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The distant mountain realm of Tentaka is secluded and hidden from its neighbors. The wolves of Tentaka are noble, close-knit, and proud, but as unique, deep, and varied as the land in which they live. Mist falls like rain over the valley of Tentaka, and in the trees and deepest grottos, the mist seems to whisper and sing as it sifts through the needles, and over the stones and high rocks which house an ancient order long preceding any living wolf.
Over a hundred years ago the pack met its end in a volcanic eruption, when the very mountains that protected them became their captor, condemning them to doom. A handful of scattered survivors - outside the valley when it happened - remained, and have kept the culture alive for generations: passed from parent to child as their heritage. Now a century later, Akuto has resurrected this ancient order and restored its ways and traditions to the Domain.
Tentaka is primarily inspired by the language and culture of Japan, with other original elements mixed in.
- - - Tentaka and its Members - - -
The wolves of Tentaka tend to have a fondness for the arts, and many decorate their dens (each wolf may have their own) with any variety of items that suit their fancy. Each Tentaka has a strong aesthetic and artistic sense, whether in the arts of one's task, spirituality, or decoration. Tentaka wolves have a great respect and love for nature and may spend long hours alone in the forests, hot springs, and mountains, simply meditating and appreciating the sights, sounds, and spirits of nature in all their glory. Some even consider their spiritual side to be far more important than any physical skills they possess. Tentaka values a wise soul over the reckless warrior, no matter how strong; though their culture is defined in many ways by order, hierarchy, and tradition, there's a genuine peacefulness behind it all that shows itself in their spirituality and concept of harmony.
As such, Tentaka wolves treat each other with utmost cooperation and respect, particularly when rank and age are involved. Depth of experience is key. Their concept of dignity may not always match outsiders', but to them their means of expressing reverence are more than suitable. Honor, unity, and a sound hierarchy make up the core of Tentaka's members; though members may be idiosyncratic and private sometimes, ultimately, they work together as a team.
Expertise and meticulous attention to detail is another keystone of the Tentaka spirit. Perfection and devotion to a single goal or ideal is a core aspect of Tentaka, and as a result, they are often perfectionists and may become antsy or distraught if they feel they are not doing their absolute best, particularly at their task, or something else they deeply care about. They will pursue one task likely for their entire life, and even as elders typically retain a strong bond with their former "art".
- - - Tentaka and Outsiders - - -
Visitors are not altogether discouraged, but may find varying levels of welcome from the members. Any intruders, upon detection, will be first monitored from a distance, and stealthily followed until the patrol is confident fate is in their favor. Under certain circumstances however (violence, severe intrusion, etc.) Tentaka may engage sooner, with whatever force necessary. Any battle will meet a swift end. Outsiders would do well to remain polite and tread carefully; the wolves of Tentaka take pride in their lore and legacy, and can be quite discriminating. Joining is very difficult as a result of this and Tentaka's intense isolationism, though outsiders that display peacefulness or a willingness to learn about Tentaka culture will be given more grace, and potentially even a spot within the pack. Tentaka maintains a cold facade towards most of the outside world; any wolf allowed to see their inner territory or culture is very lucky indeed.
Though not disallowed from joining, wolves with no prior connection to the pack may find it takes years before they are fully accepted as a Tentaka; the pack is highly identity-oriented, and its members slow to trust. This attitude may not show itself readily as a result of Tentaka's values of respect, but the concepts of "Tentaka" and "outsider" are deeply ingrained in their culture. New members may get a nagging feeling they're not seen as quite the same as the others, and really, this isn't untrue.
While not specifically aggressive, Tentaka view foreign packs with skepticism and wariness, even outright discrimination. Alliances may occur but are unusual; the Tentaka keep to themselves and often consider the outsider world of little relevance at best. Any friendly, or even non-neutral relationship is a meaningful, rare happening, and not achieved lightly. Official ambassadors from other packs are usually subject to scrutiny, and while generally treated politely, prevented from seeing most of the territory.
- Chandor: Neutral
- Aryn: Neutral
- Fellfang: Allied; ancient ties
- Vektren: Neutral
- Riverfell: Neutral
- Xassa: Neutral
- - - Tentakan Culture - - -
Compared to the ancient iteration, Tentaka is more laid-back, but is still disciplined and formal. High value is placed on tradition, order, and respect.
Tentaka stay hidden in their river valley, enjoying the mist, rivers, mountains, and nooks and crannies in the stony cliffs and towering peaks. They often have a love for hiding places, and tend to be introverts and night-owls. Often quite intricate, in-depth, and meticulous, as well as very passionate, these wolves have a habit of prettying up their individual dens or sleeping areas with things like turtle shells, tufts of fur, pretty stones, a trophy from a revered hunt, or anything else personally significant. Tentaka can be rude or stony to foreigners, but they are a very deep culture behind their adamant social front. Modern Tentaka wolves have more focus on tight, dynamic interpersonal relationships and team-like functionality in their social lives than before...though that certainly does not stop them from having fun when no responsibility is in order. Tentaka wolves are close and are almost always good friends with all members of the pack, even if it's hard to see. Regardless of how they appear, Tentaka are very loyal to each other, believing their innate bonds surpass the mortal plane.
