The satrapy of An-Teng, between the Fire Mountains and the Great Western Ocean, suffered greatly in the Usurpation because of its loyalty to the Solar Exalted. Then it suffered again in the Great Contagion. An-Teng now seems like a model satrapy: prosperous, placid, utterly subservient to the Realm. And so it is, if you overlook small deviations such as a secret Yozi cult, the people’s continued worship of the Golden Lord and the Pale Mistress, and Lintha pirates selling their loot with hardly a pretense of being honest merchants.

The Dynasty does not realize that this soft, submissive country holds many secrets. In the Time of Tumult, the hour approaches when An-Teng reveals its power. How An-Teng will use that power, no one can say, but it is not likely to benefit the Realm.


The mild climate of An-Teng made it a favorite residence and vacation-spot for the Exalted of the Old Realm. The Chosen of the Incarnae showered blessings on the land and its people. The Solar Deliberative organized the country in a plan that still endures, with separate princes for the high, middle and lowlands. These three nobles answered to a High Queen who represented the nation to the Deliberative.

When the Dragon-Blooded rose in the Usurpation, at least half a dozen Solar Exalted and as many Lunars made their stand in An-Teng. The High Queen, the Three Princes and many of the people supported them, for they knew only the glory and generosity of the Chosen. (Or perhaps that is all the Chosen permitted them to know.) The battles against the usurpers ravaged An-Teng. The victorious Dragon-Blooded slew the royal families of An-Teng and appointed minor nobles in their place. The Tengese learned the lesson that defiance brought death. They planted rice, they bowed to the Dragon-Blooded, and they did not complain.

Through all the Shogunate, the people of An-Teng did as they were told. Yet, the Dragon-Blooded could not convince the Tengese to abandon their national gods, the Golden Lord and the Pale Mistress. The Tengese bowed, swore obedience, prayed at the fanes of the nascent Immaculate faith… and continued their own ceremonies in secret.

As in the rest of Creation, the Great Contagion slew most of the Tengese. They prayed to the Dragons, the Golden Lord and the Pale Mistress, and were not saved. The Fair Folk touched An-Teng but lightly, however, before the Scarlet Empress scourged them back to the edge of the world.

When the Dragon-Blooded returned to An-Teng, they appointed new princes and told the people to revere the Scarlet Empress as their queen and savior. As always, the Tengese bowed and swore their obedience. Shogunate or Scarlet Empire—it made no difference to them.

After another five centuries of submission, the Tengese received an unexpected taste of freedom. In RY 578, the Realm went to war against the Anathema Jochim. Three years later, the war became intense enough that the Empress withdrew An-Teng’s garrison. A year after that, the seemingly defenseless country was invaded by Sualin, the self-styled Diamond Mandarin of a neighboring kingdom. By RY 584, Sualin was dead and his army in full retreat before elephant-mounted legions that the princes of An-Teng rallied from, apparently, nowhere. For one year after that, the Three Princes ruled their nation as true sovereigns… and then the Anathema Jochim was slain, the great war ended and a Realm fleet sailed into An-Teng’s main port. Twenty Dragon-Blooded called on An-Teng to renew its submission. Faced with the might of the Realm, the princes knelt, and the taste of freedom turned to bitter ashes in Tengese mouths. The few local rebellions did not last long. Once more, the Tengese bowed, and planted rice, and did not complain.

Of late, however, the Tengese grow restive. The Realm takes more and more of their silver, rice and other goods in tribute. Visitors from the Realm, both Exalted and mortal, behave with increasing arrogance, casual cruelty and greed.

No one yet has come out and said that the Realm must go, but the people work harder to hide their wealth from the tax collector, knowing that it goes to the Realm. They hide comely sons and daughters when the Dragon-Blooded enter their community, instead of hoping to be rewarded for supplying a pleasing bedmate. They recall the gifts the Celestial Exalted gave them so long ago. They tell stories of the Golden Lord’s goodness, and the frightful power of the Pale Mistress… and when some whisper tales of mightier and more dreadful powers that could destroy the lords of the Realm, why, some Tengese listen.


An-Teng extends about 300 miles north-to-south between the Fire Mountains and the sea. It centers on Dragon’s Mouth Bay, where the land’s principle waterway, the River of Queens, meets the Great Western Ocean. Many other rivers flow down from the mountains. Unlike the rest of the South, An-Teng seldom worries about drought. Indeed, flooding is more often a problem. The land further divides into three parallel strips, each with its own distinctive character.


The high peaks and foothills of the Fire Mountains form the High Lands. The highest peak, the Pinnacle of Mercy, holds the glittering palace-fortress of the Golden Lord. Tales say that a smaller peak attached to that eminence is actually a great dragon that turned to stone long ago.

This region has the mildest, coolest climate in An-Teng.

The High Lands have no cities. Even the High Prince’s capital, the Jade Plum Citadel, is merely a good-sized town of 60,000. Half the townsfolk live in the apartment-towers of the Citadel itself. New buildings occupy ancient foundations that suggest the Jade Plum Citadel was once much larger. Only the High Prince’s palace still bears a covering of darkly gleaming onyx.

The valleys of small rivers run between the massifs of the Firepeaks; the High Land folk terrace the valley walls for their farms. Several rivers join at Thousand Dragons Lake, whence the River of Queens flows down toward the Middle Lands. Most or the region’s commerce happens on the shores of Thousand Dragons Lake.

All of An-Teng’s mining takes place in the High Lands.

The peaks supply diamonds, rubies, sapphire, topaz, iron and gold—but mostly silver. Everyone in the High Lands can afford a silver earring or bangle. (They believe that wearing silver protects them from evil spirits.) The farms of the High Lands produce fruit, millet, vegetables, spices, betel-nut, hemp and its by-product hashish. Widespread use of the latter two commodities make High Lands folk notably mellow. The High Lands’ climate is also ideal for tea, and tea plantations extend for miles along the mountain slopes.

The Realm’s satrap pressures the region’s nobles to extend the plantations at the expense of family farms.


Below the foothills of the Fire Mountains extends a wide piedmont of low hills, plains and river valleys. Every Season of Water, these valleys flood from heavy rains in the Fire Mountains, and so the valley-folk build their homes on stilts.

