The Tribantian journey

The Tribantian journey is a series of seven tomes that tell the story of the god Tribant on a journey across Mandaria and over the sea to a far land to bring the silver dress of the goddess Gujin to the Goddess Allar as a wedding gift for her third marriage. The journey itself often takes a backseat to tangents explaining the various gods that Tribant encounters on his way. The tomes are regarded as the holy books of Mandaria as they brought all the local religions together into one great religion. An eighth shorter tome that deals with the aftermath is sometimes included in the canon even though Tribant is never mentioned in it.

Tribant, Stallion and Rake

Tribant, Stallion and Rake are three of the six main gods that make the journey to deliver the silver dress. They are special in that they seem original to the tomes, as no evidence for worship before the writing of the books has been found. Of course it is also a possibility that they were very minor rural gods from the writer’s hometown. Tribant is described as a bald humanoid man with the wings of a cicada. He is a force of peace and declares himself as a pacifist. Stallion is a dragon god trapped in the body of a fire-breathing horse. He was given to Tribant by Gujin to make his journey easier. Rake is a swine god representing gluttony and pride. He is portrayed as an ugly man with a pig’s head. He is often portrayed as the devil on Tribant’s shoulder so that Tribant may debate him and convince him of the right path.

Venuzian and Sandara

Venuzian and Sandara are two of the six main gods that make the journey to deliver the silver dress. Venuzian is not often with the party as he is represented as a shining man that serves as a means of contacting Gujin and thus is often going between the party and Gujin. Venuzian is unable to fight. Venuzian and Sandara have been identified as two old gods from the lost religion that Gujin was also a part of. Sandara was that religion’s goddess of the lakes and rivers. She now serves as a bodyguard to Triband and often functions as the angel on Tribant’s shoulder to keep him on the right path. Sandara is depicted as a fish scaled woman with kelp for hair and gills in her neck.

Houzi

Houzi is a primitive untamed war goddess of the Khanite tribes that roam the Mandarian grasslands. She is one of the six main gods that make the journey to deliver the silver dress. Half of the first tome is dedicated to Houzi’s backstory. This leads some scholars to believe the writer was a member of the Khanite tribes that left the tribe to settle down. She was born from a rock and is depicted as a woman with stone colored skin and a monkey’s tail. She took charge of a tribe of demonic monkeys and with their help she build a palace behind a waterfall. She however was afraid of her own mortality and set out to become immortal. She managed to learn how to stop her aging from the god Danos, but this was not enough for her. She went down into the underworld, captured the four death gods and removed her name from all of their records so that they may forget her. This action caused the God-Emperor Jadou to come at odds with the upstart. The two waged war against each other with Houzi and her demon monkeys victorious. Venuzian convinced Jadou to make peace by giving Houzi an empty title and some minor responsibilities to make her one of his gods. Houzi accepted, but while at Jadou’s court she got distracted from her duties by a grove of peaches. Feeling hungry she ate all of the peaches, which were Jadou’s peaches of immortality. Knowing she screwed up, Houzi hid in the chambers of Lao, god of medicine. Here she found his pills of true immortality. Knowing Jadou would try to execute her, she took all of these pills and ate them. When finally captured, Jadou did indeed try to put her to death. Finding that no method worked, Jadou opted for exile instead. Houzi used this exile to regather her demon monkey army and once again waged war against Jadou. This time the creator god Boda himself intervened to keep the balance and dropped a mountain on Houzi, then locking the mountain in place with a seal. Trapped, Houzi spend hundreds of years under that mountain untill Tribant came by. Gujin had promised Tribant that he could find a bodyguard for his journey if he unsealed the mountain and offered a golden headband to the god underneath. Tribant obliged and did unseal the mountain. When Houzi saw the seal being removed, she destroyed the mountain to free herself. Tribant offered her the headband as soon as he saw her. Thinking she was being made a queen, Houzi took the headband and put it on. The headband was unremovable and had three properties to make Houzi loyal to Tribant in it. The headband made Houzi unable to attack Tribant, would give her migraines if Tribant wished to discipline her and made her unable to leave Tribant’s side without his permission. Houzi complained at first, but relented after Gujin promised that she would make Houzi a true war goddess after her task was completed.

