Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Asya Monks of Arizona - an overview

The Asya are the last of the colonist human groups in Arizona Adventures. They are also the least numerous, having only one small community in the far NW corner of the region, on the edge of Lake Mead, about 20 miles to the southeast of Sin City.

Their location so near to Sin City is no accident. They sought out Sin City intentionally, to reach out to those who are there. The Asya are no ordinary colonists. Rather, they are a quasi-religious body of ascetics, monks who have renounced the pleasures of the world. They sought out Sin City as the place most in need of their non-materialistic message and way of life.

Asya Origins

The origins of the Asya lie beyond the Western Wastelands. In fact, they tell of their homeland on the other side of the Great Western Ocean. It was there that their Great Teacher taught them of the inward power that comes through the path of renunciation and self-denial. Turning their backs on the dual paths of magic and religion, they renounce the world and its pleasures. In return, they achieve harmony, happiness, and balance, relying solely on their inner natures and personal discipline.

Relation to Sin City

The greatest of the Asya monks came to Sin City a century ago to demonstrate the mastery of their path. They came to defeat the twin enemies of sensualism and material gain where they are at their earthly apex, in Sin City.

The evil forces who rule Sin City, of course, wanted nothing to do with these Asya monks in their city, and waged a campaign of extermination against them. The monks were not eliminated, but they were forced out of the city itself. They regrouped in a fortified position called Boulder City, on the banks of Lake Mead, a few hours walk away from Sin City, and established their monastery headquarters there, where they remain to this day.

The monks still make secret journeys into Sin City at great danger to themselves, attempting to help the unfortunate souls trapped there. They also rescue those who are trying to escape the city, rounding up those who end up lost and helpless on the road or in the desert outside the city. Their monastery is visible from the road leading to the city, and they make perpetual effort to warn passing travelers away from the city's dangers, offering them succor and lasting peace in their cloistered halls. Of course, few Sin City-bound travelers take them up on their offer.

Throughout the years, however, they have collected many Sin City outcasts into their fortress monastery, adults and children of all ages and ethnic groups. Thus, not all monks at the Boulder City monastery are of the Asya racial stock, although the upper leadership levels remain so to this day.

The Life of the Monk

The typical monk spends much of his time sitting in meditation, which means either emptying his mind of all thoughts, or, alternatively, contemplating some puzzle his master has given him to figure out. These mental exercises encourage the monk to get in touch with his inner nature, which they cultivate as a source of great power.

It seems that the end effect of these mental exercises is the development of the monk's latent psionic power. While psionic powers are normally manifest in only a small percentage of people, the monks' practices suggest that these powers lie dormant in us all, at least to some greater or lesser degree, and can be brought to the surface if given enough discipline and practice.

The monks also undergo a system of physical exercises which are designed to strengthen their body and hone their reflexes for fighting. Thus, all monks are at least minimally prepared for combat, and the monastery becomes an extremely dangerous place for enemies to attack. The wicked overlords of Sin City certainly find the monks to be a thorn in their side, but have learned through repeated defeats not to treat conflict with the monks as a casual affair.

Development of Superhuman Powers

The most gifted of the monks develop their minds and bodies to such a high degree that they become capable of superhuman feats, which otherwise would require some magic or divine miracle to accomplish. Monks have been known to walk through fields of fire unharmed, survive for days in the hot summer desert without food or water, run over deep bodies of water like it was solid ground, and sit on a block of ice in the middle of a snow storm for hours with only a thin robe for clothing without suffering adverse effects. Some even learn to harden their skin as strong as metal armor, to cut as with a sword using only their bare hands, to pluck arrows in mid-flight out of the air, and to fight without hindrance while totally blind.

When not training for combat or sitting in meditation, the monk can be found tending his garden, or fishing the lake, or sharing a drink of tea with his compatriots. Occasionally, either the Asya monks or their native pupils can be found in other towns of Arizona, spreading their message of renunciation, or going about some other business.

No comments: