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This is our dwelling, the Dominion of Winds. We keep watch from this perch as power shifts and the world is transformed. We must soon determine with whom we will fight and with whom we will ally.

Yuki Honestcrest

C4 Tengu concept art.jpg

The tengu are a race of avian humanoids, many of whom make their home in the Dominion of Winds along the Tarnished Coast. They are extremely wary of the races of Tyria, and do not allow outsiders into their territories.

A few tengu from the Dominion of Winds have set up trading posts outside their walls in order to trade with and observe the other races according to the wishes of the tengu emperor.[1] They currently remain neutral in all conflicts. The Dominion presently houses tengu clans from many corners of the world, including Cantha, Elona and Central Tyrian regions such as Kryta and potentially the Shiverpeak Mountains.[2] However, some tengu are known to live beyond the emperor's rule such as the Quetzal of Auric Basin and Drizzlewood Coast, as well as as the Kestrels who never left Cantha with other immigrants.


Tengu are a bipedal humanoid race with usually slim, partially hunched, bodies. Next to their beak are two short fangs. The females of their species have plainer plumage and are typically larger than males. Tengu prefer raw meat for their diet, and although avian, they lost their ability to fly in the distant past. They have since learned to use the primitive tools and weapons once favored by humans, clutching them tightly in their talons.[3][4]

In terms of tengu appearance, there is a large amount of variance from individual to individual, on a par with (or possibly even more so than) the charr.


The tengu are highly protective of their culture, and it is thought that this is a large contributory factor to their isolationism. They apparently have some ancient, lost knowledge of the Elder Dragons (an awareness of the cyclic nature of their awakening, for example), but it is not known how they acquired it.[5] Most tengu speak Old Canthan, and treat tengu who do not with the same contempt with which they treat all outsiders.[6]

The tengu's fight through the Risen armies of Orr necessitated the different clans' cooperation with one another. They founded four houses—North, South, East, and West—which were named after the winds and allowed tengu clans from many corners of the world to preserve their unique cultures while unifying as a whole.[7] It is not known which houses correspond to which clans or tribes nor is it known which clans survived long enough to form the houses, although tengu from the Caromi tribe of Kryta are known to reside within the Dominion of Winds.[8] Although the tengu houses have different cultures, they all fervently uphold three basic virtues: honor, family, and history.[7] Some tengu, however, seem to believe in loyalty, honor, and fate.[9]

The tengu are filled with bureaucracy and warrior trials. It takes them a long time to trust other races due to their history, and they require a lot of discussion among their high masters before they can commit to any kind of treaty with the other races. Despite this, a growing number of individual tengu have been slowly opening up to the idea of building peace with the other races although they have yet to sway the majority of the tengu leadership to support their side.[10]

The tengu are known to have settlements outside of the Dominion of Winds, often within its shadow, such as Hanto Trading Post and Ireko Tradecamp. Further, other tengu—often alone—are seen across the world or within the orders, such as Fuji Shadowbane of the Vigil, Genzhou Talonrend, and Izu Steelshrike. Some Quetzal settlements can be found in Auric Basin in the Heart of Maguuma and in Drizzlewood Coast in the Woodland Cascades although it is not known if the Quetzal clans had remained there for the past 250 years, or if they had joined and then left the Dominion of Winds.

The tengu clans are proficient with various weapons although they have their preferences on which weapons to use. As a result, their weaponsmiths are quite skilled in all arms which they sell to other races as the tengu emperor wishes for the clans to expand their influence in the world's markets.[2][1]


The attitude of modern tengu towards spirituality is unknown; however, the Canthan tengu of old believed in an afterlife, which they called the Sky Above the Sky. A sect of tengu were known to have guarded the celestials during the Canthan Trials of Ascension, meaning defeating them was necessary to become Weh no Su, but their connection to the mainstream tengu belief system is unknown.

It can be inferred that there is at least some surviving element of superstition within tengu society, as young tengu are sometimes given charms to ward against harm. Some tengu also seem to believe in prophecies to some extent as the Angchu had tales of the day when their clans would be free and make peace with humans while tengu lands would be revealed by a heavenly star and rise.[11]


When they first built the Dominion of Winds, the tengu who had migrated to Central Tyria unified their clans into four houses—North, South, East, and West, one for each of the winds. With the houses, the tengu can be unified while preserving the cultures of the ancient clans.[7] However, clans do seem to still exist on a familial level, for example "Clan Talonrend".[5]

Above the four houses, the tengu of the Dominion of Winds are ruled by an emperor, who is treated with ultimate deference.[1]


There does not seem to be any single consistent naming scheme for tengu; however, there are several common conventions. Most tengu have short and sharp or Japanese-style forenames, and clan names that can be seen as consisting of two parts. The first part tends to be descriptive (e.g. bright, gold, true), and the second part often refers to an element of avian anatomy (e.g. crest, talon, claw). Names include the likes of Kensho Arrowsoul and Talon Silverwing.


