The Kenrei are a people who have carved out a civilization of subtlety and grace amidst a terrible wasteland. They value order above passion, honor above life and family above self.
The Sword and the Lotus are the two thematic symbols of Kenrei culture; these represent the deadliness of the Obsidian Kingdom as well as their love of skill and beauty. Proud of their culture, expect a Kenrei to cut down a foeman while displaying precision and poise in the cut.
The Symbol of Kenrei is an Eight-Seed White Lotus over a dark violet field.
On Surnames and Kho:
Every Kenrei carries a Surname. They are usually addressed by this Surname instead of by their first name, except by those who are close to them. Similarly, their Surname is usually pronounced first, with their “first name” being pronounced last. This practice is reflective of the importance of filial legacy to the Kenrei.
All Kenrei, especially the Shen, not only carry their names into the world but also the honor of their ancestors and their family. Thus, an affront against a Kenrei is an offense to one’s family; similarly, one’s crimes and sins also reflect negatively on one’s family.
Some Shen carry ancestral scrolls which bear the names of their fathers, grandfathers and other ancestral line. They bring these out as a point of pride to other Shen.
On Emotions and Balance:
Spiritual purity is important to the Kenrei. They avoid displays of passion and acting out one’s emotion to the point that foreigners often believe them to be nigh bloodless. Similarly, the people of the Obsidian Kingdom often meditate during quiet hours or perform tea ceremonies to cleanse their spirits of negative emotions.
That said, a Kenrei in battle is fury channeled into violent action; they view righteous anger as a tool to further their goals. They bottle their anger and their passion to let it all loose with deadly precision when the time is right.
On Gi and Righteousness
Central to the Kenrei mindset is the concept of Justice; giving to someone what they are due. Thus, most Kenrei yield respect to a superior, devotion to a family member and death to a transgressor. Outsiders often find these folk to be reverent and respectful to a fault, but are utterly callous to those who have wronged them or even to those they consider to be beneath them. A Kenrei, especially a Shen, will think nothing of torturing an enemy or a lesser mainly because they do not consider them worthy of “personhood”.
The Wu Jen are more compassionate in this regard: they tend to treat all creatures with respect. However, they have isolationist tendencies, either by keeping to themselves or volunteering little of their own personal lives.
Bowing: Bowing is a sign of respect and greeting among the Kenrei. For peers and lessers, a short bow will do. Deeper bows are reserved for those possessed of higher station; when in doubt, a Kenrei simply bows deeply.
Kowtowing is a gesture reserved of the highest of authorities such as one’s own King, Tenshi or Dai-Shen; it involves a bowed position with both knees and hands on the floor. Typically, such a bow has one’s brow touching the back of one’s hands.
Sword-keeping: For the Shen, utmost respect must be paid to one’s sword, especially if one’s blade is an ancestral weapon. In this way, a Shen never draws their sword unless it is to shed blood (shedding their own blood in a shallow wound if drawing for no reason). Similarly, a Shen does not let others touch his blade when it is unsheathed unless he intends to cut them; do allow others to touch the blade is to incur disfavor with one’s ancestors.
Honorifics: When asked for their names, the Kenrei usually offer their surname first and their first name second. It is courtesy among the Kenrei to refer to another by their surname, suffixed with the word “San” or the word “Sama” when dealing with an authority figure. When dealing with two people with the same surname, the Kenrei say the whole name suffixed with “San” or “Sama”.
Only when dealing with one’s own relatives or close friends can a Kenrei choose to address another by their first name. To use someone’s first name without this intimacy is considered to be a grave breach of etiquette in Kenrei.
For the most part, Kenrei outside of the Obsidian Kingdom’s lands learn to relax their strict traditions on names and honorifics — it would be maddening not to do otherwise when dealing with foreigners (Gai-jin).
When a child is born, he or she is often given a “child name” by their parents. Such names are usually the birth rank of a child (e.g. Ichiro for the first boy, Ichiko, for the first girl) or perhaps a parent’s favorite object or ancestor.
When a child becomes an adult in the eyes of the Obsidian Kingdom, they are allowed to choose a new name for themselves, symbolically leaving behind their childhood and immaturity.
Male: Daichi (great wisdom), Isamu (bravery), Katsu (victory), Makoto (sincerity), Sora (sky)
Female: Akane (Deep Red), Hikari (Light), Kasumi (mist), Naomi (beautiful child), Tsubasa (Wing)
Wu Jen and Nin-gen: Cao, Chen, Feng, Luo, Guo, Ping, Wong, Xie, Yu, Zhao,
Shen Clans (Major): Jinru, Kaishu, Terasu, Tetsu
Shen Clans (Minor): Hanayuri, Jarashi, Mujin, Seifun, Sha-ir, Sung, Tetsujin, Tsume
The Kenrei are based off of ancient imperial China and feudal Japan, with a hint of other Asiatic cultures as well as popular Asian culture. Their state religion, Ishi-ryu-do is a derivation of Taoism and Shintoism.