Gujin and Mocha

Gujin and Mocha are gods from a lost religion that was once popular among rural towns in the east of the main Mandarian island. Gujin is also called the Great Mercy. She is a compassionate and well-meaning goddess that seeks to help disgraced gods like Houzi, Stallion and Rake to reintegrate into godly society. She is the one that charges Tribant and his companions to take the journey. She is depicted as one of the most powerful gods in existence and has much respect from even figures like Jadou, Boda and Houzi. Mocha is her companion and often send by her to check up on the group. Houzi first came to Gujin’s attention as a possible muscle for the future when Mocha lost his battle against her during the first demon monkey invasion. It is never outright stated in the texts, but current religious canon sees Mocha as Gujin’s son. In the seventh tome, Gujin is often depicted as having grown feelings for Houzi, but is unable to act on them for she is already promised to marry Jadou. The eight tome, which is not always counted in the canon, deals with Gujin’s promised marriage to Jadou. Stallion, Mocha and Houzi work together to crash the wedding and kidnap Gujin. In the end of this tome, Mocha and Gujin move in with Houzi among the demon monkeys, while Stallion is freed from his horse form and returned to his true dragon form. Stallion then curses Jadou so that he can never leave the heavens, making him unable to reclaim Gujin.

The Court of Jadou

The court of Jadou is a group of gods from the old Jadouist religion that was very popular amongst the Mandarian nobles. The leader of these gods, Jadou, serves as the main rival of Houzi. The court consists of four gods representing earth, air, fire and water.

Jadou

Jadou is depicted as the God-Emperor of the heavens, and thus effectively serves as the king of the gods. He is a man with a long thin mustache and beard, as well as having long green nails with which he can move the stars. He is rarely seen during the main seven tomes and usually appears in Houzi’s backstory or is mentioned by other gods that the group meets on their journey. He does serve as the main antagonist of the eighth tome and is finally cursed by Stallion to be unable to leave the heavens. He is unable to go to the wedding of Allar because he is preparing his own wedding to Gujin, which in the end is crashed. He sends his son Lang and his ambassador Lotus to each bring half his gifts to Allar. He is a water deity.

Lang

Lang is the son of Jadou and one of the strongest warriors in heaven. He has three eyes and complete control over the wind. During both of the wars with Houzi, he was the only one able to fight on equal footing with the goddess, though he lost both fights thanks to dishonorable behaviour from Houzi. The first time she kicked him in the balls, and the second time she had her monkeys throw shit in his eyes. He is encountered once on the journey and almost comes to blows with Houzi. Tribant convinces both of them to calm down and offers for his group to take a detour so that Lang doesn’t have to run into them again. Lang agrees to this. Lang is later removed from Allar’s wedding for flirting with one of her wives.

Lotus

Lotus is one of Jadou’s most trusted gods. Lotus is depicted as a young feminine man with long hair wearing a flower crown. He wields a spear of fire and wears special white shoes with four flaming wheels. When he first tried to ride the wheels, the friction burned and tore his soles. He was treated by the goddess Jiu. She made his skin unbreakable and made him unable to feel pain. She forced him to make a daughter with her in return. Lotus is encountered several times during the journey, often either requiring Houzi, Rake or Sandara’s assistance in fighting a demon or monster that is blocking their path or being asked by Venuzian to save Tribant from a bad situation. Lotus fought Houzi in her first war against the heavens, but Houzi got annoyed with her inability to hurt him, opting to simply chain him with unbreakable shackles. One of the conditions of the peace treaty was that Houzi had to unchain Lotus. After this, Lotus vowed to never be caught again and learned escape techniques for any trap. During the journey, Houzi would often tease Lotus by making the sound of rattling chains when she encountered him. Lotus took the jokes at his expense well and would earn Houzi’s respect. The two became best friends and Lotus ended up letting Stallion, Houzi and Mocha into heaven to crash Jadou’s wedding in the eighth tome. For this he was exiled and decided to explore Mandaria disguised as a peasant girl. Lotus loves gambling and will often advise gamblers on how to win.

