Tienshang Guo are a group of provinces in Solhara that are south Zabier. Tienshang Guo mean Heavenly Country. It is here that the secret portal of the Tara that leads to Shangri-La a strange land in Allutheria inhabited by the Djinn and other spirits.
The people that inhabit Tianshang Guo developed from three Solaran tribes: The San, The Set, and The Bon. Before they separated into three tribes they knew themselves collectively as Tienshi. Solhara was a mess of warring tribes squabbling over resources. Several tribes found themselves wanting to find a place where they could live apart from the war and squabbling so they sent a group out to journey south. They told them to go as far south as they could go. Legends said though that there was nothing south but more sand and death. The group went anyway and they found instead quite an interesting and broad landscape. Excited the group camped by a large waterfall. Little did they know that this waterfall was a portal to Shangri-La a portion of Allutheria that had been scratched out by the fae that had lived in Solhara before the banishment. It was because of this portal that the land was fertile and not just sand. The particular fae that the group came upon were known as the Tara. There were six of them. The six Tara questioned the group and took pity on this group and granted them and their people access to the land, but made them promise to put up a wall that would act as a barrier to keep the warring people out. The land was supposed to be an extension of Shangri-La. The group agreed and returned to their people. They migrated into what the Tara called Tianshang Guo. The Tara blessed them with the name Tienshi.
For many years the Tienshi lived peacefully. They chose their leader which they called Emperor and revered his family. Trouble came when the Third Emperor’s three concubines all had a boy on the same day. There was dispute over which boy was born first and therefore which was the first born child. The Emperor chose to have all three boys raised the exact same way to avoid favoritism. However, the mothers raised each child with the expectation that he would be chosen to take their father’s place. As the boys reached adulthood they began to bicker and squabble over who would be named the heir. They would have contests to prove who was the strongest, wisest, and most clever. The Emperor having had enough of the fighting chose to divide up Tianshang Guo into three different territories. To his son Bei he gave the northern most portion, to his son Jung he gave the middle portion and to his son Nam he gave the Southern most. He sent all three to their respective territories and told them to begin building their homes so that by the time he died the three territories would be established and not thrown into chaos. Each son named their territory and became in charge of looking after the three threats to Tienshi. The province Bei Sheng became in charge of looking after the Great Wall, the province Jung-ang Do in charge of keeping an eye on Shima Taiyo, and the province Nam Tin in charge of protecting their borders from the Black Sands.
Shortly after the Sona’s royal family, Nudara, fell to the Isil’s royal family, Nejem. The Isil began conquering and bringing other Solharan tribes into the fold. Some resisted but many went willingly. The Tienshi, however, hid behind the Tian Quiang and refused to join the Isil. There is no account of how the Isil broke through the Tian Quiang. All anyone knows is that the Isil did and they soon conquered the Tienshi. The Tienshi were forced to kneel and pledge fealty to house Nejem in order to keep their lands, culture, and way of life. The Isil rebuilt the wall only this time they made a large arch in the center so people could come and go as they pleased. Using the Tienshi’s language they named the gate Tian Men, but in an act of defiance each province still calls it The Wall secret.
The Great Wall Edit
- Started being built in 207 AH. Finished in 280 AH.
- Called the Tian Quiang (pronounced Tea-ahn Ch-iang means Heaven’s Wall) until 630 AH when the Isil breach it to take the provinces under their control. The breached wall is re-built to include a large gateway and renamed Tian Men (Heaven’s Gateway) in 676AH
- The people who live in the provinces still refer to it as the Great Wall.
- Known in Bei Sheng as Da Quiang (pronounced Dah Ch-iang means Great Wall)
- Known in Jung-ang Do as Keun Byeog (pronounced Hn Be-yah means Great Wall)
- Known in Nam Tin as To Tuong (pronounced Boh To-ung means Great Wall)
Shangri-la Portal Edit
Known throughout Tianshang Guo as Tara’s door is for the most part unprotected. There are spirits that guard the gate, but due to magic that was woven into the portal nothing human can pass through it. This is not only to protect humans, but the occupants of Shangri-La as well. Anything with human blood is unable to pass through Tara’s door into Shangri-La.
Language and Alphabet Edit
The people of Tienshi all speak the common tongue as their primary language. However, all children also speak the language of the Tara. When the people first came to Tianshang Guo and met the Tara they spoke the language of Solhara. However, when they made their pact with the Tara and the fae of Shangri-La the people also abandoned their native language. The Tara taught them their language and their alphabet. It wasn’t until the Tienshi were conquered again that they had to re-learn Solharan. Their language and alphabet were outlawed by House Nejem for thirty years to ensure that the next generation learned Solharan again. After those thirty years the ban on the Tienshi language was lifted. To this day the people of Tienshi know both Solharan, Tienshi, and the common tongue.
The Language and alphabet of the Tara is a dialect of the fae language, but is not the same common fae tongue. The fae of Shangri-La all speak this language as well as the common fae tongue. This language was developed by the Tara and the people of Shangri-La in secret with the aid of the twin gods of language. The writing on their portal in Tienshi known as Tara’s gate is in this language.
Traditions and Superstitions Edit
Tienshi is the only place in Ga’leah known to elevate the spirits (aka the Fae) to a level of minor deity. They do not worship the spirits in the same way that they worship the gods, however, they are known to have festivals surrounding certain spirits and much of their philosophies and customs were influenced by the fae in Shangri-La.
Ancestry is a huge part of Tienshi culture. The people of Tienshi look to their ancestors for guidance. The sins or good deeds on one’s ancestors greatly influences how the current family is treated by society. A family with many sins in their ancestry is seen to be cursed or nothing but a group of ne’er-do-wells. If a family is to rise above their cursed ancestry they must prove themselves with a heroic deed and even then it could take several generations to undo the stigma.
