Dark Days in Sion
Hara Period – 3,500 years ago
The ancient Caishians were some of the first to domesticate dogs and horses. With the invention of metalworking, writing, silk, and the abacus. Caishian merchants became some of the most widely traveled and prosperous traders in all of Sion. Their relationships with the demihuman races was also well established, particularly with the Gnomes who gave them secrets of alchemy including that of Dragonsmoke Powder.
Zu Period – 2,500 years ago
The Caishians were the first to elect an emperor, who claimed by right of the Mandate of Zu that all lands were imperially owned, but would be dived to families according to the size of their household. The emperor gave larger land grants on foreign lands to career soldiers who volunteered to take part in campaigns to expand the empire. An associated military policy conscripted all men in the nation for a fixed period of duties each year in exchange for land rights. These policies stimulated rapid growth of productivity and boosted the army without much burden on the state.
The emperor also tried to extend Caishia’s influence beyond its borders with diplomacy by entreating foreign rulers send ambassadors to Caishia and present tribute. A large navy was built and a huge standing army was raised. They conquered much of Akhenaten and established colonies on the western shores where they began to practice slavery. They were defeated by the Katanese Samurai on the Islands of Katan however.
Xia Period – 1,500 years ago
After the defeat against the Samurai on the islands of Katan, Caishia was devastated by the largest earthquake of all time. Many believed the earthquake was a sign the emperor had lost the Mandate of Zu and his dynasty was overthrown.
The Caishian Empire quickly splintered, with hundreds of warlords in conflict with each other and a new group of warrior monks, the Kitesvara Monks, named after their founder Kitesvara who is now regarded like a saint. He lived a long life protecting villages from bandits, bloodthirsty warlords and greedy imperial tax collectors. He also wanted to abolish slavery.
The Caishian civilization was further pressured by the invasion of the Angul Empire, which forced its people to unite once again under an emperor, but on a much reformed platform. Slavery was abolished and the Kitesvara monks took up an official role as peacekeepers and protectors of the people while the warlords focused on waging battles against the inhuman Angul invaders.
Hon Period – 500 years ago –
Caishian society is largely based around seniority and family loyalty. Elders in the family plan and organize the lives of the younger generation, using them much like pawns in their own plans. Lifestyles may differ around the empire, but that rule holds true everywhere.
Caishians observe a strict social hierarchy. In Caishia, no soul is born equal to another. Your name always comes before future prospects and may thus prove a blessing or a curse. The poor rural villages are made up of families of farmers, hunters and laborers. Richer regions and larger cities have families of merchants, craftsmen, artisans, performers and so on.
The quickest way to rise above the station of your birth is to engage in service to the emperor in some way. Soldiers, scribes, guards, healers, messengers, even servants can raise their families in station by earning more status and respect for their name.
One way to escape the limitations of your family name however, is to take up the life of a monk in service to the Kitesvara Monks, who are accorded high respect for their hard work and humility serving as peacekeepers for the weak and the poor.
The Caishians have long practiced dragon worship, ever since the rise of the first emperor 2,500 years ago. The Followers of Zu are the strongest cult of dragon worshipers as they have long been supported by the emperor.
The peasants and the poor offer their first child or orphans to the Kitesvara Monks who practice “Gong Fu” (which is their term for martial arts) to defend the people from tyrants. These monks never learned to use formal military weapons as such things were reserved for the armies that war for the emperor. Instead they are well versed in peasant weapons and improvised or re-purposed tools.
The monks practice different schools of Gong Fu based on regional styles traditionally taught by local masters. In the northern regions they practice the Zodiac Styles, which are loosely based on animal forms. It is even rumored that some masters of the zodiac schools are Lycanthropes who physically embody the animal style(s) of their gong fu. Whereas in the southern regions, they practice Elemental Styles.
Periodically, different schools do an exchange of knowledge and host exhibition events between northern and southern style schools of Gong Fu.
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