Esharia is a land rife with magic. It shapes the daily lives of Esharian citizens and in many ways has taken the place of technological innovation. In most societies, the magi caste holds great military and political influence, and in some they are the de facto rulers of the country.
Literally the “temple of the gods,” the Fane is a divine realm contiguous to the mortal world. After the fall of Septuria, it became the home of the gods who had once lived and walked among their followers. It is the source of all magic.
Any human can learn to “weave” the Fane and alter the physical realm with its power, but such education is expensive, time-consuming, and ultimately highly exclusive in most societies. Many Esharians of wealth and influence become krata, dabblers in magic who know a few spells to improve their quality of life. A few become true magi, and they typically ascend to positions of great social power.
Touching the Fane carries a heavy price. A mage must expend her own life energy in order to weave the most powerful spells, and such a process invokes the Flensing. The Edehans believe it is their Goddess’s check upon mortal ambition; a mage who weaves too greedily can literally Flense herself to death. The Balorites have long sought methods to bypass this limitation but have yet to entirely succeed. The closest they have come was with the creation of the Siphons.
Not far outside Sandratha sits the mighty Prison of Venar, a massive building that houses thousands of criminals from across the Republic. Most of these criminals are kept insensate through small injections of varium. They are then ritually tethered to a mage, typically of noble blood. This connection allows the mage to fuel his magic with the body of the Siphon rather than himself, dramatically increasing the amount of power he can draw from the Fane before invoking the Flensing. This bond is not without risks, however, as the death of one partner invariably results in death for the other.
This forced servitude among prisoners is generally considered a travesty among Edehans, though few have historically had the political will to oppose it. The current Empress has put forth measures to begun to lessen the Republic dependency upon the Siphons, but the Balorites fear this will leave their military weakened and Darenthi ripe for invasion.
Beyond its wealth and natural resources, the Darenthi Republic endures today largely for one reason: the Faceless. Created near the end of the first Darenthi/Ebaran war along with the Siphons, the Faceless are men and women ritually stripped of their personalities and imbued with great strength and fortitude. They appear as little more than heavily armored shells, and the only sign of life within them is the menacing violet glow emanating from behind their helmets. The Faceless are believed to be impervious to magic, and that trait, combined with their limitless endurance, has made them the most powerful force on the Esharian battlefield in the last century. Their very presence has completely redefined modern warfare, and it has even encouraged some nations, such as Kimpera, to design better and more powerful conventional weapons to combat them.