The Fasallon are the ruling class of all five cities up and down the coast. Part of the world for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, THE IGNORED PROPHECY, and “Becoming Lioness”.
The Fasallon are tall, taller than the Caereans, though not quite so tall as the Dardani. They have a medium build, neither slender nor stocky. Their coloring is also between the Caereans and the Dardani. Their skin color is moderately fair. Hair color is generally light to medium brown. Their eyes are almost always grey. In fact, this eye-color is so pervasive that it has become a marker to separate the Fasallon from the Caereans. The defining characteristic of the Fasallon is their magical Talent. Most of them are able to speak to one another, mind to mind, called Far Speech, and to see things that are distant, called Far Sight. Some are able to see the future, called Fore Sight, or to tell when someone is telling a lie, called Sooth Telling. The most Talented are able to perform transformations. A first-level transformation involves masking the appearance of one’s self or of something else—making it appear to be something that it is not. A second-level transformation, which only the very most Talented can achieve, involves actually changing one’s self or another object into something else altogether. Fewer and fewer of the Fasallon are capable of these transformations, though. Their single-minded pursuit of nothing but Talent is intended to increase the number and quality of Fasallon capable of transformations. But it’s not working.
The Fasallon generally dress in the Caerean fashion, although they use finer and more costly fabrics. The dresses of the Fasallon women tend to be simpler and more elegant than those of the Caereans. They have a decided preference for the colors blue and green. And the women prefer to leave their hair down or bound in a bejeweled net. The Fasallon have a love of ornamentation. They often wear extravagant jewelry and they use fine embroidery, often with pearls and jewels, to enhance their clothes.
The Fasallon live on the tribute paid by the Caereans to the Sea Gods during the annual Festival. In return, they provide a police force (the Temple Guard), access to the Healers, and the highest level of government (the High Council). The High Council, through communication with the similar Councils in the other cities, provides a unified government up and down the coast and, most importantly, peace between all the coastal cities. Under the Fasallon, Caere has flourished. Trade is good, the city is prosperous, there has been long-term peace and there is a low crime rate. Caereans have little reason to complain about the Fasallon rule.
On the other hand, the Fasallon system has not been nearly as kind to the Fasallon. In order to maintain the system, the Fasallon have come to value only one trait—Talent. A Fasallon pure-blood, or even half-blood with sufficient Talent can rise to the highest levels of Fasallon society. Rank is dependent on Talent, not gender. A very Talented woman can easily outrank a less Talented man. One with little or no Talent is usually relegated to the Temple Guard or the Palace bureaucracy. This has created a large group of frustrated half-bloods who find their career growth stymied by their lack of Talent, no matter how good they are at their jobs. They also often find themselves in jobs that they hate or are not well-suited for, because they are not permitted to work or live outside the Temple or Palace. Rewards are also based solely on Talent, rather than performance. This is very demotivating to capable, but unTalented Fasallon and ultimately a source of unrest in the system.
At the highest levels of Fasallon society, marriages are arranged solely for the purpose of producing Talented children. Couples are rarely compatible and most such marriages are lukewarm at best. Many of these marriages are unhappy or worse. Nevertheless, divorce for a pure-blood Fasallon or a highly Talented half-blood is only possible with the permission of the High Council. At the lower levels, the Fasallon are allowed a certain amount of choice in their mates. But all marriages of Fasallon with a certain level of Talent must be approved by the High Council. Perhaps because so few marriages are happy, Fasallon men are often unfaithful to their wives. Many less-Talented half-blood, or even pure-blood, women are willing to enter into an arrangement with a more Talented man because the Talented children will boost their status. Fewer Fasallon men take Caerean women as mistresses, but it is not uncommon. Veleus is considered eccentric for preferring Caerean women and for taking care to see that they and his half-blood children are provided for. It is less common—or at least less well-known—for a Fasallon woman to be unfaithful to her husband.
A peculiarity of the Fasallon is their insistence that ALL children with Fasallon blood must be raised within their system. This has several sources. They honestly want all potentially Talented children to be part of their system. They also don’t want any Talented children to grow up among the Caereans and potentially make the Caereans suspicious about the true nature of Fasallon power. But the main reason is that they are afraid of a prophesied “Fasallon who is not a Fasallon” who will reveal their secrets and end their rule. To this end, they take all children of Fasallon men and Caerean women away to be raised in the Temple. It’s a sometimes cruel system that does nothing to decrease the general frustration, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction of the lower ranks of the Fasallon. Fasallon women, with the exception of the Healers, are almost never outside the walls of the Temple, except once a year for the Festival. Since the Healers are bound by a strict Covenant, which among other things forbids them to have sexual contact with their patients, there have been almost no liaisons between Fasallon women and Caerean men. In any event, any such infants would be born within the Fasallon system.
The Fasallon have a generalized belief in creator gods, whom they refer to as the “Lords of Creation”. The Fasallon observe a day of rest on seventh-day. When pressed, a Fasallon will swear, “Lords of Creation!”.