They are drifters who seek peace, protectors of those too weak to bear arms and keepers of ancient philosophies that mark them as good as dead.
Long ago, roaming warriors travelled Shikyuo, spreading the old philosophies of a long since lost people while helping those in need on their travels. They were the Heiwa Ronin, a loosely affiliated group of like-minded philosopher warriors, once a common sight while travelling the roads and villages of Shikyuo. Now they are a rare sight, hunted to near extinction, their presence having become illegal and an insult to the eyes of the Empress and her lords. The Heiwa Ronin follow the guiding principles of the Odegai people whos culture and lives were lost when the Toshitsuga family took control of Shikyuo over by force. Now the Odegai ways are illegal and are hunted down and destroyed by the Empresses' personal task force, the Hō no shikkō Samurai . These samurai not only hunt down the remaining artifacts of the Odegai, but they also hunt down the remaining Heiwa as they too are holders of the Odegai ways and must be destroyed. Only a small handful of Heiwa Ronin travel the lands now, their knowledge having been passed down from teacher to student for generations. Now this way is in danger, as those that retain this knowledge are slowly being erased from the land. The remaining Heiwa continue to walk the roads of distant Shikyuo, nomads of the land that strive to protect the weak, battle against injustice, and preserve their way of life. The Heiwa are stubborn and refuse to let their ways be lost without a fight, despite living in a land that shuns them because of their misunderstood beliefs and practices. But despite their will to continue, the empress and her Hō no shikkō Samurai will not stop until they and all knowledge of the Odegai ways are destroyed.
The Heiwa Ronin are practitioners of old Odegai philosophies, in fact, they are some of the only individuals in all of Shikyuo that know of the Odegai's true nature and teachings. The Heiwa specifically follow the tenets written within the pages of Philosophy and The Journey To Virtuous Practice written by one of the Odegai's most respected members, Khenbish of Clan Pema. The contents of this book have long since been forgotten by the majority of Shikyuo, as only one copy of the book still exists, and no one has seen it in generations. Instead, the Heiwa have passed done their knowledge for safekeeping by word only, spoken from teacher to student. They have continued this practice as writing down these philosophies as if discovered it could bring unwanted attention and death to the few Heiwa still living. Much of the teachings and philosophies that the Heiwa follow still exist in modern Shikyuo, but they have been manipulated and twisted to better match the will of the Toshitsuga empire. In fact, many of the philosophies that samurai, priests, and commoners adhere to are contained in a book called Toshitsuga's Way, a bastardized collection of writings based on Khenbish's original teachings. The Heiwa are not an easy group to upset, but most of them have a hard time keeping quiet when Toshitsuga's Way is praised for its seemingly wise teachings. As well, many of the Heiwa, despite being proficient warriors and tacticians, have chosen to follow a pacifist's life and will only defend themselves and others using non-lethal means. These Heiwa often carry weapons that are dulled or designed to be non-lethal during a fight. The Heiwa Ronin are sought after by the majority of the lords and Empress Toshitsuga Hatsuto herself, as they are carries of old Odegai knowledge and they are viewed as a threat because of this. The Odegai have been erased from history, and the founding lords of the current era in Shikyuo drafted a fanciful story that casts themselves as heroes and saviours of the people of the land. It is far from the truth of the matter, and any threat to unravelling the lies the nation has been built upon are treated as serious offenders that must be dealt with immediately.
The Path they Choose
Tools of the Heiwa RoninWhile travelling, the Heiwa carry very little, opting to travel light so that they can move quickly and draw as little attention to themselves as possible. Because of this, they wear little to no armour at all as doing so would attract the unwanted eyes of the Hō no shikkō Samurai. When the Heiwa Ronin travelled in more prominence without the fear of immediate prosecution they wore intricate armours crafted to draw the eyes of attackers and to indicate to commoners who they were and that they could be trusted. The only thing that the Heiwa Ronin do not waiver on is their weapons of choice. The Heiwa always carry with them a weapon of the highest quality they can afford and take meticulously good care of their weapons. The Katana or Wakizashi is a common weapon chosen by the Heiwa but some have opted for more specialized weapons like the Kusarigama, Kama, Yumi, Jute, Sasumata, etc. Other Heiwa have chosen a more subtle route in their choice of weapons opting for items that can be found on a common farm like the Kama or the Tobiguchi. A common tool that most Heiwa Ronin carry is the Torinawa, a simple thin rope that can be concealed easily on their person and is used to entangle and tie up knocked out foes. It is a popular non-lethal tool in the often pacifistic Heiwa. Even outside of their choice of weapons and armour the Heiwa travel light and do not carry much with them. Often only having with them a small bedroll, some provisions, their chosen weapon, a spare set of clothes, and book or gaming set.
Pacifist's PathMany ronin have decided to walk a pacifists path and will not kill others regardless of the situation. These ronin while still highly skilled in weapons combat and martial arts often carry blunted swords and/or tools that make it easier to subdue their enemies without killing them.