The Forest of Compassion, a tongue of the Silent Crescent jungle that forms An-Teng’s southern border, fills much of the province. The river valleys, however, are cleared of forest and devoted to intensive cultivation of rice and cotton. Forestry is the third great industry of the Middle Lands. The Tengese move logs using elephants that they capture in the forest and tame. This use of elephants is one of the most distinctive features of An-Teng’s culture.

The fourth industry is silk. As the Tengese clear the forest, mulberry plantations take its place. Only wealthy Tengese can afford silken clothing, though. Most of the silk goes to the Realm in tribute or to foreign trade. As it flows down from the High Lands, the River of Queens meets the city called Adorned with Wisdom as a Sapphire—or just Sapphire, in ordinary speech. This city includes a great deal of Old Realm architecture. Many savants gather in Sapphire, where they run more than a dozen schools.

Here, youths from throughout An-Teng enjoy living apart from their all-controlling families. Sometimes they also find time to study subjects such as astronomy, astrology, scientific agronomy, poetry, history, architecture, applied theology, political economy and business administration. Students can learn much more about An-Teng’s glorious past than the Scarlet Dynasty might like. Nationalism runs high among the students as a result. Since the Dragon-Blooded who come to Sapphire chiefly consist of visiting savants searching for First Age lore, however, the students often have quite a good impression of the Scarlet Dynasty itself.

Farther downstream, the River of Queens flows through Prosperous Garden, the capital for the Prince of the Middle Lands. In this city of canals, all but the poorest folk cultivate a small garden. Local tradition says that serving vegetables you grew yourself is a fine way to honor guests. The canal-cut fields that extend around the city grow flowers as well as rice and other staples. At a population of 100,000, Prosperous Garden is the largest city in the Middle Lands.


An-Teng has more canals than roads. The rivers and rains give plenty of water to fill them. The canals link the rivers to form a grid of waterways throughout the Shore Lands and Middle Lands. Even the High Lands have some canals left from the First Age. Some canals tunnel through mountains or cross valleys on arcades of strong masonry piers that reach more than 100 yards high. A small fraction of An-Teng’s population lives on the rivers and canals, spending their lives and making a living by guiding cargo flatboats through the network. Since the canal-folk have no fixed, ancestral abodes, other Tengese do not trust them and tell many rumors about their supposedly strange and sinister customs.


An-Teng’s final province is a strip along the coast, nowhere more than 100 miles wide. The Shore Lands are extremely flat. Much of the land reaches no more than 10 feet above sea level and consists of flood plains for An-Teng’s many rivers, with low hills on the southern shore of Dragon’s Mouth Bay.

In the Old Realm, the alluvial soil of the Shore Lands produced five crops a year. It became the most densely populated part of An-Teng. That meant the province suffered the most in the Usurpation. Storms now drive the sea back through the rivers and canals, poisoning the land with salt and turning waters brackish. Some of the resulting mangrove swamps and bayous are productive enough if you like crawdads, muskrat and alligator, but not much of the Shore Lands are good for farming anymore. Some regions support orchards of persimmon, starfruit and blood oranges. A variety of opium poppy was recently found to grow well in these regions. Shore Land nobles now face pressure to convert their orchards, or the farms of their tenants, into poppy plantations.

Nevertheless, most of An-Teng’s trade goes through the Shore Lands, especially at the three port cities on Dragon’s Mouth Bay and the River of Queens: Dragon’s Jaw, Salt-Founded Glory and the City of the Steel Lotus. A fair bit of smuggling takes place all along the coast too. Small, shallow-draft boats can follow rivers and canals almost anywhere in the Shore Lands, making every village a potential smugglers’ port.

Dragon’s Jaw sprawls where the main branch of the River of Queens meets Dragon’s Mouth Bay. This relatively new city handles most of the bulk cargo going to and from An-Teng. It is quite a rough town, full of sailors, cheap whores, warehouses and low dives. The poor and cast-off frequently come to Dragon’s Jaw, hoping to find work on the waterfront. Sometimes they find a berth as apprentice sailors. Sometimes they end up chained in a slaver’s hold.

The Realm’s military garrison, a half-strength legion, operates out of Dragon’s Jaw.

Salt-Founded Glory dates back to the Old Realm, though none of the buildings are more than a few centuries old. This capital of the Shore Lands occupies a branch river that splits off the River of Queens. Canals divide the city into blocks and wards. The oldest and most respectable mercantile families all live in Salt-Founded Glory. While Dragon’s Jaw handles more cargo, the money all passes through Salt-Founded Glory. The largest and most spectacular buildings are the Shore Prince’s palace and a newly enlarged and refurbished Immaculate temple. Compared to the Immaculate shrine, the old temple of the Golden Lord looks a bit shabby.

The City of the Steel Lotus functions as the overall capital of An-Teng and seat of the Realm’s satrap. It’s built where the River of Queens flows past a low rise, near the border with the Middle Lands. At all times, at least a few dozen Dragon-Blooded live in the city or are passing through, with hundreds of patricians from the Great Houses. The vast wealth these visitors can bestow results in whole neighborhoods of businesses eager to supply them with courtesans, fine dining, jewelry, opulent clothing or whatever else they desire.

At the center of the city rises the Palace of the Threefold Magnificence, all of gilded teak, lapis and mother-of-pearl, with wings for each of the Three Princes. Compared to it, the satrap’s residence seems quite modest. The residence, however, is a level-3 Water-aspected manse, while the Palace is just a fancy house. Everyone who’s anyone knows that five minutes with Ragara Soras Jor, Satrap of An-Teng, is worth more than an hour with any of the princes.

Between the Royal District and the Market District lie the villas and palaces of various magnates, nobles and Dragon-Blooded. Neighborhoods of shops and middle-class dwellings surround this core of wealth and power. A halo of slums for common workers (and the poor in search of work) grows steadily. In another several years, the City of the Steel Lotus will surely surpass Salt-Founded Glory as An-Teng’s largest city.


The Celestial Exalted who lived in An-Teng left the country with many manses, some of them extremely powerful. Naturally, the Dragon-Blooded took over most of them—the ones not destroyed in the fighting, at least. Some they missed, however, due to the manses’ unusual locations, such as the manse at the bottom of Thousand Dragons Lake. Other manses were lost in the wake of the Great Contagion, because no one survived who knew about them. In particular, the Forest of Compassion hides several long-forgotten manses—a few of them pristine, others damaged but repairable. The forest also conceals several tombs the Dragon-Blooded built to appease the Celestial Exalted they slew.


