Information taken from the 'Memoirs of Alisaunder Brodie', 'The Last of the Great Tiefs' and 'The Mortal Sunset'
I entered the grand hall of the Banking Clan, wearing my legal attire of black robes and clutching a stack of paper while waiting on a mosaic floor depicting a cog as clerks and other delegates rushed past. There was certainly a hubbub in the air, but nothing like the crowded bustle of Yuregrim so I found it quite calming. My eyes took in the caramelised colours of this waiting room of sorts as I sipped a complimentary espresso, hearing a sombre tune played on a piano in the corner by a well-dressed tiefling gentleman, his tail helping with extra notes. Front and centre though, looking down upon me was a grandiose oil painting, probably painted by some cousin in the Fierny Clan. It depicted a tiefling, looking up and reaching with one arm to a sun at the top of the piece with angels flying around it. The other arm, however, was chained to the ground where a water appeared to be rising up the figure. An informative piece on the dualistic nature of the modern tiefling, I took away from it; to reach for faith and forgiveness in Courga (the sun) while being bound by soul and blood to their damning reputation and culture.
So-named "Last of the Great Tief Clans", Clan Fierny is an ancient family of Tieflings who were once part of Tief, the grand and ancient civilisation of their peoples and culture. After an exodus of the tieflings from Tief, many isolated colonies were established across the southern hemisphere of the Mortal Realm with one of these being Alca-Tief established by Admiral Doge Fierna. Alca-Tief translated roughly into Common from Infernal was merely New-Homeland, and over the years the name was shortened by incomers for convenience to Alca.
Now, the Fierny Clan are known more casually as the Alcan Mafia, ruling the Most Serene Republic of Alca from the shadows and establishing a web of illicit activities to fund their personal artificing and banking exploits. All international maritime traders of the Holy See Territories and Kushan Empire know the name Fierny and fear it if they are not connected.
The Alcan Mafia operates entirely out of the Grand Bank of Alca, though the family business is known as the Fierny Family Institute. All members are respected throughout Alca and beyond, though the leader of the mafia is traditionally the Council of Siblings Supreme. If the mother of the ruling siblings is still alive, they will be a matriarch and hold much more significant influence, but leave the day-to-day business to her children.
The current Council of Siblings Supreme and directors of the Grand Bank of Alca are Master Artificers Zephan, Zophos and Zophaj Fierny. Their mother, Zarya Fierna, is still alive and acting as family matriarch runs the Institute.
A young Lady Zarya appreciated my clear studied knowledge of tiefling heritage and professionality. When she met with me to bring me to the Council of Siblings Supreme I respected her presence by bowing in the traditional manner as well as greeting her by 'Zarya Fierna' rather than 'Fierny'. I was informed that whenever she met with "upstart lizards from Kushan" she would hate the experience treating her with no respect until she sat on her seat in the Council, though even then not respecting the male-female differences in the Clan name. Related family means nothing to dragonborn, only the colour of the scales one brandishes.
The primary legitimate business of the Fierny Clan is the Grand Bank of Alca, which features the most secure vault in all the Realms. The Bank provides insurance for all merchant vessels seeking to sail the Sunset Sea, as well as neutral loans to any worthy gentleperson seeking them. The Bank itself is a designated neutral zone between the Holy See Territories and Kushan Empire, who can use the security of the Fierny Clan to negotiate deals between the superpowers.
Fierny Family Institute
The Fierny Family Institute is the public arm of the Fierny legitimate businesses. It financially supports many ventures and endeavours dictated by the Doge of the Alcan Major Council, as well as running the Engineering School of Armouring and Artificery (ESAA) to which the family owns and gains profit from entirely.
Not only does the Institute run a local engineering university renown across the Mortal Realm, but also builds and funds various orphanages and public schools for basic education in the city of Alca and cities with close ties such as Yuregrim in the Confederation of Vallatorlan.
Alca is known officially as the Most Serene Republic of Alca, with the title of "most serene" being utilised to enforce internationally the idea that the city-state is independent of sovereign. However, their independence is not entirely true as the oligarchic parliament of merchants, shipwrights and aristocrats in the Major Council and the ruling Doge of Alca are influenced by the powers within.
The Alcan Mafia holds complete control over the Major Council whenever they wish, having the only say on any decisions they have an interest in influencing and ruling like unofficial dictators the Doge is subservient to at a single word.
As the two of us strolled down the halls to the Council Vault, much of it was in silence as was the hushed atmosphere of further in the Bank than the entranceway. Apparently with so much advanced technology lining the hallways to impress visitors with the wealth and technical power being artificers, too much acoustics could cause serious damage. Whether this is true or not is undisputed, showing the level of fear which comes from anyone even like myself with diplomatic immunity at the time hearing the very mention of working with the Fierny Clan. In this silence down the corridors I heard the distinctive tang of someone speaking Infernal, passing a cross section where I saw one of Lady Zarya's brothers and other member of the Council, Zarał. Zarał, as always gorging himself to maintain his immense size and sitting cross-legged on a flying carpet at all times and doggedly refusing to bend the common courtesy to speak Common like everyone else does in this modern age. No, he barks in Infernal forcing a poor slave chained to him to translate his words to whoever he meets. I swear I heard the slave threaten the Doge of Alca themselves and pass money to the heads of the factions in the Major Council. Slavery and political corruption isn't even touched with a 10 foot pole by the Holy See, though we are forced to trade with these cutthroats to ensure their neutrality in this "cold war" we have with the Kushan Empire. A horrid creature who I am glad I hear now has passed away.. I much preferred the company of Lady Zarya even if I knew it was all a façade to get me to accept a deal better for Alca than Yuregrim. Although, Zarał did make me chuckle in the end when I heard his bloated body exploded during the funeral coating the rest of that family in his foetid insides.
