Once upon a time, there was The Eternal Flame.
The essence of life lay dormant within, but whenever the spirit stirred and sought to manifest itself, it stoked the all consuming flames of death. The dread fires would then wholly engulf the rising spirit, and unswervingly, the cycle would begin anew.
Every time life tried to rise and was swallowed by the fire again and again. But whenever the primordial forces collided, a small fragment was left behind. None can say how many eons it took, until one fateful day, the thousands upon thousands of fragments had united. Combined into a steadfast barrier which could divide the ocean of flames in two, and grant life the space it needed. The flames, which craved to consume life ever since the dawn of time, were subdued.
Etesia, the Goddess of Wind was born, and with her the Fire God Twins: Incendi and Purgatos.
Arisen as the flame of creation, Incendi watched over the light of life, while his twin brother Purgatos took care of the souls of all beings whose time has come and welcomed them into the netherworld.
Born out of the Eternal Flame itself, only Etesia could halt the God Twins, so that the fragile balance between life and death would prevail.
The God Twins are worshiped by the Adherents of Fire that inhabit the west and south of Eldurien. While the Cendori have choosen to direct their prayers towards Incendi, the Gatori founded their faith in Purgatos. For a long time these two ethnic groups were just connected by a loose alliance.
But when the south suffered an ongoing drought and the essential supplies dwindled, the west sent plenty of caravans, loaded with food and medicine and saved the Gatori from certain death. To enhance this new connection the royal families sought to conjoin their realms, and so, the successors of the West and South, Kylian and Freya, were united in marriage.
The Realm of Fire was born.
Under the reign of the new royal couple the young realm flourished and brought unprecedented prosperity to the people. It wasn't long before Kylian's wife gave birth to twins.
A daughter called Fayola and a son named Kylion. Their parents intended them to rule the realm together.
Tragically Fayola and Kylion had to suffer their mother's death at a young age, which deeply scarred Fayola's heart. She would be the last one to hold their mother's hand, and to listen carefully to her last whispered words:
"Cry not, my little ruby, mourn not the dead. For Purgatos awaits me, and shall watch over my soul."
The years passed, and under the strict eyes of their father, the twins grew up to become honorable rulers.
Kylion was profoundly convinced that life had to be praised by everyone and so Incendi would sit on the throne of Gods. Fayola, however, claimed that Purgatos was to wear the crown of all creation, since he was the one who granted the peace of mind and spirit. This dispute worsened and only their father, the King himself, was able to control the heat which boiled under the surface.
Alas, his sudden death changed the situation dramatically.
At first the realm and the royal family were struck with grief, but then Fayola's sorrow ignited into wrath. For she still could not get over the loss of her mother and grew certain that this string of tragic events had to be divine punishment for their lack of faith.
Then what had to happen, happened ...
The Princess and the Prince came into a religious dispute which went down in history as the War of Fire. Fayola demanded that Purgatos should be worshiped as the only true God and that the Cendori have to recant Incendi. But when Kylion refused, Fayola split the realm and started a war against her own brother. Since Kylion didn't want the war, he sought out a way to end the bloodshed quickly. It were his alchemists who created beasts by mutating animals to send into the battlefield.
When Kylion's army dominated, and the outcome of the war seemed decided, the beasts got out of control. They covered the land with another wave of sorrow. Fortunately, salvation came through the wisest scholars of the Siari. The Siari people think of themselves as servants of the wind, they worship the Goddess Etesia and see it as their sacred duty to keep balance and peace in Eldurien. They built blessed obelisks, which kept the villages and towns safe from the beasts.
The people were saved, though the war had left it's mark upon the world. Etesia herself showed compassion for the human beings and so she created the tribe of the Harpies. Divine creatures, which appeared in the shape of winged women. They should care for the people and help them heal the scarred land.
However, things turned out differently ...
Moved by hatred and fear of the beasts, the people began to hunt and kill the divine women. Unable to fight back, as they had been created as peaceful beings, the divine women retreated to the northenmost rutted mountains – and have not been seen or heard from since.
Since the Siari felt very grateful towards the Harpies, many settled at the foot of these mountains.
In one of those villages lived a little girl ...