Lao

Lao is the great god of medicine. He is a great philosopher and scientist and managed to create pills of true immortality. He took one, before the rest were stolen by Houzi, making him the only other true immortal beside Houzi. He is depicted as an old man with sleeves that are longer than his arms. Lao is tied to the earth and said to make the ground fertile.

Boda

Boda is a creator god worshipped in many of the early mandarian monasteries. As the creator of the universe and first being to ever exist, he is depicted as a total badass. He speaks calmly and does not sugarcoat anything he says. He is the only being that has ever been shown to defeat Houzi in a fight in the Tribantian Journey, and did this by dropping a mountain on her, and then sealing it into place.

Danos and Solma

Danos and Solma are the twin gods of the old Oaken Faith. The oaken faith believed that Solma was the ultimate goddess of kindness and protector of mortals, while Danos was the evil opposer that sought to return mortalkind to dust. In the Tribantian Journey, Solma is never seen. She is only mentioned by Boda as being one of the few that might be able to destroy Houzi. Danos is more heavily featured as he served as an early mentor to Houzi, whom he teached how to stop her aging and how to use Khaospower, the magic of gods. The Danos in this depiction is much less of an evil psychopath, and more of a tired cynical man that does not care for anybody until he connects with the warrior goddess. In the eighth tome, it is Danos who suggests to Houzi that she should rescue Gujin from her wedding to Jadou.

The Four Death Gods

The Four Death Gods are four initialy unrelated gods that were all the god of death in their religion. They are said to keep a list of every being alive and take turns bringing death to a soul and crossing out their names. When Houzi removed her name from the lists, she effectively made them unable to keep track of her.

Mousha

Mousha is the death god of the old Khanite religions. She is depicted as a black armored warrior on a headless horse. She wields a large executioner’s axe and has eyes that glow with power. Mousha is mentioned as freeing Lotuling from her chains in the eighth tome. The goddess had come for a nearby hunter that was killed by a tiger and found the young goddess chained to a tree. Mousha turned the tree so big that the chains broke, creating the first oaks. This myth of death creating large trees to release fire was found in the earliest Khanite writings to explain why wood burned so well and why fire kills for death.

Jibing

Jibing is the death god of the old Jadouist religion. He is depicted as a sickly boy with boils and rashes. He leaves a trail of blood and pus wherever he walks. For this he was cast out by Jadou and made to live in the underworld.

Kouke

Kouke is the death god of the same belief system that Boda stems from. She is also called the great destroyer. She is depicted as a skeletal girl with messy hair and an empty flask hanging from her hip. She wields a large scythe and wears nothing but a black cloak.

Bianlao

Bianlao is the death god of a cult that believed death was the only god. He is depicted as an old man with a clock in his chest. He was the only one of the death gods that was seen outside Houzi’s backstory in the original seven tomes. He appeared during the seventh tome to represent the death gods at Allar’s wedding.

Allar and her Brides

Reaching Allar is the main goal of the Tribantian Journey, and so it might seem weird that no god like Allar is seen in Mandaria before the Tribantian Journey was written. Modern scholars have found an explanation for this. Allar is described as a pale beautiful woman that takes three wives to wed. Man of the earth, Akata of the sky and Ren of the underworld. Thanks to the similarity in names and themes, scholars believe that Allar is a Mandarian representation of the Zilveric goddess Allara and her wives Manda, Aktavor and Buren. While Ren and Akata only fill background roles in the seventh tome, Allar and Man are the main point of view for a large part of the seventh tome as this book depicts the end of the journey and the wedding between Allar and Man. In modern times Allar is seen as a goddess of sexuality and a protector of prostitutes.

