Magical Academies are amongst the most important organizations in Astaria. They represent the primary source of schooling for thousands of the most powerful mages in the world; predominantly the Highborn. It is easier for Highborn to be accepted into the academies, and they represent about 70% of the students that attend. For Mystics to gain admittance, they must have already proven their considerable Thaumaturgy skills at other magical schools.
There are five magical academies: Silven Academy, The Academy of Bone, Skywood Academy, The Divine Academy, and Ankh Academy.
The first three magical academies were formally established in Year 103 when the Divine Alliance decided to declare a cooperative endeavor between the major schools of magic. This joint alliance began between Silven Academy, the Divine Academy, and Ankh Academy. The Academy of Bone was allowed to join in Year 181. It wasn't until Year 964 that Skywood Academy was admitted, thanks to the great efforts of Vakturi.
Several other schools of magic have attempted to join as magical academies. The nations of the Grand Federation, despite their large schools, have always been rejected due to the animosities and political rivalries between the nations that run the academies. The Dwarves have also demanded recognition by the magical academies, and in some cases pressured the organization by threatening to restrict access to magical resources. This has caused many political tensions, but so far the Dwarves have been denied.
Each academic year begins on the 60th day of the Season of Primordia, a tradition that ensures students will be in attendance during the full passing of the Moon of Discovery. The academic year ends on the final, 90th day of the Season of Crests. Calibration and the first two months of the Season of Primordia are not considered part of the academic year, though they often have a large attendance anyway for many extracurricular projects.
Having originally been founded in the Year 391B as a School of Divination and Alchemy, Silven Academy is considered the oldest of the magical academies. By the time it was formally established in Year 103, they were the largest campus of magic in Omna. The Divine Academy and Skywood Academy are now larger, but cannot claim to have the same length of history.
Silven Academy is based in Silven, Ember. It is a predominantly Andalus academy, though roughly forty percent of their students are from allied nations. They are particularly keen on allies from the Northern Isles; particularly the Wendori and the Ninshana. They have some tensions with the Jilak due to the Jilak's willingness to work with the Grand Federation, though they haven't severed ties due to the Jilak's importance to their own materials.
Silven Academy has always opposed the nations of Grand Federation. They are infuriated by the Grand Federation's enslavement of the Andalus, as well as their history of wars that their nations have prompted against Ember. These oppositions stand as the primary reason that the nations in the Grand Federation have no accreditation or status within the academies.
The academy is known for its knowledge and mastery of Divination, Alchemy, Magical Lore, and Rituals. They are the best academy for the study and practice of Alchemy, which is an important claim to fame that elevates their status significantly within the magical communities. Their knowledge of Shamanic magic has also earned them considerable reputation. Many believe that Silven Academy is the most prestigious of all magical academies for these reasons, though some argue that Ankh is the most prestigious.
Golemancy was discovered by Silven Academy, and is another major claim to fame for Silven. The School of Golemancy was moved from Silven to Golem after the Age of Titania to deal with the Cryos crisis. With Titania out of the picture, Cryos had begun raiding their cities and enslaving their people. Golem was meant to serve as a point of military defense. It focused on Golemancy and combat magic, and was more centralized in Ember than Silven was. It proved to be one of the most valuable assets in the wars against Cryos and Vyprus, particularly with the nature of the Andalus to avoid physical conflict.
Roughly 1400 students attend Silven Academy, with another 220 faculty: professors, teachers, mentors, committee members, maintenance, and others. Approximately 170 students are admitted each year; most of which begin around the age of ten. The standard program is nine years long, and they have a low dropout and expulsion rate.
Acceptance into the School of Alchemy is based almost entirely on talent, though some schools are possible to gain admission with some financial assistance. In particular, the School of Wizardry and the School of Linguis are often swayed by large donations from wealthy lineages. However, since the academy earns enormous profits from its Alchemical projects, talent is always important to be considered.
Of the students that attend, approximately 150 study at the School of Alchemy. This makes them the largest Alchemical School in the world, in addition to being the most prestigious. There is a greater diversity of races in the Alchemical department due to the high demands to receive admission from outside Ember.
Proving oneself in the School of Alchemy is very important for the first few years to ensure you can remain in attendance. Any student that is discovered to not be a suitable candidate will be moved to a different school.
As is typical with most Schools of Alchemy, the students are paired up into small groups that collaborate on projects throughout their education. In their later years, small groups often merge together into larger collaborations, leading to more impressive and more complicated projects.
The professors and associate professors of the school are legends. Only the greatest Alchemists in the lands can be chosen for these high prestigious positions; often those that attended Silven Academy with particularly high marks. All Alchemical professors have participated in the development of relics or similarly-valued alchemical projects of extreme importance, and they are provided with similar resources on campus to continue such projects.
The Office of Alchemical Projects oversees the creation of all magical artifacts in the school, ensuring that all necessary magical materials are available. They choose projects based on the demands of their magical artifacts and what can most benefit the school and the nation of Ember.
Several Alchemists at the academy are studying to be selected into the School of Golemancy in Golem. However, being chosen for the School of Golemancy requires that one be an Andalus or Dwarf. Since Golems have proven to be their primary method of security, they are highly secretive about their technologies. The inclusion of Dwarves into Golemancy was a decision based on their proficiency with crafting and a means to forge a stronger alliance between them, since the Dwarves control the overwhelming majority of magical materials.
Many Alchemists that attend the academy will continue their terms for twelve to fifteen years; partially due to the need for additional training, and partially because of the opportunities that exist at the academy. After their initial nine year term is completed, Alchemists can earn money as supplementary teachers or mentors for younger students. Additionally, their services will now be purchased by the school.
The School of Shamanic Lore is the second most prestigious school at the academy, and arguably the most prestigious School of Shamanic Lore in the world. However, despite its exceptional reputation, many would prefer to study shamanic lore at Ankh Academy due to the elemental shrine present there.
Students are not immediately allowed to attend this school as Shamans; they must first attend at least three years of standard Wizardry at an official academy before they can be considered as candidates. On rare occasions this policy may be relinquished due to extraordinary talent. Many candidates were also interested in the introductory classes offered by the school prior to being considered as applicants.
