The rivers north of Kabdoria are home to a curious race of dog-monkeys that dwell in the river muck. They are collectively known as Tuehni; or money-dogs, river-dogs, bear-otters, muckdwellers, swamp-halflings or a host of other colloquial names. They are known to be are roughly the size of a Halfling with smooth shiny fur and small pointed ears. They have the face of a dog with eerie human-like features. Of particular note the creatures have thick tails nearly as long as their bodies with a hand at the end, similar to a raccoons hand. Tuehni are usually timid when alone and skittish when seen outside of the water. In the water however they are significantly more dangerous and will aggressively grasp and tear at anyone in their territory.
Men who have been caught by the Tuehni are grasped tightly with their five limbs until the victim drowns. The bodies are then carried off into their murky lairs. A few days later the bodies will float to the surface devoid of eyes, teeth and nails. The flesh and skin is usually unscathed, but the bodies are thoroughly softened, as if pounded with stones.
Once every few months the Tuehni will explore the land outside of their territorial rivers and seek moist wet places to dwell in the hot hours of the day. Mysterious crimes and odd deaths have been known to occur among the river dwelling villages, and they are very wary of such events. It is not unheard of for entire pens of pigs to be killed with their eyes removed, and later discovering the eyes have been collected among a large garden stone. Nor is it rare to hear a tale of a river-dog leap out of a newly opened cask of rum, much to the surprise of the tavern. More dreadful tales of outhouse patrons making an unpleasant discovery and being drowned in the pit of dung below are also spoke of.
If a Tuehni is caught, it will weep like a child and gnaw off its own limbs in order to escape. Few Tuehni will survive for more than a couple hours in captivity. Folk-tales suggest that Tuehni are abandoned children left near or set adrift upon rivers. Indeed villagers who live near rivers say that if you hear a weeping child near, you should avoid it at all cost. Many of these river villages forbid the weeping of children over the age of two and despise the sound over any other.
The wild rivers are by no means safe even without the likes of the Tuehni. River spirits in particular are spiteful things that will drag the unwary to a watery grave. What is unique about the Tuehni is that they routinely pile shiny objects next to singularly large standing stones along the river banks. These standing stones are clearly unnatural and are known by most as Great Rain Stones.
When a Rain Stone is found they are often decorated with numerous primitive treasures including amber, raw gems, shiny fruits, teeth, nails, eyeballs, shiny fish, scraps of metal, and just about anything else that is shiny that the Tuehni come across. While as curious as these stones are, what is of particular interest is the stones indeed work in calling the rain. Offering a shiny object to a Rain Stone will soon bring rain. Taking a few shiny objects away will cause a drought for months to come - and cause a great deal of ire among the resident Tuehni.
Cautious observers can spy upon the Tuehni and note that they carefully regulate the weather with their Rain Stones. The strength of the weather appears to be related to the objects they offer to the stones, although it is difficult to tell which are the most potent. Overly curious travelers have been known to defile or experiment with the rain stones often with catastrophic results.
Ruining a rain stone will rouse the river spirits for miles and doom the defiler’s kin to a watery grave. Brave (or foolish) folk have offered a plethora of other offerings to the Rain Stones with mixed results. Offering a child to a Rain Stone could very well bring a water Nymph to serve a lifetime of pleasure to the patron. Or it could simply bring a waterlogged horse-corpse to devour the interloper. For most folk it is a well known taboo to do anything with the stones, or even think ill thoughts of them. Thus, most villagers that are wary of the Rain Stones are reluctant to speak of them.