The emergence of the Tehir, by most standards, occurred around their discovery in 4486 by the Hendorans. Written history of the Tehir does not exist except by the hand of the Empire. It is best followed through the tales and songs of the bards, some of which can be deciphered into literal events. Below is a selection of those tales, including their interpretations.
Three on three, small moon so red
Left the wood, once fertile bed
Years they walked, 'cross mountain's crag
Til she turned, to withered hag.
Noontide burned, the withered flesh
As they went, to north and west
Sun did set, 'cross darkened face
Stop they did, in land of waste.
Six on nine, no moon to see
Tired was, the family
Rest and wait, in desert's heat
Free and clear, from enemy.
Precisely why the Tehir came to the Sea of Fire is lost in time. As referenced in this poem however, the Tehir may have fled an enemy located in a forested region southeast of the Sea of Fire, possibly over a mountain range. It is quite likely they chose the Sea of Fire based not on its attributes, but because of its emptiness. Who or what enemy they ran from is not described here, but is mentioned in another tale:
Rotting wood of color green
Blood did run in the stream
Women ranting in cacophony
Such madness from the mastery
Wooded respite destroyed in spite
Potsherds splintered trunks with might
When the ghost chose to fight
He laid us to waste with a wight
Five on five, the master said
No more Tehir in my bed
Water gushing with our dead
For their lives they had fled
This tale indicates some sort of strife involving water, wood, and wights and the eventual abandonment of the area by the Tehir. Whether or not the "master" in question is an Arkati, Great Elemental, or some other deity is uncertain though the following tale indicates the Tehir believed they were godless or somehow no longer relevant in terms of deities:
Into the sea
Out of the cold
Our people fled
The old green way
And now our people
Of golden desert
We tend our goats
We serve no one
The Tehir tribes
Called godless ones
And our old people
Fled to fields of green
They watch our ways
From far away
Those evil spirits
Of our dead seeds.
The fourth verse of this relatively new poem references the expatriate Tehir, known as Shakat. In 4678, after successive years of terrible drought and unrelenting heat that caused terrible losses in lives and livestock, a small number of tribes fled the desert. Based on the next song, it is believed their subsequent attempt to return years later was not met kindly:
Throughout the desert, a single song:
Gather our daughters, gather your sons
For tomorrow is the festival
Throughout the desert they sing in throngs
Gather your goats and yierka hides
For tomorrow we will wed!
Morning came in winter so cool
Together they made their way
In central wasteland mystery
The ones who came were fools!
Together they brought their sons
To wed our girls so lovely
Dawn did break, they strode right in
Ready we were with our pride and strength
Split them in two, dagger and sword
Morning rose, they'd never been
Together dying with their sons
To the sand their skin did melt.
Out of the Sea they came to us
And right back in we placed them!
Shakat, Shakat! You go away!
Shakat, Shakat! COWARDICE!
Shakat, Shakat! You go away!
And come here ne'er more!
A point of mention in the above song is "to the sand their skin did melt." Another story, one of the ancient city Bir Mahallah, also indicates a similar concept. In Tehir belief, if a body were left unburied after death, its spirit would be left to roam the world:
Walking cross the desert wide
Upon a golden rock I spied
Whispers white and ethereal
Its form hazy and immaterial!
Near the rock, a bone did stick
From the sand, and colored sick
With its claws extended wide
Right toward me it did glide!
Ran away, with prayer on my lip
Saved my hide, gave it a slip
Words on words I thanked the sand
Amulets I rubbed in my hand
And along I came to walls of stone
And piles of sand stuck with bone
A horrid noise bounced from the walls
As sandstorms built into sand squalls
Banshee rose amid the sound
Fall I did onto the ground
With one ear covered and amulet rubbed
On the head I was clubbed!
Wake I did with missing hand
All I saw were piles of sand
Crawl I did from cursed place
A look of terror on my face
And when I crawled back to our site
Amazed they were, for I was white
So stay away from spirits wrong
'Lest you want to be just a song.
Internally, the color of skin is occasionally a point of contention among the Tehir. The perception of class and status being dictated by skin tone is mostly inaccurate, but as described by the following song, has used between squabbling tribes to mock and deride.
Inanij, you're far too proud
Inanij, like none have found
Inanij, with palest skin
Inanij, of blood so thin!
Some seven hundred years ago during the height of Tehir slave trade, Hendorans made first contact in the Sea of Fire. Some tribes were quite receptive to the opportunity of new trade for foods and meat, while others remained wary of the pale-skinned traders, considering them invaders instead. Between the discovery of copper sources and the first failed attempts to excavate them, a variety of Imperial troops and explorers disappeared. Occasional rumors trickled into the Empire of witnessing pale-skinned Tehir among the tribes. Whether the troops were taken captive and had offspring with other Tehir slaves has never been verified.
The Imperial caravans have become favored targets for the Tehir over the many years due to the caravansí wealth in equipment and goods, despite the raids being only marginally successful most of the time and not uncommonly resulting in heavy casualties for the Tehir. Hit-and-run raids are the Tehirís preferred battle tactic. Death is constant. The Tehir raider knows he will die, and so before engaging he may pray for success, or at least a quick death.