The Avenan Empire
The Ta-Den are sort of a cross between the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, pre-Islamic Middle East and native Pacific Islanders. They live in a highly sophisticated, extremely structured society that is organized largely along religious and tribal lines, and without a central government. They generally consider themselves one people, but the tribes only come together when there is an existential outside threat. Intertribal warfare is extremely rare, as the Ta-Den peninsula is extremely rich with resources, and population density is low enough that competition has remained low as well. They worship the same deities as the Avenan Imperials, but use different names for them that I haven’t made up yet. . . If your guy is religious, feel free to make up a name for the god you worship.
Before the Scourge, there were only a few of what Imperials would call “cities” in Ta-Den. These cities were built along the Elven plan (Ta-Den and Elves tend to get along fairly well, and much of the wealth of the free Elven kingdoms was due to trade with Ta-Den) – existing in conjunction with nature, rather than in opposition to it.
The merchant capital of the Ta-Den peninsula was a city named Ta-Djed. This was a vast, exotic city, surrounded on two sides by desert, and on the other two by the Eastern Ocean, which has never been crossed. No one knows what lies on the other side, but many Ta-Den adventurers have disappeared into the East in search of new lands. The Ta-Den of Ta-Djed have an almost superstitious fear/awe/respect for the rising sun, even after four hundred years of Isolation.
The desert stretches a couple hundred miles north from Ta-Djed, when it suddenly gives way to a surprisingly lush jungle, which covers the rest of the Ta-Den peninsula, running into the northern foothills of the Frostbite Mountains, and north almost all the way to the shattered lands.The jungle is surrounded by a ring of active volcanoes, which are what create the vast micro-climate capable of supporting a jungle so far north. At the center of this jungle, near an inland sea called Sa’Lassacar (Sea of Black Tears, after an old Wild Elf legend) was the city of Ta-Tenan, which was said to produce the fiercest warriors in the world. Ta-Tenan mercenaries loom large in the minds of the Imperial military, since many of the losses inflicted in the wars against the dwarves and the free Elven kingdoms were due largely to the deadly Ta-Tenan guerilla fighters. Ta-Tenan was also home to a world-renowned school of philosophy, and the jungle around it was almost crowded with druids and other wild magicians and spiritualists.
Ta-Den has an ancient alliance with the dwarves – originally established to offer a bulwark against Imperial expansion. In the century before the Scourge, it became a trade alliance, and a conduit for normal relations between the Empire and Ta-Den.
Both cities successfully built underground caers. Ta-Djed opened its caer about ten years ago, and has since begun a new settlement above ground, and reestablished contact with Ta-Tenan.
Ta-Den explorers have also had some unfortunate encounters with the Ama’ali Empire of what used to be known as Frost Elves, far in the north. These beautiful, dark-skinned, matriarchal elves used to be great allies of the Ta-Den, but whatever happened to them during the Scourge has twisted them into an unrecognizable – and evil – people.
So, clearly you were part of a Ta-Den party heading into the mountains for some reason, and something has happened. Let’s chat about it at O’Brien’s tomorrow.