This is my world. A post-apocalyptic version of Asia, if you will. It is the year 853 of the Kanun and the Orders keep the peace – barely. Armed outlaws roam the Thar Desert, and a young woman seeks revenge for a horrific crime. The text below is from one of the manuscripts of the Order of Kali.
None may take a life but those that carry a kalishium blade and are sworn to the Orders of Peace. This is the law – the Kanun of Ture-asa – which binds all the clans in the valley, the mountains, and the desert beyond.
There are five Orders in Asiana, and the Order of Kali in Ferghana is the oldest, commanding tithe from all the clans in and around the valley. Our symbol is an inverted katari encircled by a ring of fire. We are defined by the blade, bound by the Kanun.
The Order of Valavan rules the Deccan; tall, dusky women who excel in dueling and the Mental Arts. The mere sight of the banner of Valavan with its spitting cobra has been known to end battles and strike terror into the hearts of the most hardened outlaws. The Valavians use the blood of wyr-wolves for their sacred ceremonies.
In the furthest north, at the edge of the habitable zone in Sibir, lives the Order of Zorya, famed from east to west for the beauty of their faces and the sharpness of their blades. Fierce fighters they are, blue eyed and fair-skinned, and the most skilled in the art of survival. They strap the varnished bones of animals to their feet, and skim across the ice faster than the wind. The Hub of Komi connects them with the rest of Asiana, but the soaring white falcon with the star on its breast – the symbol of Zorya – is seldom seen south of the town of Irkukst on Lake Baikal.
The Order of Mat-su dwells far to the east on the islands beyond the Yellow Sea. Sloe-eyed and slim-hipped, they rule the eastern borders of Asiana with severity and grace. Their symbol is the eight-spoked wheel of life, and their aim is enlightenment through the eightfold path of right thought and right action. They scorn the use of force, preferring to use words rather than weapons to quell rebels and win over enemies.
Last and youngest of all is the Order of Khur, but we do not talk or think overmuch of it.
It is whispered that the power of the Orders is beginning to fade. This heresy, first uttered a hundred years ago in one of the clan councils of Tushkan, is no truer now than it was then. While we hold a katari in our hands and the Kanun in our hearts, a word from us can still raise armies and crumble mountains.
From “The Orders of Asiana” by Navroz Lan of the Order of Kali