This is an example of document containing information about locations in PUZZLE.
Ya-Kusini is the name of the Southern Continent. It lies to the southwest of Macheon on the Biashara. Its name comes from the language of a dead empire that once dominated trade in the Biashara.
People often shorten the name to “Kusini”, and spell and pronounce the using many variants: Kusini, Coshini, Koosiinii, etc.
Els Zev Region (Surface)
Els Zev (Underground)
Nogoon is a coastal region stretching across the northern shores of Ya-Kusini between the ocean and Urz Nogoon.
Els Zev is a desert region south of the Urz Nogoon.
Port Nogoon, or just “Nogoon” is the largest known port on Ya-Kusini. It is home to around 40,000 people. The Sultan of Nogoon is its ruler.
The people of Nogoon, known as “Nogooners” speak Common, but have the tendency to communicate through largely non-verbal means.
Volcanic islands north of Port Nogoon, and longtime home of pirates known as the Corsairs. The Corsairs trace their lineage several decades to the royal family of Nogoon itself who were sent into exile for their evil tendencies. The Corsairs see themselves to be the true rulers of Nogoon, and have grown in power during the past five years.
They pose a significant danger to independent merchants trading with Nogoon.
Pobaab is a small village about twenty miles to the east of Port Nogoon.
It lies near Pass Five, a less commonly used pass to the Urz Nogoon. Travelers are wary about taking this pass because of its proxmity to wyvern roosts.
Records show that it is near an old canal that passes underneath the Urz Nogoon. There are few records about the canal, except that it was built during the old warring citadel days.
These mountains separate Nogoon to the north from the Els Zev to the South. There are six main passes across the Urz Nogoon. The Sultanate of Nogoon and the High Tengur jointly control four the four passes that are amenable to large caravans.
The Tengur’s traditional homeland. The Tengur dwelt by the spring, and as their numbers grew, they migrated north with flocks of goats. The eastern mountains are extremely rocky, but tough grasses grow in patches.
The central desert comprises large stretches of empty desert. There are small settlements that dot the desert landscape, usually centered around springs or mesas where there is more vegetation.
Most of the settlements are buildings made of clay, plaster, supplemented by cedar wood. Larger settlements may feature structures made out of sandstone and cedar wood.
Here are some major areas and settlements:
The southern edge of Els Zev borders on Urz Odon and Els Odon. This is a wilderness that is uninhabited by humans and civilized humanoids. Beasts and savage tribes of human-like creatures are said to inhabit the wilderness beyond.
The only known remaining native peoples of the surface of Els Zev are humans.
There are three main peoples:
These four people have mingled and co-inhabited the desert for many centuries. The Tengur occupy the ruling minority class in society, and make up about 5-6% of the population in the central desert region.
Until the crowning of the recent Tengur High Prince, slavery and other types of bonded labor were common in the mixed Shantyan, Hohtyan, and Wen-oh society. Shantyan and Hohtyan people were found as both slaves/servants and slave masters, but the Wen-Oh were usually targets for enslavement rather than the other way around.
When the Tengur High Prince was crowned, one of the first things he did was to free all slaves, and offer any free slaves a place in his new administration.
Contemporary history says that Els Zev was home to a variety of warring kingdoms until about three and a half centuries ago. These kingdoms were vassal states of massive subterranian Dwarven and Drow empires—the Drow to the West and the Dwarves to the South and East. The conflicts were drawn out, bloody conflicts between massive armies.
But by around 350 years before the expeditions, the Dwarven and Drow kingdoms have completed their withdrawal from the desert area. The trade and supply networks that from the surface to the desert vanished. Overnight subterranean passes closed. Hard times hit the area.
There are competing tales and theories about what happened. Some tales talk about a massive battle (e.g. see the Legend of Ovotengur) or an unknown large scale disaster. Others believe the empires declined and withdrew to secured territories. And until the First and Second Expeditions, many dismissed these tales of Dwarves and Drow as fanciful pieces of imagination.
After the legendary age of warring states, the kingdoms dismantled, as famine and hardship hit the population. Battles over local territories and individual or nearby groups of settlements ensued. This period was less bloody, but more chaotic and turbulent than previous times. It is known that during these centuries the desert spread to its current extent. Over these generations, about half the population of Els Zev began to migrate out of the area, settling in Nogoon or beyond.
