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Cenzai

Often considered the guardians of nature, Cenzai are a noble and quiet people who believe in actions over words. They are unmatched masters of hand-to-hand combat and highly focused on any study they pursue. The culture of the Cenzai is one of unending training and learning. They believe that patience, hard work, and respect among all living things is the way to true spiritual wisdom. As a result, they are excellent negotiators that strive for peace and mutual appreciation between individuals and do their best to live by their beliefs of knowledge, compassion, and understanding. Masters of Shamanism, the Cenzai are deeply in tune with the natural world and connected to Adia, often using its magnificent power to defend their land and those they protect. 

After the Humans were cast out from the Nethandre Star Kingdom, the Cenzai were the first to step up and offer them a new home. Though nomads compared to the brick and stone lives of the Humans, this hospitality quickly grew into a close alliance with the Humans. As they grew closer, they sought to learn from one another as the Cenzai taught them their ways of close combat and aided them in Shamanistic Studies to heal the sick and injured. The Humans offered further chances for young Cenzai to learn new studies and to teach warriors how to better soak a hit. Their collaboration in combat has even given way to a new study of combat dubbed the Path of the Monk. 

Loyal to their family and tribe, and often the first to leap to the defense of an ally, Cenzai are revered for their strength and the power of their deep friendships. They are a people of their word, and do not easily give it owing to their sense of honor. If a Cenzai promises something, they will deliver on their promise or die trying. In combat, the Cenzai are a spiritually driven force that seems to draw strength from the world around them. Striking with their powerful feet first, the Cenzai will fight to the death for the honor of their clan and the protection of their lands. Above all things, a Cenzai does not run away from a fight.

The Tribal Paths

Unlike some races, a Cenzai’s tribe is their family. They respect and honor their parents, but also all in the village older than them. It is not uncommon for a young Cenzai to regard their Elders as well as their parents as equal care-givers, and many young Cenzai will form small bands that pay visits to each child’s family in turn for meals and to rest. This group living and tight-knit community fosters the Cenzai morals and staunch determination to defend their kin. Like the children, the adults learn from and respect those they grew up with and trust to the wisdom of the Elders that taught them as well.  From the Elder’s insight to the Roo-Boss’ strength and to the games of the children, it all inspires a Cenzai to know that with their tribe is strength, honor, and life.

As a Cenzai, life is good on the Assadi plains. While there are hardships at times, it is, for the most part, the best place for a Cenzai to be. The open lands allow for them to use their bounding speed to their advantage as they gather and forage for food, handcraft their weapons and tools, and sing songs that pass on their traditions and beliefs. Stories and songs shared by the Elders about the nature of Adia, the magical beasts that roam the world, and the legends that fought shoulder to shoulder in the wars of old form the basis of a young Cenzai’s world view and offers them explanations to the world around them.

The Elders can often be found sitting around the campfire, taking puffs on pipes filled with Rich Kydeson, with the youngest infants on their laps as the day fades to night. Visions and shapes formed by the Spirit of the Elders float through the smoke as the songs change to that of the night, the moons, and the heavens in the sky. In times of great danger, the Elders will take leave of their villages and camps to venture to seek guidance from the Fire Eternal, Adia, and the spirits their ancestors before them. Often, they will travel alone or allow only a handful or warriors to escort them into the remote corners of the wild only to leave them to proceed on to their sacred places alone.

“Listen well when the Elders must depart to speak with the spirits. Mourn the time they are apart as they will soon join the spirits themselves to one day help when you are an Elder yourself. Their stories tell our history and teach what it means to be Cenzai. Their voices carry the strength of our fallen and the hopes of you young ones. To be an Elder is a heavy and proud duty to guide those that come after in the ways of Adia and of the tribe.” – Scholar, Zawri Clubtail 

Due to their biology, Cenzai do not eat meat, and instead rely on great meals of vegetables, berries, and other fruit. On the go, Cenzai often eat their food raw, but when time allows for them to make camp, they cook. Using a flat heat stone, the Cenzai lay a base of leaves and herbs to coat and flavor their food as the heat from the stone cooks and smokes their wild-picked food from the plains around them. 

For the Cenzai, their tribe and the whole of the Assadi plains are their home. They move freely as they forage and gather, never staying long to avoid taxing the lands they care for and setting up new camps every few days. With the exception of a few key places they return to, the Cenzai have no true cities that they remain in year-round. 

A Traveling Home is the Best Home

The Cenzai are a nomadic race of people as they are always packing up their Shauranam homes and relocating to where they may be able to gather their next meal. They have chosen their portable homes in part to maintain their own balance within the Assadi Plains and in part to avoid having their homes become a regular hunting ground for Spike Tailed Adders or other creatures hunting in the plains. Their homes are typically made of hide surrounding a spread stack of wood or bone, forming a type of tent they like to call “Shauranam,” meaning life ground or spirit breathing.

Their traveling lifestyle has allowed the Cenzai to adapt to new surroundings well, and have a higher chance of survival than most others would in the Assadi Plains. When it is time to move camp, they often wait until the Core is very high in the sky, particularly during summer months when most creatures are seeking shelter from the heat or on the move as well. It does pose some risks as it is also the time when many of the larger predators hunt, but the clear sightlines and speed with which they travel is something they use to their advantage whenever possible. 

When the heat of the day is too much to bear, there is nothing the Cenzai enjoy more than some cool melon and a swim in the rivers and lakes. Their powerful hind legs serve them well, and they are surprisingly strong swimmers. There are many spots that both young and old Cenzai are pleased to travel toward in their circuitous paths through the plains. 

Spike Tailed Fear

Cenzai fear one thing more than anything else: the attack of a Spike Tailed Adder. When the shadow of this monstrosity darkens their homes, they know that chaos and destruction are sure to follow. When one of these powerfully deadly creatures makes its way to their village, it is looking to eat, and eat its fill. As the great serpents are capable of crushing multiple Cenzai to death in one fell movement or leveling entire homes with a swing of its deadly tail, the Cenzai live in a constant state of alert watchfulness for signs of this mighty predator. 

“Before we could breathe, it was among us. The tail was a blur of yellow and blue as homes were leveled and my people killed. The warriors stirred immediately, leaping to action and pulling joeys from the arms of their dead parents while their comrades strove to keep the adder’s attention. It was all teeth and blood and terror, but also valor, honor, and kinship. Our people fear the adder, yes, but we also honor it and the strength it gives us.” – Bowry Hushfoot, Village Guard

Their close proximity to such a beast has given the Cenzai a deep level of respect for the power of nature and for the Spike Tailed Adder itself. It also allows the race as a whole a certain level of comfort and ease that comes with mitigating and handling life-threatening situations with calmness and composure. They have developed strategies for killing and removing their common threat. Instead of becoming overwhelmed or despairing, they have come to view the facing of their greatest fears as a means to become stronger warriors, stronger people, and stronger leaders.