Once a student has been accepted as a Shaman in training, their projected term of their stay at the academy increases to ten years after acceptance. The journey of a Shaman is far more extensive and difficult than most other schools.
The majority of the students that take classes in the School of Shamanic Lore are specifically training to be Shamans. There are roughly 250 Shamans that actively study at the school. Some students attending the academy as Wizards may attend certain classes to study specific interests or as supplements to certain talents, though they represent the minority.
The Shamans are expected to perform collaborative rituals across Ember, and in later years may be expected to participate in major rituals in other nations. They make several trips throughout the year, though at least 80% of their time will typically be spent in Silven. Their traveling groups are known as the Silven Shamans, and are regarded very highly in the places they travel to due to the services they provide.
Acceptance into the school as an official Shaman is difficult, as Shamans of this caliber are widely considered the most powerful mages in the lands.
The Silven Academy's School of Divination is not quite as stressful as the School of Alchemy, though it is still the most prestigious School of Divination in the world. As such, it has very high expectations of their students, and it has the highest rate of dropouts in the academy.
Approximately 100 students attend the School of Divination as their primary school, and are known as the Diviners. However, most other students that attend the academy will take classes at the School of Divination. This school is known for being highly skilled at unlocking the natural intuition in their students. Those who graduate as Diviners are regarded as the practitioners of the highest and most complicated forms of Divination.
Most of the Diviners that are accepted into the school are Andalus due to the race's natural affinity with intuition and divination. There are several classes dedicated specifically to the Andalus' unique Celestial Veins and the meanings and interpretation of what they mean. Some of this knowledge is purely speculative. It is uncommon for any non-Andalus to attend these classes, though there are no official policies that enforce this.
Silven Academy is a major contributor to the Marble Routes and has a strong influence over it. They have strongly resisted the presence of the Marble Route through Cryos, and has impeded its progress so far. They tried to resist the construction of the Marble Route through Vyprus territory, but were unsuccessful.
However, due to Silven's opposition, Vyprus was imposed with military and diplomatic laws that swore them to cease all military action against Ember and its citizens. Any such military action would immediately compel the other nations to declare war on Vyprus. This pact includes Titania, which was one of the major conditions that Titania was expected to maintain to gain access to the route.
Ember is still allowed to deny entry to Vyprus, but Vyprus must grant the full and open use of the Marble Route. Vyprus was unable to influence this decision, and it has become a major source of political contention. Ember has a major checkpoint set up on their border to prevent those without proper authority from passing.
The Silven Academy had ensured many treaties with the Jilak on behalf of the Ember government. In exchange for the critical materials and services that the Jilak provide, Silven has produced and regularly repaired their magical ships. This aspect of their relationship is very strong, though there are still many tensions due to the Jilak's relationship with the Grand Federation.
Though the Dwarves have threatened to impose sanctions on the magical academies for their schools not being recognized or accredited, the Silven Academy is considered a strong ally. The Silven Academy has been vocally supportive of accrediting the Dwarves, claiming they have been a remarkable contributor to magic. In particularly, they feel the Dwarves have advanced Alchemy tremendously.
Though the academy does acknowledge that the Dwarven magic is relatively limited and certainly quite benign by comparison to the other academies, they have nevertheless been persistent in their recommendations. They don't, however, support the Dwarven sanctions. They feel that would be an inappropriate reaction and have told the Dwarves their support would end if that ever happened. This would result in a few consequences; one of which is that their access to the magical schools in Ember would be denied.
When the other nations of Celsia fled to Omna toward the end of the Dark Age, Arcanus scrambled to reorganize their schools of magic. It was of critical importance to them that their Beastmasters have proper support and backing available at all times. Ankh was chosen as an ideal location due to its proximity to a magical ley line, which would allow the eventual creation of a magical shrine.
By Year 3 most of the Beastmasters and magical students of Arcanus had congregated in the area, and by Year 10 most of the critical buildings necessary for schooling were completed. The campus evolved considerably over the following centuries, with its original investments heavily dedicated to Beastmastery and Alchemy.
The academy was officially established in Year 103 along with the Divine Academy and Silven Academy. Their magical shrine had also been completed by this time. Overall, Ankh Academy has roughly the same overall degree of prestige as Silven Academy; but in very different ways.
Roughly 1000 students attend Silven Academy, with an additional 170 faculty. Approximately 130 students are admitted each year; most of which begin around the age of ten. The standard program is nine years long, and they have a low dropout and expulsion rate.
Admission to Ankh Academy is based heavily on talent, though it is also subject to the monetary contributions by those who can afford it. Any Beastmaster with Arcanus lineage is automatically enrolled, including those who have been chosen to receive a Thetastone but have not yet had it surgically implanted.
Students at the Ankh Academy are used to living amongst animals. This suits their environment well, since most of the attendants are Elves, Leos, and Humans that live in the major forested areas of Omna.
Due to the number of familiars available from the efforts of the Beastmasters, most students will possess at least one familiar within a few years of attendance. Familiars are earned based on overall aptitude of the mage; more talented mages get to choose their familiars first. Having a particularly powerful or unique familiar is therefore a considerable source of prestige in the academy, as it can somewhat correspond to your degree of talent.
Those who don't practice Beastmastery are expected to attend courses on the handling of familiars before being given any. Beastmasters release most of their familiars to the school, but often keep one or two of their favorites; as a result, the Beastmasters usually have the most interesting ones available.
Ankh Academy is known for their uncontested mastery of Beastmastery. They were the source of inspiration for all other magical orders and schools that sought to discover its magic. However, no other magical organization can remotely compare to the level of proficiency achieved by this school. Their ancient beasts are legendary, and their knowledge on the subject is without equal. Even the Beastmasters of the Academy of Bone marvel at the talent displayed by Ankh Academy.
Beastmasters are expected to harness a variety of beasts to practice several techniques and discover their best practices. Throughout their terms at the school they harness and domesticate dozens of wildlife creatures, in addition to the beasts they wield. This is the reason there is an excess of familiars that are given to students.