About 40 years ago, the Tengur began to sweep the region. Over a period of 8 years, the highly organized forces of the Tengur defeated local warlords and took control of individual settlements, starting from the Southeast and sweeping around in a counterclockwise pattern. Their keen organization meant no existing force, even in highly populated areas, was a match for them.
They largely left existing caravan, trade routes, and other resources intact, but ruthlessly executed warlords, groups of bandits, and any force that refused to submit to the new law of Heaven. Referencing prophecy, they installed themselves as a ruling class in many places, took up residence in prominent places, and set up magistrates to govern conquered settlements.
For several years, Bayan Buurd, the largest settlement, remained independent, though it was split between those who supported the local warlords, and those who supported the Tengur. In the intervening years, the Doul tribe captured many of the settlements nearby, but could not take hold of Bayan Buurd.
This ended in 461 when the Ayangyn tribe of the Tengur lured the head warlord of Bayan Buurd outside the walls and administered a clear defeat.
The matron of the Ayangyn, Ullu, rode through the gate of the palace and declared law over Bayan Buurd.
Ullu of Ayangym wed Arslan Tsaagan of of Salkhi in 462. When Ullu gave birth to her child in 465, the priests of Khavar declared him a child of prophecy, one who would fulfill the will of Ovotengur.
There was some opposition from within the Tengur, but eventually, the idea stuck, and on June 21 of AR480, Shonkhor, son of Ullu and Arslan, was crowned High Prince of the Seven Tribes of the Tengur at age 15.
Shonkhor, the High Prince, quickly moved to make reforms. He abolished slavery in all the domains of the Tengur. Slavery was something already forbidden among the Tengur. The Tengur had done all to eliminate it in Bayan Buurd after its conquest. But it persisted in pockets among the other desert peoples. Shonkhor also expanded bureaucratic and governmental powers. All freed slaves were ensured a place in the bureaucracy or the expanded military corps if they would pledge fealty to the Tengur.
As his second measure, Prince Shonkhor sent an envoy across the mountains and quickly solidified a relationship with the Sultanate of Nogoon.
As his third measure, in January of AR481 only a few months after his crowning, Prince Shonkhor declared the First Expedition to seek the lost entrances to the subterranean realm.
In April after that declaration, the First Expedition found the first entrance near Chul Sakchault with the use of some kind of monstrous mechanism. By June the members of the expedition had seen unimaginable things and recovered untold riches and artifacts.
AR480 Jun - Shonkhor of Ayangyn crowned High Prince of the Tengur
AR481 Jan - The First Expedition Announced
AR485 - Second Expedition Announced
AR491 - Third Expedition
There are two main languages native to the Els Zev region, Jarikh, and Tengur. These two languages share a script but different writing conventions. They are not quite mutually intelligible.
Jarikh, known as Southern or Kusinan to outsiders, is the most widely spoken language here. The standard and most common dialect is the Bayan Buurd dialect. Accents and pronunciation vary greatly from settlement to settlement.
The Tengur ethnic group have their own language, Tengur. Most Tengur who live in the central desert also seem to be fluent in Jarikh.
Since the rise of the Tengur to power, Bayan Buurd bureaucrats and military officials have begun to learn Tengur, but Jarikh remains the main language of trade, commerce, and popular art.
Scholars believe that a multitude of non-human influences shaped both languages.
This pass begins in the foothills near the Pobaab Fishing village, which is the closest place where ships can dock. However, since large ships cannot dock here, and since the village does not have a full market, most people crossing at this pass come by land from the east and west.
The pass is the second least popular of the six main passes. It is too steep for grand caravans. It also passes near common wyvern roosts, so merchant caravans usually avoid it.
It takes around three days to cross the Urz Nogoon via Pass Five, though caravans can make the trip in two if there is fair weather. Caravans usually make camp on a small plateau on the approach to the highest peaks.
The descent to the desert on the Els Zev side consists of very steep switchbacks. Using this pass to cross from Els Zev to Nogoon is exceedingly rare.
The Els Zev is a desert with red sands south of the Urz Nogoon. It is also synonymous with the general region of the north part of the Southern Continent.