The Alcan Mafia operates and controls a tight nit network of smugglers across the Mortal Realm, with individuals connected to the Fierny Clan being found from Yosha to Taranilla. Since the rising tensions between the Holy See Territories and the Kushan Empire, both parties have found access into the Fiernan smuggling network, paying to send information, spies and weapons between either side.
For their own muscle and bodyguards, as well as to enforce the smuggling network overland, the Alcan Mafia have strong connections to outcast druidic tribes who travel without any other loyalties. The Gold Tribe, those who have been outcast even from druidic society for their brutality, have strong connections to Fiernan operations.
"All money is a matter of belief"
The melody noted to have been heard by Ambassador Brodie Prompts Advent Calendar #12 WorldEmber Article #14
The Most Honourable Banking Clan of Alca-tief
The Fierny Family Institute
HistoryInformation lifted from'The Last of the Great Tiefs', a document describing the history of the Tiefling race and of Clan Fierny
A Great Clan of Tief
As the establishers of one of the more successful exodus colonies, when Tief was rebuilt the Fierny Clan were asked to re-join society and become a part of the new Major Council of Tief, where significant Clans would culturally rule in consideration of each other instead of religiously following the word of one theocratic dictator. It was here that the Fierny's found power for the first time with Doge's son Zophos Fierny establishing ancient trade links between Tief and the resource rich Storm Coast exclusively through their colony of Alca-Tief.
Over time, as Clan Fierny grew more in significance in the Tief Major Council who would now specialise in the illicit cartel business across the Silverlight and Siren Seas, the family would spend almost the entire year in Tief. As they could not rule it themselves, the family established Alca-Tief its own Major Council consisting of merchants, shipwrights and aristocrats as an oligarchy. One figure elected from all three factions would lead Alca-Tief into the future and report to the Fierny Clan back in Tief of any issues. This elected figurehead was given a title in respect of the founder of Alca-Tief, the Doge.
The Last Great Clan
In a time the Holy See would call the "warlord period" between the fall of the Empire of Midland and establishment of the Holy See, a Syndicate of various criminal organisations was forming in the far-eastern coast, founding in the port-city of Kernu on the Sunrise Sea. As a conglomerate of most if not all minor and major criminal organisations from petty thieves to mercenary terrorist guilds, only two factions competed with the Syndicate; the New Ebony Sun in the non-Syndicate east, and the Ancient Tief Clans who dominated the west.
In an event known as the Crime Wars, the Syndicate violently took over the leadership of the New Ebony Sun, requiring to assassinate many members of royalty in Xhinjai to purge the oldguard. Though eventually in time, the armed militias and black-hulled navy of the NES were under the control of the shadowy Syndicate ruling council or figure. And whoever ruled the Syndicate set their eyes on Tief. It was theorised by some that the Golden Lord of Xhinjai, or an other-Realmly figure, was the puppet-master of this Syndicate, though the truth has never been made public.
With the strength of the NES navy, a blockade was created around Tief and no surrounding political power dared to break it for Tief fearing the exaggerated rumours that a Demon Lord of Throff ruled this new age of criminal society, and would ensure all mortal Souls that opposed this Demon Lord's rule were dragged to Mortis Realm. A Speaker of the Syndicate was sent on a rowboat to Tief to negotiate the terms of subservience of the Major Council.
The Major Council refused to hand over their assets and territories, and so the Syndicate assaulted the last true tiefling city. All but three of the Major Council survived the Siege of Tief, with two retreating to the city of Alca with the remnants of the Tief's naval forces. A single Clan Lord was left trapped in Tief, and subsequently submitted to the Syndicate before being desposed of for their original defiance. Henceforth have Clan Fierny referred to themselves as the Last Great Clan of Tief.
The Rising War
Alca long became the resting place for scum, villainy, bounty hunters and average criminals to lay low and recuperate. While trading ships did dock there because no other safe harbours existed in the vicinity, only the merchant faction grew wealthy over taxes and the Major Council of Alca were overlords of the Fierny Clan. The Doge no longer reported to the family since drifting into independence, and Alca now defined itself as a Most Serene Republic.
Though through smuggling the Fierny Clan grew their wealth again, sending some heirs to study as artificers before coming back and branching into legitimate businesses such as banking based on the relatively new Telakeions of the newly-forming Holy See Territories. And from the bank came the Fierny Clan's comeback into power and transformed it into the ruling Mafia Family it is today, as a "cold war" of rising tensions was starting on the Mortal Realm. Acting as a neutral zone, Alca is a place where goods can be traded on both sides, as well as where equal loans can be taken out by either the Holy See or Kushan Empire from an independent bank rather than the religious temples of commerce the Telakeions developed into.
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