A fane creates a permanent link between a regio and an eternal. It must be ceded to the eternal to be effective, but once that is done, it allows the heralds of the eternal to come and go freely in the surrounding area, even if their patron has enmity. The eternal can also build anything they choose in the vicinity of the fane, without needing Senate approval.
A fane can only be commissioned for an eternal on a regio that is aligned to that being. To work, the fane must be ceded to the eternal so that they can take control of the fane and the regio it encompasses. This can only happen if the eternal has a strong connnection to the regio - the only way to be sure of that an eternal is if the eternal in question has confirmed they have a connection to that regio or that they will be able to make one.
Only the senate, or a title with the ability to explicitly commission anything can create a fane. Titles such as Bearer of an Imperial Wayleave or the Master of the Koboldi cannot commission a fane. This is partly because they are a new kind of commission, and partly because they must be conceded to an eternal to provide any benefit. As a power of the Senate however, there is nothing to prevent an existing title being amended to include the ability to build a fane, nor any reason a new title could not be granted that power if the Senate wished.
Voice to an Eternal
Each fane is attended by a voice, an Imperial citizen selected to meet with the heralds of the eternal, to represent their views to the Empire and to represent the Empire to them. A new voice is automatically created when a new fane is created. It is not possible to appoint a voice for an eternal without creating a fane - since the magic of the fane is what permits the voice to meet with the eternal's servants and converse with them.
Acquisition of Realm Vis
The heralds who dwell at the fane or visit it, will provide the voice with an opportunity to acquire realm vis from them. This benefit is reflected by the inclusion of a ministry as part of a fane. It is rare for a herald to be interested in acquiring Imperial coins, but the voice is assumed to use their money to purchase things the heralds do want. In exchange, they may choose to purchase up to ten pawns of vis each season.
Communication with the Eternal
Eternals cannot enter the Empire and no mortal being can enter a realm and survive, but the primary function of the fane is to allow the voice to communicate with the eternal they serve. To facilitate this communication, the civil service will provide the voice with a single sheet of enchanted paper, similar to that used by the Call Winged Messenger ritual. The voice can write their message on the sheet, up to two hundred and fifty words, and then use operate portal at the Imperial regio at Anvil to send the communication to the fane regio where it will eventually be received by the eternal in question.
The portal must be operated by the voice or by their appointed proxy. If they cannot cast operate portal, then they cannot make use of this ability. There is no guarantee that the eternal will reply or even respond in any way and there is no chance of a response at the same summit as there is a significant delay before the message reaches the target.
An eternal may negotiate with the Empire to agree to provide additional benefits on completion of a fane. Such negotiations are usually magically binding - once an eternal agrees to provide a benefit then it is obligated to do so for as long as the fane endures. A wise eternal is likely to stipulate behaviour by mortals that will void the agreement - in the same manner as agreeing to be bound by a ritual.
- Materials: 10 wains of mithril, 10 rings of ilium
- Labour: 20 crowns
- Time: 1 season
- Upkeep: None
A fane can only be built on the site of a suitable regio - one aligned to the eternal in question. A regio of the right realm is not sufficient - it must be a regio that is in the purview of the eternal otherwise it will not be able to accept the fane even if it wants to. A fane must be ceded to the eternal in question. A fane that is not correctly ceded to an eternal provides no benefits of any kind.
Ceding a fane to a willing eternal will improve diplomatic relations between them and the Empire, but it is not without clear risks. Local inhabitants are bound to fall under the influence of the fane which may have unpredictable consequences. Amity and enmity will still be in effect throughout the Empire - heralds associated with an eternal under enmity would still find it extremely difficult or impossible to enter the Empire through any regio without ritual assistance. However, they could enter the Empire at the fane, and then simply walk from there to any other place in the Empire - just as they can travel over the Empire's borders on foot now.
Once a fane has been ceded, it cannot simply be abrogated if the Senate changes its mind. The Conclave would have to find a way to convince the eternal in question to cede control of the fane back to the Empire, or an Imperial army would be needed to retake the fane by force (as happened with the Garden of Llofir). An eternal that was powerful militarily might mount an effective defence of the fane against such an attack, but even if they don't any eternal is likely to be enraged by such an attack.
An eternal can build anything it chooses on the site of the fane without needing the approval of the Imperial Senate. An eternal that had access to white granite, or an equivalent material of their realm could eventually create a fortification to defend the fane if it so chose.
Creating a fane also risks sending a message to other eternals - that the Empire favours good relations with another eternal over them. They might request a fane of their own, or they may take umbrage, or they may be unconcerned or even unaware of the existence of the fane.
More Prestigious Fanes
A fane is a relatively small commission - it requires only enough mithril and ilium to create a permanent warding that will allow the heralds of the eternal to come and go freely through the regio. Once complete, and ceded to the eternal, they are more than capable of building anything they wish on the site.
It is possible to commission a larger structure; in effect to create a grand structure alongside the fane itself. This generally requires equal amounts of weirwood and white granite. A larger fane is more prestigious - the eternal may recognise that the Empire values good relations with them. It would be wise to agree on any enhancements with the eternal in question before the fane is commissioned - otherwise, the additional work may be unwelcome.
An appraisal can be performed by the civil service to provide more information about the benefits, costs, and potential drawbacks to creating a particularly substantial fane associated with a particular eternal.
The Empire has only recently codified the requirements necessary to construct a fane, so the Imperial Senate has never specifically created a fane. However, the Empire has created at least one commission that is largely equivalent in form and function to a fane - the most famous current example is the Grand Library of Canterspire with the attendant Emissary to the Celestial Library.
The closest thing to a fane that has been destroyed in the Empire is probably the enchanted forest that the eternal Llofir created in Tamarbode in Reikos. Llofir appears to have claimed the Sign of Tamar regio and used that to create a fane in some way - something that was only possible because the area was not controlled by the Empire at the time. The fane was destroyed in 381YE by the Highborn armies. There are also some similarities between the events at the Heart of the Tempest in Miekarova and the kind of thing that might happen if a fane were controlled by an eternal who was not a friend to the Empire.