The professors of Beastmastery are those of international repute. They possess Thetastones with generations of beasts dating back to the Dark Ages; centuries older than the newest beasts that have emerged at other schools.
The Academy of Bone, originally named the University of Bone, was designated as a new location in Omna to train the elite Wendori in magical combat. It was intended to replace the Thaidoan Temple that was lost in Wendos to the demonic forces. They decided that the Bonesmen and Necromancers should be trained in close proximity as well, leading the development of several schools of magic in the area.
The academy was officially accredited in Year 181, less than a century after the academies emerged. The Wendori had been identified as excellent allies by the other magical academies who sought to strengthen their alliance. Arcanus decided to offer additional assistance the Wendori by helping them set up a basic school of Beastmastery.
The location chosen was deep in beast territory in the Dredges, which suited the Wendori's nature just fine. It was not uncommon for Wendori to die during their schooling due to the risks they faced, though it was still less risky than living in most cities in the Dredges. Over the centuries, life at the Academy of Bone has gotten safer; primarily because a wall had eventually been erected to help contain the issue. This increased attendance by outsiders, such as the Ninshana and the Andalus.
Roughly 800 students attend Silven Academy, with an additional 120 faculty; many of which are healers. Approximately 140 students are admitted each year, a small number of which die during schooling. Most Wendori students begin training around the age of eight if they've shown potential at the elementary magical schools, though other races typically begin later around the standard age of ten.
The standard programs vary between eight and ten years long. Wizards and Combat Mages have an eight year course, while the special courses (Thaidoans, Beastmasters, and Bonesmen) have a ten year course. Alchemists are not admitted if they are not Bonesmen. The Wendori essentially never drop out, though they occassionally die. Non-Wendori have a moderate dropout rate.
Admission to the Academy of Bone is based strictly on talent for the Wendori, and based on forging alliances for outsiders. Any Beastmaster with Wendori lineage is automatically enrolled, including those who have been chosen to receive a Thetastone but have not yet had it surgically implanted.
Nearly all of the students that attend the academy are combat mages. To ensure proper combat training, they are regularly given real-life opportunities to prove their abilities. During any off-hours, it is encouraged by the school to attack and beat up opposing students to score points for your team. No permanent injuries or harassment is allowed, and healers are always on standby. It is permissible to miss classes on occasion if you were caught up in legitimate fights. Punishments will only be applied if too many classes are missed.
Teams are approximately eight to ten people within the same class, though Thaidoans and Beastmasters have smaller teams due to their elite status. Students are assigned threat ratings, which correspond with their point value for scoring purposes. Fights may also be valued at a higher challenge ratings if they are against multiple opponents. It is rare to score points against lower ranks unless they have multiple attackers. Team fights are common, and it is encouraged for others to join into combat if they see a good opportunity.
Teams are only scored against others in the same class. Each team poses different types of threats, particularly when united, giving all students the opportunity for unique exposure to combat as they grow.
Once a class has aged to the fifth year, faculty members are considered valid targets. Faculty members will also attack students at their discretion.
Bonesmen and Necromancers cannot be attacked by others. They have unique immunity to the otherwise heavily chaotic series of battles that is regularly underway at the school. Bonesmen are allowed to empower their teams through the creation of artifacts, weapons, and armor. Necromancers, if present at the school, are encouraged to be tacticians and leaders.
The Divine Alliance is largest, oldest, and most prestigious magical order in Astaria. Their history dates back to the Age of An'yus, founded by An'yus himself for the purposes of preparing for an invasion of a race from another realm. When this prophecy turned out to be true, they were prepared, and assisted Deros in his rise to power. They believe themselves responsible for the saving of Astaria, as their preparation and strategic maneuvering allowed the necessary defenses to emerge that saved what exists of Astaria.
The Divine Alliance has a strong guild presence in many of the major cities. The city of Catalyst in Aster is the center of their empire, and is where most of the members of the High Council live. They operate the magical academy of Catalyst and initiated the creation of the Marble Route.
After the Dark Ages passed and the civilizations of Astaria were forced to retreat to Omna, the purpose of the Divine Alliance altered; it became far more politically motivated and somewhat less interested in participating with the defense of Astaria. With Titania and the surrounding forces now equipped to deal with the demon wars, the Divine Alliance was free to consider new agendas and focus on domestic issues.
Many of the objectives that the Divine Alliance has undertaken have been very beneficial for the world, though many also feel that the leadership has manipulated the order into being a source to isolate power into the hands of particularly powerful and well-connected mages.
There is a very well-structured heirarchy in the Divine Alliance, though over 95% of the members never achieve any rank beyond Magus.
The High Council is the official ruling body of the Divine Alliance, and consists of four to six Patriarchs at a time. They are responsible for all decisions of the order, and how all implementations of their rules will be delegated. The High Council officially resides at the Marble Palace in Catalyst, Aster. They meet officially on the first day of each season. If any member of the council is not present, they have sacrificed their opportunity to vote on any matters affecting the order.
The order is governed by a handful of Patriarchs in the High Council. There have never been any Matriarchs in the history of the organization, but the title exists for any females that enter the High Council. Despite an equal balance of magical talent amongst males and females, the High Council and other powerful ranks within the Divine Alliance has always been disproportionally governed by males.
The public impressions about the High Council are very different than the reality. Most of the public, and most of those within the Divine Alliance, believe the Patriarchs to be a collective of wise and powerful mages chosen by higher powers to direct the organization, or the descendents of important mages given lineage by An'yus. That's also the impression that Patriarchs want to give. However, the High Council is actually quite corrupt and political, with many secrets and internal rivalries.
Patriarchs tend to be from the same lineages of magical houses due to nepotism, wealth, and typical politics. In addition to being a Highborn mage of exceptional power, only those in very powerful positions or with great wealth will ever be selected. Most are business tycoons or powerful leaders of large states or countries and are expected to bring something of great value to the organization.