The desert is a mixture jagged rock formations and sandy stretches with dunes. The minerals in the rocks and sand give the desert its distinctive red color.
The desert is home to very sparse vegetation—mostly low shrubs that grow in primarily rocky areas. These shrubs are generally poisonous to humans. However, the roots can be nutritious or medicinal when prepared properly.
Various kinds of snakes, lizards, tortoises, lynxes, jackals, desert antelope, rabbits, and mice live in the desert. Vultures and falcons also make their home here. A certain lineage of falcon, known as the Tengur falcon, have been domesticated by the Tengur. Giant insects can also be found around the Els Zev. Beetles, ants, grasshoppers, centipedes, and scorpion all make appearances in sizes ranging from tiny to giant.
Unique to Els Zev is a large, armored, wormlike creature called a Khoologg’ch, or Eater. It is a slow-moving creature that seems to feed on insects and maybe nutrients in the sand itself. It rarely surfaces except during sandstorms.
A large city in the middle of the desert with a population of around 30,000 people. It is the largest settlement of any kind in the Els Zev region.
Architecture is sandstone, clay, and white marble. Aquifers distribute water throughout the city. Fortified by two walls; one separating the city area from the outlying farmlands, and one surrounding the central palace. The outlying area is farmland, irrigated from channels that run from Nuur, a large natural lake a few miles across.
The outlying area spans about 10-15 miles from edge to edge. The inner city is about 3.5 miles square.
Rows of palms mark the edge of the oasis. Water is highly valued here, and wasting it or corrupting a water source is seen as a crime and affront to civilization. Water directly from the source, which is enclosed in a special part of the palace, is considered holy.
Bayan Buurd is often referred to as the “desert capital” by outsiders. It is the current seat of the High Prince of the Tengur. However, the Tengur do not consider themselves an empire, and thus do not have a capital.
An enormous raised mesa, several miles across, rising up around 400 feet from the desert floor, about ten miles across. The main flat is covered with heavy vegetation. Several bare peaks rise up from the main flat.
Chul Sakchalt lies about 95 miles west by southwest of Bayan Buurd.
There are several surrounding settlements around Chul Sakchalt. However, Chul Sakchalt itself is considered holy territory for all the desert peoples.
The first entrance to the subterranean roads was found very close to Chul Sakchalt. Most people now believe that Chul Sakchalt was a major hub for the subterranean trade.
Tzaiz Shuud, or “Shuud”, is a lone rocky outcropping shaped like a fang. It currently serves as one of the main centers of activity for the Expeditions.
Shuud lies in an otherwise uninhabited region in the western desert, about 80 miles north of Chul Sakchalt and . It forms a loose triangle with
It is surrounded by ruins of a large city along the desert plateau. The settlement that persisted here was abandoned several generations ago when the final well became poisonous.
Folklore says that this settlement and its fortress was the capitol of one of the competing kingdoms during the warring period.
It was the main site of excavation for the Second Expedition.
A range of southern mountains, that mark the border between Els Zev and Els Odo, the edge of the wilderness and beginning of the Missing Lands. It lies about 120 miles from Bayan Buurd.
The reddish sands of Els Zev give way to sands of an ashen color. There are few springs with potable water here, and almost no vegetation. This area frequently has sandstorms from winds that blow from further south.
Beyond the Els Odon is said to lie a horrible wasteland. Both the ground and sky are an ashen color. Lightning routinely strikes the ground. It is known only as an evil place where no humans travel.
The Shantyan are generally dark-haired and relatively dark skinned, though there is a tremendous amount of physical diversity. Most of the Shantyan now live as modest farmers and pastoralists, but they are renowned for their pottery, artwork, song, as well as physical beauty. Some Shantyan have become merchants. Shantyan, while not as physically imposing as the Wen-Oh, were most often favored to become servants and slaves. They are favored by the Tengur to serve as guards.
The Shantyan are considered as skilled as the Tengur with horses and camels and make up the bulk of personnel in the caravan trains.
The Hohtyan were formerly a minority comparied to the Shantyan, but their numbers have been increasing recently with the growth of settlements. They have black and brown hair and tan or brown skin. Many are of a lighter in build and skin tone than the Shantyan. Some believe the Tengur are more closely related to the Hohtyan than the Shantyan. The Hohtyan are mostly artisans and have historically dwelt near the big settlements.
