Below is an introduction into the Trials of the Middle Kingdom historical fantasy series set in medieval Ming Dynasty China.
The Sage, the Swordsman and the Scholars
Clash of Alliances
COMING SOON 2020!
What is the League of Martial Scholars?
League of Martial Scholars is basically a secret society of intellectuals who have become frustrated and disgruntled with growing decadence and crime in society. After placing top score in Civil Service Exams, five core individuals came together to create a vigilante organization instead of working in government bureaucracy where politics and red tape hinder the administration of punishment and justice. They opened an academy for culture and the arts in Guangzhou - completely unique in its kind - as a sort of front. Worthy and promising students get secretly initiated into their society as Martial Academicians who work their way up the ranks as operatives and spies for the League. The League is also well connected, having key benefactors and informants from high ranking military to provincial government officials across the empire.
Jinyiwei (Imperial Guards and Secret Police) 錦衣衛
and the Eastern and Western Depots
(Intelligence Spy Agencies).
The League's dark counterparts who officially (who supposedly work for the government) are the imperial secret police known as Jinyiwei (lit. Brocade-clad Guard) whose numbers have swelled to over a whopping one hundred thousand. These elite and highly-trained "federal agents" have been known to be abusive and rogue, many times working beyond the bounds of the law, and are prone to becoming puppets to corrupt officials and eunuch cliques. Working hand -in-hand with the Jinyiwei is the government's official "supervision" agency known as the eunuch-run "Eastern Depot" and the adjunct "Western Depot" who spy on other officials and the populace of the Ming Empire. Secretive and always covert, little know about their comings and goings. They are known to arrest suspects across the empire and hand them over to the Jinyiwei for investigation, torture, or interrogation. Both the Jinyiwei and the Eastern Depot have no jurisdiction and have been known to meddle in foreign affairs, instigate local revolutions, initiate government overthrows, and even conduct covert operations in other nations.