The High Council considers the Divine Alliance to be the rightful rulers of civilization. Most of its Patriarchs follow the Church of Paragons, and acknowledges their own status within the Divine Alliance to be proof of their contributions. They collectively agree that all nations should unite under their rule, but this has proven exceedingly difficult to organize for a number of reasons: Titania's ascension and detachment from their order, internal political conflicts, countless distresses for the order to deal with, inability to sufficiently dominate foreign affairs, and more.
Patriarchs are expected to wear the most opulent and powerful magical robes in the lands. If a robe has not been painstakingly tailored to the individual with over two years of customization and magical imbuing by a group of master alchemists, it will surely not suffice. A Patriarch must fund these robes himself and will not be publicly recognized as a Patriarch unless they have been recognized as suitable. Similar rules apply to their Aurostones and any channeling devices they wield.
Many individuals have been refused the role of Patriarch for failing to create adequate equipment. As such, those who believe they may attain the position spend massive fortunes to perfect their equipment. This further ensures that only those of extraordinary wealth and influence could conceivably become a Patriarch, particularly since only Archmages are allowed to be appointed. Once appointed, a Patriarch's robes always possess the full Patriarch symbol.
If a Patriarch makes a public appearance, they are expected to be dressed in their full magical attire. For events, they are to be flanked by at least two powerful mages within the Divine Alliance that have attained the rank of Disciple or higher.
The Archmages are responsible for overseeing operations of a large territory or a major project for the Divine Alliance; such as the nations of the Grand Federation, the development of the Marble Route, the Catalyst Academy, or their international trade operations. There are usually twelve to fifteen Archmages appointed at any time, each of which acts as the primary authority of their branch within the Divine Alliance.
The rank and position of Archmage is appointed by the Patriarchs and is one of the largest sources of conflict amongst the High Council. Each Patriarch tends to favor a particular set of houses or lineages. The appointments usually require the majority approval of the High Council, often resulting in territories or projects with no Archmage assigned for extended periods of time. Wealth or favors often exchange hands to finalize these appointments. In the end, such appointments are less to do with skill of running the project and more to do with politics, worldly resources, connections, influence, and magical power.
Archmages are expected to be nearly as powerful as the Patriarchs, since all Patriarchs served as Archmages before being appointed to the High Council. Though there is still a disproportionate number of males that fill these positions, females sometimes achieve this rank. Since females are unlikely to ever become members of the High Council, their appointments are often approved with less contention than males are.
Exceptionally high clearance is given to Archmages; almost as much as the High Council, particularly within the projects they are appointed to. There are many things expected of them in their position, but they are granted access to many of the resources available to the order; including their many magical assets.
Similar to Patriarchs, Archmages have certain expectations about their magical attire and equipment. Though these expectations are not as high as those of the Patriarchs, it is taken into great consideration when their positions are appointed.
When a Magus is given the rank of a Disciple, it is almost always because they were chosen as the direct subordinate of an Archmage. They are typically delegated the most important tasks of the Archmages, report directly to the Archmage, and are often put in charge of their own teams.
Roughly one in twenty Magus will attain the rank of a Disciple. The rank comes with a great deal of respect and authority within the order, but is not necessarily associated with a specific position. It is common for Disciples to serve as mid-level project overseers, headmasters of local guilds, foreign ambassadors, or to fill positions that require particularly strong skills in a given occupation.
Those that possess the rank of Disciple are often assumed to possess authority to command those of lesser rank. As long as this authority is not abused, nobody really questions it. However, this is mostly an unstated rule of seniority; most Disciples have subordinates that work beneath them, and those are the only members that are officially expected to obey them.
Any Magus that wants to become a Disciple must have the "Chosen" symbol embroidered into their robes – indicating that they have been a significant benefit to the order. After that, they must be chosen by an Archmage with an interest in them; or, in rare cases, be elevated by a Patriarch. Archmages may not assign more than one Disciple every year without the approval of a Patriarch, making it an important decision.
Disciples are privileged members of the guild that receive many benefits from the order: access to many of the order's magical locations and Shrines, artifacts, finances, and more. They are also informed of the meanings of many secret guild symbols that lower ranks are unfamiliar with. Disciples may be expected to be the visual representatives of their local guilds. As such, they must be outfitted with proper robes and symbols to emphasize their importance.
Magus is the standard rank of those within the order, and they greatly outnumber all other ranks. There are roughly twenty Magus for every Disciple. However, any rank within the order is considered prestigious. The Magus don't possess any special titles within the order, but are expected to represent the guild with extraordinary esteem. The Magus either take their rank within the guild seriously or risk being excommunicated from it.
Prospective members are encouraged to learn Thamos. Without the knowledge of Thamos, members will have a much harder time gaining entry. Members use the dialect amongst other each other and when speaking in public as standard practice.
Most Magus were brought into the guild as Neophytes or Apprentices and had to earn their full position. It is uncommon for anyone to bypass this requirement, though it is not unheard of that some local guilds will make exceptions when actively trying to recruit an individual of high reputation; or someone that could greatly benefit the guild.
All Magus are expected to be fully trained in the order's philosophies and customs. They are able to take advantage of most of the guild's benefits of memberships: access to many of their magical locations, Shrines, businesses, magical libraries, assets, and more. They are paid extremely well for membership, as well as have many opportunities and contacts, but in exchange are expected to assist the order with its needs.
Neophytes are the initiates of the order. All initiates must be Highborn to be considered for membership. During their initiation they must prove their value, dedication, and loyalty to the order. The must also complete their training that can last for years, often while they are scholars of an academy.
Neophytes are instructed not to publicly represent the guild, as they are still under a strict probationary period. If the guild does not feel that the Neophyte will be a good fit, they will ask them to seek initiation at a later time or disband them from the order completely. Neophytes are therefore given a strong incentive to accept the philosophies and practices of the organization.
Some Neophytes may have a mentor that introduced them into the order, and will receive the title of "Apprentice." Apprentices usually have an easier time gaining admission into the order due to their connections. They may also command more respect than Neophytes for the same reason, but are officially still Neophytes. All Neophytes, regardless of their mentor, are expected to obey the higher ranks.
