Order of the Zodiacs
Sit down and close your eyes.
Breathe in and breathe out. Feel the air enter and leave your lungs. Feel your heartbeat slow and become calm. You have entered our sanctum and wish to learn our ways. Before we allow that I must ask you, traveler, why do you wish to be part of our order? Many like you have come seeking our knowledge of the world. We are well traveled and have witnessed many things and know secrets of the ways of nature and the world around us. Many have sought our training. It is true, our monks are brave warriors when the need calls for it, and we train our bodies to be pushed to the extreme. Perhaps you have come here to escape. Isolated in our temples we are far from the glimpse of the nations you call home. Though none of these suit you, traveler. You seem to want more. You want to know truth. You want to know what made us, what made the world, what made the heavens. You wish to connect with beings far beyond the comprehension of mortals and ask them a single question: Why? You have come to the right place, traveler.
Long before airships and the modern luxuries of the world were even dreamed of, an order of monks was founded in the mountains of Washu.
A man named Xia Ro Kei ventured into these desolate peaks in hopes to reach out and connect with the forces known as the Zodiacs. It was here that Xia Ro Kei began constructing the first temple of his order. The name Xia Ro Kei and the Order of the Zodiacs slowly began to spread around the world. The monk began to preach that in order for an individual to be able to understand beings such as the Zodiacs, that individual must be able to understand one’s self. As dozens of people flocked to the temple, wishing to learn of the teachings of the Order, the Order itself began to spread. Experienced monks who journeyed far to learn Xia Ro Kei’s teachings traveled back home and founded temples of their own. Years later, the spread of the temples reached all over Asarus. Today, you can find at least one temple of the order in every nation.
The teachings of the Order of the Zodiacs have changed very little in the years since they were founded.
Members still strive to achieve personal understanding, in the hopes of becoming closer to the Zodiacs themselves. With this, the monks of the order have become known for their discipline of mind and body, oftentimes being able to accomplish physical feats that normal people would think impossible. They practice a strict regimen of meditation and martial arts in order to understand their bodies and minds to the fullest. While some seek out the Order of the Zodiacs to learn such martial arts and control of one’s self, the order will only accept those who wish to seek out the Zodiacs and have intentions that are true to the Order’s purpose.
The Order of the Zodiacs plays a relatively small role in the politics of the world.
For the most part they keep to themselves and are not bothered by anyone else. Having only slightly more than 4500 members the order, while recognizable, is scarce in every corner of the world. They dwell in their isolated temples, farming and living off the nearby land. Their almost archaic lifestyle confounds many, but the prowess and abilities of their members has awarded them great respect in the eyes of some of the best warriors of Vathis. Members of the order are not forbidden from leaving and pursuing interests that are important to them. The order believes that resolving personal conflicts and experiencing the world are vital to becoming closer to the Zodiacs and understanding how one fits into the grand scheme of the cosmos.
The monks of the order are revered as incredible forces to be reckoned with.
They are staunch allies capable of a great many things, be it combat, diplomacy, stealth, or medicine. It is not rare for members of the order to join up with adventuring parties who share a common goal. They are almost always a helpful boon to an adventuring party and offer a unique set of skills and perspective on the world.