placed in a warm place in their home. It forms a chrysalis in a matter of days and they hang this on the wall in their home. The growth is quick; after about 6 weeks, this chrysalis will hatch and the two Tentetsu will have a nymph. The nymph is almost a full size adult, and within a short period of time will become fully grown.
Communication amongst the people leans towards the quiet side. That’s not to say they do not talk or will not be passionate about things they, as a collective, feel strongly about. It is simply that so many things are understood that they do not tend to use as much verbal communication as other cultures. They often speak in terms of “we” instead of “I”. Speech is often in terms of abstract or philosophical teachings, sometimes quoting from old mages and teachers. This can lead to awkward or difficult situations when trying to speak with outsiders who do not seem to understand common ideas. Sometimes this can lead to a Tentetsun rambling on and on as they try to find words to express simple ideas.
Architecture and Art
The Tentetsu live in houses stacked on top of each other, called hives. On the skylands they don’t have as much space so they build upward living in single room homes with a communal eating space in the center. A large room with lots of tables and a big kitchen is the common space. They decorate often with small and large round lamps.They also decorate with woven items, mostly baskets and brooms. They are usable and practical, yet look nice and can be hand made easily in their environment. Most houses are covered in moss, as it is a natural insulator and keeps the houses cool on a warm day. Tentetsuns tend to value handmade crafts and objects made from the natural environment, and these can be found decorating many of the hive homes in the skylands. Puppets and statues are also popular items, being made from moss, vines, sticks and twigs. It is thought that if enough care is given to their creation, they can calm dangerous spirits who will inhabit them to return to mortal form.
Food and Diet
All manner of nuts, fruits and vegetables are common foods. Animals are rarely if ever eaten.
Pectarnauds – These pink, squishy, marshmallow like plants found near water are often used in deserts. Often at parties hosts will have different versions of cooked and uncooked Pectarnauds.
Lavender – This flower is found in many, many meals in Tentetsu. It is used in drinks, seasoning for meats, and many deserts.
Moss – there are a variety of mosses that are delicious, but many are not, and are preferred for clothing. Those from outside the culture may have no way of knowing the difference, leading to amusing and awkward situations.
Tentetsu Honey – High in the skylands can be found hives of bees which make a tasty honey. These bees are highly revered in the culture as an example of how collective communities may prosper.
Professions and Skills
As children, the Tentetsuns are given the freedom to explore in books and classes, studying all the options that lay before them. Jobs are not seen as prestigious, neither is education. Identifying as part of the collective first is the main objective as a Tentetsuian. Learning the Tentetsu philosophy and way of life is what families impart to their children. Eventually, it will become clear to each person what role they fill best in the collective, and they will follow that path with the support of the community.
Honey farmers run the bee hives and collect the honey. Honey is very popular in Tentetsu and used in many kinds of cooking from breads to candy.
A lavender farmer takes care of the gardens. Most gardens are largely lavender but can, and usually do, offer other flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Specifically a lavender farmer knows how to collect the lavender and other herbs to dry and distribute them to the collective for cooking, healing potions, and other uses.
Child Care Worker
Children are raised together and the Tentetsu see much value in keeping lessons and morals taught in a community atmosphere. A child care worker will sometimes live in a home where the children are taken to learn. At times children will spend weeks living at the Children’s home to learn different crafts. A Child Care Worker teaches not only basics like math and language, they also teach philosophy, magick, and communication. Tentetsu use as little verbal wordage as possible; they want the children to learn by watching. They also teach semiotics, as symbols are important in communication, and some symbols can only truly be taught through the context of living in their environment. Child care workers are likely the heart of the Tentetsu culture.
The healer is considered more of a leadership position. There aren’t many positions of leadership in this culture. They think of themselves as being able to work as a unit. However,
Hives take work to create and maintain, and the builders are the critical part of this process.
The Uniqueness Mystique – A holiday held in Soulfall. Its purpose is to celebrate the Tentetsu and their uniqueness. Since Tentetsu have no gender at birth, at sixteen (or anytime thereafter), a Tentetsu is considered of age and may decide if they would like to identify as male, female, or remain agendered. They are an adult, and may also decide what role in society they would like to pursue. These decisions are celebrated. During this festival, White masks with only eyes and a smile are worn. There is a special solid white cake made for the occasion. These all represent that the young Tentetsu are all born the same. The Tentetsu teens who are making their public choice will not wear a mask. The choices made at this time are so personal and that is reflected in the wearing of the masks. Each person will go through this process and the collective wants each child to look at this as a time of reflection and growth. While one can change one’s choice, it’s unusual for this to happen. Most Tentetsu know by the age of 16 what gender they want to put out to the world and are very excited about their moment to publicly show that decision.
