The Lotus Queen
The Kenrei claim their descent from a legendary figure known as the Lotus Queen who was blessed by the five Dragons of Kenrei lore and united the scattered tribes of the Obsidian Wastes and create a Kingdom known all over Midworld for elegant grace and deadly power.
Many claim that the Lotus Queen left her tribe to seek out the will of the Dragons and to create order out of the chaos of her homelands. Thus did she travel to the Aether, to the court of each Dragon and there, learn at their feet the greatest secrets of the elements.
When she returned to the Obsidian Wastes, the Lotus Queen found that her people had dwindled to a mere seven nomadic tribes from bitter infighting and the depredations of Yao-guai (nightmare demons) and sand trolls. Beneath her shadow, she united the clans of the wastes to banish the king of the Yao-Guai and shatter the tyranny of the sand trolls.
Many expected her to lead her people out of the Obsidian Wastes – for prophecy had foretold her coming and the end of their nomadic life-style. Instead, the Lotus Queen led the seven tribes to the center of the Obsidian Wastes and broke the earth with her fist, creating a chain of oases and rivers at the heart of the deathly landscape.
In one fell swoop, she had wrought stability upon the windy wastes and created homes for her folk to dwell in perpetuity. She called her kingdom, Kenrei, or the Law of the Sword – for in this way did she free her people from tyranny and starvation. That they would be always reminded of their past difficulties, she had a throne wrought from the one of the obsidian menhirs in the desert that gave her homeland its name.
The Sons of the Dragon
After she had lived among her people for a hundred years, ordering their affairs and setting the rites that persist even today, five men arrived at her court – each bearing her likeness and yet different from her. Each claimed to be a descendant of one of the Dragons and each claimed the rulership of the Kingdom in the Obsidian Wastes.
Knowing that they spoke the truth and that her end was nigh, the Lotus Queen taught them all she knew and tested them in the ways of the Sword and the Lotus, of mingled power and grace. The descendant of the Sky-Dragon, named Terasu, triumphed over his brothers and was given the rulership of the Obsidian kingdom. Her task complete, the Lotus Queen passed from the world, walking into the Wastes and disappearing from the world forever.
He bid his brothers to guard the Kingdom that their mother had wrought, each according to his own strength. The descendants of the five Dragon brothers (Ryujin) would become the Shen, the ruling class and the guardians of the Kenrei. Tetsu of the Sand Dragon was given the charge of building an army worthy of his father’s name. Jinru of the River Dragon was given the charge of building the cities of the Kenrei and ensuring the Kenrei’s farms and gardens produced enough food for everyone. Kaishu of the Thunder Dragon ensured that the Kenrei stayed united and established contact with other Kingdoms beyond the wastes. Shinju of the Dream-Dragon stood apart from his brothers, however – he believed in the wisdom of his mother above all, in the strength of the spirits and the power of the Dragons. Shinju had no descendants but he established the Wu Jen, the priests, the sages and the spirit-speakers of the Kenrei.
Terasu himself would establish a royal line that ruled Kenrei for more than a thousand years. From the Obsidian Throne has his line issued edict and ban alike, a force of civilization and order upon a chaotic wasteland.
The Philosopher King
The line of Terasu almost failed 20 years ago. Assassins claiming to be from the Lotus-Eater cult infiltrated the Royal Castle and slew the royal family. In a storied saga, seven Shen guardsmen that had survived the attack pursued the killers and avenged their king. They committed ritual suicide for their failure to protect the king after they had found the heir to the Obsidian Throne among the Wu Jen, a mystic named Terasu Shiro – a descendant of Terasu that chose to join the Wu Jen rather than take part in the politics of the Shen and the Obsidian Throne.
The new King of Kenrei is a man of great insight and great strength. Possessing a mystic’s mental and physical prowess, he has broken the back of the Lotus-Eater cult and returned stability to the once troubled Kingdom. Both commoners and Shen praise the wisdom and the strength of his 20-year reign, even though he seems to enjoy frustrating the Shen with edicts that break with tradition- such as the appointment of his youngest daughter Terasu Rin as Heir Apparent to the Obsidian Throne.