The Council was established in 1484 during the creation of The Pact at the direction of Richard III to take over what had previously been the royal family's responsibility for the land magic. They resolve issues with the Pact and the Silence, as well as make sure that the land magic is being properly tended. At full complement, there are 21 members, chosen through a magical trial that is individual to each person. It is possible for people to be killed or badly injured during their challenge, but it is also possible to fail and possibly try again in the future Explore a full list of Council Members who have been named in published work so far. They all generally manage to work together on Council business, but that does not mean everyone likes or trusts everyone else. It's much more common for each person to have a small number of allies on the Council they work more closely with, and for various plans and projects beyond their direct obligations to the land magic to require some negotiation. On the other hand, they are all extremely capable in a number of fields, and know how to lure their colleagues to help out.
The Council's centre is Dinas Emrys: The Council Keep, in northern Wales. Part of the Keep is open to guests, other sections are magically locked to Council Members only. This includes their private library, workroom spaces, small private offices.
Council Members take it in turn to be available for open hours, when anyone can bring a petition, as well as a rota for processing through various commonplace and routine correspondence, duties, and obligations.
The two key points of the Council calendar are the Summer and Winter Solstices. There are some ritual aspects to both (involving particular dance and musical forms as part of a ritual that has both obvious and subtle aspects.) Family members, allies and favoured contacts of the Council may attend these events, and an invitation is seen as a marker of status in the larger community.
(A few of the public events around Winter Solstice are part of Eclipse.)
Lords and Ladies of the land must present themselves with a token offering from their lands, or send a suitable alternate (such as the heir or someone otherwise able to represent them magically.) This was meant historically to be a check - if no one from that demesne estate shows up, the Council knew to investigate. In practice, it has become rather rote, with less attention being paid to the formal records than to other social and political shifts.
People in Albion have a wide variety of experiences with both the Council as an institution, and with its various members. It is entirely possible to go through much of your life never interacting much with the Council. If, however, you do things that contravene the Pact (or that involve cleaning up magic that might interfere with the agreements of the Pact), you may see quite a lot of them.
Some in Albion are deeply wary of the power they hold, and the way they don't answer to anyone else for its use. (And also, it's a group of highly competent magical folk who have their own ideas about what the world should be like.)
Cyrus Smythe-Clive is on an errand for the Council in Sailor's Jewel. (He also appears very briefly as a representative in a matter of an oath in Carry On.)
Eclipse brings Thesan Wain into contact with various members of the Council, including Alexander Landry and others at the various winter solstice events. (Isembard Fortier's brother Garin and sister-in-law Livia are both Council Members.)
The Hare and the Oak features two members of the Council, Mabyn Teague and Cyrus Smythe-Clive. They discuss their experiences on the Council.
Best Foot Forward finds Geoffrey Carillon and Alexander Landry working together on a project the Council has some interest in (getting information about what's going on in Austria and Germany in 1935). In the process, some details about choices the Council made during the Great War come out. (Cyrus Smythe-Clive also appears.)