Early history[edit]

The Tengu Wars[edit]

Togo stands with Talon Silverwing.

In ancient history, the tengu are said to have lived throughout the world, although only the names of five clans throughout Tyria and Cantha are known. It is these clans who have the most direct relation to the tengu inhabiting the Dominion of Winds today.

Most of the history that is known of the tengu begins with their southern tribes' contact with the humans in Cantha. After the Jade Wind necessitated further human settlement of Shing Jea Island, the Sensali tribe massacred an entire village and, according to rumor, ate the corpses. War with their Angchu cousins was, for a time, narrowly averted through the shrewd efforts of Emperor Hanjai's personal ambassador and a wise, levelheaded Angchu chieftain in 880 AE. However, it was not possible to prevent the Sensali from attacking, creating a hatred between the two tribes that was only surpassed by their hatred of the mountain yeti. When further human settlement of the island put Angchu hatchlings in contact with foreign diseases, the Angchu were forced to kill their own young and they, too, joined the fight against the humans.[4][12]

The Tengu Wars would rage for almost two centuries, and it was not until early in the reign of Emperor Kisu that it looked like peace may be a possibility. The emperor's half-brother and Master of Shing Jea Monastery, Togo, was called to the estate of War Minister Wona for a peace summit with the leaders of the Angchu and Sensali, among them Talon Silverwing, Gull Hookbeak, and Swift Honorclaw. However, the summit was a trap set up by Wona who intended to kill Togo and pin the blame on the tengu, creating the pretext for a genocide. Togo and Talon Silverwing managed to fight their way out and put Wona down, but the damage to human-Sensali relations was permanent.[13] Later, in 1071 AE, a formal peace with the Angchu was finally reached, bringing an official end to the Tengu Wars. The peace was commemorated as the Day of the Tengu, at least while the peace lasted.

Winds of Change[edit]

In 1080 AE, the Empire of the Dragon experienced a surge of nationalism in the wake of the return of Shiro Tagachi and his plague. After routing the Am Fah and Jade Brotherhood street gangs, the newly-formed Ministry of Purity led by Reiko Murakami turned their sights on the tengu that lived on the mainland, in Kaineng City. The conflict soon spilled over onto Shing Jea Island, and peace with the Angchu finally broke down when Ministry guards witnessed Ryun Grayfeather of the Angchu defending Tsumei Village against Sensali raiders. The guards believed Grayfeather and the Sensali to be working together and killed him. Later that year, a group of Angchu led by Soar Honorclaw joined forces with the Hero of Nightfall and various human factions, including surviving members of the Am Fah and the Jade Brotherhood, to assassinate Reiko to end the Ministry's tyranny; however, the minister's death would only give the persecuted groups a temporary reprieve.

In 1127 AE, Emperor Kisu's successor, Usoku, led a campaign to annex the vassal states of Kurzick and Luxon back into the empire with the Ministry of Purity's help, and began to drive out non-humans such as tengu and dredge.[14][15][16] Against the might of the Canthan military, many tengu eventually had no choice but to flee north, to Tyria.[7][17] Some tengu chose to stay behind in Cantha despite the Ministry of Purity's oppression, however. A group of tengu known as the Kestrels took in refugees and hid deep in the Echovald Wilds, successfully evading imperial forces.

Great Tsunami[edit]

When the Elder Dragon Zhaitan awoke in 1219 AE in an event the tengu call the Great Tsunami, the tengu of the world saw it as a sign to return to Tyria. It was a descendant of Talon Silverwing that led the charge through Zhaitan's Risen forces while many clans set their differences aside to survive through the calamity.[2] When the tengu refugees reached land, they built the Dominion of Winds atop the island once known as Sanctum Cay to defend against Zhaitan's minions,[17] and unified their clans into the four modern houses, one for each of the winds.[7] Out of fear of a repeated past, they constructed a great wall to encircle their city, and non-tengu were not permitted to enter.[18] By this time, tengu from Cantha, Central Tyria and Elona were known to have settled into the Dominion of Winds.[2]