The Shore Lands also hold the former capital of An-Teng, the City of Flowers. The battles of the Usurpation caused extensive damage and slew tens of thousands of inhabitants. The Dragon-Blooded tried to prevent shadowland formation by dumping salty seamud in the canals. That killed the last of the flowers but the city still became a shadowland. As a final measure, the Shogunate detoured the River of Queens along a canal to its present mouth, more than 100 miles from its original outlet.

After more than a millennium, the broken buildings of the City of Dead Flowers have neither rotted nor sunk into the soggy ground. Stagnant, brackish water still fills the canals. Shrines to the Pale Mistress ring the ruined city, in hopes that she will prevent its evil from spreading. Traveling entertainers perform shadow plays and dances at the border to appease the ghosts.

Some mortals do live in the City of Dead Flowers. Peasants forced off their land or bastards with no family to claim them might move to the shadowland from sheer desperation. Brave (or foolish) folk search the ruins and dicker with ghosts in hopes of finding lost treasures from the Old Realm. Even braver or more foolish people seek knowledge from the ghosts, whether hoping to recover lost science, art and culture or seeking forbidden power for themselves. Shatterer of the Way, a deathknight serving the Deathlord called the First and Forsaken Lion, occupies the ancient Palace of the Lotus at the city center. He seeks to plumb the city’s mysteries and claim the shadowland as an outpost for his master.


To the Tengese, people who lack a family are not people (or, rather, are not Tengese). They expect every adult to marry and have children, contributing to an extended family that can trace its lineage through centuries—or in rare cases, millennia. In Tengese law and custom, many rights inhere in the family, not the individual. For instance, people don’t own land, families do. Elders arrange marriages for the family’s benefit, to acquire property, business connections, prestige or other assets—not for love. Of course, elders seldom force marriage on couples who manifestly hate each other.

Tengese custom opens most occupations to both men and women. Women, however, receive certain privileges when it comes to family continuity and property. Men leave the family of their birth and join their wife’s family. Men often seem to dominate in running a business or working a farm, but only with the permission of their wives—or more likely, their wives’ grandmothers. For instance, a noble might seem to rule his estate as an unchallenged despot, but at a word from his wife, the peasants would throw him out. An-Teng’s princes form a limited exception to this rule, but only because the Scarlet Empress is the titular matriarch of the royal family.

Her disappearance leaves the Tengese unsure how the next generation of princes could legitimately take power. Women receive this privilege because descent is provable only through the female line. Tengese take a fairly casual attitude toward sex (including the genders of the participants), as long as it happens out of the public eye and the family doesn’t object. An-Teng both produces and consumes large quantities of maiden tea, however, for the Tengese are deadly serious about the legitimacy of children. A married woman might get away with bearing a child that is not her husband’s if her elders don’t object and no one else knows about it. An unmarried woman who bears a child, however, brings disgrace upon herself and her family. Wealthy families might hide the birth and leave the baby on an altar to the Pale Mistress, its survival left to fate and the priests of the goddess. Other families might demand the unwed mother kill herself to expiate her shame. If she does not do so, they expel her or kill her themselves. The family may also try to kill the father, if they can identify him.

The unfortunate children, or other Tengese expelled from their families, form the misbegotten—the lowest of the low, spat upon by thieves and beggars. The misbegotten gather in the cities. They have few options. Fallen women can become the lowest class of prostitute or join special brothels (called Those Who Serve the Radiance) that service the most perverse appetites of the Dragon-Blooded. In the great cities, some misbegotten manage to hide their origins and become dung-haulers, corpse-washers and other unpleasant occupations. Other misbegotten try to form families of their own, which all other Tengese treat with scorn.

The members of an extended family often share their occupation: all rice-farmers, all coopers, all beggars who feign diseases and so on. Some families include two or three occupations, such as a family where the men herd water-buffalo and the women tan hides and make cheese. Tengese who want to take up a new occupation need the permission of their family elders if they want to avoid scandal and expulsion. Success could lead to the entrepreneur breaking off to found a new family—or the whole family switching occupations to batten on one relative’s good fortune. Priesthood is a notable exception, for family elders may not gainsay the will of the gods. Therefore, religion offers a rare outlet for Tengese who want to escape their families.

Outsiders cannot miss An-Teng’s rigid social hierarchy of the royal family, the nobility, commoners and the underclass of criminals, prostitutes and the disgraced. Less obvious are the status differences between families. The old noble families carry more prestige than the newer aristocrats who attained their rank through wealth. Commoner families grade themselves based on wealth, antiquity, the prestige of their occupations, deeds of ancestors and factors that remain wholly obscure to people not born to An-Teng. Marriages happen only between families of similar rank (and often the same occupation). Nobles do not marry commoners, ever.


Sensible Tengese accept that they cannot hold ignorant foreigners to the same standards they expect from their countrymen. Foreigners who at least try to respect Tengese customs can eventually win some degree of acceptance.

Tengese shopkeepers stop overcharging them.

A rude foreigner gets nowhere. The Tengese smile at him, nod agreement to whatever the boor says, and devise an excuse to leave or send the foreigner somewhere else. Rich, high-ranking or otherwise powerful and dangerous foreigners are often stonewalled and denied in the guise of deference.

“It would be unseemly and a stain upon Your Eminence’s grandeur to be served by one so wretched as this humble one. Please, may Your Very Great Eminence give permission for this humble one to seek someone worthier to assist Your Most Worshipful Eminence…”

The Dragon-Blooded stand above most restrictions. If an Exalt from the Realm wants something, the Tengese give it to her. Like gods, the Exalted are not gainsaid. Like natural disasters, they are endured until they go away. Their bastards are raised as part of the family unless they Exalt, in which case they go to the satrap for training in the Realm.


An-Teng is a confederation of three principalities united under the Realm’s satrap. Each prince holds equal rank and administers his province as he pleases, subject to two vetoes: one from the satrap, and one from the other two princes acting together. Unspoken (but clearly understood) is the influence of the Three Princes’ older female relatives.

Officially, An-Teng has three royal families. Actually, centuries of intermarriage merged the three families into one clan—albeit one with no clear matriarch—and the Three Princes are all cousins.

Beneath the princes come the noble families that rule the towns and own the mines and plantations. An-Teng’s old nobility cultivates pretensions of scholarship (particularly in the Middle Lands, inspired by Sapphire’s scholastic tradition).

