The Tehir - A Primer
The Tehir - A Primer is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
The Land: Geography, Geology, Flora, and Fauna
Often referred to as harsh and brutal, the Sea of Fire provides a unique environment for the Tehir. Temperate zones and an asymmetrical ring of mountain ranges surround a desert expanse of dunes and wasteland, creating a very inhospitable region. Sand rich in iron ore glows a brilliant orange that complements the generally cloudless blue sky above. Twice-daily desert winds and frequent sand storms provide survival challenges, resulting in loss of way and often, loss of life. The unyielding environment makes a predominantly nomadic society far more successful than a sedentary one, as resources aren’t consistently found in the same area.
Creatures are primarily carnivorous, highly adaptable, and often sport coloration abilities that allow them to blend in easily with their surroundings. Flora grows low to the surface and features complex root systems designed to reach hidden pools and springs running underground. The exceptions to this are natural and man-made oases, where native and non-native vegetation create little verdant outposts.
The People: The Tehir Tribes and Associated Summaries
The Tehir have their own language, composed of a unique set of difficult-to-decipher variations between age, gender, and status. For the sake of the reader, nearly all text herein is described in its Common form, except when referencing proper nouns. Many of these titles do not appear to follow the known language convention.
The Tehir are a relatively primitive nomadic people with a tribal culture. They live in the Sea of Fire where they have adapted to the extremely harsh environment within the great desert, migrating from oasis to oasis throughout the seasons, herding their few goats, camels, and yierkas, and living off the sparse desert bounty.
A matrilineal and mostly transient people, their histories tend to flow between the generations by way of oral tradition. Ultimate power does not reside with the women, but rather, with the men. Women tend to lay claim to lineage and own the wealth, while men dictate what is done with each, and are often the instigators of both alliances and war. It is most common for men to display and participate in sacred rites, though women have their exclusive practices as well. Religion among the Tehir is mostly monistic, containing layers of animism and spirit-reverence amid a heavy base of superstitions. Above all, Tehir are of the sand, and they will return to it soon enough.
Like the sand, the appearance of the Tehir can vary widely. They come in any number of skin shades, though the darkest, including ebon and dark brown, are considered most beautiful. Light-skinned Tehir tend to be of mixed blood or the progeny of former Imperial slaves. Women tend to pay much interest to their hair styling, while men's hair is mostly unnoticed due to the veils that obscure their faces. Their clothing styles include a wide number of variations, but the consistent theme for all is the donning of many, many layers. The climate of the Sea of Fire is harsh and the excess layers of clothing help to protect against it.
Food comes from many sources for the Tehir, including hunting, gathering, raiding, and trading. The responsibility for cooking varies from north to south, with the pastoral and traveling tribes relying on women for cooking. Southern and semi-sedent cliff dwellers have delegated the brunt of cooking to their younger men in more recent years. The typical Tehir diet is heavy on goat meat, dried fruits and vegetables, and a hearty amount of grain. Tea is a chief beverage, while delicacies typically include a small host of dairy products such as milk, cheese, and butter.
As skilled craftsmen in a mostly desolate environment, trade is an integral portion of the Tehir's survival. They produce a variety of wares, from jewelry to hides, and import a considerable amount of staples, including grain and spun linen thread. The internal trade from tribe to tribe, stands not only as a matter of survival, but also acts as a solidifier for marriages, births, and raiding alliances. Now and again, a Tehir-led caravan route will momentarily pop up between Phannus and Hendor, supplying the eastern Turamzzyrian Empire with salt, dried fish, and other goods from the coastline. It is important to note that the raiding of these occasional supply lines line by other tribes, while infrequent, commonly leads to internal strife.
The Tehir tribes are far too numerous to mention individually in extreme detail, however brief summaries of three tribes have been eked out as a sample for the reader. These are not and should not be considered the only, major, or most powerful tribes.
Commonly referred to as the "People of the Sun," the Mir'sheq are a large Tehir tribe known for their extensive traveling range between the northern and southern borders of the Sea of Fire. The Mir'sheq tend to do a good deal of their traveling during the daylight hours, using this time as an opportunity for extensive trading along the most common routes. Excellent tradesmen and herders, the Mir'sheq tend to have an uncommonly good rapport with other racial groups within the Sea of Fire. They are known for their fine craftsmanship of leather goods. Incidentally, they are one of the few tribes who do not abhor gold and have become quite rich through sale and trade of the mineral.
The Mir'sheq by nature have a tendency toward outgoing and independent dispositions. This extroversion and confidence often leads to recreational combat and friendly competitions as a form of entertainment, where displays of hand-to-hand techniques demonstrate agility and skill. This has produced some of the quickest brawlers among the Tehir tribes. The symbol of the Mir'sheq tribe is a radiating sun disc.
Within the very center of the Sea of Fire is a relatively small tribe of Tehir people known as the "People of the Night." This mysterious band of Tehir tends to do most of their traveling in the evening hours, preferring to keep to themselves and avoid the center of any conflict that might be incited during the hours of the sun. Cautious by nature, the Nalhir tend to be among the more superstitious of the Tehir tribes. These people are usually highly aware of magical energies and seek out spiritual vortices within the Sea of Fire, between these vortices they spend much of their time traveling.
By trade the Nalhir make excellent jewelry smiths, creating elaborate copper and silver pieces that are highly prized as valuable trade commodities. As well as their work with jewelry, the Nalhir are renowned for their stunningly haunting musical abilities. Many of the common Tehir verses and poems are the results of the people of this tribe. The Nalhir are among those known to be the most highly skilled ayr players within the Sea of Fire. The symbol of the Nalhir is a black crescent moon
Ever changing and as inconsistent as the wind within the Sea of Fire, the Tahlesh are a troubled people. Constantly viewed with a cloud of suspicion by other inhabitants and tribes in the Sea of Fire, the Tahlesh are a mish-mash group of abandoned and otherwise undevoted Tehir individuals who have come together to form a tribe for those who are less than desired among the other tribes. Commonly known as the "People of the Wind," the Tahlesh seem to constantly incite conflict and are plagued by internal power struggles and unrest within the tribe. The symbol of the Tahlesh is a twisted and barbed spiral.
People of the Tahlesh have tendencies toward jealousy and greed while every tribe member looks out for himself if he plans to survive the harsh lifestyle. The scorned people of the tribe travel great distances across the Sea of Fire in search for oases that can harbor their ravaging lifestyle. Usually rough and shrewd tradesmen by nature, a good deal of the Tahlesh tribe survives on wares bartered or stolen while traveling along the trade routes. The scrutiny reserved for this tribe is further exacerbated by their willingness to deal with Those Who Fled.
Those Who Fled: The Shakat
Still considered Tehir by many outside the Sea of Fire, the Shakat are emerging to become quite a different people. They are descendants of the Tehir who left the Sea of Fire for some years, when a rare escalation of land temperature caused a severe drought and many deaths. When the Shakat attempted to return to the desert, those who had remained refused to let them stay. The Shakat slinked back to their small settlements outside the Sea of Fire, where a set of wholly unique cultural and spiritual beliefs have developed in the centuries since.
Note: This document is both a stand-alone and the first part of the more comprehensive Life and Being in the Sea of Fire document.