Within Tentaka, members form a team. Wolves are expected to fulfill and excel at their tasks, follow the rules, and obey the higher ranks above them. It is believed that if this is done, a cohesive and dynamic unit will be created, a sort of comprehensive synergy of wolves able to defend masterfully against any threat. This leads into the Tentaka's ability to utilize every inch of their landscape to an almost terrifying degree. Whether by spying from afar, hassling intruders by hit-and-run attacks, ambush, defense, or concealment - an invasion of Tentaka could be shut down in a manner of minutes. Tentaka are cunning and intelligent, with skill, wisdom, and strategy as their tactical ideal, and their huge devotion and commitment to mastery of their task, synergized with their intensive skills in teamwork, affords a level of supremacy in battle oft unmatched by any. When Tentaka is rallied together, it is said to be a terrifying, yet deeply inspiring sight unlike any other in the Domain.
Tentaka wolves mate for life, and marriage ceremonies are traditionally held in the Forest of Daybreak, during the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. Marriage is deeply valued, and a Tentaka's dedication to their mate is expected to rival their dedication to their task.
Here, aging isn't seen as something to be feared, but rather celebrated. Elders are highly respected, and there is no age cutoff for tasks; they retire when ready - no sooner, no later. Age is revered: the older a wolf is, the more highly they are honored, for it is believed that those of a longer life have accumulated great wisdom, knowledge, and skill. In fact, upon becoming an Elder, they are elevated to membership in the Yama no Kame, the highest status in Tentaka behind the Ryuu and the Heika.
- - - The Emperor/Empress/Heika - - -
Leaders of Tentaka are said to be divinely chosen, favored by the dragons or other immortal spirits. A new alpha is almost always the mate or descendant of the previous, and the stigma surrounding an unrelated successor can get intense. If none exists, however, one will likely be selected from the Yama no Kame, usually the Ryuu or someone of similar spiritual weight. A born outsider becoming the Heika is very, very unusual.
Challenging the Heika for dominance is strictly forbidden and punishable by exile, as the Heika sees fit. Such an assault is considered abhorrent and extremely disrespectful, due to the Heika's perceived spiritual significance, and any attempting wolf - if allowed to remain - likely won't be treated the same way again.
--A similar principle applies in regards to talking back to or challenging anyone of higher rank, though typically much less severe.
['yah-mah no kah-meh'; "tortoise of the mountain"]
The Yama no Kame is the authoritative body of Tentaka, formed by the Elders and betas, and headed by the Heika and Ryuu. They form the executive and leading council of Tentaka, with the Elders guiding and advising the Heika according to their skillset, the betas acting as advocates for their task and its acolytes, and the Ryuu imparting spiritual or divinely-inspired wisdom to the Heika as needed. The Heika makes the final decisions, ultimately, but as a whole the Yama no Kame are the deciding body of the pack.
Wolves outside the council are allowed to speak their mind on matters. However, the council wolves will still have the final say, and then the Heika above them.
- Dragons [Ryuu] are a significant part of Tentaka's mythos, believed to be profoundly powerful spirits of rain and water. Wise, benevolent, and incredibly ancient, these iridescent airborne titans are said to predate even the oldest of Tentaka's traditions. Ryuu are the guardian deities of Tentaka, as well as both the mortal and immortal realms at large. The pack believes the Tentaka River to be a specific dragon's host. [[More about the dragons can be found on Tentaka's expanded lore page!]]
Wolves with tasks are expected to embody and claim the energy of their task as their own - for example, an Itachi should be light, playful, and keen; witty, driven, intelligent, and fierce like the marten. Likewise, Tora are expected to be ferocious, powerful, and dependable, an unstoppable force and the foundations of the pack. Mastering a task lies primarily in the individual's ability to harness, command, and embody the energy of their task within themselves.
All wildlife is respected and revered in its own way, and non should be hunted carelessly, but creatures deemed sacred are special and must not be killed for sport or food. The only exception is mercy killing, which must be done only with genuine respect for the animal's life. To kill out of unrestrained bloodlust or uncaring apathy is dishonorable and shameful.
More frequent in ancient times, though still common now, Tentaka sometimes find muse in a certain species or individual animal, seeking to understand or imitate the animal's ways like a student with a teacher. Such a spiritual bond was seen as a deeply personal, intimate connection between two creatures of a different species, and prying into a Tentaka's "lessons" with their muse was a sort of unspoken taboo.