The Symbiosis Sacrament – This bonding ritual, celebrated mostly by incarnate, not only connects two souls who have chosen to be in love and live together, they also have spiritually bonded. The bonding creates a state where the reciprocals will know and feel each other’s pain, both physically and mentally. It can be so intense that the personal pain from weapons like swords would not mean as much to a partner as feeling their recipricol’s pain.
Bright Smile Lunar Celebration – This celebration is a tribal, communal celebration. It happens in the season of Lifespring. The Tentetsu collect many flowers, fruits and vegetables for cooking and baking. They create many delicious desserts and meals, mostly vegetarian. Creativity is at its peak during this time with all kinds of fun foods made from flowers and things found on the skylands. Each skyland has it’s celebration dinner and at the end of the night there is a magical light display sent up from each skyland that beautifully lights up the night. Tentetsu people find ways to use magick to light up clothing, hair, and wear even brighter outfits. Moss is used to decorate, as they love the way the green looks against strong pops of color. It’s a time of celebration that they are together, they love one another, and that the days of despair are over, they are together now and this is happiness.
From the outside, the government almost looks like a form of socialism. However, it is truly much more than that, for its people are so connected that rulership isn’t a concept for which they see any real need. Each skyland is generally highly harmonious within itself, so there is no real leader. Instead each skyland appoints one representative in order to coordinate duties with the other skylands, who meet occasionally to handle matters of necessity. When outsiders simply insist upon wanting to speak to a leader from one of the skylands, this representative makes a good face for the community. However, all decisions and assets belong to the community, so this single person is never “in charge”.
Tentetsu often acts as if it has one single mind guiding it, but there is simply no one appointed or in charge of the land. If an outsider were looking for a leader, some might consider it to be the philosopher, poet and spiritual guide Merd Fiddle. Merd has made it more than abundantly clear, however, that they are only channeling the spiritual energy of the greater being simply called “Z’. This greater being is thought to be a voice of the Omni, and thus is not even itself a single entity.
Tetetsu have guidelines that are less like laws and more like understood societal behaviors. However, from time to time, due to negative outside influences, a member of the collective can become discordant and make a decision that works against the harmony of the community. Therefore, a list of offenses that have come up in the past have been recorded in case they emerge ever again. Such actions are understood to be punishable:
- To slander another Tentetsu.
- To harm another Tentetsu.
- To use umbral energy to modify, grow or affect the life cycle of anything natural.
If one of these occurs, a main punishment is the Cordon Vest. This vest has magical properties. It keeps the criminals spirit isolated, unable to feel the comfort of the others around them. They may talk and carry on as normal, but all will see the sadness within them. Some also prevent the ability to fly. If the vest is not effective, the next way to ‘punish’ a wrongdoer is ostracization. Tentetsu tend to never be alone. They are a collective that do most everything together. The silence of isolation from friends is considered a harsh consequence. When a Tentetsu is forced to be alone, they are sent to a specific skyland called The Lonely Archipelago. There is food, water, and most Tentetsu are able to make shelters, but may not interact. You know you are near The Lonely Archipelago when you hear the desperate cries of the Tentetsu forced onto a single skyland. They are so miserable that they shout and moan just to hear a voice.
Organizations and People of Note
The Mystery of the Promised
Often called just “The Mystery”, this group of healers located in Trissol Town is the largest and most used of its kind. It is run by Poppy Maplebloom, an Incarnate who has chosen to be a feminine, mother type for the collective. Many Tentetsu like to come visit her and seek her wisdom and special healing powers.
The Jatai (Winged Protectors)
There is no real army in Tentetsu, but instead certain members understand that it is their job to protect the Collective. Those that are called receive a badge and a social rank defined as a Jatai. They usually have very strong wings, and act as arial attackers with ranged weapons and alchemical bombs. The one who organizes and leads them into battle is the High Protector, currently Kamaza Maori.
Merd is a spiritual leader known for channeling an entity she calls Zuborh, or “Z”. Many have come to listen to Zuborh, who together with Merd, has written many books on philosophy and the spiritual nature of community. Their works include The Book of Zuborh, The Zuborh Stories, and Zuborh and Dream Logic.
The Whispering Cavedweller
Found on Tunton Skyland in the Stoneshaw Hole cave, the Whispering Cavedweller is a disturbed Tentetsun who decided to dabble in Umber magics and began to travel away from the collective to acquire body parts. It created a number of Tentetsu who look like sewn monsters with mismatched body parts. Few have been seen, but one rumored sighting describes a thing with a head that looks like a giant mouth and arms that look like claws. The Whispering Cavedweller chooses to appear as a deformed old man with a cane and wears a hood. He rarely ever leaves Tunton, but when he does travel, he takes a hoard of his strange looking deformed creatures with him. The collective has not taken action against him, for he has already chosen to isolate himself (the appropriate punishment for dabbling in the Umbral arts).
