Earth Speakers

Unusually for monastic druids in the Aureshan Empire, this large sect based from the Car Howtarn monastery are on friendly terms with the emperor and the Imperial Legion, for whom they occasionally provide training in small-unit tactics to special units of elite soldiers. Unsubstantiated rumors suggest that they also provide occasional help with assassination for their closest allies, of whom the emperor is one. Beyond these activities, the monks are remarked upon for their maintenance of one of the Empire's finest bestiaries. Wizards, other druids, rangers, and explorers of all sorts jump at the chance to study the specimens contained in the Car Howtarn bestiary, which is maintained on a sizable grant of land provided by the Emperor for the druid-monks' use.

Although the Earth Speakers are a cloistered order of monks, they have displayed an uncustomary degree of flexibility and adaptability in the face of the Aureshan Emperors' distrust of druidic sects. The Ankheg style of unarmed combat practiced at Car Howtarn and several smaller abbeys is a classic example of the 'easy to learn, difficult to master' approach to the martial arts, making it attractive as a training regimen for elite agents and spies who need a basic grounding but not advanced training in self-defense. The druid-monks of the Earth Speakers have also been quick to recognize that their studies in the anatomy of animals and magical beasts are of value to people who are not part of the order, and to convince others of this fact.

The current head of the order is Arch-Cenobite Quiller Willowfrond (LN male gnome druid 8/monk 8), a politically astute gnome of middle years. Although he has mastered the Ankheg style, the Arch-Cenobite is neither the most skilled monk nor the most powerful druid of his order and continues to hold his position because his fellow monks recognize that he has a superior degree of cunning and insight compared to the rest of them. Although the position of Arch-Cenobite is elected, the term of office is for life or until the holder of office resigns. Quiller has held office since he was little more than a novice, and was elected during a period of unrest that made his fellows believe that the order was soon to be attacked by the Imperial Legion, and hence that it might be worth the risk for them to elect an untried but obviously intelligent and ruthless young monk to the highest office of the order. In the seventy years that followed, Quiller has not only fended off the threat that led to his election, but has maneuvered the Earth Speakers into the enviable position of being one of the few druidic orders which are actually allied to the Imperial House.

Membership in the sect is open to Lawful Neutral druids of any race.

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