A long time ago, before the birth of the Empire, the Siranians were a unified nation. However, a tragic incident occurred and the nation split in two – the Dark and the White Siranians. Although it may seem impossible, these two half-nations get along very well and there is almost no rivalry between them, owing to their complementary temperaments and abilities: they do not pose as competition but instead need each another.
The White Siranians are very handsome, somewhat resembling the elves but still very human. Both the men and the women have alabaster complexion and very light hair. As people, they are neat and serious, with a (sometimes exaggerated) sense of order and orderliness. They despise pretence and manipulation (yet quite paradoxically, many of them are skilful merchants though this is more due to their love for numbers and accounts) and treasure honesty and a good name above all. Their cities, but also parks, temples, roads, and even woods, are neat and symmetrical with military precision but certainly not dull – besides their love of order, the White Siranians are endowed with a sense for beauty and harmony. They are fond of white, crystal-clear and sky-blue colours. Their architecture focuses on height and lightness; they like airy spaces, pillars and pointed arches. They admire scenes observable within nature and in the sky, striving to give their dwellings the same simplicity, elegance and firmness. Their wide roads paved with limestone shine far and wide in the landscape and complement the beauty of the Siranian nature.
As for combat, the White Siranians have a great mind for strategy and logic; they are also marksmen of considerable renown. In short, they excel at anything requiring concentration, accuracy, anticipation or coordination. On the other hand, they make very poor fighters in close combat; not because they would easily succumb to fear but because they do poorly in chaotic situations where in order to survive, one has to rely on bare instincts. The greatest horror any White Siranian can face is a situation requiring improvisation. They have no magic skills whatsoever and are uncapable of performing even the simplest of spells. Many of them practice astrology and other disciplines where thorough education and mathematical abilities are sufficient but active magic is completely out of their reach. Naturally, there is an exception to every rule and so every generation will produce a handful of individuals with a talent for magic. These persons, on the contrary, become uniquely powerful magicians as they combine in themselves the unrestrained elemental power of magic with their single-mindedness and education. The most powerful of these few is called the White Vizier and serves as the advisor to the Empress in Sirgon.
The Black Siranians live mainly in the south but are otherwise scattered all over the realm; they love the sea and enjoy a very intimate relationship with magic – which is not acquired through long years of training or the gradual awakening of powers but is – in its raw form – innate to them since birth. The subsequent schooling focuses and refines it, teaching them to control it better, but there are no major changes in the amount of power they are able to summon. As suggested by their name, they are dark in appearance; or better put, their complexion is grey-black while their other features are identical to those of their White brethren. They relish in bodily exertion and cold-water swimming, men and women both. It can be said the men are strangely attractive – this is perhaps why there are so many tales of romantic outburst between a White female and a Black male. However, these relationships seldom last and never end in a happy family with many grandchildren: just as a White Siranian can never cast even the simplest of spells, the unison of a White and a Black Siranian will never produce a child.
The Black Siranians are adventurers at heart; they are playful and sociable and easily succumb to emotions such as anger or grief, yet even the fiercest of their furies can be chased away by a kind word and is gone as fast as a passing cloud. The Black Siranians are very relaxed as far as rules, ethics and ”good manners” are concerned. One of their greatest traits is their sense of humour and the natural, direct and unaffected relationships where polyamory tends to be common practice while jealousy is practically unknown. Rather than families, they found ”households” where a larger group of people both related and unrelated live together as a community. Next to the bodily exertion, they are very close to everything physical and sensual – fine arts, dance, theatre, combat or handicrafts.
The majority of the Black Siranians are endowed with magical abilities on a certain rudimentary level – for instance, they will use telekinesis to fetch themselves a rake which is out of reach, or instinctively protect themselves against a falling flower-pot with a power shield. Only about five to ten per cent of them dispose of sufficiently strong powers and at the same time adequate single-mindedness to be able to cultivate these abilities into the true mastery of magic. These individuals serve as magicians all over the cities, towns and villages of Sirania, paid by the state and at the disposal of people; or they take a specialized position in the capital or at the universities of magic in Sairis. The highest-ranking magician among them is called the Black Vizier, who is a being of immense powers. In each generation, there is only one mage of such abilities, two at the most. Their talent is obvious from the earliest years – already as small children they cause earthquakes when they have a fit of anger, and when they sulk, there is an eclipse of the sun. Their upbringing needs to be secured by several talented sorcerers schooled not only in magic but also in child psychology.