|Resources||Pomegranetes, Feltan pods, Whispering Wood|
Telek'kra is the capital of the realm ruled by the Mazradin. In the 560s it was briefly conquered by the Great Lich Gosada and became the capital of the Blood Kingdom of Kelof'Zarin but was soon returned to Mazradin rule.
Telek'kra the Tree Home, and the land surrounding it, is a thick tropical jungle, a mess of twisting vines and huge trees, stretching high beyond the clouds like the very fingers of god. While the ground level is home to many creatures, such as the roaming Aro'Thaz, or graceful Hanz'dul, it is in the canopy that the Mazradin, first chosen of Mazara, make their home. The Mazradin, first chosen of Mazara, live in one colossal city, the Tree Home Telek'kra, for which the surrounding land is named, and rarely settle in lands outside of the jungle.
While Telek'kra the Tree Home is the city of the Mazradin, first chosen of Mazara, its shear scale and natural formation mark it out as a wonder of the known world. It is a twisting complex of fourteen great ancient Jhanga Trees, that have formed the complex network of branches and tunnels that the Mazradin, first chosen of Mazara, and their Mazra roost in. It has taken thousands of years of undisturbed growth for this ancient structure to form, and the harm it is to commit a sin of the foulest nature. In Mazradin culture, it is said that this is where Mazara first roosted when she came into this world by tearing a hole in the sky, that became the sun. The Trees are blessed with her spirit, and while she remains in this world, Telek'kra may never fall.
Jor'zhar ur Mazdur'Geldar (Scar of Mazdur'Geldar) is a great valley that dominates the south of Telek'kra, believed to be where Mazdur'Geldar, the first prophet of Mazara, struck the infidel Kelof'Zarin from the world, and in doing so brought the blessings of Mazara to all of the Mazradin. At the very centre of the valley, is a great standing stone, in the middle of a hot lake, that is always warm to the touch. This is believed to be the heart of Kelof'Zarin, and once they have learnt to fly fluently, all Mazradin, first chosen of Mazara, are expected to make a pilgrimage, by foot, to the stone. Great winds of blow periodically through the valley, which are believed to be the wingbeats of Mazara, The Queen of the Sky. Should these winds ever stop, Mazara has left the world, and the end times are upon the land. A group of priests, Wen'Hara (Wind Feelers), are dedicated to watching the winds, and seeing that Mazara is always with us.
In the east of Telek'kra a unique bush known as the Feltan Tree is found. The Feltan Tree is known for its hallucinogenic pods, which are used in many rituals to Mazara. The Forest is guarded fiercely, and outsiders or Landwalkers can quickly find themselves dead, should they set foot in the sacred grounds.
The Mazradin, first chosen of Mazara, are a race of tall, slender people who hail from the land of Telek'kra. The skin of a Mazradin is a pale yellow, which does well to disguise them amongst the colours of the jungle. Their heads are long and thin in comparison to a human, and their eyes are amber or golden in colour, and angle towards a slit in their face that acts as a nose. The mouth is in most ways the same as a human, but all teeth are like molars in nature, and are built to grind fruit from the trees. The Mazradin has two stomachs, that allow them to process food far more efficiently than many other species, which is useful considering their vegetarian lifestyle and the amount of energy required to fly a Mazra.
The functions of the liver, kidneys and adrenal glands are all dealt with by a single organ in the lower abdomen, near the back. It is capable of outputting a huge amount of adrenaline during flight, which gives them the reactions required to dart between the dense jungle landscape. Curiously, adrenaline is not created in times of danger or stress, which can make a Mazradin seen surprisingly calm while in a dangerous situation.
The arms and legs of a Mazradin are twice the length of it's body, which is cumbersome for walking on the ground, but ideal for a life of swinging between trees and clinging to a Mazra's back. The limbs have an extra joint between the wrist and elbow, which can bend in almost any direction, giving added mobility and control to movement in the boreal setting. Each hand has seven digits, of approximately five inches in length and feet with three clawed toes.
A Mazradin lives for between forty and fifty years, provided they have not suffered and accident, and it takes a mere five years for a Mazradin to mature.
Mazradin culture is heavily based around worship to their animal spirit Mazara, and honing their skills of flight. All Mazradin use gargantuan batlike creatures called Mazra to fly and high speeds, and must learn from an early age to fly. A Mazra and its rider share a close bond, with years of practise making them seem like a single being. At the age of six or seven months, a young Mazradin must bond with a Mazra, who they will then learn to fly with. This is a deeply intimate process, and most Mazradin will fly only one Mazra in their lifetime. In the event that a Mazra is killed or injured beyond the power of flight, it is possible for a Mazradin to bond with a new Mazra, although this becomes increasingly difficult with age. The skill of flight is one of the most important things in Mazradin culture, as it is used to evaluate your prowess as an individual.