Attire is very important to the Divine Alliance. All members of the alliance must wear robes that meet the official requirements, embroidered with the symbols that represent their status within the order. These robes allow the public to immediately identify anyone as part of their prestigious organization. If the observer is aware of the meaning of the symbols worn, they would also be able to identify the exact powers and status of the wearer, as well as their achievements within the alliance.
The symbols are particularly important for status within the alliance. One's level of importance within can be roughly estimated by the amount of surface area on their robes that are covered by symbols. Symbols that possess greater significance are made larger, or have multiple symbols associated with them. Members are expected to know what the standard symbols mean, though some symbols are kept secret. Those of higher rank will often wear symbols that the public and the lower ranks are unfamiliar with.
The "Chosen" symbol is one of the most desired, at least within the Magus ranks, and is a requirement for any rank above Magus. It represents someone who has been marked as a true honor to the order. It is not handed out lightly; only one in four members will ever attain this symbol, and many may have spent decades of effort to earn it.
There are many symbols that are used to define membership roles. A "Warrior" symbol represents mages that have fought battles on behalf of the organization, a "Tracker" symbol represents mages that have tracked down crucial information (often through divination or perception magic), a "Diplomacy" symbol represents those that have performed diplomatic relations with major organizations, a "Hunter" symbol represents someone that has successfully avenged a major grievance against the alliance (such as a murder of one of the members), and so forth. There are dozens of symbols to represent the various roles that can be achieved.
A member's rank is also considered to be one of the role symbols. Every rank has a symbol that expands from the rank beneath it. The Disciple symbol, for example, is an expansion of the Magus symbol.
The power symbols are used to reveal the powers that a mage knows or uses. Since magic varies considerably, these are often broken into groupings, such as "Minor Psychokinesis" and "Major Psychokinesis." These groupings are used to roughly indicate the competency with those magical talents.
Symbols of stronger powers are extensions of lesser powers; such as the Major Psychokinesis symbol being additional strokes on the Minor Psychokinesis symbol. By knowing the base symbol of a magical sphere, it is easy to identify how much power one has with that sphere. The translation is as simple as more markings means more power, though markings also have their own unique meanings for those who can understand them.
There are a few honorary symbols, such as the "Benefactor" symbol (one that has made a substantial amount of financial contributions to the order), the "Ancestry" symbol (one that has strong lineage and history within the order), and so forth. Honorary symbols are not as large as other symbols, but are still considered important enough to be marked on the robes.
The Divine Alliance only accepts those who they would classify as Highborn mages. If they are uncertain whether or not someone would be universally recognized as a Highborn, they won't consider that individual a Highborn.
Once someone has been proven to be Highborn, they are allowed to enter as a Neophyte if they have someone vouch for them or if they have paid for the cost of their training in advance. The cost of training is equated to being roughly three years worth of personal tutoring by a master thaumaturge, even if they don't require three years of personal tutoring. The cost is difficult even for many Highborn to afford, which allows the order to be more exclusive with their recruiting processes; as well as provides them with an exceptional source of income by those lineages that will pay whatever fees necessary to ensure a connection with the order.
For the purposes of protecting the order's influence and control, the High Council maintains many secrets that are jealously guarded: knowledge, clearances, magical locations, major assets, and more. However, many magical lineages within the High Council are only loyal to their own houses and keep secrets of their own, passing them down through their lineage in an attempt to solidify their own power.
The Divine Alliance believes that magic is a higher evolution of power and that it is their responsibility to advance civilization toward this greater elevation. Though the Church of Paragons is not their official religion, their philosophies align with it fairly well. Many of their members follow it as a result.
The order will aggressively track down and bring vengeance to anyone that threatens or takes actions against their members. They take these matters very seriously, and use it to ensure the general security of their order. Therefore, being part of the Divine Alliance comes with a strong degree of protection. Anyone that targets them has their immediate hatred and will be forced to deal with many powerful rituals of divination until they are located and destroyed.
When matters are of particular importance, they may occasionally rely on Raveneye's services to fulfill a protective order. The order doesn't like admitting it has any official operations with Raveneye, but their services can be invaluable to the order.
The Divine Alliance has many different agendas, and these interests change over time based on the higher-ranked individuals within the order. The overall goal by the High Council tends to align very simply with the acquisition of more power. How that is achieved is often up for debate.
Typical members at the Magus level are often responsible for maintaining the local interests of the guild, which remain reasonably consistent. These responsibilities include providing magical services, ensuring that local politics favors them, encouraging followers of their cause, assisting with trade and communication, magical research, development of magical assets, assisting with research or tracking down important information, coordinating combat groups, running local businesses owned by the Divine Alliance, and otherwise increasing the influence of the order.
