The Fiends are a humanoid species living in the frigid tundras of northern Aradoth. Hailing from the city of Kirasanct the Fiends have long fostered a cold hatred of Humanity, and are generally associated closely with the Goddess of Vengeance Niatha Moraven. Finding their origins in a split within the magical orders of the Human empire, the Fiends are some of the foremost magical experts in all of Istaria.
The Fiends are a reletively new species, and unique in that they are the only currently extant intellignet race that did not find its origins through natural means. Instead, the Fiends originally diverged from Human stock.
In appearance Fiends retain many traits of their Human origins. Their body type and basic anatomy are similar, and their internal anatomy is effectively identical. However they are visually very distinct; Fiends lack the melanin pigments found in human skin, having instead blue hued pigments. In colour their skin can range from a nearly purple shade through to a light grey. In general form their appearance is generally asthetically pleasing.
Fiends typically possess a prehensile tail of medium length, and a pair of soft, keratinous, delicate horns that grow longer throughout their lives, often subject to as careful trimming and shaping as facial hair. Their proportion of body fat to muscular tissue is notably higher than that of their forebears, and they have a wide range of homeostatic body temperatures, allowing them to better cope with the frigid northern climate. Typically they lack the strength and stamina of humans, but are noted as showing higher mental adeptitude, particuarly in regards to magical matters: Whether this is something imparted by their transformation or simply the result of their scholarly culture remains unclear.
The Fiends were originally descended from the renegade magical order of the Executive Office; one-time secret police of humanity that became reviled after the Human civil war for its use of forbidden practices. The qualities of this once-organisation remain strong in Fiendish blood; the race is hallmarked by their acerbic demure, paranoia, masterful working of the magical arts and utter contempt for weakness in any form.
As may be expected from a species that bears the monkier of ‘Fiends’ life in Kirasanct is harsh. Little grows in the frigid tundra, and many fearsome predators roam the ice wastes. Their society is highly competitive, with Fiends young and old constantly vying for rank, privilege and the limited resources available. In particular ambition is a highly valued quality in their culture; Fiends lacking this quality will never rise beyond tending animal feed pens, whereas those who are ruthless will often find a high station. Life in Kirasanct consists of shielding one’s self from the assassin’s knives of one’s lowers, whilst looking to plunge your own blade into those further up the ladder.
Given that magical aptitude is another highly valued quality, Knowledge is an important commodity to Fiends. Anything from stray rumors to tomes on the magical arts are collected and often traded as a currency. Many races recognize the old standard ‘knowledge is power’ but perhaps none have embraced this so thoroughly as the Fiends. Perhaps unsurprisingly the Fiends have little qualms about the use of dark magic or practices forbidden by the wider Magical Orders. Indeed, the practice of necromancy has only recently been forbidden and is rumored to still be practiced within some circles.
Fiendish government is remarkably straightforwards for a species renowned for its intrigues and cloak-and-dagger dealings- what the top Fiend says, goes. This is no crass dictatorship in the manner of the old tyrant kingdoms, but rather quite a prudent method of maintaining integrity amongst the disparate and often quarrelsome Fiends. One with the resources and wisdom to rise to the top of the Fiendish pecking order will have had to develop the web of contacts needed to prevent themselves being bumped off by ambitious lowers, and so will remain well informed of the plots, dealings and disputes amongst their cohorts and be able to take action against a potential problem before it manifests.
This creates something of a problem when dealing with other species, as many races do not recognize the legitimate of dictatorial regimes. In particular the Empire has pushed for the Fiends to develop a more stable and democratic government, but these suggestions have been met with nothing but scorn. Fiends know that might is right; why should the weak have a say in the affairs of the strong?
Fiends have little in the way of organized industry. Uniquely as a humanoid species they are almost entirely self-sufficient on an individual level, with most being able to conjour food or drink needed to sustain themselves. Other harder to obtain commodities are traded for within their own ranks with knowledge, or are occasionally taken by force.
Nevertheless there are some things that cannot be easily obtained in the frigid north. In particular the stone slabs needed to inscribe magical learning, dyes, and metals. The Fiends deign to trade in limited amounts with the nomadic tribes occupying the same region, and to a limited extent with the Empire.
Fiendish military matters are typically decided entirely by their incumbent tyrant. There is little organization, or indeed need for organization as their forces are primarily spellcasters and so not as dependent on the rigorous drilling or formations of melee fighters. Their contributions to the Imperial Army are primarily in the form of advisors and experts on the arts of dark magic, and in sorcerers and occasionally battlemages.
Contrary to popular belief there are in fact a number of Fiendish warriors, primarily employed as a town guard; their job is to maintain order amongst the churlish classes and visitors to the city and may also find themselves repelling attacks of those foes that manage to breach the city walls. Surprisingly common also are assassins and rogues, who find their employ in spying and dealing in subterfuge. Though these find little use in the war against the Withered Aegis they have proven to be useful in quelling dissent amongst the Fiend’s own ranks.
As Kirasanct is landlocked the Fiends have no navy, and do not contribute in terms of ships to the Imperial Navy. Their spellcasters however have shown to be useful when stationed aboard ships, able to use more devestating spells to some effect- particuarly against aerial targets that muzzle-loaded cannons cannot engage.