San Zen(Saint Zen, or Saint Meditation) Island exists far from where many would be able to locate it even among the people of the New World.
Around five-hundred years ago a group of sailing monks was set-upon by Oars and their small fleet of wooden rafts were destroyed and sunken. Many drowned in his resultant attack and the few to survive were able to float on the remnants of debris for a few hours in his wake.
By fate or chance they arrived at the sight of Oars intended attack; a large spire of black rock jutting up from the depths of the sea. A narrow crack left behind at the tip displayed the breaking point of the giant's wrath and resultant prize, a jutting spear-head or dagger torn from the rock to be used in future battles.
With no other landmass in sight and the conditions of the sea only worsening the monks used what they could to scale the slight and wet incline throughout the rest of the day and night until at last reaching the jagged top.
When dawn next came to the weary few the thin rift in the top of the rock was revealed to lead down far below to the core of the spire several dozen feet, and the sounds of hollow-life and activity within quickly attracted their due attention. Having few supplies left to them and the chance of a meal within they descended and encountered the first of many strange sights to come out of the New World over the next half a century.
Working by hand and with the strange yet intelligent plant life that had survived by drawing sustenance from the rocky walls around them the monks were able to carve down into the soil to where the truly edible creatures had retreated during Oars attack.
For the next four hundred some odd years the monks and the plants forged a friendship and union together to expand the original spire into a sprawling underground and undersea mine-village. Along the way the monks taught and learned from the plants all they knew and a unique method of fighting was born.
San Zen Island's key features and villages
Tower of Oars
The Tower of Oars as it has come to be known is the site of the original pillar or spire of rock rising from the depths of the sea. Age and the damage caused by Oars five hundred years prior has seen an onset of decay to it's original height; a fact the Alder San have utilized to keep outsiders at bay.
A massive trench system was forged in addition to a thickly grown wall of plant-life to handle the water levels. Any time the remains of the tower become fully submerged the trenches are opened and drain much of it along to the depths of San Zen.
In recent years an operation was undergone to keep the Tower from sinking any further by expanding upon the original site of damage.
Dai Zen(Grand Zen, or Grand Meditation) is the minor city that is home to the Alder San. Located two kilometers beneath the Tower of Oars, it is a sprawling fusion of wood, stone, and plant life. While little sunlight is given to them, refraction plates set within the temple channel it down through the plants of Orochi-olmo.
As spoken of above concerning the city wood flows into plant; plant wraps about stone; and stone supports and weighs down upon wood in a unique mesh not found any where else in the New World. This trifection is not flawless, however, as plants eventually age and die like anything else and seperated-- or exiled essentially from their own home, they lose the will to go on living within several years time which in turn requires near-constant upkeep.
The second-most revered of the Alder San people dwell here and are unable to undertake the Journey of Orochi-olmo, also known as the Trials of Ten after the ten original monks, except for under exceptional circumstances and since it's founding only six have been chosen to do so.
Joven Zen(Young Zen, or Young Meditation) is the medium relatively-sized town and home of the Kan-jin and rests a fair distance beneath Orochi-olmo and Dai Zen, yet still several kilometers above Kanwa.
One part of the trench system runs along the sides of Joven Zen as a permanent seperation from the upper tiers of San Zen Island where the Alder San live. As descendants of wholly-Monk lineage they are treated poorly and yet still elevated in status above the fate of the Paria San so far below them.
For the most part Joven Zen uses a combination of critically placed stones as supports- either at the focal point of two different walls at top and bottom or running along the floor. Through an interlocking system the two blend very smoothly and efficently for the lack of resources available and have almost never needed to be replaced.
Glass is an unheard-of invention considering how troublesome it is to forge under the sea at Joven Zen's depth and as a result the pressure of the ocean currents can be mildly felt on most any day and night, inducing seasickness from time to time in harsh and stormy times.
Kanwa is the home of the outcast Paria San. It dwells at the deepest pits discovered by the original Monk's five hundred years earlier and that were likewise abandoned for the slumbering beasts laying in wait.
