- Itako – state-sponsored group of mystics and warriors who deal with the dead and undead. The Itako are split into several subsects, including the following two largest subsects:
- Voice of the Ancestors – The most common and respected of the Itako subsects, this is the group that people generally think of when Itako are mentioned. The vast majority of the Voice of the Ancestors are women, many who are either born blind or are ritualistically blinded to more fully open themselves to the Spirit World. All members of the Ancestor’s Voice are accompanied by monks who assist them in their daily lives. The most powerful Itako are often blind girls in their early to mid teen years. It is believed that their inherent innocence and purity aids them in their dealings with the dead.
- Order of Sun’s Ascendence – Subsect of the Itako. The Order is comprised of grim-faced warrior-priests who hunt down and destroy the undead. The Order is one of the most feared groups in the world of Kes.
- Many Itako are also proficient gardeners and take great pride in the bonsai that they create. It likely comes as no surprise that they often spend time cultivating and strengthening the Borrosuma blood-tear blossoms.
- Onmyoji – state-sponsored order of mages, sorcerers, warlocks, witches and users of mystical powers. Anyone who intends on using 3rd level magic or higher must register for a license with the Onmyoji. Some high ranking Onmyoji are bound in service to the Imperial Family.
- The Golden Wheel – A group of merchants, traders and craftsmen who regulate fair dealings with members of their group across the Empire. The Golden Wheel is organised into “spokes”, each of which deal with a different trade, region or type of goods and services. Whispers hint that The Golden Wheel are also involved in price fixing, slave trading and far darker activities.
- The Kensai – Also known as Sword Saints, the Kensai are a small group of elite warriors who study and hone the art of fighting with weapons. The Kensai are said to develop such a close bond with their chosen weapons that parts of their soul become embedded within them. Golden Dragon Yori Ushiba is their leader and believed to be one of the greatest warriors on the face of Kes.
- Tong – not a single group, but rather the generic name given to all groups of ninja or otherwise shadowy, criminal organisations. Some tongs are greatly feared as assassins (Brimanu Tong), while others are little more than glorified bandits (the Grey Clouds Tong). Li Kong Zhuan had his own tong, the Blood Shadow Ninja, who were greatly feared and used as the Bloody Tyrant’s secret police.
More to follow