Expedition to the Razor Cliff
The Order of the Scarlet Shard
The Order of the Scarlet Shard is a monastic organization that was formed early during the growth of the Empire, supporting the growth of civilization on the continent and the sense of law and order that followed it’s growth.
The details surrounding the founding of the order are lost in the tales of legend and myth surrounding the order, but what is known is that the original monk unlocked the powers of her body and mind using the power contained in ‘a scarlet shard’.
She managed to survive a few hundred years using her powers, and taught what she had learned to a cadre of initiates. The growth of the order required the movement of some members to found chapter houses throughout the empire’s territory. The main temple/monastery is located outside the capital of the Empire, and contains a library that boasts the most number of books and amount of knowledge about the world, the human body and other planes as topics of specialty.
Once every 5 years, the Grandmaster of the order convenes a grand tournament of those dedicated to the perfection of the human body, through the martial arts to compete in combat. These games supplement and replace the games of the empire in the summer that they are convened, with much support and wagering in the populace of the empire. Many martial artists from the regions of the empire come forward, as well as soldiers of the legion, hoping to win renown, fame and their fortunes.
The monks themselves wear loose fitting attire, usually made of cotton, emblazoned with a circle split into three parts, slightly separated. Most of the monks are shaved bald, with various symbols and patterns tattooed on the scalp, either permanently, or replaced as needed.
The ranking system of the order is complicated, involving mastery of a number of different abilities at each level. Those successful receive a brand on their inner left forearm, one section of a circular design as they achieve the levels.
The order itself is respected throughout most of the empire, with little or no problems encountered by the monks on their travels. In fact, most of the outlying towns would rather see the monks, than imperial legions, due to the vows of poverty most of the monks undertake, where as the legions have a tendency to acquire what they need and move on.