The past informs the future.
This is the motto of the Dust of Ages Sect. Here, we study the past in all its glory and shame. There are many lessons to be found in both the successes and failures of our ancestors. The Dust of Ages Sect is thus the preeminent institution for the study of history and the peoples of the Empire. A graduate of the Dust of Ages Sect will not simply learn the hows of the world as it exists today, but also the whys.
The Sect does not merely teach theory, however. The storied Jing art of psychometry has its masters here, and many other forms of divination are taught in our halls. In addition, the Sect offers a number of practical courses for the aspiring explorer or ruin delver, including but not limited to: Formation Cracking; Environmental Studies; Spirit Negotiation; and Talisman Mastery. This is, naturally, in addition to standard martial courses.
The secondary focus of the Sect is implementing uses for the knowledge acquired from such activities. A comprehensive program covering Formation Engineering, Qi Theory, Shen Encoding, and Talisman Craft is on offer as a secondary track.
Graduates of the Dust of Ages Sect may expect to find lucrative careers in the navy of the great Jin, as court historians and diviners, or taking on important roles in settlement projects. The best and brightest may even find themselves receiving Imperial writs for Undermountain exploration and reclamation under her Divine Empress Xiang’s programs.
The Dust of Ages Sect has its origins in the chaotic days after the Jing quit the Empire and sailed forth to unknown horizons upon the great City Ship Chonju. In those violent days, it was the wise Jin who refused to abandon their duty as our previous lords did, but it was necessary to take many harsh measures to retain order.
The Dust of Ages Sect was the result of one such action, centralizing all remaining sources of knowledge and academia before more could be lost to the chaos. The very first commandment given to the scholars of the Sect was simple. They were to dredge, study, and reclaim Ji’s mighty treasure fleet from the seafloor where it had been sunk during the Unification.
With the task of their lords in mind, the scholars of the Sect set about forming the foundations of the methods which the Sect still uses to this day. Within a century, the flagship of Ji himself was brought to the surface and delivered with great ceremony to Jingshan where it floats to this day.
The many other ships of the fleet were disassembled and studied, and their secrets were used to build an even greater fleet, fully establishing the power of the Jin over Alabaster Sands. For their success, the Dust of Ages Sect received a permanent stipend to continue their studies.
Throughout the remainder of the second dynasty, the Dust of Ages Sect continued advancing knowledge of the past in Alabaster Sands. Knowledge that would have been lost with the passing of feuding clans was catalogued and delivered to the hands of the Jin. Ruins from the draconic period were dredged, and the insights into the foundations of Imperial cultivation learned there allowed the Jin to grow mighty and secure the favor of the Imperial throne.
For the Dust of Ages Sect, the installment of the Great Sect system was only a codification of reality as it was. Granted our own land outside of Jingshan, the Dust of Ages Sect turned its knowledge unto the construction of the Palace of Eons, which was built upon the former seat of the ancient Dragon God of the North Sea Current. Never before have goods flowed so swiftly from one port to another!
Today, the Sect continues its storied history as the borders of the wilderness are pushed ever back, and things long thought lost are unearthed, one after another.
Enrollment in the Dust of Ages Sect is a simple and straightforward process. The Sect is in full compliance with Imperial Decree Sixteen and opens its doors to all applicants, including the common born of Jingshan and its environs. Students who cannot pay the entrance fees will be provided the funds on loan, to be paid back after the four year Outer Sect period ends. Loan repayment takes the form of apprentice positions on Sect Expeditions or service aboard the navy of Jin.
The Dust of Ages requires no tests for entry. However, in order to enter the Inner Sect track and receive individual tutoring from Sect elders, students are required to pass a yearly exam and present a project or thesis considered worthy by the Sect’s elders.
The Sect is not responsible for any damages or casualties incurred among prospective disciples during the initial voyage to the Palace of Eons. Currently, less than one percent of applicants show signs of mental aberration or suicidal ideation after entry since the realignment of the seals fifty years past, and such issues become rarer with each passing year.
Undermountain Scholar: The recent opening of Celestial Peaks’ heritage sites by Empress Xiang has been a boon to historians the Empire over. The testing process to receive an Imperial writ to study the lands beneath the Celestial Peaks is rigorous and unforgiving, but no other Sect or organization has the success rate of the Dust of Ages Sect in turning out successful applicants.
Court Diviner: In the land of Alabaster Seas, it is a foolish lord indeed who does not keep a diviner on hand. For graduates of the Dust of Ages Sect, receiving such a position is almost guaranteed if sought.
Ship Speaker: A position subordinate only to a ship's captain, the Speaker of a Ship is responsible for communication between the ship and its crew, as well as the nurturing and cultivation of a ship's nascent mind and spirit.
The document goes on to list many positions in crafting and engineering roles.
Prominent Sect Members
Sect Master Ran Delun: The original architect of the Palace of Eons project, Sect Master Ran continues to turn out new studies and projects at a ferocious rate despite his advancing age. A master traveler of the liminal realms, it is said that Sect Master Ran has glimpsed the very furthest corners of the world. Even the silent Duke of Jin allows Sect Master Ran regular meetings and appointments to discuss matters of state.