|Office of the Grand Federation||Moderate||Handles diplomacy with the nations in the Grand Federation. Embassies are set up in each nation.|
|Office of the Northern Isles||Moderate||Handles diplomacy with the Northern Isles, particularly with Trident. There are embassies in Trident and the City of Bones.|
|Office of the Woodland Embassies||Moderate||Handles diplomacy with the Woodland nations.|
|Skywood Embassy||Very High||Handles international diplomacy through their Skywood embassy. This is a key division of the Divine Alliance. The appointed Archmage is expected to be a master of diplomacy and perform their job exceedingly well.|
|Terra Embassy||High||Handles diplomacy with the Dwarves through their embassy in Terra. This is an important branch due to its relation to accessing magical materials.|
|Office of Jilak Affairs||Moderate||Handles diplomacy with the Jilak from embassies located in Silven and Skywood.|
|Office of Titania Embassies||Low||Handles diplomacy with Titania. There are three embassies located in Titania. This office is publicly stated as being of great importance due to their history, though in practice is of very low importance due to Titania's nature of political influence.|
|Raveneye Embassy||High||Handles diplomacy with Raveneye at a secret embassy. The order prefers to keep this knowledge away from the public eye. Archmages that accept this role must be trained in a variety of covert operations.|
|Vixen Embassy||Moderate||Handles diplomacy with Valen through the embassy in Vixen, particularly with the drug empire and House of Maidens. This division is considered relatively significant, partially due to personal interests by high-ranking members within the order.|
|Ministry of Marble||Moderate||The most prestigeous position in the order, as well as one of the easiest, and one with the greatest likelihood of raising status to Patriarch. The appointed Archmage acts as the overseer of the Marble Palace and Marble Route. Very low responsibility, but expected to perform well. This position is often appointed with the intention of preparing an Archmage to become a Patriarch.|
|Bureau of International Trade||Very High||This branch is appointed to extremely talented bureaucrats that can run major operations smoothly. The Archmage will be expected to perform admirably, and is likely to stay there for a very long term. It is a very prestigeous position, but one that is unlikely to advance to Patriarch due to their importance.|
|Association of International Games & Sport||High||This division is responsible for overseeing the official international competitions of Astaria.|
|Catalyst Academy||Very High||One of the most prestigous positions in the order, and one actually deserving of it. The appointed Archmage oversees the Catalyst Academy. This position is commonly responsible for the elevation to status of Patriarch.|
|Office of Magical Research||Low||Even though the Divine Alliance is responsible for a lot of the important magical research being discovered, the actual work performed requires very little oversight. The researchers are stationed at academies where they are best suited to discover new techniques. Appointed Archmages have very low responsibilities.|
|Ministry of Defense||Low||This branch was historically much more important when the Divine Alliance was heavily invested in the demon wars. It now serves little influence in outside wars; any that it does is mostly for show. These days, it is typically assigned simply to appoint an Archmage, though Obsidia has started to grow into a threat that has caught their attention.|
|Ministry of Public Affairs||Moderate||This division is responsible for providing projects that aid the public. Archmages usually like being appointed to this position due to their position as a public figurehead; however, it has lower funding than many other projects.|
|Ministry of Internal Affairs||Low||This division rarely works as it was meant to: reviewing the internal affairs of the Divine Alliance and rooting out corruption or waste. The High Council is rarely able to appoint anyone to the position due to political tensions on the matter. If it is ever appointed, the Archmage rarely looks into anyone and spends their time diplomatically keeping the High Council happy with their results by sustaining the status quo.|
Astarians typically depict demons as forces of pure evil for the sake of evil, though demons actually believe roughly the same of Astarians. Their nature is that of extreme religious zealotry and indoctrination, to the point where indoctrination is a primary component of their nature.
Indoctrination is the most important element of demonic nature. Properly indoctrinated Demonkin possess the ability to indoctrinate others, which is the ability to warp another Demonkin's mind and mental energies until it has almost completely matched their own. Only Demonkin are able to perform and receive indoctrination. The Tauron don't appear to be smart enough to understand it, and Spawn's minds reject indoctrination.
When a Demonkin is fully indoctrinated, they receive all of the sorcery powers of the Demonkin that indoctrinated them; as well as all of their beliefs, ideals, and goals. This results in the establishment of a realm where all Demonkin are very similar in nature.
It is considered heresy for a mind to reject indoctrination; those who reject it must be killed, enslaved, or otherwise punished for their crimes against the God of Fire. Beasts such as the Tauron that are not capable of understanding indoctrination are not considered heretical, as the God of Fire created them for other reasons. It is believed they were never intended to possess such elevation.
There are some Demonkin that cannot be indoctrinated to their full extent; these Demonkin are known as the Scourge. The Scourge, or the Ungrateful and unworthy of the God of Fire, may still possess traces of indoctrination; however, their minds are filled with too many chaotic thought patterns to adopt its purity. The Scourge are considered similar to the Spawn in that their deaths are trivial and of little concern.
It is not immediately apparent when a Demonkin is a Scourge. Most Scourge, if they are aware of their own condition, will attempt to conceal their nature by pretending to be fully indoctrinated. However, this can be difficult. Their sorcery powers are typically much weaker than average Demonkin, making them easier to identify. This is especially true if they were indoctrinated by a Demonkin of a higher generation, since their powers are more profound.
Parents of Scourges may not be willing to acknowledge that their child was a Scourge, as this reflects poorly on them; particularly if that was their only child. Most Scourges that survive managed it because their parents recognized their nature and actively sought to avoid anyone discovering them. Parent don't do this out of interest in the child, it is a purely selfish act to avoid their own loss of social status.
The Scourge are the most free-minded and intelligent of the Demonkin, which is precisely why their indoctrination doesn't work as effectively on them. Most Demonkin minds are easily malleable into specific mental patterns, whereas the Scourge are naturally curious, creative, and intelligent in ways that don't fit into the nature of indoctrination. Additionally, since their minds cannot be fully indoctrinated, they possess much more freedom in discovery and knowledge than other Demonkin can acquire.
It is rare for Scourge to live long, however. They are usually identified at some point, often because someone suspected them and made an accusation. Due to the religious zealotry of the demons, an accusation pulls a lot of weight, and the accused are seen as guilty until they can prove themselves innocent. Once discovered, the Scourge are often sacrificed to the God of Fire as part of a sacred ritual.
When Demonkin are indoctrinated, they are assigned a generation that is one step lower than the Demonkin that indoctrinated them. A first generation Demonkin has to be indoctrinated by the Source himself, the leader of the Church of the Purest Blue Flame. A second generation Demonkin is indoctrinated by a first generation Demonkin, and so forth.
It is possible to be indoctrinated many times, and Demonkin strive to raise their generation by being indoctrinated by increasingly higher generations. In theory, this will always make them slightly more powerful; in practice, that's somewhat subjective. Even though indoctrination carries over most of a Demonkin's power and beliefs, each mind is slightly unique and may possess slight modifications of power and thouht. It is possible, though unlikely, for lower generations to possess more powerful magic than higher generations.
Since Demonkin are selected for higher generations when they prove themselves worthy, often through greater power or displays of might, the highest generations tend to be the most powerful amongst them. Consequently, it is generally beneficial to raise ones generation for the purposes of power acquisition as well as the heavenly pursuits.
Demonkin of the first generation tend to be roughly twice as powerful as those of the lower generations; such as those in the eighth to twelfth generations. The purity of their magic as attained directly from the Source grants them incredible power. Demonkin of the lower generations are discouraged from having children if they are below the tenth generation, and may even be killed as heretics if they are below twelfth generation.
