The following is an excerpt from the Book of Orden, taken from the Tome of Z’ora-Dae, volume 11, verses 17-26.
The world’s oldest civilisation, the sh’a were the only species to survive the razing of the planet Alataea.
They survived the devastation of their home world by hiding deep beneath the mountains. For centuries they lived in the shadows beneath the world. It is recorded that during this time the sh’as’ fur first turned silver and white, where previously their coats had been rich browns and reds.
When the darkness was finally defeated, the sh’a emerged from the mountains to gaze upon the sun for the first time in over a thousand years.
They returned to find their world reborn, its new name, Oberyon.
Some chose to make a life above ground, returning to the sh’as’ ancient ways of farming yalla grass on the steps of the Spindal Mountains. Although many new villages were founded, no settlement ever ventured too far from the sh’a city-havens beneath the mountains.
The centuries in hiding had turned the sh’a inward, leaving them reflective and spiritual. But rather than worship the newly crowned gods, the sh’a turned to that which had comforted them in their darkest hour; the universal song that connects all things, and the wisdom of the great spirit known only as the Dream Mother.
During their time beneath the mountains, the sh’a took it upon themselves to make a record of the old world and the destruction wrought upon it. They recorded these events in great tomes known collectively as the Book of Orden. It is a duty they have continued to this day, faithfully recording the history of Oberyon and its peoples. Now, the Book of Orden consists of thousands of tomes, transcribed, recorded and collated by countless sh’a scholars over more than a hundred centuries.
In the year 572 AS, a young sh’a scholar named Sh’o-Mare journeyed to Syrentium to study the fabled White Tower, believing it could provide insight into creation itself. Whether or not Sh’o-Mare’s investigations were successful is unknown, but the sh’a spent many years in Syrentium teaching the fledgling settlement of man, establishing an advisory relationship between the Circle of Kingdom’s leaders and the sh’a that exists to this day.
In 598 AS, Sh’o-Mare left Syrentium and founded his monastery on an island in the Bay of Solidity. The island would become known in sh’a society as the Isle of Sh’o Mare, although in the Circle of Kingdoms it is more commonly referred to as simply Sho Ma. Shortly after the monastery’s creation, the Book of Orden was relocated from the Spindal Mountains. The great tomes have been held at the monastery ever since, preserved and updated by the sh’a scholars who dwell there.
Today when a sh’a hears the inner call to serve a greater spirituality, he or she must make the Pilgrimage, travelling from the Spindal Mountains to the Isle of Sh’o Mare by foot. Where their journey takes them across the sea, the crossing must be made in vessels of their own creation.
Over the centuries there have been sh’a who have been recruited into the Alakyte order. Those who are recruited often rise to high ranks due to their affinity with the Collective Spirit’s teachings, although no sh’a will ever partake in combat or even combat training, believing that a peaceful solution lies inherent in every situation of conflict.