The Apocalypse of Yesterday
Order of Arms
“I am a weapon, and a weapon seeks refinement.”
There was a time when the art of killing could be held in high esteem because of its innate beauty and not out of necessity. Certain extraordinary individuals who had dedicated themselves to the mysteries of violence found enlightenment in refined combat, and they unlocked the true potential which had hidden itself deep within the core of physical combat and within the essence of those who choose to exert their bodies in life or death situations. These people found solace in fighting the world, and destiny would have them encounter each other because a truly great fighter is drawn to another like a magnet to its opposite. The ecstasy of facing another truly great individual was the greatest pleasure any of them had encountered, and this rush of euphoria endangered to sweep these enlightened individuals from the face of the world. However, before their urge to fight one another to their deaths became overwhelming, one among them had a further revelation: truly, each of them had mastered a style of great power, but were they to train new initiates together, these prodigies would inherit the combined strength of these great masters and thus overcome them. For the sake of this strive for ever greater heights, these nine original masters set aside their selfish desire to overcome one another and founded the Order of Arms. Each would initiate promising new members into the order, and while these initiates would likely be best suited to follow in their master’s footsteps, each would also be taught by the masters of different styles.
Thus, the Order of Arms was established. While it retained a fortress in which to train newcomers and in which the masters could face each other in ceremonial duels since the dawning of its existence, most members of the order have always been vagabonds who roam the lands in search of challenges and potential initiates. The Order never grew to become a power in its own right for its members have never been particularly interested in controlling anything besides themselves but its ranks did expand over the years. Many great heroes of yore have been initiates of the Order, but these glory days are now behind the remaining members. Once the four riders strode across the lands, the Order almost faced extinction. At its lowest, only three active members would find their way to the Order’s citadel in order to regroup and evaluate their losses. Their numbers have started to slowly recuperate over the decades but even now, at most a dozen members of the order roam the new world. While their heroism hardly compares to the deeds of their predecessors, these people have the potential to become shining beacons of hope for the survivors. However, whether or not they choose the path of a hero is up to each member because the only motivation which binds the Order together has remained the same since its inception: cultivating the art of violence and perfecting oneself as a weapon.
By some standards, each member of the Order of Arms in extremely selfish for these people only yearn to perfect themselves and each is given free reign to choose how they will utilize the power they have amassed. In general, the members are indifferent to the ploys of gods and deities because their quest is one of self-perfection and true enlightenment in the way of violence may only arise from within.
The Order consists of two layers: masters and initiates. Each master has equal say in the matters of the order, including the admittance of new initiates. Each may keep as many initiates as the rest allow. However, even initiates are treated with certain respect for these people have already demonstrated their potential to master the way of the blade. While they remain subordinate to the masters, initiates are also free to voice their opinion regarding matters which concern the Order. Most have endured grueling humiliation and dangerous training to reach membership in the Order, and their dedication has been proven by the time they become initiated.
Although initiated members are free to choose the direction of their lives, most remain utterly loyal to the ideal of the Order and dedicate their lives to bettering themselves i the art of violence. The greatest honor which an old master of the Order may be bestowed with is allowing the dying master to duel as many members of the Order as their body can handle and finally die in battle as the limits of their lifetime of training are reached and verified.
The Order of Arms as an organization mostly seeks to sustain itself and to record the progress its members achieve in the art of violence. After the apocalypse, the former objective has become increasingly important, and much progress in the art of violence was lost simply because of the death of old masters. Although each member is autonomous and free to act according to their whims, they are not allowed to endanger the Order itself. As such, members may become summoned to end those who would bring peril to the Order.