Satenou

Satenou is the main antagonist of the Tribantian Journey. Though never actually seen, he is said to be the brother of Man trying to stop guests from coming to the wedding. He is depicted as a tanned long-haired sailor with many tattoos and jewelry. He is a sea god that is in love with the moon. Some modern scholars think that Satenou is the true source of the Zilveric god Stenor. He disapproves of the wedding between Allar and Man, for he thinks that his sister deserves more then to be merely a third wife to a goddess of sexuality. He employs various other gods, monsters and warriors to stop wedding guests on their way.

Jiu and Lotuling

Jiu is a violent goddess of healing from the old Khanite religion. She is as likely to heal you as she is to make things worse. She is in love with the god Lotus and gave him unbreakable skin and the inability to feel pain. In return she made him give her a daughter. Jiu named this daughter Lotuling, for she was an exact but female copy of her father. Scholars suspect that Lotuling is a Khanite version of the god Lotus that the writer remade into Lotus’ daughter. Lotuling is encountered once in the journey, in which Rake mistakes her for her father and insults her for Lotus had insulted Rake the previous time they met. Unlike her mild-mannered happy go-lucky father, Lotuling is a being filled with rage. Lotuling became furious at being insulted and fought Rake. She nearly killed him before Sandara stepped in, restraining Lotuling, for even though fighting and capture was okay, purposely killing another god outside of official execution is forbidden by all the laws. Lotuling was left chained to a tree by the group as they moved on. In the eighth tome it was mentioned by Lotus that Lotuling had been freed by Mousha when the latter came for a nearby hunter. Rake was taken to Jiu who healed him, though he screamed throughout the night.

Great Mink, Old Long and Skinless Tiger

Great Mink, Old Long and Skinless Tiger are three gods from the Faith of King Baku. While King Baku himself is only mentioned once in the Tribantian Journey as a wedding guest, Great Mink, Old Long and Skinless Tiger play a central part in several chapters of the second tome. Skinless Tiger stops the main six on their journey and introduces himself by ripping off his own skin. He explains that he and Great Mink have been convinced by Satenou to help him. Skinless Tiger fights Rake for a while, but then notices Houzi. At recognizing her, he flees and informs Great Mink. Great Mink chews him out for being afraid and tells him to just get Tribant, since the group can’t continue without him. Skinless Tiger returns and throws his skin over a rock to distract the party. While distracted Skinless Tiger kidnaps Tribant and delivers him to Great Mink. Houzi notices what has happened and goes to get Tribant back. Great Mink however has a special blessing that makes the very air stop Houzi from coming closer. Sandara meanwhile takes the smarter approach and finds Old Long, a great sage that lives nearby. Old Long explained that he had once before defeated Great Mink, but allowed him to go free on the condition he wouldn’t bother anyone again. Seeing this promise broken, he takes up his staff and goes to confront Great Mink. When Old Long arrives he breaks the blessing and defeats Great Mink. While Great Mink and Old Long fight, Houzi fights and defeats Skinless Tiger. Sandara meanwhile frees Tribant so they can continue their journey. Old Long thanks Sandara for her help and gifts her his staff of the flying dragon. She accepts and the staff becomes her main weapon for the rest of the story.

