Officially the village of Dead Yeddim is a small out of the way place located a few days walk from Nexus. The inhabitants are mostly self-sufficient neither importing, or exporting a great deal of goods or material. The houses are sturdy oak with broad painted signs in front that displays the family name of the residents therein. Life here is slow and simple with nothing of note happening. They are led by the lesser god Ardaza who claims that her portfolio is this simple fishing village. She has been the protector of the village for almost Seven-Hundred years. Her son Maltheus the village Chieftain is a powerful god-blood who has held the reins of power for generations. Although Dead Yeddim is very far from the Immaculate ideal the people, for the most part, are devout followers of the Immaculate philosophy. They pay tribute to the realm, and have never actually fell behind in a payment. All in all Dead Yeddim is nauseatingly perfectly average.
This is all a lie
Dead Yeddim was established 0ne-Hundred years before the Usurpation by Jinzana " The Wind" a Solar of the night caste on the advice of her lover Sorrowful Fallen Rose. Jinzana was a prodigy even by Solar standards in the fields of stealth, and espionage. She was one of the most respected internal security agents in the Deliberative. As the result of her curse or her work (one can never know) she did not usually trust other exalted even the Terrestrials. This "Quirk" caused her to almost exclusively use mortal agents. This also resulted in Jinzana to begin personally training a small cadre of mortals to Awakened status. For these reasons Dead Yeddim was constructed as a sort of hiding-in-plain-sight training facility, and safe house for her subordinates.
After finishing the training of her mortal agents Jinzana left the best, and most loyal agents in the village to train the next generation. The others were given suicide missions to insure that Dead Yeddims location would be safe. She had Radiance of Starlight (one of her few exalts she trusted) construct a underground Manse under Dead Yeddim in exchange for permission to construct a personal retreat/laboratory there as well. A series of secret tunnels were constructed to connect the village to nexus. Thus giving access to easy travel and information as even then it was the biggest port city in Creation. Once all this was established (an a undertaking which took Fifty years) she saw to the final preparation of her mortal strike force. After three years the grandchildren of her original agents were ready Jinzana dubbed them the Children of Radiant Wind, and they began active work within the Deliberative.
The Children became some of the most feared agents in the deliberative. Their exploits told, and retold until they reached legendary status. Even with this notoriety the Children were shrouded in secrecy. None but Jinzana, Radiance of Starlight, and Sorrowful Fallen Rose knew of their location or the closely guarded fact that they were mortals. All proceeded smoothly according to Jinzana's plan. Shortly before the deliberative the Children were feared even by the Solar God-Kings.
Jinzana caught wind of the Usurpation exactly three months before it happened. She took this time to coordinate a plan to prepare for the coming war. Personally traveling to Dead Yeddim she instructed the Children to go into hiding. Jinzana further instructed that they were to await for the return of her brothers and sisters (the Solars). Leaving she informed them to never make their presence known, to gather resources for her siblings use, and to garner intelligence information against the Terrestrials.
The Children took to their new charge with the dedication, and proficiency they had once used to protect the Deliberative from internal threats. In the era of the Shogunate the Children found ways to secretly insinuate themselves into the upper echelons of society. This enabled them to further insure the procurement of information, and resources without raising suspicion. All was going perfectly until the Contagion. The Contagion struck down most of the Children who were in Creation. Dead Yeddim was fortunately warned in just enough time for the populace to take refuge in the Manse underneath and seal it. So the core of the Children were saved, but they were much weakened. And with the same dedication the Children had put into everything else they began to rebuild.
The Strangers come
Ten years after the Contagion ended a ragtag bunch of humans and one Terrestrial , a Fire aspect by the name of Shen-Tao Torren, wandered into Dead Yeddim. The Children were at a loss on the issue of what to do with these newcomers. Wanting to help these obvious refugees, but not wanting to run the risk of discovery, the Children waited for a sign. The sign came Five days later as Dead Yeddim was attacked by displaced Terrestrials where resorting to banditry as a livelihood. Shen-Tao Torren engaged the bandits without fear so as to protect the mortal villagers (He was unaware that they could take care of themselves). The bandits' attack was savage enough to warrant the Children using their skills and abilities to the fullest. At the end of the day all of the bandits were killed, and Torren lay dying of a mortal wound. When asked why he would give his life form them Torren responded, "You have shown me nothing but kindness and given me succor! How could I or my Family do any less? If I allow all those who help me to be victimized how can I then rest?" He then expired smiling with his face to the setting Sun. The Children taking this as a sign and took the Shen-Tao in as their own. Through the centuries since the Shen-Tao have always been loyal to the Children.