The people of Tienshi believe in Karma which is the idea that the actions a person commits gives off an energy into the universe. That energy will eventually come back and affect the person for good or bad depending on the deed.
Another essential part of Tienshi thought and tradition is the idea of the Yin and Yang. This is the idea that the world made up of opposites are balanced by each opposite containing a piece of the other. The idea is there is a cyclical nature the world and it is the natural course for good to be followed by bad in order for the world to maintain its balance. Yin and Yang however relates not just to morals, but rather to everything in nature: masculine/ feminine; sun/moon; day/night; fire/water; etc.
The Tienshi are an extremely superstitious people. There are hundreds of superstitions as well as variations of superstitions throughout the three provinces. Many of them involve spirits or ghosts. The result of most of these superstitions is bad luck.
Important colors in Tienshi culture are Green, Red, Yellow, White and Black. Each color is associated with a particular element and also has a number of other aspects attached to it. Green is the wood element, red the fire, yellow the earth, white the metal, and black the water. Red is the luckiest color and is widely worn during the New Year festivals and other special celebrations such as weddings, birthdays, or initiations into temple life. White is the color of mourning and therefore is only worn at funerals or during the mourning period. Yellow is often paired with red, but is also worn primarily by the royal families of Tienshi.
Numerology is huge in Tienshi. Numbers are either lucky or unlucky. Lucky numbers include 0, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Unlucky numbers are 4 and sometimes 5 depending on what it is paired with. The number 1 is neither unlucky or lucky. It symbolizes origins or beginnings and sounds similar to the word meaning forever or you.
The New Year Edit
Like the rest of Ga’leah the Tienshi celebrate the New Year or Festival of Light as it is called in central Ga’leah. The three territories refer to it in their native dialects as Chun jie(Northern province), Seollal(Middle province), and Tet (Southern Province).
Chun Jie Edit
This is the longest New Year celebration in all of Ga’leah. It spans a total of twelve days one day in honor of each god of the pantheon. It ends with a large Lantern Festival to Helios. Each day has a different festival and activity. The first day is dedicated to the Living Flame. A Festival of Fire is held. It is similar to the Festival of flames but on a smaller scale. The people of Bei Sheng light fireworks, sparklers, burn bamboo, and incense to ward off evil spirits. Families gather together and give red envelopes with money in them to their family members. The second day is dedicated to Philia the matchmaker. Parents, family members, and friends give married couples small gifts and red envelopes with lucky coins. It is also a period of thanksgiving and alms giving to the less fortunate. Typically the day ends with a large feast put on for the wed couples in the community. The Third day is dedicated to Chaos. The day is spent mostly in the home or at the local temple to the Chaos god. Paper offerings are burnt in hopes of appeasing the destroyer so that one’s life may remain harmonious. The fourth day is dedicated to the goddess of death. It is also a day of rest from festivities. Many families will take small picnics to family shrines to pray for their ancestors. On the fifth day is dedicated to Sage the god of the earth. During this day all people abstain from meat and eat only vegetation. In the evening there is a large feast prepared. It is customary for the farmers and field workers to be invited to their local magistrates home where they are seated at a place of honor. The sixth day is dedicated to the huntress. Only meat is eaten on this day and all skinwalkers are seated in places of honor in the magistrates houses. The seventh day is given to the goddess of war. Wrestling is the activity of choice. It is on this day that men are promoted in the army. On the 8th day which is for the stormbringer large pitchers are placed outside the home in hopes that the stormbringer will bring rain to fill up the pitchers. Only water may pass one’s lips from the time of sun-up to sun down. The 9th day is dedicated to the Coming Tide. On this day children make little boats and race them on small streams or in lakes. Fish is all that is consumed. The tenth day is given to the God of Time and it is a large festival held in honor of the King of the Heavens. The very young and the old are given places of honor at the table. The eleventh day is given to the moon maiden. Sweet cakes called moon cakes are traditionally eaten on this day. All the lanterns that will be used in the Lantern festival are made and painted. On the final day everyone fasts till dusk. At that point the cities and villages are lit up. Great feasts are held in honor of Helios. Any leftover food must be consumed or given as burnt offering to the spirits. At midnight the lanterns made the night before are lit and released into the sky.
This is celerated in Jung-ang Do. Seollal only lasts three days. For the people of Jung-ang Do Seollal is not only a time to celebrate the lightgiver, but to celebrate the family. During Seollal all families travel to the home of the eldest surviving relative. Gifts are given by the oldest members of the family to the youngest members. The first day of Seollal honors the eldest generation. It is customary for no old member of the family to do any work. All food and drink are brought to the eldest generation. On the second day the middle family generations are served and provided for by the eldest and youngest generations. Then on the third day the youngest children are served and provided for by the middle generation. Over the course of the three days the family spends all their time together playing games, singing songs, eating, drinking. The final feast on the third day is a traditionally candlelit dinner. The room can only be lit by red candles with the name of Helios painted on in gold. After the meal the family gathers outside each holding a candle and sings a traditional Seollal Hymn to Helios asking him to bless them in the coming year.
Tet is a week long celebration. The people of Nam Tin decorate their homes in bright yellow or white flowers to represent the light of the sun. Children are given red envelopes that get filled with money or lucky coins after greeting an elder with a New Year’s greeting. There are large parades held in village and town squares. The people dance with brightly colored reflective ribbons to refract the light of the sun. Young unmarried women dress in gold and wear diadems that are shaped like rays of the sun. Fruit is largely consumed during the week of Tet. Each night ends with a bigger and bigger firework display with the largest being shown on the last night of Tet.