The Metal Family

The Metal Family is a group of gods whose origin might lay with the Faith of the Metal Wolves. The members of the Metal Family are depicted as armored kitsune. The members of the Metal Family are Yin, Jin, Tie and Gang. Yin’s armor is gold, Jin’s is silver, Gang’s is black steel and Tie wears rusted iron. Though all four are female, Yin and Jin refer to Gang as uncle. Gang and Tie are sisters, while Yin and Jin are twins and the daughters of Tie. A fifth fox god named Seventails has been added to the Metal Family in common depictions, even though she is armorless and originates from the Great Spirits religion. She is the head-servant and adopted daughter of Tie. In the journey, Yin and Jin lead an army of demons. They are recruited by Satenou to stop Tribant from reaching Allar. They surprise the party while Houzi is out hunting and capture Stallion, Tribant, Rake and Sandara. Venuzian escapes, but unable to fight, goes to seek out Houzi to tell her what happened. Yin and Jin have several of their demons bring over a gourd able to trap gods so they can throw the captured gods into that. Houzi intercepts these demons and convinces them that she has a gourd that can trap the sky itself. She meanwhile sends Venuzian to convince Jadou to allow her to trap the sky for a few seconds. Jadou refuses, but Lao tells him that they don’t actually need to trap the sky, they just need to hide it for a moment. Jadou agrees and hides the sky. This convinces the demons that Houzi’s gourd is real and they propose a trade. Houzi accepts, holding the gourd that can trap gods for herself while the demons bring the worthless gourd to their bosses. Houzi follows them there and even though she can’t beat Jin and Yin two on one, she manages to cause enough of a ruckus for Venuzian to free the others. At this point Yin decides that it is not worth it and plans to retreat, Jin becomes furious at her sister’s cowardice and challenges Houzi to a one-on-one battle. Houzi accepts and after beating the silver kitsune, she traps Jin in the gourd that can hold gods. Yin is distraught when she learns her sister has been captured and calls over their mother. Tie leaves her palace to see what’s up but runs into the party on her way. Rake and Sandara work together to beat her before she too is trapped in the gourd. At this, Yin becomes absolutely furious. She goes over to her mother’s household and recruits Seventails and the other servants to her army. Her uncle Gang and her army also arrive and resolve to help Yin free Tie and Jin. The army of demons descends on the party. Sandara is first to act and charges in, keeping off the entire army by herself. Only Seventails, Gang and Yin manage to get through the blockade. Stallion blocks Seventails while Rake and Houzi come face to face with Gang and Yin. Houzi charges into Gang, before switching targets and fighting Yin instead. Rake takes over to fight Gang. After Seventails, Gang and Yin are defeated, the armies enter peace talks with the party. Seventails begs Tribant to just give them back Tie and Jin. Tribant agrees on the condition that they be left alone. Houzi also demands that she gets to keep the gourd. Gang and Yin agree to these terms and Houzi releases Jin and Tie from the gourd. Gujin later asks Houzi to give her the gourd for safekeeping. Which Houzi reluctantly agrees too.

Dalu and Palali

Dalu and Palali are the devil-figure and creator goddess of an ancient religion from Iskiut named Palalinism. Dalu and Palali are never seen in the Journey, but are mentioned by Jin when she challenges Houzi. Jin claims that her family fought against the powerful chaos god Dalu with the goddess Palali. Jin herself restrained Dalu so that Palali could defeat him. Houzi retorts that she is not intimidated because she met Palali and could spank the goddess like a toddler.

Bonewhite

Bonewhite is an evil goddess from the Great Spirits religion. Bonewhite is depicted as a beautiful pale foreign woman with blue eyes and hair as white as bone. When night falls, a tattoo of a full skeleton all over her body will glow in a soft blue color. In the third tome the party sends Houzi to go find firewood and Houzi disappears for three days. When Houzi reappears without firewood and looking worse than usual, Tribant demands an explanation. Houzi tells a story about how she had been captured by Bonewhite, who used unbreakable chains to shackle her to a mountain. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to free herself, Houzi turned on the charm and seduced Bonewhite. She was totally forced to spend the next three days lazing with Bonewhite and having lots of sex. There was no other choice. Rake accuses Houzi of bailing on their mission to willingly laze around. Tribant agrees with Rake and activates the headband to give migraines to Houzi before banishing her from the party. Houzi is aggressively polite in accepting her banishment. Houzi figured that her banishment would not be forever and told Stallion where she would be in case they needed her. Houzi then went back to Bonewhite and spend the next few days playing around with the beautiful pale goddess till Rake finally came to invite her back to the party. In modern worship, the Priestess of Bonewhite has become a codename for the leader of the Mandarian government’s assassins.

The Fisherman’s Family

The fisherman’s family is a family consisting of a husband and wife with two sons. They are gods that live the life of mortals. They are a mix of Jadouist and Great Spirit gods.

Zhajing

Zhajing is a daughter of Jadou and exiled herself from her father’s empire to marry the Fisherman. When she learns that Tribant’s party is going to travel through her village, she lies to her husband that Tribant harmed her and that he should take revenge. She did this because she wanted the silver dress. She is a goddess of greed, that collects wealth on earth and guards it diligently.

