A thousand years ago men and women now called the Ancients walked the world and fought in the Kosharitun—the War of Gods. Roaya was broken and the balance of forces forever shattered. The Imperium—the Empire of the Ancients—fell.
But the Ancients did not fade into antiquity. Their descendants, the Highborn, remain, and they have built a new Empire to rule the continent of Solein.
Shen and Houses
Each Highborn House has a patron spirit in the Jade Heaven called the House’s Shen. At age seventeen, each member of the house receives a tattoo for their shen, usually on their back and arms. A single scion of the House is chosen by the Shen to become the Ascended. When the current Ascended dies, the shen can choose anyone marked by its tattoo as the next Ascended. Once chosen, your Shen tattoo comes to life and begins to move. Only the shen knows who it will choose and why, but it most often chooses someone high in Honor.
Right now, nine Great Houses and eighteen lesser Houses compose the Empire. Sometimes, though, a House falls. Perhaps too many members of the House are slain, or perhaps the shen abandons a House that has become too weak. A fallen House is called Sundered.