Races of Tianshan
Currently, humans live almost exclusively in the Tianshan region, with most living in the city of Moujun. The Langkuan are the most numerous ethnicity and form the backbone of Moujun society. They are the laborers, the craftsmen, and the bureaucrats. Over the centuries, many of the langkuan have travelled beyond Moujun and settled in the far regions of Tianshan, some as far away as the borders of Feishan. Small communities have settled in Ashemi lands as well.
The Shīndei are a religious sect that developed in Moujun centuries ago. They are worshippers of the spirits of light and are said to infuse their young with the spiritual essence of the sun. Shīndei leaders are influential in Moujun society, but lack the political power of the Lotus Court. In short, they can exert their influence in the city as long as the government approves, though the actions of the two rarely come into conflict. Shīndei often serve as priests, advisers, or artists.
The Yumou are another religious group in Moujun that has been forcefully repressed by the Lotus Court. They are often referred to in a derogatory fashion as cultists, especially by the langkuan and shīndei. Where the shīndei stress the importance of the appropriate order of the world, the yumou believe natural, unrestrained living is essential for the well being of a society. Perhaps in response to the shīndei the yumou have taken up the shadows as the symbol of their faith. As a result of government repression the yumou faithful worship in secret, and many hide in the chaos of the Moujun underworld, becoming thieves or mercenaries. The younger generations largely ignore the ancient tenants of the yumou, but the spirits of shadow still run through their blood.
Nobles and officials who are attempting to garner favor with the Lotus Court often offer their children to the service of the council, a practice called Gaihei. The most talented of the children are specially chosen for the ritual Chenglie, or the Binding. These children, called the Yangsong have their souls grafted with a spirit’s, changing their appearance, giving them innate control over a specific element, and making them sterile. In addition, it is rumored that few of the children survive the process, but the stipulation that no yangsong are allowed to meet with their old family keeps this possibility merely a rumor. Following the ritual the yangsong are given special military training and often become commanders the Lotus Court’s army or elite troops who receive their orders directly from the council, though there have been tales of particularly powerful magisters with yangsong as personally servants.