Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Center Cannot Hold: The Ways of the Wind's Children

Keeping to themselves in Crux, the Tengu often perform work that is too cheap for effective android
workers.  They also provide more clandestine services, their ninja often working in the shadows for the interests of other Icons.  Overall, their presence is regarded with some discrimination and disdain, especially since most Tengu tend to never speak in Tomish or any other western tongue.

Here are few things only the Tengu know and keep to themselves.

Family: Although Tengu marry monogamously like humans or ursyklon do, they very rarely accept any specific children as their own.  When a Tengu claims to have a daughter or a son, either they've gone Crow and assimilated more with the gaijin, or they are referring to their clan's children.

Tengu couples lay from one to three eggs once or twice in their lifetimes.  These eggs are gathered in a single collective nest, where members of the Clan devoted to caring for the eggs take care of them.  All children belong to the Clan, and exact parentage isn't seen as necessary.

Drinking The Dream-Water: The rite of passage all Tengu children endure is the drinking the dream-water.  A concoction of various poisons, it triggers the memories of their past lives, causing them to come to the fore.  Dream-water is believed to be lethal any non-tengu- its use as a poison among Tengu Ninja points to that.

Drinking the substance is a painful process, as it awakens the past lives of countless generations.  These past lives lend guidance and wisdom to those who bare them, memories of things long ago and past.  Tengu take on the first name of their most memorable past lives, often because they identify most with them.

This rite also reveals much of the secret lore of the Tengu.  Knowing as many past lives as they do, conveys a sense of the Path.  The Path is a central concept in Tengu life- the Path is the way the World goes, as directed by the most dominant of the five winds.

The Path: One of the most important concepts among the Tengu is that of the Path.  Tengu believe each age of the world is dominated by one of the five winds- their gods, the Kaze.  The Path is how the Tengu use their past lives, prophecy and their actions to direct which age the world is heading toward.  Opinions on how to approach the Path divided their nation into three separate ones ages ago.

Those who believe the Path cannot be walked, are ascetics.  They internalize the Path, but abstain from using past lives, prophecy or any other part of the path to manipulate the world.  They believe the Path can only be watched, and directing it is like flying into a storm.

Then there are those of the Jade.  The current age was created, according to these Tengu, by the Jade Emperor's direct efforts.  Any means, even violent ones, to maintain the current age are tied to that empire's own interests.  They believe the Path can only be changed through the efforts of Tengu, and slay anyone who might be aiding the ascendancy of the Fifth Wind.

The last group of those Tengu believe the Path is still largely unknowable to them.  Despite their efforts through prophecy, past lives and other works, the Tengu still have trouble understanding the Path the winds use to dominate the current age.  They ask questions, and seek enlightenment often by exploring gaijin cultures for clues.  In Crux, the Prophet of Winds belongs to this group- her efforts are to learn from the gaijin and, in turn, begin to alter the Path toward a more benign age.  She fears the steady fall toward the fifth wind, that the Jade Emperor's mistake of ignoring gaijin might open the door for the Demon Wind to begin its own age.