One cold morning during the month of Ascending Air Ardaza appeared in the village square! The Children were all surprised by this event; as they had made Ardaza up or so they thought. Ardaza explained to them that their thoughts had been secretly shaped her. This was the reason she had been named as the village god. She was vigorously tested by several of the villages most powerful Sorcerers. After several weeks the Children decided that she was telling the truth. The villagers not knowing what else to do, or having much choice decided Ardaza was to stay. She took to protecting Dead Yeddim with a single minded obsession in the following weeks, and ever since.
The Children house a plethora of first age artifacts in the catacombs beneath them. The most prominent of which is the laboratory of Radiance of Starlight, and the Manse Shard of Night. They also have a great deal of personal combat artifacts usable by mortals, including several which are forgotten in the Second Age. The Solar level artifacts they have are few (they must balance the task of gathering with the need for secrecy), and are also mostly small personal combat devices. The Children have maintained a few communication devices from the shogunate and use them to coordinate activities.
The Children also have operatives everywhere in Creation. No organization, brotherhood or government is untouched by the Children. As such they have influence and power far outreaching their simple little village. Agents work to procure data, and misdirect any investigation of the activities of the Children. Occasionally an agent will procure an artifact but only if doing so is seen as untraceable to themselves of the Children as a whole. These, and other actions have left the Children with an inordinate amount of pull in the world around them.
One of the biggest, and most frequently used resource of the Children is that of the people who compose it. All are as highly trained as humanly as possible with a great number of them transcending human limitation. The Shen-Tao line has bred true generating a few terrestrial exalted. The Dragon blooded of the Children are never given over to the Realm and, given special training. At this moment the Children have Ten Dragon blooded Agents. In addition One-Hundred-and-Fifty of the Agents of the Children are mortal Essence users. Further Ardaza has bedded down with mortals producing a line of her own. This has produced thirteen god-bloods (All Six of her offspring, and seven of her Grandchildren). These numbers are even more impressive when weighed against the total population of Dead Yeddim which is only Twenty-Seven-Hundred. This number also includes Agents on away missions also.
For all inhabitants of Dead Yeddim training begins at birth. The first phase of training is deceptively simple. It consists of learning to act "normal" (here normal means learning to look as if one always belongs in the location they are in), the rites/rituals of both the immaculate order and the Cult of the Sun. This phase of training usually completed by the Initiate's (hereafter referred to a Initiate) eleventh birthday, and is generally marked by a celebration. After this period the child is tested for one year to see where his/her Strengths, and inclinations would best be suited for. They are then given a list of potential mentors which the Initiate may choose from. The Initiate must approach, and impress a mentor his or herself without any support from anyone else. Those who fail at this task are expected to commit ritual suicide, by drowning themselves in the River. This ritual has been named Running the River. The Initiates are trained by their mentors in groups of three, with Initiates being shuffled around to keep the numbers constant. Throughout this time the Initiate is monitored carefully to gauge it's potential as an Agent. Those who are not considered Agent material are given positions around Dead Yeddim as their talents allow. Those who in the Five year mentoring program do prove themselves to be Agent material, now called adepts, enter a new phase of training.
The Training of Agents (the field operatives of the Children) is a long process, that many of the Adepts do not survive. This training revolves around Martial Arts, memorization techniques, Stealth techniques, and the Occult. The average length of this process is ten years. All advanced training takes place underground with the Adepts only coming to the aboveground village only during the Calibration Festival. This training is harsh with Mid to high drop-out rate. Those who enter, and wash out become trainers. The Adepts who complete this training are given the year off to rest and reestablish relations with their friends and families. After that year they are grouped into four person groups (one medic, two combat specialists, and one Infiltration specialist), and given their first field mission.
Children martial artist instructors teach the 12 Deadly Fists, Poison Palm, Shen-Tao Family (usually only to Shen-Tao family members), Shen-Tao Elder (usually only to Shen-Tao family members), and Snake style Martial Arts - The Celestial Styles only being practiced by the Dragonbloods. The Children use the Tiger and Bear initiation to enable them to practice Celestial Martial Arts-. The Sorcery instructors teach the Arts of Warding, and Astrology; the Sciences of Alchemy, Enchantment, and Geomancy. The Children also know and teach the paths of Healing, Shadow, and Sight. The Dragon-blooded and the god-blooded members of the Childrens sorcrerous community also have access to the Terrestrial Circle of sorcery.
The training methods used by the Children are equal to the Realms training programs in most respects, and even surpassed in a few. Given that the First Age training facilities under Dead Yeddim still function this is no surprise.
comments & Notes
Special Thanx to Ageis. This page is giong to need some massive revision! I plan to have it up running and acceptable by 03/01/06 (I know it's a long time but I have to read CotI cover to cover, and envision the changesthis post will need).