Kanwa is, simply, a prison-village sprawling far and wide. It is the point where the trench system created several generations prior dumps sea water by the tonnes to keep the very tip of The Tower of Oars above the ocean currents, resulting in mass flooding and more than one death on occasion.
In order to counteract this threat the Paria San began digging upward in a spiral pattern to create safe-houses. They have no warning for when another flooding will occur save the horrible rumble and hiss only a minute before arrival reaches them.
Lumbering and not-so-lumbering sea-snakes and centipedes slither and crawl along at every turn and if it were not for such creatures drilling constant tunnels over the ages than Kanwa would have long ago been left underwater.
In order to survive the Paria San began training here and developed a unique fighting form utilizing their plant-heritage, for which they named their location in irony.
People of San Zen and their abilities
There are the Alder San who are directly descended from the original Monks and the sentient plants, who live within Orochi-olmo and Dai Zen, there are the Kan-jin who are descended from merely two of the original Monks with no trace of the plants in their lineage and dwell in Joven Zen, and lastly are the Paria San of Kanwa.
The distinction between Alder San and Paria San is that while both may share a common ancestor in their blood lines one group has never changed from their old-set ways. The latter are forbidden from entering the sacred lands of the Alder San and were outcast to the deepest pits found uninhabitable by their ancestors.
The name Paria San literally means Pariah Saint, as they are outcasts within their own domain yet with the blood of both Monk and Plant in their lineage and veins.
At first they and the Alder San were one group. However as two and three hundred years crept by the first dissonance began to seperate them further and further apart from one another until the Alder San grew weary of it and struck first.
In a short and harsh crusade they kidnapped, coerced, and killed anyone that disagreed with their notions. Those who survived(mostly children or young teenagers) were thrown to a fate worse than simple death that night-- they were outcast from Dai Zen to the depths, where they would soon be attacked by the beasts lurking there too savage for the Plants or the old Monks to combat.
With the next cruel two hundred years they struggled to survive and ekk out a bitter living through flooding, constant threat of death by attack, and a severe lack of proper food and clean water.
Eventually a bleak notion gave way to the discovery of their genetic heritage and one by one it began to develop, flowing through quick and at first stiff motions that led into slighter and finally into relaxed postures. In a sense of irony after coming to an agreement over what to name their new fighting style they chose to rename the depths of which they were cast into to Kanwa.
In order to survive the harsh temperatures and the monstrous creatures living so far beneath the surface the Paria San began utilizing their plant-given abilities to develop a unique fighting style. Known eventually as Kan Kanwa for which the branch-village is named after it means Complete Relaxation and allows for one to absorb the force and kinetic motion behind any blow to their body and redistribute it across the majority of their forms, neutralizing the destructive impact.
Journey of Orochi-olmo
The Journey of Orochi-olmo is one of the greatest of rites capable of being passed down by the most revered of the Alder San to their lessers within the city of Dai Zen. In it ten trials must be undertaken in order to deem if that user is worthy of succeeding from Dai Zen and moving on to the ultimate paradise that is Orochi-olmo.
- Ancestrial purity; a demonstration of the line between Monk and Plant, leading back without loss to within three generations.
- Foreknowledge; a demonstration of one's ability to anticipate an action before it is committed.
- Lethality; a demonstration of the proficiency one wields with a weapon.
- Understanding; a demonstration of one's willingness to obey the orders given.
- Acceptance; a demonstration of one's trust in one self to succeed.
- Restraint; a demonstration of one's control over each emotion.
- Endurance; a demonstation of one's mastery of the self.
- Sacrifice; a demonstation of one's care over material things.
- Skill; a demonstation of one's dedication to their tasks.
And the final task, reserved only for those who have passed the first nine and stand there before the gate of Orochi-olmo itself: Life; a demonstation of one's acceptance to become as-one with all.
History of usage Journey of Orochi-olmoEdit
Only two people have ever been exiled from San Zen Island, many years apart. The first monk to leave Orochi-olmo of his own free will, which in turn spurred the changes that followed there-after.
And Inta Sanno Hikaru of Kanwa.