Samurai

The most honored variety of warrior in Xian is the traditional samurai of the Ninefold Celestial Empire. Following the venerable principles of right action, the samurai is honored as an exemplar of the old ways. While other warriors may bear twin blades, the ritual match of katana and wakizashi that the samurai bears is a mark of his station, and anyone who wears their weaponry in a similar style risks a great deal of general contempt, if not outright harassment by the law. Samurai are expected to take service with a lord, and those without one are considered to be gravely deficient in morals or competence. Most often in Xian, the samurai take service with the army or the city watch and pledge their unquestioning obedience to the Mandarin.

The role of samurai is one originally inherited from old Kueh traditions of martial retainers defending their lord. While the Kueh were thoroughly conquered and assimilated by the Imperials twelve hundred years ago, the Mandarins were so impressed by the fidelity of the Kueh daimyos' bodyguards that they imported the cultural tradition for their own retainers. Very few modern samurai have any notable Kueh extraction at all, but all still follow the traditions and discipline laid down in centuries past.

Unsurprisingly, the discipline required for this path leads to few followers, though they come from all social classes. Even the poorest among them is counted worthy of the gift of a pair of exquisite blades upon completion of their training, as samurai require such education to become what they are. The most common source in Xian is the First Guard Company of the city-state's army. Particularly vigilant and loyal recruits are permitted to train in the Guard, and those who muster out retain their education and blades. A few are trained further afield by experienced samurai, but the path is generally unique to the city.

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