Masters of the Four Winds

Perched atop a forbidding peak in a vast mountain range, the Palace of the Four Winds is home to an esoteric order of monks dedicated to changing the world like a breeze bends every blade of grass - by applying force, but remaining unseen.

A powerful elf named Kiu-Shanat came to the mountaintop to meditate some 500 years ago, and he's remained ever since. At first, he acted as an oracle, answering seemingly intractable questions for anyone brave enough to dare the perils of the mountain journey. Eventually he attracted disciples of his own, and, in his words, "The puff of air from my lips has gained strength as it went down the mountain, fluttering the hearts of many, just as a zephyr flutters the riverside reeds."

The palace itself, built two centuries ago by a team of high-level masters of the east wind, looks like a castle whose minarets and towers have been replaced with windmills. The denizens of the palace have harnessed the power of the wind to operate elevators, water pumps, bellows for forced-air heat, and dozens of other applications. Keeping the palace running requires constant adjustments to the wind vanes and propellers so they aren't ruined by too much wind or left idle by too little wind.

Today, about a hundred of Kiu-Shanat's followers are at the Palace of the Four Winds; another two hundred wander the world, trying to advance the causes of charity and freedom wherever they can. Single-class monks, most of fairly low level, make up about half the order, while the rest have levels in one of the four prestige classes below.

Joining the Order of the Four Winds is straightforward, but it isn't easy. Applicants must climb the mountain to the Palace of the Four Winds unaided, braving both fierce weather, sheer cliffs, and the unfriendly creatures who call the lower reaches of the mountain home. Those who reach the Palace are administered a rigorous written exam on moral issues and an even more rigorous test of their martial arts ability. Those who pass both tests become members of the order and can take further tests to become masters.

The Order of the Four Winds acts to prevent disorder and suffering on a grand scale, acting proactively whenever it can. Kiu-Shanat is currently sending masters of the south wind to infiltrate the many factions that threaten to tear one particular nation apart, for example, so he'll have agents in place who can head off a civil war or at least reduce its severity. The masters of the west wind are searching for a multipart artifact that can cause massive earthquakes. The masters of the east wind are fighting a covert war with a cult that wants to open a permanent portal to the Lower Planes, and the masters of the north wind are keeping the peace on the long border between two warring nations that recently agreed to a cease-fire. The order has about a dozen smaller objectives for which it uses mixed teams, lower-level monks, and even non-monk allies and good-hearted adventurers.

Items of the Four Winds

Organizations of Faerûn
Lands of Faerûn