Citadel at Whitepeak
Weakness is a sickness upon the self.
Under this sickness I am driven unto death.
Like an animal, I run blindly to my own bondage.
When I burn away the sickness upon the self,
Only then do I find liberation
Only then am I Fion.
-“The Sickness of the self” a Fion litany
In all other nations, at all other times, Black Magic, the dangerous and unpredictable magic of the angry dead, was strictly outlawed. A single black magic adept, even a novice, can unleash horrors powerful enough to destroy whole villages. Moreover, black magic is the most difficult magic to control and has a tendency to consume and corrupt those who wield it, warping them into strange hateful creatures.
In all of Tellach’s history, only the Fion of the Old Sinnach Empire practiced black magic. The Fion were the elite soldiers and rulers of the Sinnach Empire. Feared and hated by even their own people, Fion adepts used dark spirits, curses, pacts, and unspeakable rituals to terrorize their people and destroy their enemies. By the middle of the second era, all of Dysion, the western continent in Media, was united under the Sinnach banner. At the same time, the Fion had also expanded their role within the Empire. Although the High Lord Sinnach was still technically the supreme ruler of the empire, the Council at Whitepeak and the Preatoriate, a group of Fion warriors in the Empire’s capital Sinnapol, had an at least an equal share of power.
Despite their prominence, the Fion remained a highly secretive society. Every member was trained at the Citadel at Whitepeak, allowing the group to remain relatively homogenous.
Citadel at Whitepeak is set during this time, during the peak of the Fion’s power. Several generations have passed since the War of Bronze Blades, in which the Vilsven, the last free tribe in Dysion, were forced into the Empire. By now, the Empire has achieved political stability. For almost a century the Sinnach Emperor and the Fion Council have been consolidating power and the Sinnach people have achieved cultural hegemony throughout most of the continent.
The Adlyr Druic Council and the Chieftians of the Villsven have very little real power and those that do are well incorporated into the Empire. A few families in each house remain in open rebellion but they pose, apparently, little threat to the Empire.
The only open question seems to be, who will control the established offices of power and which will be most powerful? The Fion Council, the Emperor, landed Lords of the Empire, the Fion Preatoreate each controls a significant share of power and only the future will determine how much each retains.
More often than not, threats to the Fion in the current generation come from within as various factions and forces within the order via for power. Nevertheless, there is some talk of dangers from the east. Tradition holds that there were in fact 12 houses created after the fall of the City of Glass. This is attested to by the House Fia nomads that visit Dysion, although the tenuous relations between House Fia and the Empire have made their visits increasingly rare. The Fia have always despised and avoided the Fion, believing them to be heretics in violation of the charter signed at the end of the first age. The “land to the east” and its inhabitants has slowly in the current age become a mysterious and ill-understood place.
The Fion are inspired by the pre-Christian, heroic cultures of Northern Europe. They place high value on personal strength and celebrate heroic deeds. They tend to lack a strict sense of a moral code in the way we tend to imagine it today. There is a nebulous sense of right and wrong, but it is not clearly distinct from evaluations personal strength and what one can get away with. A “good” person is one who can defeat his enemies and protect his kin. A notion of the common good is not absent, but nor is it taken for granted. Moral discussions, if they can be called such, generally concern kinship and its demands, avenging wrongs, paying for wrongs, and so on.
Religion is similarly very different. The Fion, like real heroic cultures, don’t imagine a wholly separate divine world populated by morally perfect or evil beings. Instead their Pantheon is as much a description of the natural work as they find it as it is a host of supernatural beings to be worshiped. The Fion do not worship any of these figures so much as they attempt to channel their powers or avoid their wrath. They are to be used and appeased.