The Tengai are a generally bigger than average humanoid race, with skin that is wrinkled, or creased. Some have the look of bark, or stone. They are credited as being the source of the myths of rock creatures, or moving trees, even as being the source of the myths of giants. Tengai are large, nomadic,gentle, peaceful people. Despite their large size, they have incredible manual dexterity, and delight in making small complex pieces, tiny carvings, intricate jewellery, and so on. They have no heart for violence, but they have a gentle curiosity about the world.
Tengai are fiercly proud of their names, for it is unlikely that a forgotten Tengai would be able to be summoned back from the Great River.
Generally they live in family tribal units, following ancestral routes around Dellan, having no political allegiance, and seeking to barter with those that they meet. They care little for changes in weather, or changes in temperature, and neither bothers them unduly.
The Tengai are difficult to date, and generally describe their lives in terms of “Summers from”, using generally personally memorable events. This form of dating becomes a part of the living history of the Tengai. For this long-lived species, history is often something that has been seen and shared by a tribe, and so keeping history alive is of great importance. For them, history does not happen unless it is witnessed, and the story of the events is shared amongst the Tengai. It is for this reason that occasionally a Tengai will join caravans, or be found at the edge of large battles, quietly recording and remembering everything that they see so that they are able to pass it on to other Tengai. They are watchers, rather than those that seek to take part in the history.
They are considered the History-Keepers of Dellan, and are often called to important, historic events, such as births, deaths, and marriages of royalty, as well as at historic treaties. The presence of the Tengai generally ensures that both parties intend to honour the treaties.
The Great River
Tengai are able to call upon the knowledge of the Tengai, and are incredibly well-versed in the history of Dellan, though generally only from the perspective of the Tengai who watched it. Tengai Shamans are able to commune with the “spirits of the Tengai”, whom they believe are their ancestors, and through this process to hear the stories of any historic even that was witnessed by a Tengai who has joined the great history river.
The Great River a concept unique to the Tengai, and all Tengai can access it in a limited way, pulling back Tengai they know by name who witnessed a great event. The most skilled shamans are able to pull back little known Tengai who witnessed simply mundane events, or events that were generally forgotten.
When the history of the Tengai is consulted it is the most well-know Tengai who is called to answer, even if there are more than one Tengai there to witness an event. It takes a practiced Shamen many days of meditation to pull back a secondary witness, if the name is known. If the name is not known, then it can take months of hard work to discover the name before they can be pulled back.