The Wen-Oh are large-built, muscular people, almost always standing six feet taller or more, with an impressive girth. They are born with very pale skin that turns to a bronze color in the desert sun, and little body hair. Males generally lose all the hair on their head by their late teens, and almost none have beards. Wen-Oh seem to have a good cultural awareness of gemstones. Some believe that the Wen-Oh are the oldest people in the region and lived in caverns. The Wen-Oh were frequently oppressed and kept as slaves, though they were at the same time regarded with fear and suspicion.
Even today, although they participate in the economy, the Wen-Oh generally live in separate communities. Almost no Wen-Oh have been members of the Tegur Expeditions. Wen-Oh have the unfortunate reputation for being the source of criminal activity and organizations. It is said the legendary desert alchemists were of the Wen-Oh.
The Tengur are a semi-nomadic tribe originally from the eastern edge of the desert. They make up only about 1/20th of the population. Their tribe controls the main military force. Their society is heavily codified and centered around hunting, raising animals, and warrior activities. Unlike the other desert-dwellers, they have their own language, Tengur.
The Tengur worship a sky god called Ovotengur. A key legend of their people states that they are descended from a small tribe that also dwelt on the surface the land that is now the central desert. At that time, it was a verdant plain. The Tengur ancestors were a shamanistic people, at the time servants to all the spirits of the plains.
The other, more numerous desert peoples came under the influence of Zlaa and Muu-Oyuun, who came from underground and gave them forbidden magic. They massacred the ancestors of the Tengur. Some of the Tengur were protected by the Odo, who were bearded and lived in the south mountains.
Zlaa herself came from the ground in the form of a gargantuan centipede, and consumed the spirits of the plains. She drove the Odo from the southern mountains and with Muu-Oyuun brought blight on the whole land.
The remaining ancestors gathered by a spring now known as the the Khafa Avga. During an eclipse, the god Ovotengur revealed itself to the ancestors. It said it would wage war against Zlaa, Muu-Oyuun, and their brood, and all their servants, and rain vengeance upon the wicked plains dwellers.
Ovotengur appeared in the plains in the form of four calamities: floods, earthquakes, storm, and flame. Ovotengur cut open Zlaa’s belly and released the plains spirits, and fought alongside Ovotengur in seven cohorts. In cutting open Zlaa’s belly, however, they released the gestating brood of Zlaa. The brood hid itself deep under the ground, beyond their reach. But finally, Zlaa and Muu-Oyuun were cut down, and the north of the land was stained red with their blood.
The war was won, but the land was ruined. The plains spirits went to sleep in the ground to heal the land, and drove the blight back to the mountains where the Odo has dwelt.
Ovotengur, exhausted from the battle, went into the earth to sleep, and keep watch against the escaped brood of Zlaa. Before sleeping, Ovotengur named the ancestors its chosen people. They would call themselves the Tengur henceforth. Ovotengur gave the shamans of the Tengur the ability to prophesize by seeing into its dreams. As a last gift, Ovotengur give the Tengur the language of the falcons.
The prophecy was that in nine generations, the Tengur would come to rule over the land and over the other desert peoples.
The Tengur are organized into seven major tribes, arranged by age. Each tribe is associated with a symbolic natural element and a direction. The ordering of the tribes traces out the history of the Tengur in the region.
The eldest of the Tengur tribes and clans. Guardians of the the Khafar Avga (Spring of Ancestors) in the southeast.
Guardian of the pastures on the eastern foothills. Largest tribe, but not much of a presence in the central Els Zev. Their traditional weapon is the long spear.
Guardians of the mountain pass between the desert and the Nogoon. Along with the Delkhiin, most closely associated with the key animals (Horse, Camel, Falcon.)
Tribe most known for ranging over the desert. Reputation for the fiercest warriors. Along with the Uulyn, most closely associated with the key animals (Horse, Camel, Falcon.)
Traditional guardians of the stormy Northwestern Pass to the Nogoon (closest pass to Port Nogoon). The mother of the High Prince of the Tengur comes from this tribe.
Second largest tribe of the Tengur. Has the largest presence in the major settlements on the central desert.
Youngest tribe. The father of the High Prince of the Tengur comes from this tribe.
This tribe watches the Southern Edge.