Over time, sects have been absorbed or defeated, until just five sects remain. Power and influence move through the world fluidly, at times favoring one sect over another. But the stable configuration of five sects always returns.
Each sect has a main family, which is responsible for running the sect’s academy and teaching its precepts to students. Although there are vassal families, many cultivating families simply give up their house’s unknown name and take the name of the main family, acquiring their prestige and honor.
Students from any family may present themselves at the gate to a sect’s academy, and request to be taken on as a disciple. However, they must give up their family name and take the name of the sect leader. The loyalty one learns as part of a sect is the same as that of a family, and in many cases, is more important than blood ties. For these reasons, most students stay within their familial sect, but may receive instruction from other sects in basic techniques. This is especially true for magicians, as the sects each have mastery over their own types of magic.
The Xinxue Yue 心血岳 (Heart’s Blood) Sect
The sect whose lands are furthest to the west and share most of their western border with demon lands. Mountainous, with rich agricultural valleys and high, terraced slopes. The people led by the Yue family are strong, bold, and self-reliant. Their cultivators and magicians wear robes dyed with red ochre. Their cultivators are especially skilled at hunting and defeating demons, and their magicians profess mastery over the element of fire.
The Youlu Lin 幽露林 (Ghostly Mist) Sect
The sect whose lands comprise the lowland forests in the south and reaching towards the eastern shore. Their western forests share a border with the demon lands, though much of it is so heavily wooded as to be impassable. The people led by the Lin family are industrious, rich, and steeped in wisdom and tradition. Their magicians and cultivators wear robes of emerald green. Their cultivators have particular skill with physical combat, and their magicians profess mastery over the element of wood.
The Tuhuan Zhou 突幻洲 (Breaking Illusion) sect
The sect whose lands comprise the eastern shore and all the islands beyond. The people led by the Zhou family are curious and shrewd, wringing the worth out of everything. They value knowledge above all else, and have the greatest library in the world, where any kind of information can be found. Their magicians and cultivators wear robes of deep blue. Their cultivators have particular skill with beauty and illusion, and their magicians profess mastery over the element of water.
The Quanlu Yuan 泉律原 (Spring of Law) sect
The sect whose lands lie between the lowland forests and the northern and western mountains, mostly grasslands and rolling hills, but with large swaths of agricultural and pasture land. They administer the granting of spiritual weapons, and the healing of all kinds of disease and deviation. As such, the people led by the Yuan family are serious and renowned for their dedication and impartiality. Their magicians and cultivators wear white robes woven with metal threads that sparkle and shine, and their magicians profess mastery over the element of metal.
The Xideng Wa 夕灯洼 (Dusk Lantern) sect
The sect whose lands lie to the northeast along the coast and reach down into the southern forests and to the feet of the western mountains. Rich, silty floodplains planted with rice, swamps, and endless bogs famous for confusing outsiders. The people led by the Wa family are placid, secretive, and obsessed with beauty. Their magicians and cultivators wear black robes that are many-layered and light on the body. Their cultivators have particular skill with the spiritual sensing of the earth around them, although there are whispers that some deviate into the path of necromancy. Their magicians profess mastery over the element of earth.