Demonkin believe that the sun is the God of Fire; a living, sentient god that sought out their realm and created life. The God of Fire is responsible for all life, magic, and power in the universe. He now watches over the Realm of Fire and the Chosen Ones, the Demonkin, and their subordinates.
The moon, which is simply known as the Goddess, is the loyal female companion of the God of Fire. The Goddess serves the God of Fire by granting the Demonkin the power of indoctrination so that those worthy can receive his power.
Stars are believed to be the Gods of Darkness; their wicked nature is responsible for the evils of the world. Even though they are weak and pitiful, they are many in number. When the God of Fire is absent, the Gods of Darkness appear and try to influence the world with their evil. The Goddess is often around to protect the demons. However, when she is not there, the Gods of Darkness are most powerful. When the God of Fire is present, the cowardly Gods of Darkness flee.
Demonkin believe that they will go to heaven and that their worth and position will be determined by their level of generation. The closer they are to the Source, the better their elevation in heaven will be. Some Demonkin were born more favored by the God of Fire, as they began their indoctrination at higher generations to begin with. Others are expected by the God of Fire to prove their worth with greater tenacity.
Demonkin are the clear rulers of the demons. The Spawn outnumber them by hundreds to one, but are completely incapable of resisting the power of the Demonkin. The Tauron are physically superior, and in some ways more dangerous, but they behave similarly to loyal dogs; they serve their masters as needed, usually for the intense manual labor that spawn can't perform without setting up a lot of gear.
Spawn are mentally superior to Demonkin, but most of them are enslaved for the purposes of mining or other trivial acts where their intellect is never fostered. The Demonkin believe the Spawn to be natural-born heretics, and as such will kill them without second thought. This is seen as perfectly natural in the order of demons, even if the Spawn was killed because a Demonkin was having a bad day or thought it would be funny to impress his friends. Spawn are terrified of their overlords. If a Spawn displeases a Demonkin, they will usually suffer a fate worse than death. Demonkin won't tolerate any misbehavior by heretics.
Their culture and religion encourages a natural order of dominance. The strongest get to indulge their passions, be served at their whim, and enjoy the luxuries of life. They are the elite and privileged members of society, and expect to always get what they want. The weak are expected to be obedient and loyal.
Demonkin always defer to and loyally serve any other Demonkin that they can clearly identify is superior to them. However, if they feel they are equal in power or greater than another Demonkin, they will expect servitude. When Demonkin feel they are approximately equal in power, their competitions amongst each other can be deadly as they seek to prove who is the alpha between them. They always expect a clear hierarchy, and inevitably get one.
The Spawn produce the entire food supply and produce nearly all goods and services in demonic society. They are forced to serve as the laborers, the shop keepers, the messengers, and all other services in society. In return, they are given enough of the goods they produce to survive; enough to keep them alive, but not enough to keep them happy or satisfied. They reproduce very quickly, which offsets their frequent deaths.
Demonkin themselves rarely contribute much of anything to their society. They possess little academic knowledge, as they have no real use for it. They aren't schooled with the knowledge of how to support an economy, and have very little intellectual understanding of the mechanics of a functioning society and the services that run them.
Indoctrination makes Demonkin very single-minded in their objectives. They possess a fervent religious zealotry that overwhelms their purpose. As a result, the demonic society would collapse without the Spawn. It is unclear if any Demonkin even acknowledge this reality; most of them certainly don't.
However, since the Demonkin can easily overpower the Spawn there is no real threat of their livelihood changing. Demonkin assert any dominance they feel they must to keep society functioning, which is ultimately quite unpleasant for the Spawn that serve beneath them.
The Demon Lords are Demonkin that act as sovereign rulers over a city or territory. All Demonkin that serve beneath them and live within their territory must obey their orders and commands, just as the Demon Lords are ultimately responsible for obeying the orders of the Church of the Purest Blue Flame.
Demon Lords are usually the highest generation in the territory. It may be contested by Demonkin with equal or higher generation. Those of lower generation may attempt to challenge, but the cost of failure is death. However, if someone of a lower generation succeeds in overtaking a territory, the Demon Lord they overtook must grant indoctrination if they demand it. Similarly, the act of overtaking a Demon Lord makes them worthy of receiving a higher generation at the first availability.
Demon Princes are the Demonkin that serve directly beneath a Demon Lord. They are typically quite close in generation to the Demon Lord they serve, if not equal to them, and their levels of power are also quite close. Demon Princes will usually have many Demonkin that serve beneath them; usually several dozen, or in some cases as many as a hundred.
It is common for Demon Lords to be challenged by Demon Princes, though less common for them to be bested. Demon Lords are given an advantage during their competitive trials, such as better equipment to defend themselves, making the position harder to take.
The demonic religion, the Church of the Purest Blue Fire, is their one and only religion. All demons are indoctrinated into it, and all those indoctrinated adopt these beliefs. Whoever is in charge of the church is believed to be the most powerful, honorable, and worthy demon. They are known as "the Source" and represent the closest connection to the God of Fire, even believed to be capable of channeling the words of the God of Fire in a limited capacity.
The Source is considered the highest generation of demons; the pure, untouched, and totally worthy Demonkin that has been elevated to the highest status for their heavenly pursuits. When the Source dies, a first generation Demonkin will take their place. These Demonkin must compete in the Trials of Fire at City of Sacred Flames, the capital city of The Realm of Fire. These trials are brutal, often ending in death, and the victor will become the Source.
The Source lives in the City of Sacred Flames to oversee the Church of the Purest Blue Flame. Most first generation Demonkin also live within the city or in the surrounding area. The further one lives from the Source, the lower in generation one typically is. This is only a rough approximation, but is a fairly strong correlation.
Females are expected to act as subservient to males and are not given positions of authority. However, since the Cult of Infernos revealed alchemy to the demons, male Demonkin have begun to treat females with more respect. This is because alchemy is attributed to the Goddess, who is using the power of the God of Fire to fashion tools of war. This has shown demons how much influence the Goddess can possess, even though it is long and tedius to create.