Sufficiently wealthy merchants can buy noble rank, but they remain parvenus in the estimation of other Tengese.

Each prince appoints 10 judges. Six of these judges permanently reside in various towns or cities. The other four travel a regular circuit through the villages or go where the prince directs them. A judge’s verdict in a trial can be appealed to the prince if a person has some way to reach the prince’s ear. An-Teng’s law has no significant peculiarities.

Assault, theft, rape and murder are crimes, the same as just about everywhere else. Civil disputes, however, go to trial only if the grandmothers of the two families cannot negotiate a settlement. This rarely happens, since the Tengese consider it shameful to squabble in public.


Prince Laxhander of the Glorious Reign (his own chosen epithet) rules the Shore Lands. The youngest of the Three Princes idolizes the Dragon-Blooded and the Realm, to the point of dropping hints to visiting Dynasts that they may slake their lusts on members of his family. Laxhander hopes that resulting offspring will Exalt and so gain him entrance by proxy to a Great House. Laxhander also devoutly follows the Immaculate Philosophy, promotes the Order and scorns the Golden Lord and Pale Mistress. He spends as much time as possible in the City of the Steel Lotus, currying favor with the satrap. His own mother plans to depose Laxhander as soon as relations with the Realm stabilize.

Prince Kiotaran (no epithet) rules the Middle Lands.

He aggressively promotes Prosperous Garden as a trade hub within An-Teng, largely at the insistence of his wife, Golden Slipper. Kiotaran would rather spend his time studying the stars (and has achieved the Adept Degree in the Art of Astrology). Prince Kiotaran also adheres firmly to tradition in his reverence for the Golden Lord and fear of the Pale Mistress. Both deities have large and well-maintained temples in Prosperous Garden, while the Immaculate shrine remains small and poor. Kiotaran also seeks Varangian teachers, texts and instruments to give Sapphire a world-class academy for astrological research.

Prince Josei of Notable Genius at least partly deserves his self-bestowed title thanks to his wide (if scattershot) erudition, including fluency in four languages. The oldest prince shows the least obsequious manner to visiting Dragon-Blooded, though the High Lands also receive the fewest visitors from the Realm. Josei’s wife, Dawning Snow, died last year when she fell down a flight of stairs. Since no witnesses claim to have seen this accident, Josei suspects foul play and makes forensic inquisition his latest field of study. His daughter, Midnight Pearl, now handles much of the palace administration and wins respect for her quiet competence and ability to keep the peace as well as the account-books.

General Shuri the Scarlet, commander of the garrison at Dragon’s Jaw, treats his post in An-Teng as a long-deserved reward. This scion of a minor Ledaal line and former captain in the Vermilion Legion retains both the prodigious appetite for debauchery that got him forced into the military and the combat and command skills that he developed therein. General Shuri officially wields the armed might of the Realm to make sure that An-Teng stays loyal and, if it should become necessary, repel any invasion of the satrapy. Unofficially, House Ledaal bids him to cultivate alliances in An-Teng’s mercantile class, assess any mystical assets the country might contain and prevent rival Houses from expanding their influence.

Ragara Soras Jor, Satrap of An-Teng, calculates and collects the Realm’s tribute from the Three Princes. He also mediates disputes between them and speaks for the Realm’s interests.

More precisely, he speaks for House Ragara’s interests.

His House placed Jor in An-Teng with the express purpose of pushing out agents of the other Great Houses. Satrap Jor is at once a smooth negotiator, a shrewd businessman and a ruthless spymaster. He has gone so far as to acquire covert connections with the Lintha Family—all through cutouts, of course, to keep everything deniable. Jor uses the Lintha to harass or murder people who get in his way, while building a list of Lintha he can capture and execute to burnish his credentials as a champion of the Realm’s law and order.

Not everything is going Satrap Jor’s way, though. He finds General Shuri both clumsy and boorish, but he has years of a head start in lining up deals for his House. Shuri also controls the Realm’s entire military presence in An-Teng, which rather limits what Jor can do against him. Jor settles for periodically cutting the garrison’s budget (forcing Shuri to waste time either arguing to convince him to restore it or seeking alternative funding) and punishing trivial breaches in procedure and protocol with letters of reprimand (that have never achieved anything in the history of the Realm).

Making matters worse for Jor, the Three Princes sometimes seem bent on conflicts that make no rational sense and profit no one. They expend political (and literal) capital to defend local heresies. When Jor wants to send the legion to subdue breakaway provinces, they obstinately insist he must not—even when his doing so would add to their domains! At times they even manage to place him in politically embarrassing situations, apparently just to prove they can.

Lastly, the more the satrap learns about the Lintha, the more erratic they seem as pawns. Jor thought they were simply vicious, greedy, brutal, cunning pirates and smugglers. Now he realizes they are not like other pirates. The Lintha do not simply want to kill people and take their stuff. They are crazy, bad crazy, in ways that Jor finds he doesn’t want to understand.


An-Teng’s chief relationship is, of course, with the Realm. Beyond that subservient, tributary role, however, An-Teng interacts with a number of other regional powers.

The Lap trades extensively with An-Teng, though it lies hundreds of miles away on the other side of the Fire Mountains. The two countries grow different foodstuffs.

The statue-borne city-state also buys metals from the High Lands. Considering their separation, neither country has the slightest reason to fear the other. An-Teng’s rice also finds its way to Southern countries as distant as Chiaroscuro, and the principality receives other Southern goods in return. Heading northwest, An-Teng trades with Wavecrest in a similar manner. Realm merchants or the Guild often act as middlemen for this commerce, taking shares of the profits.


Centuries of satraps, legion generals and naval commanders have failed to end one of An-Teng’s commercial partnerships. They know that Lintha pirate ships frequently dock at Dragon’s Jaw (and even sometimes at Salt-Founded Glory). An-Teng’s ports receive much of the booty the pirates seize, and An-Teng’s merchants fence it so the Lintha (or their agents) can shop in legitimate markets.

The Lintha make only cursory efforts to disguise their ships with false flags and forged registries. Whenever the Realm officials tell the Shore Prince or port authorities to crack down, the Tengese smile, promise strict diligence—and do nothing. When the legion or Water Fleet take matters into their own hands, half the time they find the Lintha ship really does have a “legitimate businessman” of Wavecrest,

Chiaroscuro, the Guild or further afield on board, and they just created a diplomatic incident.

