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Golden Courts

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The Golden Courts are a conglomeration of loosely allied domains under the control of Kuei-jin matriarchs known as Penangallan. They cover the territory of the former Scarlet Phoenix Court, including a great deal of Southeastern Asia.

HistoryEdit

Originally, the territories of the modern Golden Courts belonged to the Five August Courts, but cultural isolation set them apart from the central authorities, allowing akuma to infiltrate its ranks. In contrast to its northern counterpart, however, the Scarlet Phoenix Court lashed out against the servants of the Yama Kings, resulting in a long tradition of battle and warfare among the Kuei-jin native to the Court that further alienated them from their chinese brethren, who came to view them as barbarians. While the Scarlet Phoenix Court did eventually fall, the pawns of the Yama Kings were decimated by the most august bodhisattva Piyau Payung and her Devil Tiger Penangallan associates. The first use of the Flesh Shintai Discipline was during that tremendously violent battle. For 11 nights the jungle was the scene of some of the grisliest atrocities ever seen by Kuei-jin. On the 12th night, Piyau Payung and five of her Penangallan ripped apart the last of the akuma. That most formidable ancient returned to her contemplations in the jungle leaving only the first Penangallan to rebuild the Court. When the Five August Courts came apart in the first days of the Fifth Age after the mongol Yuan dynasty had captured much of China, the Scarlet Phoenix Court declared its independence from the chinese Kuei-jin and choose not to participate in the Treaty of the Quincunx, instead reforming itself into the modern Golden Courts.

In the Final Nights, however, the numbers of akuma have begun to grow once more, thanks to the growth of human suffering in cities like Bangkok or conflicts during the period of the Cold War, like the Vietnam War and the terror regime of the Khmer Rogue. It doesn't help matters that organization of the Golden Courts is exceedingly loose and informal. The only Kuei-jin who are ever tested for devil-taint are the Penangallan. Outside of their ranks, akuma are becoming more prevalent. Provided that nothing is obviously amiss, those pawns of the Yama Kings can pass undetected for centuries, rising through the social strata, working the will of their masters and undermining the courts. The Golden Courts have responded to the attacks of the Yama Kings in much the same way that they respond to most opponents: They have become more savage than their enemy. By adopting, adapting, and improving upon the Yama Kings' own strategies, the Golden Courts hope to become greater devils than the devils who threaten them.

The borders of the Golden Courts are constantly in flux, but at various points in its history, the influence of the Golden Courts has extended as far as Micronesia, Polynesia (including Hawai'i), Samoa, Fiji, the Marshall and Solomon Islands, and the jungles of northern Australia. No other Kuei-jin Court can approach the Golden Courts' range of cultures, and it's questionable whether the Chinese Courts would even want to. At least some of the allegations of barbarism made against the Golden Courts stem from the xenophobia of the Quincunx.

CultureEdit

By far the most shocking element of the Golden Courts, as far as the Chinese Courts are concerned, is its matriarchal tribal structure. Yang-aspected Kuei-jin women who have mastered Flesh Shintai are called Penangallan as a title of respect. While a male may have the same degree of proficiency with Flesh Shintai, he may never be called Penangallan. Males are free to take part in the culture of the Golden Courts, but they may not call into question the queen or any female ancestor. One violation results in a stern warning, two violations will result in an unsubtle suggestion that the violator leave the court (or at least flee to Singapore), and a third violation ends in the highly ritualized execution of the insolent party. These executions are typically occasions for much revelry among the Penangallan and their attendant wu.

The Howl of the Devil-Tiger and the Dance of the Thrashing Dragon are the most common Dharmas in the Golden Courts, although the Tempest of Inward Focus has also many strongholds within their territory since their dharmas inception. Few Bone Flowers are produced in the Golden Courts.

Island travelling, even on top of the water, is particularly risky for the Kuei-jin of the Golden Courts because they, of all the inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom, have earned the unending enmity of the Same-bito. While the actual origins of the hatred between the two shen are lost, it is most commonly speculated that the Penangallan developed a taste for the Chi (and attendant flesh) of Samebito kinfolk. Throughout the oceans off the coast of Southeast Asia, the Same-bito infest the waters and watch for any Kueijin who cross their territory. Thanks to a widespread use of Jade Shintai, however, the Kuei-jin of the Golden Courts are more mobile than their northern brethren.

Perhaps the Golden Courts' greatest strength is its remarkable diversity. The Kuei-jin of the Golden Courts have at their disposal the wisdom of several cultures: Indian, Chinese, Polynesian, Aborigine, and myriad others all contribute to the Court's hybrid vigor. The Golden Courts have absorbed numerous cultural elements from the islands that have, at times, been under their sway.

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