Children are indoctrinated once they are of an appropriate age; usually between the ages of four to six by their mother or father, and again at the age of ten to twelve. Fathers always indoctrinate their sons, and mothers always indoctrinate their daughters. There is supposed to be no mixing of male and female indoctrinations. This results in large differences in powers between males and females, since the practice has been maintained for thousands of years.
Due to the extensive presence of demons on Astaria, Astaria would be accurately classified as a demonic realm since roughly the middle of the Dark Ages. Over 90% of Astaria is currently controlled by demons, leaving only Omna as the pocket of resistance by the native Astarians. The demons believe themselves to have effectively conquered Astaria, though they are aware that a pocket of resistance still remains.
Astarians are considered heretical due to their inability to be indoctrinated. They are an offense to the God of Fire and deserve to be purged. The majority of their kind are believed to be weak-minded and possess little power.
However, Astaria is also the home of the Demon Prophet Mekhal, which is proof that the God of Fire's watchful eye over their realm has redeemed some of their souls. Mekhal was born in Astaria at the behest of the God of Fire, and he was willing to endure the sins of Astaria to prove to the God of Fire that he was their most worthy.
Because of Mekhal, Astarians are recognized as having the potential to be of service to the God of Fire in a limited capacity. Those who embrace this servitude become loyal Warlocks of the demons, and those who resist it are purged. Those who possess no magic are slain; the God of Fire did not deem them worthy enough to be considered for saving.
The Demon Prophet Mekhal created the Cult of Infernos and forged a rift between Astaria and Infernos, allowing the demons to enter and claim the realm on behalf of the God of Fire. He served as their highest commander, the Source, and was directly involved in the conquering of Astaria.
The Cult of Infernos introduced the Demonkin to the power of alchemy, which they still perform on behalf of the demons to this day. Demonkin don't possess the necessary intelligence to understand how alchemy works, nor would they occupy themselves with such a lowly task of crafting, but they acknowledge its power.
The Cult of Infernos are believed to be the Goddess' chosen servants in Astaria. Even though most cultists possess weaker magic than any Demonkin, some of them possess unusual abilities that prove worthwhile. In particular, the Demonkin attribute the power of alchemy to the Goddess. They believe she allows the fabrication of the powers of the God of Fire into physical artifacts of war; something that the Demonkin are very keen of.
Demonkin that fight in the wars against Omna tend to be in the lower generations; usually in the range of the eight to twelfth generations. Most of the Demon Lords in the surrounding territories tend to be sixth or seventh generation.
One of the primary reasons that the demons fighting around Omna are lower in generation is due to their great distance from their capital city, the City of Sacred Flames, on their home world. Two continents and an ocean must be traversed to return to the Carthen Rift that leads to the Realm of Fire. Once through the rift, another continent must be traveled to find oneself in the City of Sacred Flames where the highest generations live.
Those Demonkin that seek to prove themselves worthy through glorious battle must travel great distances to do so, and will typically return to the Realm of Fire once they have achieved victories that would be sufficient to elevate their generation.
Demons in Astaria often have native Astarians that live in their cities and serve the Cult of Infernos. Most were captured in war, though a small number were collected voluntarily through the Cult of Infernos. Those who are unable to produce anything of value are purged or forced to live in the same conditions as the Spawn. Those who can serve the Demonkin with the production of magical goods are rewarded.
Warlocks are mages that serve as demonic agents of the Demonkin. Their role is to infiltrate Astarian societies to gather intelligence, assassinate targets of interest, disable defenses, and cause problems that can help the demonic efforts. They also actively seek to recruit others to their cause, though this process is somewhat dangerous due to the possibilities of exposure.
Typically, cultists of the Cult of Infernos that don't possess the talent of alchemy become Warlocks. Like Demonkin, they are expected to prove their value to demonic society. Despite their efforts, Warlocks aren't a major influence in the fight against Astaria. Most that cause any significant harm within Omna are discovered and killed fairly quickly, and usually in very brutal ways to make example of those who would ever join the demonic ranks.
Nevertheless, the Warlocks do have influence in some organizations within Astaria, and their network cannot be dismissed entirely. Along with all other mages in Astaria, they can access a moderate degree of wealth and influence without much difficulty; and their united cause gives them strength.
|Demonic Name||Meaning||Extra Notes|
|Y'uaga||God of Fire||Pronounced "ee-ouh-ah-gah." Demons believe the sun is a living, sentient God, that watches over their realm and now the realm of Astaria.|
|Y'ani||Goddess||Pronounced "ee-ah-nee." Demons believe the moon is a Goddess that serves the God of Fire.|
|Y'poru||Gods of Darkness||Pronounced "ee-pour-ouh." Demons believe the stars are weak Gods of Darkness that flee from the God of Fire when he is present.|
|Uun||World of Infernos||Pronounced "oohn." It refers to their home planet.|
|Ki'uun||Demonkin||Pronounced "key-oohn." Means "those of Uun" or "inhabitants of Uun."|
|Tar'uun||Tauron||Pronounced "tar-oohn." Closest translation would be similar to "dogs of Uun."|
|Por'uun||Spawn||Pronounced "pour-oohn." Means "unworthy inhabitants of Uun." They also have nicknames that translate to Ashes, Slaves of Fire, etc.|
|Poki'uun||Scourge||Pronounced "po-kee-oohn." Means "dark mark" or "sinful one" of the inhabitants of Uun. Also refers to having displeased the God of Fire.|
|Than||Astaria||Pronounced "thaan." A bastardization of the word "Carthen," the continent where the Demonic Rift exists. It was the name adopted to mean all of Astaria during early translations with Mekhal.|
|Luki'than||Demonkin in Astaria||Pronounced "loo-kee-thaan." Refers specifically to Demonkin that fight against Astarians; not necessarily just those that live there.|
|Por'than||Prophet||Pronounced "por-than." Means "sinners" or "unworthy ones" of Astaria.|
|Ki'than||Cultists of Infernos||Pronounced "kee-thaan." Refers to the Astarians that serve demons as Warlocks or Alchemists.|