The Tengese have no love of pirates in general or the Lintha in particular (and certainly do not endorse the demon pirates’ odder customs). As long as An-Teng gives the Lintha a safe place to sell their loot, though, the Lintha don’t attack An-Teng.


An-Teng has a fringe of smaller societies that range from barbarian tribes to statelets splintered from An-Teng itself. Some are outright vassals. Others preserve a show of independence as allies. Still others are hostile but curbed by the threat of retribution from the Realm’s resident legion.


This province covers about 75 square miles in the northern High Lands. Fifty-some years ago, a group of noble families banded together to declare themselves a theocracy, worshiping the Dragon-Blooded and praying for them to intercede with the Immaculate Dragons. These nobles have little to no experience with the Dragon-Blooded. Their picture of the Scarlet Dynasty comes from Immaculate texts and missionaries.

The Theocracy has no mines or farmlands of any special value, so Prince Josei bides his time. He dares not attack— resident Dynasts might take it as an insult—but he does what he can to isolate the rebel nobles from commerce, hoping to impoverish the splinter state so it collapses on its own.

Slender Leaf, the elderly matriarch of the Theocracy, so far fails to interest any Dragon-Blooded in her plan to build a gold-roofed Immaculate monastery or, indeed, simply to bless the Theocracy with a visit.


South of the Middle Lands live the descendants of an ancient colony of snakemen. They kept to themselves after the Usurpation, along with the regular humans who also served their Lunar mother. By now, they are far more human than serpent. Rather than beastmen, Tengese think these folk have a touch of divine ancestry.

The nobles of the Serpents Who Walk Like Men are all tall and slim, slit-eyed, with long nails, long, thick hair and scales along their cheeks and the backs of their arms.

The serpentine traits make them seem a bit exotic, without compromising their grace and beauty. Commoners merely show slit-eyes and the occasional patch of scales.

The enclave covers some 50 square miles. The Serpents Who Walk Like Men behave even more formally than other Tengese, and without any conspicuous displays of humility.

Their oddest custom is that men and women live apart, in single-sex households. Marriages last only for one year, and only for producing children to continue their race. They receive guests courteously and treat them as visiting nobles, but expect them to observe the same rigid gender separation.

Their nobles consider dueling the proper way to avenge any insult to their sensibilities.


This province occupies a bleak and windswept strip of the southern High Lands. After the Usurpation, the Dragon-Blooded gave this land to Lady Ivory Cup on condition that she and her descendants watch for evil influences from the Solar Anathema. That’s the story the Silver-Crowned believe, anyway.

Fifteen centuries later, all the people of this little province bleach their hair white to honor their founder. They mine iron, work the fields and train for war in case the Anathema or their servants return. The Domain trades only for the necessities of life; they make jewelry only from steel.

Young adults undergo ferocious tests (with no real divinatory power at all) to determine whether they are fated to betray the land to the Anathema. Those who fail have their throats cut. The Silver-Crowned also kill travelers who cannot show a legitimate reason for their presence, as they might be spies of the Anathema.

No one sees Anathema influence in the Domain of the Silver-Crowned. A shadowland grows near the main village where the Silver-Crowned perform the executions and dump the bodies, however. Ghosts whisper in the night, as ignorant as the living but convinced they are destined to serve an evil power of the Anathema.


Officially, An-Teng has no military and does not need one. It relies on the Realm instead. An-Teng suffers the occasional peasant revolt, outbreak of banditry or even minor invasion from a neighboring country or barbarian tribe, but the Realm garrison easily deals with such small, local disruptions.

Legionnaires think of assignment to An-Teng as a paid vacation. Not only does the legion in residence outnumber and overpower any threat it has faced in the Second Age, but dozens of Dragon-Blooded are in the country at all times, whether with the legion or on vacation. On top of this, the Realm’s Water Fleet patrols the sea near An-Teng, and battle groups frequently stop at Dragon’s Jaw.

Nevertheless, An-Teng has soldiers: the bodyguards of the country’s nobles. Each prince has an “army” of bodyguards numbering no more than 500 soldiers. Nobles have 10 to 100 bodyguards, depending on their rank. The guards of the nobility practice combat to protect their masters from bandits and such ilk, but they have little experience fighting in any unit larger than a scale. Their drills are ancient ritual, performed for a show of force rather than the real thing. If necessary, the Three Princes can draft all these bodyguards to form an army, as they did to resist Sualin—the only war An-Teng has fought since the Usurpation.


Most Tengese have no weapons except the tools they use in everyday life: axes, machetes, knives, scythes, grain-flails and the like. (Such weapons would have lower Accuracy and Damage than the weapons described in Exalted, Scroll of the Monk or Scroll of Kings.) People who do own weapons generally use weapons developed from everyday implements, such as chopping swords, nunchaku or polearms. They also have self bows and spears for hunting. The elite bodyguards,

however, often carry the unusual weapon called the spreadthe-water knife (see Scroll of the Monk, p. 157). An-Teng has an ancient, formalized style of combat using this weapon whose practice is considered an indispensable achievement for the upper-class warrior.

An-Teng does not produce firedust weapons or any form of artillery. The country does, however, have a large population of tamed elephants used in forestry, as draft animals and for other purposes. If war did come to An-Teng, the country’s Three Princes could recruit hundreds of elephants for a very heavy cavalry.


An-Teng’s cities have little fortification: nothing more than berms or stone walls no more than three yards high.

Several cities have canals instead of main streets, though, breaking them into moat-encircled neighborhoods connected by bridges one can easily defend or destroy.

More importantly, perhaps, the people of An-Teng don’t like foreigners. They know how to submit to a greater power, but they also know how to obstruct a greater power through sabotage, delay or (in extreme cases) poisonous snakes that somehow find their way into an invading commander’s bed or bath. They keep in practice at the expense of foreigners who make themselves particularly obnoxious. An invader would likely find An-Teng easy to conquer but difficult to rule without a cadre of native collaborators.

An-Teng’s greatest defenses, however, are hidden. The nation actually has far greater military power than anyone realizes—including the Tengese themselves. All these special assets are connected in some way with the supernatural side of this ancient, god-haunted land.


