The Bitter Taste of Victory
The Latona Republic
The Foundry, a Latona research installation.
The Latona Republic is a magocracy, devoted to the ideals of law, order, and human exceptionalism. On a personal level, Latona are highly pragmatic; their philosophy with regard to tools and weapons tends to emphasize function over form. In fields like architecture or clothing, this primary function is the inspiration of awe. Official buildings will often have sweeping archways, sheer, seamless walls engineered with magic, and cavernous grand halls, all to draw attention to the might and glory of the Republic. Their elite police force, the Domestic Enforcers, have earned the moniker "Silvercloaks" for their uniform, which prominently displays capes fashioned from silvered cloth.
Away from the prying eyes of the public at large, however, the Shapers drop the pretense of aesthetics. The private underground laboratories and warrens of the ruling Shapers are brutally economical in design, featuring simple, squared-off hallways and stone floors cut into the bedrock, furnished with bare wood, bronze, and steel.
The Ruling Factions
The Republic is governed by a Council, whose members are elected from among the ranks of its three branches: the Shapers, the Agents, and the Guardians. Each branch has its own duties and maintains its own chain of command, but the large-scale policy decisions come down from the Council. As expected from any sufficiently large organization of wizards, the power struggles between the branches and among Council members are many and widespread, but only behind closed doors. To the uninitiated, there is but one power with three faces, all of which are ultimately Latona.
While Republic officials are elected, only those trained in wizardry at Republic-sanctioned Academies are considered to be true citizens with the right to vote, run for office, or be tried by a jury for federal crimes.
If you ask any non-citizen for the archetypical Latona, chances are they will think of a Shaper. These are the archmages, true wizards, artificers, researchers, and scholars of the Republic. Clad in sweeping robes that are kept fastidiously clean, Shapers spend most of their time doing independent research or pursuing Council-ordained projects in underground labs scattered throughout Latona territory. A Shaper on field work is notable, and usually indicates the need for arcane expertise that an Agent does not possess.
The Shapers also create and maintain the Republic's standing army of magically grown soldiers and monsters. The secret of this practice is the most jealously guarded piece of information in the world—just attempting to look into the practice of Shaping a new life form is grounds for immediate execution, either publicly by a squad of Silvercloaks in the day or privately by an Agent "troubleshooter" in the night. The Shapers work tirelessly to refine and perfect their designs, toiling away in their warrens.
If the Shapers are the mind behind the Latona, then the Agents are its eyes, tongue, and teeth. Agents are usually not pure wizards; their status as diplomats, investigators, infiltrators, and assassins leads them toward the paths of the Arcane Trickster, the Eldritch Knight, the Swordsinger, or other fusions of weaponry, skill, and magic. An Agent that you can see is usually no immediate danger. An Agent that you can't see is death incarnate.
The war may be over, but the Eastern Subcontinent is swarming with Agents of all stripes. The Viscounts in charge of the major provincial cities are all waited upon by Agent emissaries, for one, and pairs of Agents rove from town to town, hoping to catch wind of any hint of illicit magic use. Anyone could be an Agent, including the party of so-called adventurers that just rolled into town, so townsfolk keep information on magic very close to the chest.
Guardians serve as the martial arm of the Shapers, and as such they occupy a peculiar (and sometimes precarious) position. While each Guardian is trained in arcane magic to some degree, they are the ones who are most clearly not wizards in the Latona ranks. This is not to say that they are easy targets; rather, the Guardians make up for this incongruity by making themselves the absolute paragons of martial prowess in the known world. Most Guardians are highly skilled Eldritch Knights, with a fair few even using Latona magical arts to manifest powers not unlike a paladin's.
Their personal training aside, the greatest advantage a Guardian has is his mind. Each Guardian is rigorously trained in a form of psionics, allowing them to slave a squad of Shaped monsters or goliath soldiers to their will. These "creations" take mental orders from their Guardian, but are also capable of individual thought. This can range from the reptilian cunning of the fyora up to the full-fledged sapience of the goliath—although goliath are regarded as tools, not people.