The greatest flyer in Telek'kra is crowned the leader, however, children often follow on in their parents footsteps as leader, due to the exceptional training they receive and youngsters. When a new leader is chosen, the old leaders Mazra is given a hoop of gold, and set to fly across Telek'kra. If the Mazra of the old leader is dead, then the hoop is placed in the hands of the fastest Mazra who's rider is not competing. All those who wish to compete will chase after the Mazra, and attempt to retrieve the golden hoop.
While the winner is the first to bring the hoop back to the Tree Home, it is considered deeply dishonourable to steal the hoop from a fellow competitor, and such rulers are often reviled by the people. Following the ritual, the Mazra of the old leader will fly into the jungle to die, so that it may be joined with its rider, under the wing of The Queen of the Sky.
In ancient times, a group of assassins existed, known as Tul'Ski (Death from the Sky) whose purpose it was to remove those who threatened Telek'kra, or the integrity of Mazara, but they have long since been disbanded. Traditionally, they wore all pale blue, and were not allowed to become the leader of the Mazradin as long as they lived, and after death too, as they served Mazara in death as in life. To be a Tul'Ski was an honour, as only the finest in the land would be selected for the rigorous training. But those were in bygone days, and no Tul'Ski remain alive.
Pomegranetes can be gathered from the lower canopy, and are a favoured part of the Mazradin's diet.
Feltan pods gathered from the Feltan Forest have strange hallucinogenic properties, that can give people lucid waking dreams for several hours, depending on the administered dosage. They are used by priests of Mazara in ritual flights, in which they consume the pod, and then fly through the higher cloud layers, attempting the seek contact with Mazara in this lucid state. Outside of Telek'kra, these pods are considered an incredible luxury and possessing even one is a sing of great wealth.
While it is heresy to cut from Telek'kra the Home Tree, when a branch does naturally fall, it contains all the blessings that Mazara placed into Telek'kra. One can hear the sound of its memories if you listen closely, whispering the secrets of a bygone time when Mazara fly low to the ground. It was once able to be crafted into edges more powerful than any steel, but the secret has since been lost, and few examples of such weapons remain.
As a race that rarely sets foot on the ground, finding metals for construction of weapons can be rather challenging. The Mazradin need to have these imported if they want to create tools from anything other than blunt whispering wood.
Many of the Mazradin rituals need gold, as it is the favoured metal of Mazdur'Geldar whose flesh became the precious metals of the world. It is imperative that they import Gold immediately.
Mazradin are the first chosen of Mazara, The Queen of the Sky, a great spectral Mazra that created the Telek'kra and gave the Mazradin the ability to ride Mazra. It is believed that she watches over all people who accept her blessing, flight, not just the Mazradin, and any humans who are able to fly a Mazra are happily accepted into the ranks Mazara. It is believed that after a follower of Mazara dies, he and his Mazra, possibly more than one if the rider took multiple Mazra, will join Mazara in the sky, high above the clouds, to watch over the world.
It is believed Mazara came to the world by tearing a hole in the sky, which became the sun, and created the day. She landed in Telek'kra and roosted amongst a copse of 14 Jhanga Trees, which grew huge with her blessing and became Telek'kra the Tree Home. At this time, Mazradin were primitive and tribal, without any great power, forced to clumsily swing from tree to tree. Mazara found a wise Mazradin, named Mazdur'Geldar Rothim, who she gave the power of flight and the power to unite her chosen people.
However, Mazara had not come into this world alone. A great heron spirit, Braganis, came into the world through a hole in the sky which has long since vanished. He opposed Mazara, and chose his own champion of the Mazradin, Kelof'Zarin Gosada, whom he gave the strength of 1000 men too, in exchange for his spirit. Mazdur'Geldar fought Kelof'Zarin for 40 years, carving the place now known as Jor'zhar ur Mazdur'Geldar but was unable to defeat him.
To break the stalemate, Mazara gave him a spear of purest Gold, which he used to pierce the heart of Kelof'Zarin and banish Braganis from the world. After this he collapsed of exhaustion and died, his flesh turning into Gold, his bones into Silver, and his blood into the fertile ground, from which the Feltan Forest grew. This action united all Mazradin under Mazara, and they were given her blessing, the power of flight and unity with the Mazra. Mazdur'Geldar and his own Mazra joined Mazara in the sky, and he leads her procession of the faithful, that Mazradin join to this day when they die.