Baming and Rowing Son

Baming and Rowing Son are the sons of Zhajing and the Fisherman. Rowing Son often goes out to sea with his father and rows the great fisher’s boat. Baming stays close to his mother and guards her treasures with shield and spear. They do not have a big role in the journey, as they are merely bargaining chips for Houzi, but they are fairly important gods in the Great Spirits religion and old Jadouism respectively. Baming was a symbol for Jadouist warriors that guarded the early Mandarian emperors before being replaced by Mocha. Rowing Son, like his father Fisherman, was an important water spirit in the Great Spirits religion where he was said to have taught humanity how to make boats and ships. While the most common versions of the story of the mermaids sees Jadou make six races and the Fisherman one, an older version of the third tome tells that Jadou made five great mermaids and his father made one small race. Rowing Son was not as humble as his father and went back to the heavens when he became an adult. He then humiliated Jadou by making the Sirens, most beautiful of the mermaids. This made Jadou exile him as well.

Fisherman

Fisherman is a powerful deity that created the ocean’s creatures so he may battle with them. He is a humble god who does not like to boast. When Jadou made the mermaids, he made six great races. Jadou then challenged the fisherman to make a better race. The Fisherman made the small Orang Ikans, for something does not need to be big and powerful to be worthy. Seeing this as an insult, Jadou exiled him. Zhajing fell in love with the Fisherman and followed him to his home. She married him and gave him two sons. When Zhajing told him how Tribant had supposedly harmed her, he fell into a rage. This was at the time that Houzi was gone with Bonewhite. Fisherman captured Sandara and Tribant and tied them up. Rake and Stallion attempted a rescue where Stallion disguised himself as a beautiful woman to distract the Fisherman. Being a faithful husband, he was not distracted and injured Stallion. Rake and Stallion fled after their plan failed. Being unable to travel, Stallion send Rake to get Houzi. Rake found Houzi and attempted to get her to come back with lies that everything was fine, but Tribant just missed her. When this did not work he told the truth. Houzi agreed and went back, leaving Bonewhite behind. Houzi kidnapped the Fisherman’s sons and proposed to trade them for Tribant and Sandara. Fisherman agreed. During the trade Tribant and Houzi explained the situation and Zhajing was forced to admit her deception. Fisherman apologized for the trouble he caused and gave them a healing ointment for Stallion to make things up. Tribant accepted. For her help, Tribant allowed Houzi back into the party.

The cardinal dragons

The cardinal dragons are the four great longs of the directions. Beilong of the North, Xifanglong of the West, Nanlong of the South and Donglong of the East. During her early life, Houzi went to the far east and met Donglong. She wrestled him and beat him, forcing the dragon to make her a weapon. After rejecting every weapon that was offered, Donglong gathered the other three dragons and they offered her a simple staff with the power of four dragons. She accepted it and left. When she attacked the heavens for the second time, the four dragons joined her, and Nanlong defeated Jadou in battle. When Houzi was trapped under Boda’s mountain, Beilong would often visit her with food. The four dragons are the remnants of an old cult that worshipped the longs as gods. The only one encountered during the journey itself is Xifanglong, whom Tribant needs to ask permission to travel to the far west. All four do however appear as guests at Allar’s wedding and later also in the eighth tome as guests at Jadou’s wedding. When Houzi crashes the wedding in the eighth tome, the four cardinal dragons block the heavenly army from being able to pursue her.

Heiniu and Fanblades

Heiniu was a demon worshipped in old demonic rituals. In the journey he has been remade into a horned god that helps Satenou block Allar’s wedding guests from reaching any ships. Fanblades is based on an old wind spirit from the Great Spirits religion, but remade into Heiniu’s daughter. She falls in love with Sandara and attempts to kidnap her. While the rest of the group is busy with this, Rake runs into Heiniu and is captured. Heiniu falls in love with Rake and attempts to make him switch sides. Houzi however defeats Heiniu and frees Rake before this can happen after Fanblades tells Sandara her father’s weakness.