The first warrior monks, also known as Adepts, were a direct result of the instruction of the holy Lhasian half Dragon Prince, Shaosu, the Prince of Peace.
The prince taught anyone who would listen at what is today the Shaoshi temple the secrets of a powerful meditative technique bringing on a state of inner peace and enlightenment. But the mental state acquired with regular practice also had some interesting side benefits. The most notable, the cultivation and ability to unlock huge reservoirs of internal energy present in every living thing..
Over time the gentle exercises taught by the Half Dragon prince were developed into a defensive fighting system using internal energy to achieve superhuman feats of speed, endurance, strength and resistance to injury – and the first warrior monks of the Shaoshi temple were born.
Most would-be adepts start their training at a very young age, renouncing their family and worldly ties to become wards of the temple. There they are taught meditation and progressively difficult physical exercises until they either break through the barrier of what most would think is impossible or remain an acolyte for life..
While mastery is a long and arduous process that few achieve within a single lifetime, even an acolyte has some amazing abilities. The hands are hardened by constant striking against a variety of targets until they are able to fracture solid stone blocks, they learn to jump and suspend gravity for a second or two. But those with natural talent and potential go on to develop an invisible force field capable of stopping a spear tip thrust full force at their throat, and finally – if they graduate the final test – they are presented with their own personalized energy sword and sent out into the world.
Adepts train daily for several hours at a very slow speed that looks unusual to anyone unfamiliar with their fighting style. But these slow movements cultivate immense internal energy, and when combat occurs, time itself seems to slow down for the adept and the complex movements that they practiced so slowly and deliberately become almost too fast for the human eye to follow.
In a typical unarmed confrontation with an adept and a regular warrior, the warrior typically finds himself thrown or slammed down to the floor struggling to breathe before his brain can process what happened. They also learn complex and painful joint locking techniques, and can disarm and tie up an opponent with their own limbs, holding them in place effortlessly for as long as desired.
This internal energy can also be used in an explosive manner, a simple open hand palm strike can cause instant death, but an enlightened Adept is extremely calm and peaceful by nature and will avoid fighting unless as an absolute last resort, using the least damaging option whenever possible.
Adepts favor a unique type of magical sword class known as ‘Lhasian Energy Swords’ which are straight bladed, single handed swords that are specifically attuned to the energies of the Adept who wields it.
Unlike most other magic swords in Eletreus, Energy swords have no inherent powers or abilities – but instead channel the users own energies into the blade, each Adept finding new ways to utilize their swords almost unlimited potential.
For example, in the early stages of mastering an energy sword, it will simply feel lighter, move faster and be infused with the wielders energy giving it extra strength and durability – though the same sword in the hands of anyone else will feel like any other sword of the same general style.
In the intermediate levels, which are achieved by less than 10% of Master Adepts, an energy sword can be used to block or deflect magical effects and attacks, allow the wielder to levitate up to 10′-25′ in the air (depending on if they have a run up or not) and become increasingly powerful and unstoppable in the attack, shattering non magical weapons and armor it contacts. It can also be used to generate a blast of raw energy, or to be wielded remotely – up to 30′ from the owners hand – though use of these powers rapidly drains the energy reserves of the Adept.
And at the highest levels of mastery, which have only been attained by a handful of men and women (5 throughout the entire history of the Temple), the sword and the wielder become ethereal, unable to be harmed by anything but a magical weapon and able to move at the speed of thought and their path takes them closer to becoming an actual demi-god..
A master who has graduated from the temple may establish their own school if so desired, and several such schools have been established in Escia over the centuries, giving the Escian Adept a unique style and flavor.
Escian Adepts are less concerned with non-violence than monks from the Shaoshi temple, and concentrate more on armed techniques than unarmed, reducing the syllabus for unarmed fighting to a few basic strikes and joint locking techniques and concentrating on developing mastery of the Castir, the Escian dagger and the bow.
They do not, and do not know how to, make energy swords (as it is a closely guarded secret known only to the most senor monks of the Shaoshi temple) but instead concentrate their energy into a mundane weapon, when if done properly, infuses it briefly with magical energy and reinforces the integrity of the weapon beyond normal limits. For example, an Escian Master Adept can take an ordinary Castir and cut a chunk out of a stone pillar, leaving the blade undamaged. While any other warrior who attempted the same thing would simply break the blade in two.