The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Using natural talent and the Mark of Scribing, the gnomes of House Sivis have established themselves as the masters of the written and spoken word. In addition to maintaining the lines of mystical communication that connect the nations of Khorvaire, House Sivis provides translators, notaries, mediators, and advocates to cities across the continent.
All gnomes are touched with magic, and the scholars of Korranberg have spent thousands of years studying mystical phenomena. When the Mark of Scribing first appeared within the Sivis family twenty-eight hundred years ago, the gnomes were quick to recognize and develop its abilities. Sivis understood the power it possessed, but it also recognized the danger of being perceived as too powerful; thus, those who bore a dragonmark immediately found ways to make themselves useful to society and to distance their house from the politics of the nation. The gnomes of House Sivis were among the first of their kind to leave Zilargo and live in human lands. Today, their services are indispensable. Over the centuries they have established and maintained a reputation for absolute impartiality—a vital trait for the force that handles the communications of kings.
House Sivis loves bureaucracy. A council of nine administrators oversees operations in each of the nations; each council sends one representative to the High Council of Korranberg, which manages the affairs of the house across Khorvaire. As in Zilargo itself, positions of leadership may appear to be obtained through merit, but a great deal of political infighting, intrigue, and manipulation goes on in the shadows. The current doyenne of the High Council is Lysse Lyrriman d’Sivis (N female gnome, bard 6/dragonmark heir 4). She has led the house for almost ninety years and is known as an extremely shrewd negotiator and planner.
To the casual observer, House Sivis appears to have no goals beyond expanding its services across Khorvaire. Within the house, a constant shadow war for rank and position unfolds. The gnomes do not allow these struggles to interfere with their work or their relations with their fellows; two Sivis gnomes plotting against one another may still go out drinking and have a fine time together. In a sense, the struggles are like an endless game of chess; the gnomes enjoy the game and accept any setback as a new challenge to overcome.
House Sivis has two primary operations, the Speakers Guild and the Notaries Guild. The Speakers Guild offers the services of translators, interpreters, mediators, and advocates. In addition, the Speakers Guild maintains the network of message stations through which, for a price, a message can be sent from one station to any other station in Khorvaire. The Notaries Guild deals with written documents. Sivis scribes use arcane mark to authenticate legal documents, and they also perform transcription, translation, bookkeeping, and copying of texts. They specialize in the creation of secure documents, using illusory script to prepare missives that can only be read by designated individuals.