For seven centuries, the Immaculate Order has proselytized the people of An-Teng. Every important city or town sports a shrine. The Immaculates enjoy an appearance of success among Tengese who depend on the Realm for their livelihood, such as the sutlers who provision the resident legion. If a community’s noble promotes the Immaculate faith, the people worship as they are told. Nevertheless, the Tengese stubbornly persist in worshiping two powerful deities who reside in their country: the Golden Lord and the Pale Mistress.


The Golden Lord lives in a magnificent temple-palace atop the Pinnacle of Mercy, the highest peak in An-Teng. Hundreds of priests attend the Golden Lord and minister to pilgrims. The way is long, hard and dangerous, so would-be pilgrims need courage and unshakable piety.

The Tengese regard the Golden Lord as the god of everything they value: order, decorum, honesty, doing one’s duty and justice tempered by compassion. When pious Tengese believe that mortal justice has failed or cannot resolve a dispute, they beg the Golden Lord to render a summary judgement.

At least once a decade, the Golden Lord descends from the Pinnacle of Mercy to advise one or another of the princes.

Failure to heed his counsel always results in disaster.

While Tengese sacrifice incense and flowers to the Golden Lord in temples adorned with gold and ivory, his priests say the offering he likes best is a life well lived. Any time someone makes a conscious effort to tell the truth, provide an equitable deal or place the good of society above her own, she can dedicate the act to the Golden Lord as a prayer.


An-Teng’s second god is the Pale Mistress. This ghastly deity stands for everything opposite to the Golden Lord: darkness, chaos, selfishness and crime. Where she walks, drought, disease ,and disaster follow. Her retinue, the dancing horrors called the kaleyi, prey on children and pregnant women. She dwells in an otherworldly network of caves with outlets throughout the Shore Lands. When she walks the night, accompanied by the sound of iron gongs and the gibbers and howls of the kaleyi, the Tengese hide indoors and pray for the Golden Lord to protect them.

Shrines of the Pale Mistress range from sepulchral pagodas of carved ebony, hung with white silk rags, to shacks of driftwood bound together with cords of corpse-hair. In all public shrines, respectable Tengese pray only that the Pale Mistress does not walk among them with her gifts of chaos, misery, and misfortune. If war brings chaos, misery, and misfortune anyway, the Tengese pray for the Pale Mistress to defend her prerogatives and lay her curse on the invaders instead. In secret, Tengese sometimes pray to the Pale Mistress for boons they cannot legitimately obtain: revenge, the destruction of a rival, the death of a burdensome grandmother, a fortune illicitly obtained. They know that the Pale Mistress grants such requests only in the way that causes the greatest misery for An-Teng. A few Tengese form secret cults of the Pale Mistress and worship her throughout their lives. They regard their eventual fate, to be taken at life’s end to caper and howl among the kaleyi, as a reward.


The Immaculate Order know all about Tengese worship of the Golden Lord and the Pale Mistress. They do not know that An-Teng also holds a spreading cult of the Yozi called She Who Lives in Her Name. This cult, the Seven-Stranded Vine, appeals both to the Tengese love of order and to the long-suppressed anger at domination by the Realm. The Yozi’s priests tell their followers that She Who Lives in Her Name established the hierarchies of Creation and that through her, the cult can expel the Realm and restore An-Teng to its ancient order when everyone knew their place.

They even promise to restore the ancient royal family with a new High Queen and princes.

While that final claim might seem fantastic (even for the cult of a Demon Prince), it is quite genuine. The leaders of the Seven-Stranded Vine descend from two members of the ancient royal family who escaped the Usurpation. At some point (no mortal now knows), their descendants turned to incest to preserve their bloodline—and to She Who Lives in Her Name.


On top of everything else, the ancestor cult flourishes in An-Teng. People don’t leave their families just because they die. Every family with any pretense of respectability keeps a household shrine where they make small offerings to scrolls or tablets bearing the names of their ancestors.

In return, ancestral ghosts do what they can to advise and assist their mortal descendants. Sometimes, this assistance results in centuries-long vendettas as two ghosts continue their own disputes through their families. Protective ghosts might also try to harass enemies of their descendants, even if the ghosts have no personal grudge.

If a ghost becomes too aggressive, the Tengese call in exorcists. These thaumaturges practice the Art of the Dead and often have their own ancestral ghosts to assist them. If all else fails, the exorcist carefully sends away his own ghostly aides while all children and pregnant women take refuge in the Golden Lord’s shrine. The exorcist then invokes the Pale Mistress. As she walks the mortal world, the queen of disorder rends apart any ghost she meets, even dematerialized ones. A ghost must show epic malevolence, however, for the Tengese to accept the Pale Mistress’s rampage as the lesser evil.


Any Terrestrials who Exalt in An-Teng are presumed to be bastards of visiting Dragon-Blooded (a usually accurate presumption). These youngsters go to the Realm, where a Great House might adopt them or they are raised to join the Legions or the Immaculate Order. The Tengese would consider it inappropriate to have any Dragon-Blooded of their own. To accept Anathema would be unthinkably dangerous, of course—unless said Celestial Exalted led a rebellion endorsed by the Golden Lord.

An-Teng sees a steady trickle of God-Blooded and Ghost-Blooded mortals, though all such unions are scandalous. (They fall outside properly contracted marriages, even if the family accepts the offspring.) God-Blooded are strongly encouraged to join the Golden Lord’s priesthood, while Ghost-Blooded have few legitimate occupations beyond priesthood of the Pale Mistress.

The Realm forbids mortal Tengese to enlighten their Essence or ask other beings to grant this boon. Satraps vary in how strictly they insist upon this prohibition. Ragara Soras Jor doesn’t care much. Naturally, forbidden cults flout this law. All the leaders of the Seven-Stranded Vine have demonically enlightened Essence and might know sorcery or supernatural martial arts as well as the Art of Demon Summoning.


The Chosen of the Sun and Moon died or fled An-Teng many centuries ago, but they did not leave the land undefended.

Each prince of An-Teng possesses one tremendous magical power that his office inherits from the Old Realm. These occult weapons have stayed secret through the Usurpation, the Great Contagion and multiple changes of dynasty. The Realm never took them from An-Teng or even assigned them to different princes. Several times in history, various Dragon-Blooded discovered these treasures and tried to seize them, but they always ended up back in An-Teng and forgotten by everyone else.