- Fish (★)
- Turtles (★)
- Birds and bird eggs (★)
- Squirrels and other rodents (★)
- Snakes (★★)
- Lizards (★★)
- Rabbits and hares (★★)
- Boar (★★★, risky)
- Pheasants (★★★)
- Quail (★★★)
- Small deer (★★★)
- Elk (★★★★)
- Moose (★★★★★)
- Owls (wisdom, silence, grace)
- Cranes (beauty, balance, serenity)
- Koi (harmony, rhythm, eternity, simplicity)
- Martens, ferrets, and weasels (Itachi symbol, inventiveness, curiosity, swiftness)
- Swallows and cardinals (family, deep bonds, souls, the afterlife)
- Mountain goats (in Dragonshield)
- Golden eagles
- Red foxes
- Mountain lions
- Black bears (cute but dangerous)
- Brown bears (less common)
For more in-depth information about Tentaka and their relationship to wildlife, see the expanded lore page HERE!
- - - Tentaka Soundtrack - - -
- - - Pinterest Board - - -
- - - Tentakan Rules and Laws - - -
Tentaka is generally a stricter culture, though not necessarily harsh. Most rules are enforced through warnings or corrections by packmates, then punishments (such as temporary removal from a task - a heavy blow in Tentaka - and even permanent demotion if the infraction is serious enough), increasing in severity with exile as the final and capital punishment. Any significant infractions will be scrutinized by the Yama no Kame before any decision is made, which will not be made lightly. Exiled wolves will be driven out adamantly if they attempt to return.
[[note: any punishments, particularly severe ones, shall be discussed ooc beforehand.]]
- Any deliberate harm or abuse of another Tentaka or innocent wolf is punishable to the highest degree. Hunting should not be done to excess; respect all life.
- Tentaka wolves are to respect their seniors and those above them in rank. The Yama no Kame have the final say in any matter, and the Heika over them.
- Tentaka must respect their fellows. Jesting is fine, but must never become malicious or ill-spirited.
- Wolves should strive to resolve any interpersonal issues, rather than harbor a grudge against their fellows. A Kawa, Tora, or Elder may be sought out to give advice for this. Likewise, any recipient of a secret must keep it carefully.
- Divulging information regarding Tentaka to outsiders is strictly forbidden. The pack comes before any outsider; leave foreign relations to the Yama no Kame and Heika.
- Tasks are a lifelong commitment. By accepting one, a wolf promises to devote their life to it and its mastery.
- A task is an honor, and as such should receive a wolf's highest care: from the time they are initiated to delta, no matter what rank they reach, until they retire or depart from the physical realm.
- The realm of Tentaka, its creatures, and the spirits are to be treated with reverence. The land is a Tentaka's home and should receive the greatest dignity.
- Hunting in the Bamboo Grove or Forest of Daybreak is strictly forbidden.
- There is no specific order in which Tentaka wolves eat in a group meal, but priority is usually given to those of higher rank or those most in need (the elderly, the infirm, the young, etc.).
- Wolves must be ready to help and advise any Tentaka in need, be it through lending a paw, offering advice, or providing training.
- Higher-ranked wolves will offer guidance in tasks to those below them. Deltas to task-aspiring omegas, gammas to deltas, and so on, and is usually within the task.
- Any union of wolves must be approved by the Heika to be considered valid. As long as a pair is confirmed, they do not need permission to bear pups.
- - - Tasks - - -
Choosing one's task is seen as one of the most serious decisions a Tentaka can make on the mortal plane. While it is preferred that every individual has one, members are nearly encouraged to stay taskless rather than choose one and neglect it; doing so is considered disrespectful to the task and thus dishonorable.
Kage are usually gray or black of pelt, preferably marbled and not solidly-colored - the more they blend into their territory, the better. Kage are wily and intelligent, cunning and adaptable, able to quickly scheme and use the surroundings to their advantage.
In some situations a Kage may serve as a courier or envoy for Tentaka, if the Heika wishes to remain hidden. They are equipped as scouts or lookouts throughout the territory.
Tora: [toe-rah, hard r; tiger] The warriors and protectors of Tentaka. The Tora are fierce, intimidating, and powerful. At the ideal, their temperaments are adamant, powerful, and regal, unflinching in the face of danger. Tora are as loyal as they are dedicated, and to them failure is not an option. Unlike their namesake, the legendary tiger, Tora are often very familial and feel a strong personal responsibility to their pack. The Tora can be lore-keepers just as much as the Kawa are, though the nature of such differs: the Kawa teach it, but the Tora live it. Both and simultaneously the unstoppable force and the unmovable object, their ferocity and courage is said to be unmatched.
They have a deep devotion to their family, the pack, which is sometimes why they accept the role in the first place. Their loyalty is unshakable, and a Tora will do anything for their kin.
