The Dragon Monks of Rekkan are an order of monks who practice shapeshifting, kinetic magic and martial arts as a spiritual way of obtaining transcendence. They are a splinter group of the Warrior Branch of the College of Rekkan, originating from the Order of the Dragon Warriors in Red 56
The Dragon Monks were originally members of the Warrior Branch of the College of Rekkan, some of whom were part of the elite 99 men who had fought alongside Rekkan Remor to save the Dramer race during The Red War, who had been granted the title Dragon Warrior. After the war concluded, there was a schism within the Dragon Warrior Order. Some of the order wanted to aggressively defend their land, going on the offense, and eventually reclaim Dram, the original Dramer homeland. Those who would become the Dragon Monks simply wanted to protect the Dramer people, and shepherd them into a future where they were safe. In Red 56, the Warrior Branch split into two factions - the Dragon Warriors, and the Dragon Monks. This split was largely condemned by the rest of the College, and into modern times both orders are both legally under the authority of the Warrior Branch. In reality, the two factions have vied for control of their foundation.
In the period after their foundation, the Order received widespread support from the common people, but tensions inside the Warrior Branch were high, and decisions more often than not swung in favor of the older, more established order. However, once the Nokanian Invasion began, support for the order swelled, as memories of the horrors war became fresh in the public mind. Such supported allowed for a domination of the administration of the Order, and their numbers swelled dramatically. Since then, they have remained the dominant faction in the Branch, only threatened by the Dragon Warriors in times of deep political unrest at home or abroad.
Throughout their long history, the Dragon Monks have been champions of peace through any means necessary. In the past, this has lead to drastic and often controversial action, including voluntary annexation of Rekkan to the Nokana Empire during the Nokanian Invasion. For the most part, however, their actions have been largely supported by the general populace, and as such they have been the dominant political faction on Rekkan during most of the island's history.
The Dragon Monks all begin their training with the Warrior Branch, side by side with those who would become Dragon Warriors. They receive identical training up until the point where they become part of the order. They are trained in the art of Shapeshifting, Kinetic Magic, and acrobatics, as well as strategy, negotiation and how to survive in the remotest regions of the world.
Upon choosing the Order, they begin an intensive training of Rolkakan for several years. Their training is as mentally rigorous as it is physically. They train extensively outside of the city, preferring the dangers and lessons the island can teach. They are also taught a great deal of philosophy, strategics, tactics and military history, in an effort to make their members not only excellent fighters, but excellent leaders.
Unlike the Dragon Warriors, there is no ritual or ceremony upon induction into the Dragon Monks. Many initiates are simply informed they have completed their training after showing up. The teachers of the Dragon Monks simply know when an initiate is ready to become a full fledged member.
Historically, the Dragon Monks have been the dominant faction on Rekkan. They have one goal - to preserve the fragile peace that allows the Dramer race to thrive. Their study of Rolkakan teaches patience, peacefulness and the benefits of an expanded consciousness, with the ultimate aim being transcendence.
The leaders of the College of Rekkan are typically Dragon Monks, as they tend to be interested in all fields of study, not just combat, as is the case of the Dragon Warriors. As such, policy decisions can often be swayed hugely by the Order. However, as the Dragon Warriors are also part of the Warrior Branch, their members have equal say in the running of the College, and this conflict has led to indecision and policy blockades in the past.