The Order of the Black Lotus, or Kokuhachisu, is a quasi-mystical organization that focuses on the mysteries of the galaxy, that is to say, on xeno-archeology, astronomy, astrology, astromancy, and, for lack of a better term…magic. Founded by the Pyrtonian Balaa Arashul in 2059 the Order cut its teeth researching the Hinotama ruins in particular and any other archeological find regardless of originating culture in general. The Order also sought to further and offer the expertise unique to a Void Mage regards stellar phenomena. The Order has since expanded to include the pursuit of knowledge in all fields relating to Space sciences.
Membership in the Order is predominantly Pyrtonian, with Trow, Garudan and Invid members the next highest demographic. Humans, Tirisians and Zentraedi are also represented but in smaller numbers and while their areas of expertise run the gamut, their contribution to the more esoteric disciplines is limited to theory rather than application.
Over the decades the Order of the Black Lotus has become a highly respected organization known for their objectivity and their member’s mastery within their fields of study. Most if not all of their members hold professorships, act as consultants, and or hold any manner of academic positions and accolades. Several members of the order advise the Dai Ōkami Bakufu, and a small handful, those that are masters of their respective field of study, including Balaa Arashul, are Hatamoto and advise the Shogun directly.
Membership is by invitation only and only the best and brightest are invited to join. There are two arms of the Order; the research arm of theoreticians and scientists who are the professors and consultants that continue on in their primary vocation but lend their mental and research facilities to the Order; and the field arm, the rough and tumble devotees who travel to far flung locations to study phenomena and archeological sites first hand and submit their findings. All members are encouraged to prepare papers on unique findings and topics, and present them in open Temple.
Non Shogunal citizens may never be a fully fledged member of the order, but instead are named ‘Friend of the Order’ or Tomodachi. A Friend’s work may be ‘submitted for consideration’ by the Order and in some circles an endorsement by the Black Lotus holds prestige and many other academic institutions count such an endorsement as a valid form of peer review.
The ‘uniform’ of the Order is virtually identical to that of a Miko except instead of a red hakama, the Order wears black. Where this garb would be inconvenient or inappropriate a patch, emblem, or pin of a stylized Kokuhachisu is worn, optionally of course, to denote membership.
The Order maintains ‘temples’ (chapter houses) on Ōkami and Hinotama as well as upon the Dai Torii. Smaller ‘shrines’ (meeting halls) can be found on all Shogunate colony worlds. There are no established ranks within the Order; this is to signify that no one person’s ideas or opinions are greater than the others. Truth and knowledge do not exist on a continuum, they just exist.