Creator of the Skyland Firefly Dirigibles, Harmo was the first to travel from skyland to skyland without wings. Harmo has chosen to never identify as a gender, and loves to flaunt bright clothing and eccentric ornate adornments.
The Skyland Hive Colonies
Unlike most cultures, the Tentetsu consider themselves all related and one large family. There is however, a distinction between each skyland hive, calling themselves colonies.
The Brayeth-Gale Colony
This colony is thought to be the only group of Incarna in the Tentetsu skylands lucky enough to survive the breaking of the world. They were the first Incarana to manifest the vestments known to the Tentetsuns, and they are the progenitors of all of the other colonies, who formed as they each created their own colonies upon an independent skyland. In ancient times, they were said to go by the name House Brayeth-Gale, and some outsiders still refer to them as such.
The Hoyoshi Colony
The Hoyoshi live on Bexnan. This colony is led by Synallis. Synallis has siblings on the Bexnan, assisting with farming lavender and other vegetables. Synallis is quiet but wears very bright clothing. Synallis has long yellow hair, nails, and eyebrows with large glasses that have a red tent. Synallis walks quickly most of the time which is a bit unusual for the typically slower paced Tentetsu.
The Fiddle Colony
Primos is home to the Fiddle Colony. Merd Fiddle is the most known of the group. She has multiple siblings. Of note, she has two that identify as female and who work with children teaching and raising, Plateila and Digonia. Plateila is the current leader of Primos, quiet and incredibly feminine wearing lots of pink and bows, sometimes even dawning pink hair and nails. She has a sibling who identifies as male who works with the armed forces of Tentetsu, Okyrhoe. She also has a sibling who identifies as non-binary, named Dionele.
This colony is located on Tolbia Skyland. Poppy Maplebloom lives here with her friends and some of her actual siblings. Poppy’s siblings are Egoria and Oinoie and their sister Rose. The Mapleblooms are a prominent family that has a large lavender farm. Most of their money goes back into making homes comfortable and safe for the colony.
Before the opening of the Nexus, Tentetsu is was part of a much larger continental landmass called Onma. When the world broke, the tsunamis came, bringing lighting, torrential rains and incredible winds. The eastern lands of Onma broke away under the strain, and when they did, they lifted up into the sky. Though in their force they threw many of the people upon them into the sea, there were those who still survived upon the land. After the landmasses rose, the survivors were amazed to see that they did not fall, for the astral winds kept them afloat.
Little is recorded of the times that came next and how exactly the world changed in those times. What is known is that some of the survivors were a contingent of House Brayeth-Gale, who had been residing within a great stone keep that was lifted into the sky. They began to rebuild and start anew. Yet each in their separation saw that no one came to find them. They felt abandoned for a very long time. Families had been separated when the land was ripped apart and thrown into the air. A strange glowing mist surrounded them, and none could see far into the open skies around them. They were filled with sadness and it took weeks to come to grips with what had happened. Over this time they were not only dealing with those emotional issues but they physically started changing. Desire to grow, survive and find their fellow survivors upon the other floating lands turned to manifested forms. Some grew beautiful wings like butterflies and moths. Hair and other features began to take on vivid color. Many began growing antenna and their senses became sharper. They began to feel a spiritual connection to one another, and their minds were raised to higher consciousness. They could sense that others had survived in the air around them.
Some of the bravest took flight through the mist and discovered other floating places with others. As the lands took shape, they rapidly grew vegetation and life seemed to flourish. The lands became one, and the term skyland became known to all. But yet they found they were bound as one, the Tentetsu. Houses were built with large rooms and stacked on top of each other. They agreed to put all their children in one space to be raised together. Multiple Tentetsu would take on this job in shifts. They tended to them with care and love making sure to never leave a Tentetsu out or make them feel abandoned as they had once felt.
And yet they discovered to their dismay, that no new children were being born. It seemed that the normal means of reproduction was no longer effective. Instead, in a moment of great spiritual enlightenment, something happened. Driven by instinct, two Tentetsu felt drawn to one another, and joined hands. After hours of this joining, a small glowing ball formed between their hands. Sensing its spiritual life, they took it to their home and nurtured it. It grew and took shape, and soon the first Tentetsun was born.
For all they knew, they were all that was left in Eldross. In time it was discovered that some of the land below them had survived, and the isle of Verlet was discovered. They made friends with the mortals there, who seemed unchanged. A harmonious relationship was set up between the skylands and the Isle of Verlet which still works to this day. When the first sailing ships came to Verlet, it was the mortals there who traded with them and acted as envoys for the Tentetsuns.
The skylands themselves have rarely ever been approached, for not only are they shrouded in mist, but such heights are difficult to reach. There have been a few cases of flying devices that found their way into the mist, but never returned to tell the tale. Such encounters are rarely if ever spoken of by the collective.