Each and every being - from the tiny bug via the strong bear through to the delicate bird - each carries a spark of the Eternal Fire inside them. So do humans. But different to most beings, humans are aware of it. It is this spark that allows to exert something divine. Each one bares the potential and is able to unleash those powers; however, controlling them, thus they can't cause unbridled damage, requires a high degree of expertise and exercise. Most humans spend their lives without exerting Magic even once, because it involves the danger of the spark causing a fire that can consume the caster completely. The more powerful a spell the higher the danger that it takes on a live of its own. This is why the majority faces this gift with humility and reverence. Consequently, it is reserved to clerics, priests and other men of the cloth to exert in the name of the gods. Some even see it as a sin to possess oneself of this spark, because in their eyes it is blasphemy to want to force their will upon the Divine Fire. Those often live remote of the big cities, in small villages and communities and are at best wary - often even aggressive - towards strangers and only tolerate known merchants.
Since Fayola declared war on her brother it was her who controlled the destiny of the south and the peace contract, which sealed the segregation of the Realm of Fire and attributed the south to Fayola, from then on also legitimated her dominion. Previously the monarchs had regulated the politic and economic concerns at Kylion's command, but with his passing his regiment also ended. Fayola had unwillingly inherited Freya to her mother and was, on request of the Siari, appointed king of the south. This meant a caesura in the hierarchies and power structures that had before been applied for centuries. That Kylion, as son of Kylian, occupied the throne was a mere formality, but that a princess without a consort was adjudicated the sovereignty of a queen was a novelty. To allay the displeasure of the monarchs and prevent an impending revolt, each of them received, from Fayola herself, a piece of land and the resources to erect a magnificent estate. In return the monarchs ceded their authority and went into political exile.
War had taken its terrible toll. Thousands lost their lives. Deep scars covered the land and people even to this day, but it were the children who were hit especially hard. They had their parents wrested in the cruellest way. If one of the parents wasn't killed on the battlefield, their second was taken by the beasts. Kylion, an orphan himself and still a young man, recognised himself in the stricken and traumatised children, what lead him to offer especially them a special place in his new realm. He let countless houses be built in close proximity to his palace. The palace itself got a massive restructuring. He offered all orphans who didn't have relatives that could take care of them not only a shelter, but a new home. Additionally, the old royal household Kylian's had now the duty to foster the orphan's talents, to train them as successors, and that all-encompassing: Be it as alchemist, archivist, builder, consultant, healer, historian, chamberlain, merchant, cook, warlord, priest, knight, bursar, secretary, governor or one of the other countless appointments and disciplines. Without it being Kylion's intent, this worked out to be a brilliant political move. He could indeed be certain of the unswerving loyalty of his entourage and his inner circle, but as a young ruler he still lacked the authority his father used to possess. His incredible generosity, however, evoked a deep admiration for their new king in the war-stricken population. The probably inexhaustible gratitude of the orphans also ensured him their unrestricted loyalty. While each of them gained their training, it was reserved to specially gifted ones to be housed and tutored directly in the palace. Those ministers, masters of their disciplines, trained the highest and mightiest cabinet of the kingdom. In honour of its members and their painful losses and not least as a war memorial, it gained the title of Cabinet of Orphans.
There is no monarchy in the realm of the Siari. Therefore there is no autocrat, who would succeed to the throne because of his blood and right of inheritance. The fate of the realm is controlled by the Council of Sovereigns. When the people of Siari were still young and without orientation, people longed for stability, order, safety and assurance; but no one felt called upon to stand up and lead them. It were the Elders to whom respect was shown, which is why it was their word, at first, which was sought and heard; but those Elders realized that they - although their experience and wisdom may have been be enormous - inhibited their people in their development. So they let send for the most skilful and talented pawns, craftsmen, fishers and hunters, herbalists, tinkerers, stockbreeders and all those who stood out exceptionally. All these people - young and old - were experts in their fields, brought valuable services for their community and therefore enjoyed recognition and respect. As they had gathered, the Elders announces that, from now on, the diversity of the folk would determine the path to walk. The first Council of the Sovereigns saw the light of the day. To this day it is the law that the council may reflect the diversity of the folk, so that the needs and interests of the people may be retained.