Despite their newfound unity, not all tengu entered the Dominion of Winds. At least some tengu from the Quetzal would settle into Auric Basin and Woodland Cascades and continue fighting anyone trespassing on their territory. Some of the families that had emigrated to Kryta from Cantha became "lapsed tengu" who would forget Old Canthan in the following centuries. Some of the descendants of these immigrants attempted to enter the Dominion of Winds but were turned away because they could not speak the guards' language despite being tengu themselves.[6]

Personal story[edit]

By 1325 AE, as small groups of the Elder Dragon Primordus's destroyers had begun surfacing on the inside of the Dominion of Winds, some of the tengu made tentative ventures into establishing contact with the outside world. The sylvari Trahearne convinced his old tengu ally Izu Steelshrike to join forces with the Pact and provide weapons for the soldiers in the war against the Elder Dragons.

After the defeat of Zhaitan, Izu mentioned that the death of an Elder Dragon might spark renewed tengu interest into joining the other races in their fight against the dragons.[19] However, no such movement had been seen so far. Although many individual tengu believed in building a peace with the other races, they had to argue their case before the leaders of the Dominion who remained distrustful of the races due to the human betrayals in the past.[10]

Living World Season 1[edit]

During her preparations to assault Lion's Arch, Scarlet Briar considered forging an alliance between the tengu and the largos, but for one reason or another this did not come to pass.[20] In 1327 AE, when Scarlet's forces attacked Lion's Arch, the tengu stationed at the Shuttered Gate retreated to within its boundaries. During the battle, any creature that attempted to approach the gate was met with a storm of arrows, regardless of allegiance. Afterwards, the tengu returned, with no apparent change in their attitude.

Heart of Thorns[edit]

As the Pact recovered from their fleet's decimation in the Heart of Maguuma during the campaign against the Elder Dragon Mordremoth in 1328 AE, they encountered the Quetzal tengu, who had been known to dwell in the dense Maguuma Jungle and Woodland Cascades long before the Dominion of Winds was established. Apparently led by Commander Razorwing and another nameless commander, the Quetzal kept to the canopy of Auric Basin, out of reach of the Mordrem, and were known to assault Pact survivors.

Although Izu Steelshrike accompanied the Pact to the Heart of Maguuma, he pointed out that most tengu still preferred to sequester themselves behind the walls of the Dominion of Winds rather than assisting the Pact in the war against the Elder Dragons.[21] However, some tengu such as Kensho Arrowsoul were sent to aid the guilds of the Guild Initiative by teaching them the tengu art of scribing in guild halls.

The Icebrood Saga[edit]

Tengu battle icebrood which try to invade the Dominion of Winds.

In 1333 AE, charr Dominion forces led by Imperator Bangar Ruinbringer and Tribune Ryland Steelcatcher assaulted human, norn and tengu settlements in Drizzlewood Coast while taking no prisoners and seizing resources and land for their campaign. The local Quetzal tribe offered their assistance to the human and norn refugees and helped some of them escape although the charr forces managed to kill several refugees from all three races.[22] The tengu historian Goro Cleverclaws was eventually convinced to seek refuge in the Eye of the North where he helped translate his tribe's historical weapon carvings.

When the Elder Dragon Jormag's icebrood assaulted the gates of the Dominion of Winds in Caledon Forest, the tengu sent the messenger Kalidris Sparrowhawk to ask for outside help. Assisted by the Pact Commander and various factions' reinforcements, the tengu successfully managed to repel the icebrood incursion although they still refused to open their doors to outsiders. Kalidris, however, promised to spread word about the other races' invaluable assistance to hopefully make more tengu view the outside world as allies rather than enemies.[23]

End of Dragons[edit]

By Empress Ihn's reign, the Empire of the Dragon and the tengu that had stayed in Cantha had already made amends and had been living in peace for an unspecified amount of time. While some Kestrels continued living in the Echovald Wilds and remained skeptical of the empire's motives while being more open-minded towards other humans living in Echovald, other tengu began mingling with humans outside the forest to promote peaceful coexistence between the races. The traditionalist Kestrels viewed the city-born tengu generations with some disdain.[24]

Known tribes[edit]


See also: Category:Tengu


Concept art and renders

Related achievements[edit]


