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III. Prehistory

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.

  1. Three on three, small moon so red
  2. Left the wood, once fertile bed
  3. Years they walked, 'cross mountain's crag
  4. Til she turned, to withered hag.

  5. Noontide burned, the withered flesh
  6. As they went, to north and west
  7. Sun did set, 'cross darkened face
  8. Stop they did, in land of waste.

  9. Six on nine, no moon to see
  10. Tired was, the family
  11. Rest and wait, in desert's heat
  12. 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:

  1. Rotting wood of color green
  2. Blood did run in the stream
  3. Women ranting in cacophony
  4. Such madness from the mastery

  5. Wooded respite destroyed in spite
  6. Potsherds splintered trunks with might
  7. When the ghost chose to fight
  8. He laid us to waste with a wight

  9. Five on five, the master said
  10. No more Tehir in my bed
  11. Water gushing with our dead
  12. 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:

  1. Into the sea
  2. Out of the cold
  3. Our people fled
  4. The old green way

  5. And now our people
  6. Of golden desert

  7. We tend our goats
  8. We serve no one
  9. The Tehir tribes
  10. Called godless ones

  11. And our old people
  12. Fled to fields of green

  13. They watch our ways
  14. From far away
  15. Those evil spirits
  16. 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:

  1. Throughout the desert, a single song:
  2. Gather our daughters, gather your sons
  3. For tomorrow is the festival
  4. Throughout the desert they sing in throngs
  5. Gather your goats and yierka hides
  6. For tomorrow we will wed!

  7. Morning came in winter so cool
  8. Together they made their way
  9. In central wasteland mystery
  10. The ones who came were fools!
  11. Together they brought their sons
  12. To wed our girls so lovely

  13. Dawn did break, they strode right in
  14. Ready we were with our pride and strength
  15. Split them in two, dagger and sword
  16. Morning rose, they'd never been
  17. Together dying with their sons
  18. To the sand their skin did melt.

  19. Out of the Sea they came to us
  20. And right back in we placed them!

  21. Shakat, Shakat! You go away!
  22. Shakat, Shakat! COWARDICE!
  23. Shakat, Shakat! You go away!
  24. 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:

  1. Walking cross the desert wide
  2. Upon a golden rock I spied
  3. Whispers white and ethereal
  4. Its form hazy and immaterial!

  5. Near the rock, a bone did stick
  6. From the sand, and colored sick
  7. With its claws extended wide
  8. Right toward me it did glide!

  9. Ran away, with prayer on my lip
  10. Saved my hide, gave it a slip
  11. Words on words I thanked the sand
  12. Amulets I rubbed in my hand

  13. And along I came to walls of stone
  14. And piles of sand stuck with bone
  15. A horrid noise bounced from the walls
  16. As sandstorms built into sand squalls

  17. Banshee rose amid the sound
  18. Fall I did onto the ground
  19. With one ear covered and amulet rubbed
  20. On the head I was clubbed!

  21. Wake I did with missing hand
  22. All I saw were piles of sand
  23. Crawl I did from cursed place
  24. A look of terror on my face

  25. And when I crawled back to our site
  26. Amazed they were, for I was white
  27. So stay away from spirits wrong
  28. '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.

  1. Inanij, you're far too proud
  2. Inanij, like none have found
  3. Inanij, with palest skin
  4. 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.

  1. Three Tehir Raiders' Verses

  2. Goats and grain for mother old
  3. We Tehir walk on sand!
  4. In the water's destiny
  5. I will not roam the land!

  6. Lay my bones with veil of gold
  7. We will wilt for our brides!
  8. With her name upon my breath
  9. From death I cannot hide!

  10. Amulet of power bold
  11. Let their caravans collapse!
  12. Give us strength and silent feet
  13. So our women may grow fat!

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