The Men of Talis discovered long ago that certain worms produced a webbing that could be woven into fine fabrics, and its trade grew as silk became prized by the wealthy and powerful. The silk trade was both boon and curse, because the trade routes would at times be plagued by robbers of all sorts, and because the Harkad Empire came to covet the silk to enlarge its own wealth.
Out of these dangers arose a number of fighting arts, most notably a form of fisticuffs the Talisians (and eventually much of the world) came to call boxing, which found its uses both for the sport and amusement of the privileged, as well as for the emerging class of bodyguards, caravan escorts, and mercenary forces. To this was added a stylized swordplay believed to have been in part copied from the Takegura fighting arts, dubbed ‘fencing,’ and the swordmakers of Takegura soon developed new designs to accommodate what they viewed as a frivolous combat methodology.
Nevertheless, these arts, quaint as they seemed to outsiders in the beginning, flourished, and Talis remained free until the year 6012 (by the Common Reckoning), when the Harkad Empire conquered Talis, Faradi, and Takegura in a bloody conflict which crippled the silk trade for several decades.
Over the centuries since, there have been a number of insurrections and rebellions, some of which won the Talisians a respite of a generation or two from the usually heavy hand of Harkad rule, but in the year 12037 Harkad once again regained control, though since that time its rule has been largely nominal, and the Talisians operate with a great deal of autonomy in what is best described as an uneasy allegiance.
The Talisians of the northern coasts are renowned for their skill as trappers and hunters, and excel in the making of garments of furs and skins, though it is believed that they learned much of these crafts from the Takegura.
Of the original culture it is uncertain how much remains, though their is a great number of words related to their principal trades now used in the common speech that are believed to have originated in Talis.