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Saffron Robes

The Saffron Robes are a monastic order settled in the northeast of Sambhala, located in Lumbini Valley. Recognised as the most largely-populated Untouchable organisation in the outlands, its disciples value self-discovery and knowledge as they master the arts of the beyond, hoping to liberate those under the authority of the Devas and bring peace to the land.  

History

The Saffron Robes were initially established towards the end of the 'first bloom' by a division of Kalinga priests haunted by the pestilence and flimsiness of human life despite the promises of blessings and luxury by the Devic family. Despite the dangers of the outlands, many of the priests pilgrimaged to the mountain ranges up north of Sambhala, living as a band of ascetics seeking spiritual salvation through self-denial. Few stayed back to develop a line of refugee stations with the local Untouchables, founding one of the earliest escape routes between Devic territory and the outlands.   Maya, a daughter in the Kalinga devic family, escaped to the mountains through the refugee stations after she was targeted for her malfunctioned apathy due to faulty genetic programming, becoming one amongst the ascetics. As a result of her malfunction leading to enhanced empathy, she processed her experiences and the transient nature of the world, both mundane and supernatural, in deep meditation and found spiritual awakening after years of asceticism. Her philosophy and saffron garments would inspire the code and legacy of the Saffron Robes, attracting the ascetic priests and new followers with enough sustainability to build settlements and routes across what would be known as Lumbini Valley.   Fascinated by the ancient history of Sambhala and the beyond, many retreats were built for spiritual studies regarding the ancient arts of the Omkara energy field and its legacy, reviving Yogic practices that purely manifested spiritual energies and archiving traces of scriptures that revealed a time before the Age of Idols, delving into the Primordials and how humanity served the old gods aeons ago. Beyond these intentions, the Saffron Robes inspired rebellion amidst many other Untouchable bands as they developed covert networks across Sambhala, building well-guarded routes that soon converted into fully-fledged resistance bases. Although the Saffron Robes did not condone violence first, the savagery of the early rebels thwarted many of the Devic clans from the 'first bloom', but struggled to tear down the more efficient Devas of the 'second bloom' - this called for assimilation.   When Maya died prematurely to natural causes influenced by her genetic malfunctions, a ritual was performed in a pre-constructed mausoleum to convert her conscience into an aura of divine energy. Considering the power of the aura, this mausoleum would be greatly expanded into a chain of libraries and training halls that would become the Saffron Temple, the faction's main sanctuary that later turned to be one of the most popular Untouchable sites, gathering many new inhabitants that became disciples. Uniting discovered knowledge across Sambhala would lead to the founding and refinement of Yuja, a discipline that absorbed many forms of yoga and martial arts, centred around bonding the breath with the flow of energy to harness psychic reflexes and powers in a state of oneness. The temple was also utilised for engineering and making technological advancements to develop and refine scavenged technology, allowing the Untouchables to catch up with the advancement of most Devic societies.   The Saffron Robes grew in times of war with few periods of peace, battling constantly against raids from aggressive outlander factions and the Devic militaries, particularly those of the neighbouring Kalinga clan whose dynasty declared the developing Untouchables as foul embodiments of heresy. The Saffron Temple had been razed multiple times, taking its most harmful toll when most of the temple was almost entirely demolished and annexed by a Kalinga invasion towards the 'third bloom', leaving only its inner sanctum truly free from harm. Lumbini Valley had become a warzone between the Saffron Robes and the military camps of the Kalinga clan, as both Untouchables and Devas pursue a technological arms race. Despite the warfare, Saffron Temple continues to strive through divided monasteries in the valley rather than a single unified settlement, with an aim on restoring the archives and preventing the excavation of the inner sanctums, as well as continuing the practice of Yuja and technological advancements.  

Culture

Based on the philosophy of Maya, the founder of the order, the Saffron Robes value empathy and heedfulness through consistent self-cultivation - everything in the world is ready to teach us, so by being mindful of the flow of not just the world and its energies but ourselves, we find enlightening merit that deeply aids us and our surroundings. Thus, our possessions must be cherished for even the Devas are transient to the natural order. All must be acted upon with right-minded intent, even towards the Devas for they had little choice against their manufactured lives, hence the element of gentle kindness.   As in the name, saffron is a symbolic colour in the Saffron culture, representing attunement and truth, and is donned across many aesthetics from fashion to architecture. The culture draws artistic inspiration from the influences found on the Indian subcontinent as well as the Tibetan plateau, with buildings inspired by décor found in South Asian pagodas and stupas, with domes to reflect the wind.   The disciples of the Saffron Temple settlements follow the routine of practising martial arts and yoga to master the many forms practised within the grounds whilst making time for schooling and personal activities. In truth, life within monastic grounds is flexible and even monks are allowed to determine their own involvement, whether it be training under a well-renowned teacher within the temple or a personal mentor or wanting to practice their own field of study. As long as disciples remain present and respect the customs, they are free to utilise the grounds to their liking. Beneath the spiritual and disciplinary intentions of the faction is an opportunity to restore a sustainable lifestyle free from survival. In a worst-case scenario, all inhabitants will be required to train in a militia division unless exempt in times of an emergent threat.  

Ranking

The Saffron Courts consist of the ranks that maintain the structural order of the Saffron Temple monasteries, functioning as a way to recognise the skillsets of its members and differentiate citizens from devotees.
  • Disciples - The secular entry-level court that is accessible to everyone. Disciples focus primarily on martial arts and spiritual studies, but may choose to dabble in the education of engineering and sciences, as they are able to decide their level of involvement. Eventually, the disciple specialises in a field where they will be recognised by the Lamas for their adept ability, ready to undergo a routine of productivity and traditions.
  • Warrior-monk - Similar to the court of disciple with the focus on martial arts and some spiritual studies, but have now become full-fledged devotees to the physical and mental practice of Yuja. Warrior-monks will also learn other martial fields such as firearms and military sciences, ultimately mastering the physical body.
  • Monk - Focusing on mental and spiritual studies, the monk court recognises seclusive scholars and quiet minds under the disciple of abstaining and meditating upon mundane and supernatural phenomena to seek transience. Their lack of physique must not be underestimated for their exchange in the art of mind games and psychic powers, gaining insight into ancient knowledge and wisdom that can uncover the secrets of existence.
  • Tuner - Delving into the fields of science and engineering with a peek into the spiritual plane, the tuner court consists of engineers and pilots who make use of crafty knowledge, both human and ancient phenomena, to invent constructs and mechanisms that will serve and protect the culture and many disadvantaged survivors. Their skills are essential to decrypting alien constructs and unlocking Devic gadgets for safe usage.
  • Lama - Those who become masters in not just their field, but having great coordination and attunement in the senses, can join the lama court where they act as spiritual leaders who administrate the monastic grounds and rankings, responsible for acting against the oppressive rule of the Devas and maintaining prosperity. With even deeper access to knowledge, lamas communicate with otherworldly realms to fare beyond the mundane plane and seek harmony with realms that have disconnected from humankind.
Type
Religious, Monastic Order

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