The Sidereal Exalted know why. The ancestor sashes, the animal-commanding masks and the shadow puppeteers carry powerful weavings of destiny akin to the Arcane Fate that occludes the Sidereals themselves. The three secrets are placed to defend An-Teng, and the Loom of Fate will keep them in An-Teng. Unweaving these destinies would be difficult, would offend powerful gods and would unpredictably alter destinies throughout the Southwest. Even the Faction treasures


These five sacred sashes each consist of 20 feet of spun orichalcum and Essence-spider silk, embroidered with innumerable tiny gems to form pictures great queens of the Old Realm wearing the sash over their shoulders.

Traditionally, five skilled warriors were entrusted their power to become Elephant-Riding Ghost Generals. The sashes do not really have anything to do with ghosts, but they do carry the prowess of An-Teng’s long-forgotten heroes. These artifacts work best for un-Exalted mortals. Activating the sash costs a number of Willpower points equal to (4 – wearer’s permanent Essence).

This number governs many of the sash’s benefits. The effects last a full day or until the wearer removes the sash, whichever comes first. The benefits are as follows:

• The wearer’s Essence rises to 4. For an Exalted wearer or other Essence-user, calculate her new Essence pool based on this value. An un-Exalted mortal gains a pool of 40 motes, which are all personal Essence, as for a god.

• The wearer’s Archery, Athletics, Awareness, Dodge, Integrity, Martial Arts, Melee, Presence, Resistance, Ride, Socialize, Survival, Thrown and War ratings increase by an amount equal to the sash’s Willpower cost, to a maximum of 6. The character also gains three (Elephant) specialties in the Ride Ability, temporarily replacing any other Ride specialties.2

• The wearer gains a number of additional -0 and -1 health levels equal to the activation Willpower cost.

• All the wearer’s Attributes rise by a value equal to the sash’s Willpower cost, to a maximum of 6. The increase in Stamina does not increase the wearer’s soak, but…

• The wearer gains additional lethal soak equal to the activation Willpower cost and additional bashing soak of twice that value. This additional soak is added to the wearer’s original soak totals. The additional soak is considered natural.

• The wearer bleeds, heals and resists disease and poison as an Exalt.

• If the wearer cannot use Charms, she gains the use of the Spirit Charm Principle of Motion and the Lunar Charm First Dexterity Excellency. The wearer can spend a number of motes up to her Valor on the latter Charm.

• The wearer’s Motivation temporarily changes to “Defend An-Teng.” Wearers often show mannerisms not their own, which are echoes of the personalities of long-dead champions.

• Mortal wearers permanently become heroic mortals, if they were not already. All the other benefits vanish the moment the character doffs the sash.

A character who already has a permanent Essence of 4 or greater gains no benefit from an ancestor sash. Such a character may sacrifice a dot of permanent Willpower, however, to invest a portion of her own personality and martial prowess into the sash. Doing so does not appreciably increase a sash’s power (they already carry the prowess of many Exalted) but a scene appears on the sash that depicts one of the character’s victories in battle.


Each of these masks depicts the visage of one of the animals known and respected by the folk of An-Teng: the tiger, the elephant, the ape, and several others. Each mask is wrought of bronze, adorned with moonsilver, enamel, and jewels. The Prince of the High Lands loans out the masks of lesser animals to favored nobles but keeps the masks of powerful animals close at hand. The High Prince himself owns the Tiger Lord Mask while his guard commander keeps the Ape Lord Mask. The bearers of the masks are collectively called the Masked Commanders of the Animals. Most fervent partisans of the Realm in the Bronze Faction fear the consequences of meddling with the three treasures of An-Teng.

A mask’s wearer can summon and command all animals of the mask’s type within 100 miles of his location. The animals regard the Masked Commander as they would a greater animal spirit, readily obeying any command that is not actively suicidal. This power enables the Masked Commanders to assemble mass combat units of animals, though they can find subtler uses as well. (For instance, a horde of monkeys could befoul an army’s provisions and baggage.) Wielding this power costs one Willpower point per day.

A Masked Commander can reflexively spend a Willpower point to transform himself into the type of animal the mask depicts. The wearer can do this once per day (or night, if the animal is nocturnal) and stay in the animal’s form for a scene. While in animal form, the Masked Commander has the Physical Attributes and related Abilities of the animal or his own, whichever are higher. His Mental and Social Attributes and related Abilities stay the same. Transformed characters can communicate with animals of their type and retain the mask’s power of command, though they lose human speech for the duration.

Animal-commanding masks do not affect animal spirits (much less the animal avatars). Such spirits are not intrinsically hostile to Masked Commanders, but they do resent any uses of the masks that result in harm for their type of animal.


A few families in the Shore Lands preserve knowledge of a powerful thaumaturgical ritual, handed down from parent to child. Tradition urges them to use their puppetmagic only at the behest of the Shore Prince or the other princes. A powerful, nigh-eternal destiny placed on these families punishes them if they sell their service to anyone else, even as it protects their lineages and their secret.

Through shadow plays, these puppeteers send spiritual assassins against the enemies of An-Teng. The ritual comes from the Art of Spirit Beckoning. The shadow puppeteers may know other rituals from this art as well, at the Storyteller’s option.

Shadow Puppet Murder (3, Intelligence + Performance, 3, 15 minutes):

To perform this Procedure, the puppeteers need specially crafted marionettes of the Shore Prince (or whoever directs them), the intended victim and every other person involved in the ceremony, including the puppeteers themselves. Every puppet must be crafted specially and bear an arcane link to the person it represents, such as a bit of hair or spittle. An ancient marionette of featureless black wood stands for the assassin itself. The rite begins with prayers to the Pale Mistress and the god Wayang, a deputy of the Maiden of Endings. The shadows of the marionettes, cast on a silken screen, play out the puppeteers receiving their commission and performing a ritual to call the assassin. The shadow-assassin travels from the puppeteers’ location to the victim. Silhouettes depict locations along the way. The assassin-puppet then clutches the strings of the victim’s puppet and uses them as a strangling-cord.

All this happens in reality, just as the puppeteers portray it. The spirit manifests intangibly and travels along the path chosen by the puppeteers. As it approaches the victim, shadows of strings extend from the victim’s shadow. The spirit grasps these shadow-strings and strangles the victim’s shadow—and the victim feels himself being strangled. An autopsy suggests that a victim died of a heart attack, choked on a bit of food or suffered some other natural death.

