Located in the western regions of the Qin Chao Steppes, the Winter Academy is an advanced warfare training school established by private donations with the stated purpose of "preparing young men to serve the empire in the wars against the Northern Barbarians". Graduates of the academy received recommendations from faculty which nearly guarantee them admittance into the officer ranks of their national militias, or the Dragon Army.
The student body is generally made up by the children of middle- and upper- class citizens, as tuition costs are beyond the reach of the peasant classes.
The basic program lasts for two years. Lower class students concentrate on the basics of warfare and take a series of exams at the end of their first year to admit them to the upper class. Those who make it into the upper-class start specializing in a particular military specialty, under the supervision of a faculty member. All upper-class students are assigned to a faculty member as their mentor.
Competitions throughout the latter half of the first year, and beginning of the second result in lead students, who are given special training and privileges at the academy. The most successful of these Star Candidates is named the First Recruit and is offered a third year of private study with the faculty member of his choice before graduating with highest honors.
Currently, the academy has over 200 students, with about 60% in the lower class, and 40% in the upper class. These students are currently served by nine full faculty members as well as a number of administrative support personnel.
Faculty members include:
- Master Hong - First Headmaster of the Winter Academy
- Sensei Bian Li Ming - Unarmed Combat Instructor
- Colonel Lam Wai - Military Tactics Instructor
- Mistress Lu Yi - Armed Combat Instructor
- Pak Suk - Military Organization Instructor (Everfull Potion of Returning)
- Academician Leung - Military History and Barbarian Studies Instructor
- Captain Huan Ken - Siege Engineering and Fortifications Instructor
- Master Taowang - Combat Sorcery Instructor
- Sgt. Golden Root - Northern Survival Specialist
Selected Star Candidates
- Lei Zhelan - (Instructor Pak)
- Xun Bo - (Sensei Bian)
- Chang Cheng - (Blademistress Lu)
The First Recruit
- Righteous Edge - (Colonel Lam)