Tora have a snarling half-howl, half-roar they use when fighting. Designed to imitate a tiger's snarl, is purpose is to intimidate the enemy and empower the user with a fighting spirit.
Kawa: [kah-wah; river] Tentaka's lore-keepers, wise folk, and healers. The Kawa are usually secluded, more so than the others, and favor meditation, balance, and wisdom. They have a strong spiritual connection to the land, and are the first to speak on behalf of it and what they believe the spirits desire. Kawa are respected for their knowledge and wisdom, and the opinion of one may be valued above another wolf of the same rank. However, even they are not above correction from those of higher rank if their behavior is poor.
Kawa may be any color, though like most Tentaka wolves they will usually be stone-colored: blue-gray or other muted hues. Many have an almost flowing appearance to them. The depth of knowledge and spirit of high-ranking Kawa is legendary.
Kawa can be quite gossipy - perhaps as a result of the task, which is heavily reliant on exchanging information: Kawa are expected to pass on whatever medicinal, cultural, or historical knowledge they have to each other, so they can better excel at their task. Frequent personalities include the gentle caretaker, like the soft flowing stream, or strict and proud, like the rushing whitewater rapids.
Itachi: [ee-tah-chee; weasel/ferret/marten] Nimble, clever, and quick on their feet, the Itachi are the hunters of Tentaka. Usually small, these wolves are required to be fast and light - most of Tentaka's prey is little, mainly birds, rodents, snakes and lizards, small deer, and the like, with the ever-slippery fish being at the top of the pile. As a result, the Itachi must be even more swift than their prey, and able to quickly deal deft strikes or bites to key points of a prey's body. Other skills include swimming (for fish), climbing, jumping (for birds), and potentially sprinting.
Itachi are expected to live up to their namesake, being just as sly, adaptable, slippery, and efficient a hunter as the ferret. Efficiency, productivity and mastery of the Itachi skillset is a huge part of the task, as due to the small size of much of Tentaka's prey, a larger amount than normal will need to be caught. By Tentaka's standards, Itachi are often playful, adventurous, and rambunctious, with a knack for mischief and goofing off. They tend to be free spirits at heart.
Itachi are usually smaller or lankier, athletic and built more for speed and agility. Any colors are acceptable (though the gene pool will usually compel a leaning towards grays), with browns, tans, and mottled grays being preferred.
- - - Hierarchy - - -
Empress/Heika: the ruler of the pack, responsible for making decisions and handling the majority of foreign relations. The final authority on any matter, able to override even the Yama no Kame. Their word is law, unless they decide otherwise. True title is Emperor or Empress, but may simply be called "alpha" when generalizing, and nowadays referred to by the honorific "Heika". Said honorific is attached to the name as a suffix; ex: Akuto-heika.
Ryuu: [ryu-u; Japanese dragon] The supreme lorekeeper of the pack, and second-in-command. The Ryuu is picked by a combination of elder vote and alpha choice from the Kawa, for exemplifying the traits that the Kawa represent. The Ryuu is the spiritual head, guide, and historian of the pack, essentially the leader of the Elders and supreme advisor to Tentaka as a whole. He or she is traditionally the oldest Kawa at the time of their ascension to the role, and is the most experienced and well-versed in the Tentaka lore.
Beta(s): The most responsible, skilled, and wise of the standard ranks. Betas support the Heika with reason and a second opinion, and the rank often consists of the pack's most mature and responsible wolves. They are responsible for being objective and able to comprehend the bigger picture. Have mastered the art of their task. Betas are chosen by the Yama no Kame for their strength of character, wisdom, and ability, and essentially lead all lower-ranked members of their respective task.
Theta(s): Second-highest of the standard ranks. Help oversee most of the pack's processes, particularly task training, rule enforcement, and member initiation, following direction from the Yama no Kame. The primary teachers of a task, and expected to carry a certain amount of responsibility around the pack.
Gamma(s): Midrank in their tasks; beginning to be fluent and natural at their chosen art. More responsible and help keep the lower tasks in check. Train the deltas. The "standard" rank; most wolves will usually make it to Gamma.
Delta(s): Beginners of their tasks, the "newbies". May be jokingly referred to as "grasshopper" by other wolves. Tend to be a bit awkward and clumsy at their job starting off.
Omega(s): Wolves without tasks. Omegas fill miscellaneous roles in the pack, doing things unsubscribed to a task or day-to-day duties the other wolves don't handle. Omegas can actually be fairly respected, despite their low rank. Real-life comparisons include babysitters, chaperones, butlers/etc.
Jura, Quilo, Killian
Pup(s): The puppies - wolves too young to hold tasks. May still help around the den if they wish.
Elder(s): Retired wolves. Form a high council of advisers to the alphas, the highest position behind the Heika and Ryuu. The elders are among the most respected wolves in the pack, and any wolf 9 years or older can become one.