October 13, 2011

Lands of Syrene: Inyo, the City in the Banyans

The treetop city of Inyo, capital of the Tana kingdom,  is said to be one of the oldest settlements in the Induna jungle, but remains a great mystery and source of speculation for all outsiders as no foreigner has ever been there.  The Tanans jealously guard the location of Inyo from all outsiders, and the penalty for entering their lands without permission is death.  Otherwise, however, the Tanans are friendly to sea rovers, and house any visitors to their land in specially built guest-villages built on the ground.

It is said that Inyo is built on the giant interlocking branches of a grove of giant, immortal banyan trees, with narrow rope bridges criss-crossing between them at many levels to form its streets.  It is also said that by an ancient covenant with the gods, the trees of Inyo will never fall or die so long as every king and queen of Tana is buried there, and iron nails are never driven into the living wood. For these reasons the Tanan royal family is barred from ever leaving Inyo, lest they die far from it and cannot be buried there, and no foreigner is allowed into the sacred grove lest they maliciously or unknowingly hammer a nail into one of the trees.

For most sea rovers, the highest-ranking Tanan personage they will ever see are the ‘talking chiefs,’ nobles handpicked from the royal retinue to serve as diplomats and traders with the outside world.  Aside from gold, Tana produces spices, medicinal herbs, aromatic woods, and cotton cloth woven in distinctive geometric patterns.

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