The puppeteer’s player rolls (Intelligence + Performance), difficulty 3, when the assassin manifests. Multiple puppeteers gain the benefit of limited cooperation. Each hour thereafter, while the assassin travels, every puppeteer’s player must roll (Stamina + Performance), difficulty 2, for their characters to continue the supernaturally fatiguing ritual and maintain control of the assassin. Failing at any of these rolls ends the ritual and sends the assassin-spirit back to its sanctum. Any botch means the spirit is free for one hour to kill as it pleases—preferably the prince who commanded its service, if the spirit can reach him before the hour ends and it must depart Creation.


A shadow puppet assassin looks like a human shadow with no one to cast it as it slides across walls and floors. When it materializes to attack, it peels away from a surface to become a three-dimensional figure, though it looks like a featureless silhouette from every angle. At this moment, the shadows of strings extend from both the spirit and the shadow of its victim, as if both were marionettes. The spirit must come within three yards of its target to attack.

When the assassin-spirit strikes, it gathers the shadowstrings of its victim in its hands and uses them to strangle the target’s shadow. As this happens, the victim feels an immaterial garrote around his neck. This combat is resolved as a normal grappling attack, except the spirit and opponent do not need to touch each other. The assassin’s strangulation attack inflicts piercing lethal damage. The victim also cannot breathe, which can lead to asphyxiation. As the victim struggles, the (Stamina + Resistance) roll against strangulation is difficulty 3. The spirit may also supplement the attack with Charms for even greater effect. Once the victim dies, the assassin dematerializes and returns to its marionette-sanctum, its job complete.

Sanctum: Between evocations, the assassin dwells in a pitchblack room accessed through its marionette. Destroying an assassin’s puppet renders its sanctum inaccessible until the puppeteers craft a replacement.

Motivation: Kill

Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 6, Stamina 4; Charisma 2,

Manipulation 2, Appearance 2; Perception 5, Intelligence 3,

Wits 4

Virtues: Compassion 1, Conviction 3, Temperance 2,

Valor 3

Abilities: Athletics 4, Awareness 6, Dodge 5, Integrity 4,

Investigation 2, Larceny 4, Martial Arts 4, Presence 2,

Stealth 6

Backgrounds: None

Spirit Charms/Special Powers:

Meat of Broken Flesh—The assassin typically adds this Charm to its strangulation attack, to recover some of the Essence it spends.

Essence Plethora (x2)—20 extra motes

Hurry Home—Only to sanctum

Materialize—Costs 40 motes. A shadow puppet assassin cannot materialize in an area where thorough illumination prevents any possibility of shadows. Creating such an area around the spirit forces it to dematerialize. If the assassin can find an area with shadows, though (and has somehow regained enough Essence) is can materialize once more.

Measure the Wind

Paralyze—Whenever a shadow puppet assassin strangles its victim, it spends six motes per action on this Charm. The damage inflicted by the strangulation becomes both a Crippling and Shaping effect. All dice pools for the victim’s non-reflexive actions suffer a -2 internal penalty until the spirit’s next action, and a slain victim seems to have died from some natural cause. Victims that have a higher Essence than the assassin do not suffer this Charm’s effect; neither do characters who are immune to Crippling or Shaping effects. Any target can resist the Charm with a successful (Stamina + Resistance) roll at a -3 external penalty.

Shadow Slide—A dematerialized shadow puppet assassin can move across floors, walls, ceilings or any other surface at its full movement rate, as long as a light source provides shadows without completely illuminating an area.

Silence—Materialized or not, a shadow puppet assassin makes no sound, ever. By spending four motes, it suppresses the victim’s ability to cry out for as long as the assassin maintains control of the clinch. The victim can try to make noise by striking or throwing objects, but doing so requires attempting multiple actions, with appropriate penalties both to the roll to control the clinch and the attempt to make noise.

Join Battle: 10


Shadow String Strangle: Speed 6, Accuracy 10, Damage 1L,

Parry DV —, Rate 1, Tags P

Soak: 2L/4B

Health Levels: -0/-1/-1/-1/-2/-2/-2/-4/Incap

Dodge DV: 7 Willpower: 6

Essence: 2 Essence Pool: 70

Other Notes: When dematerialized, a shadow puppet assassin remains faintly visible in Creation, only as a shadow. Spotting assassin requires a difficulty 5 (+ Awareness) roll that is not unless the spirit enters an area. When the assassin an unexpected attack, the Awareness) roll to spot suffers a -2 external penalty. dematerialized shadow puppet assassin subject to attacks by other creatures, sorcery, the anima the Exalted and weapons five magical materials.

During the day, a shadow can travel about 10 miles night, it travels 20 miles SAMPLE COMBAT UNITS. Under normal circumstances, An- Teng has no combat units except the bodyguards of the nobility. If war comes to An-Teng, however, the Three Prince can mobilize large masses of archers mounted on elephants.


Description: These 60 bodyguards serve a moderately high-ranking noble. They all carry spread-the-water knives with gilded blades. In the event of war, The three Princes gather dozens of these guard units into an army with the same traits except for higher


Commanding Officer: Subahdar Last Emu

Armor Color: Gilded, with noble’s mon

Motto: “Halt!”

General Makeup: 56 medium infantry in lamellar armor with wolf’s-teeth

staves; officers carry spread-he-water knives.

Overall Quality: Average fight in relaxed formation, formation in palace halls. His assistants are heroic the assistants are heroes take command if needed. other guards are extras. Gathered in an army, some of subahdars become heroes relays.


Description: This cavalry squadron consists of 500 elephants, each carrying three men. noncombatant guides the elephant shoot self bows with the elephants wear headpieces and quilted comparable to a buff jacket. The soldiers 50% hard be attacked only using R tag. The elephants don’t attack, they just push through anything in there the effect of a close attack, dealing little real enormously disruptive of enemy formations (hence their high Close Combat Damage). The unit’s Endurance, however, is based on the soldiers’ Stamina, not the elephants’.

The unit commander, Subahdar Juntao, wears an ancestor sash that turns him into an Elephant-Riding Ghost General with an Essence pool and ridiculously high Attributes and combat Abilities.

The Prince of the Middle Lands counts on the strategic genius of the Ghost Generals to make up for the low Magnitude, Drill and combat skill of his troops. This prince can muster several dragons of elephant cavalry.

Commanding Officer: Subahdar Juntao

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