  • In Japanese folklore, tengu are a class of supernatural creatures. Similarly, tengu clothing and personality appears inspired by ancient Japanese culture, including bushidō. This has not always been true, for example in Guild Wars the Quetzal tengu are named after a bird species, suggesting a Central American influence. The fact that tengu culture is now heavily Japanese-influenced suggests that the culture of the southern tribes, Angchu and Sensali, survived mostly intact, as Cantha was inspired by a mix of Asiatic cultures.
  • Prior to release, the tengu were a strong candidate for one of the playable races, with the Dominion of Winds as their starter city.[25] They are unlikely to become playable in the future.[26] Although curiously several Tengu in Cantha wear armor eerily similar to antique, monastery, and Jade tech armor sets as well as in wider varieties.
  • Tengu have the same mesh as the charr, but different animations. The tengu seen in the Heart of Maguuma, Cantha and in Guild Halls have their own, unique animations and mesh, including Izu Steelshrike, who previously had the original animations.
  • The tengu theme music, 'The Tengu Wall', is an arrangement of the Guild Wars Factions title theme.
  • There exists a cut tengu model that was never used in the final game. Upon release, all NPC's that used this model in the beta weekend events were changed to use one of either a blue or red model.[27]
  • There is a miniature of a tengu named Tsuru Whitewing. Oddly, there is no tengu that exists by said mini tengu's name.
  • In Heart of Thorns, the tengu seem to leave their isolationist culture to appear in different conflicts and fight alongside other races in the Borderlands and Stronghold maps.
  • While Tengu in Tyria resemble mostly hawks, owls or other birds of prey, the ones in Cantha greatly resemble cranes, cassowaries, mandarin ducks, and shima enaga, as well as other birds of prey.

See also[edit]

Gwwlogo.png The Guild Wars Wiki has an article on Tengu.
Associated items

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Shou
  2. ^ a b c d Hayato
  3. ^ Conflict in Cantha
  4. ^ a b The Guild Wars Factions Manuscripts, GuildWars.com
  5. ^ a b Genzhou Talonrend
  6. ^ a b Historical dialogue with Kae Mayumi
  7. ^ a b c d e Sangdo Swiftwing
  8. ^ Caromi Scout
  9. ^ Kensho Arrowsoul
  10. ^ a b Lore Interview with Ree Soesbee, GuildWars2.com
  11. ^ Talon Silverwing dialogue in the Far Shiverpeaks
  12. ^ An Empire Divided: A Selected History of Mysterious Cantha for the Traveling Scholar
  13. ^ The Tengu Accords
  14. ^ The Movement of the World: Cantha
  15. ^ 28 Mikan 1637 CC
  16. ^ 08 Suzhen 1637 CC
  17. ^ a b Riding the Wind: The Tengu Exodus
  18. ^ Lore interview with Ree Soesbee, GuildMag.com
  19. ^ Victory or Death
    Izu Steelshrike: This was an intriguing and rewarding challenge, Commander. My people tend to keep to themselves, but when they hear about my experiences, I expect it'll draw out some.
    <Character name>: Glad to hear it. The Pact needs more talent like yours.
  20. ^ Scarlet's Secret Lair
  21. ^ Prisoners of the Dragon
    Izu Steelshrike: Hello, Commander. How is the search and rescue going?
    <Character name>: So far, so good. Were there many tengu aboard the fleet when it crashed?
    Izu Steelshrike: I'm afraid not. After the persecution we suffered in our homeland, most of my people prefer to sequester themselves behind the great walls surrounding the Dominion of the Winds.
  22. ^ Goro's Journal
  23. ^ Dragon Response Mission: Caledon Forest
    <Character name>: The Dominion of Winds faces the same threat we all do. Perhaps there is hope of a stronger alliance between us.
    Kalidris Sparrowhawk: I have little sway over my people. But perhaps if I tell this story to enough tengu in the tavern... [...]
    Kalidris Sparrowhawk: I can't speak for all of us, but my family—everyone in the Great House—thought humans would destroy us.
    Kalidris Sparrowhawk: You know, like they almost did with the charr. It was always safer to just stay inside our walls.
    Kalidris Sparrowhawk: There's a part of you that knows it's not all true. It can't be. The world's too big.
    Kalidris Sparrowhawk: Hopefully I can change a few minds. The way you changed mine.
  24. ^ Guild Chat - Episode 116
  25. ^ The Making of Guild Wars 2
  26. ^ Black Lion Daily Herald, Facebook.com
  27. ^ [Data Mining] Removed-, unused- and forgotten models from way before release, Reddit.com