Sanitation Mages

A day in the life
Some mages get to protect the realm, shoot lightning bolts from their fingers, control the elements themselves in the service of the king. He got to clean the gutters of a city that never stopped growing.   Sigh...   It wasn't the most glamourous job, but it needed to get done. At least he got paid well. He didn't always appreciate the side-eye from passing citizens, especially when he heard them whispering about the Soiled Sorcerers being around and the apparent stench they brought with them. Ridiculous he thought, they didn't smell in the slightest, their uniforms enchantments protected them from carrying around any such stink. The problem was they always worked around filth, and often in filth as well, and most citizens couldn't tell the difference. Ignorant as they were. He sighed again and momentarily pushed away these thoughts so he could refocus on the work at hand.   He looked down at a rather...well...clogged...sewage well, what it was clogged with he didn't care to focus too much. You can imagine if you wish, what a sewage well would be filled with. Regardless of its contents it had backed up to the brim and was slowly overflowing onto the street. Creating quite the foul mess, indeed not a pretty sight at all, but visuals aside Central Sanitation had sent him here directly to deal with that matter. So, that meant they were concerned about a potential disease outbreak or the change of further damage to the overall sewage system. And they were the boss, so here he was, on official cleanup and repair duty.   Looking at the well he figured it was likely a clog down below in the sewers themselves causing the backup. Many of these wells are interconnected with the sewage system down below, so one blockage could cause a series of wells to back up and overflow if it wasn't resolved quickly. He better move fast or else he'd have a lot more work on his hands. A more experienced Sanitation Mage would've cast a spell to identify the problem from above, some sort of echolocation spell or something. But that wasn't him, he didn't have that sort of experience, and he couldn't harness that sort of magic, sadly that meant that he would have to be a bit more...hands-on.   Focusing, he summoned up the buzzing chatter of magical energy that all wizards, even ones at his lowly level, were so familiar with. Shaping it with a verbal incantation and a few flicks of the wrist the buzzing quieted and formed into the clear notes he was looking for, now that the sound was tuned he allowed the magic to form the necessary spell. A shimmering layer of translucent energy formed at his feet, and quickly worked its way up his entire body encasing him fully in a thin layer of protective film. He flexed his hands and kicked his feet, ensuring the spell held and didn't pop under movement, it didn't. It was a popular spell amongst his fellow mages, it allowed them to breathe clean unpolluted air, even amongst the murkiest of fouled water, while also blocking out external forces like liquid, stench, etc. Perfect for the job that he was about to do. Though the downfall was that it typically didn't last long at his current experience, so he would have to make haste. He hadn't been caught at the bottom of a full sewage well upon the expiration of this particular spell and he didn't prefer to experience that today or any day.   Stepping up onto the ledge of the well he prepared himself, he caught the gaze of a passersby and the grimace of disgust on their faces. Oh bite me, he thought before stepping off the ledge and plunging himself into the depths of the foul overflowing water of the sewage well. He had a job to do, and despite the looks they all received, he knew to be proud of the service he gave to this city. Now he needed to work fast, or else he would find himself in deep shit.
 
Educational Path
It is incredibly rare, if not completely unheard of, for a mage in training to choose sanitation as their educational path and professional goal. This is not to dismiss the importance of the role of the Sanitation Mage, but it shows the general view of the role in society. Most will join the Sumner Sorcerers College with high hopes of joining The Royal Court of Sumner and serving directly underneath King Thadeus Telvour the VIII.   Most do not meet those high standards, and instead, find themselves in various paths decided upon by the college's strict professors and educators. Over the course of each student's first year, they are closely studied by their teachers, and upon the students passing of their first year, their course will be decided for them. With such paths that may lead to work in the royal court, within the college itself, in the kingdom's national army, or even work abroad as mages on loan to allies of Heldrin.   However, some are deemed not up to snuff for those important roles, and since even the smallest of talent in magic is well sought after these students are placed within the sanitation course instead of being flat out expelled. Here they are taught rudimentary magic that allows them to clean up a variety of sanitary issues that often occur in the city. This includes spells that will help the mage seal broken sewage pipes, redirect water flow, destroy noxious materials, protect themselves from various noxious substances, and identify potential diseases and outbreaks. Upon graduation, the Sanitation Mage is sent to work for Central Sanitation, where they will be put to work cleaning up the foulest of accidents across the city of Sumner.
Work Responsibilities
The job isn't necessarily for daily cleaning services, the city has a sewer system and regular staff for daily chores. Sanitation Mages are instead sent out when a severe cleanup duty is required. These jobs are almost always dirty ones, and the mage conducts an incredibly important role and actually saves the city from frequent outbreaks of disease.   Instances of duties may include delving into sewage wells to identity overflow issues caused by broken pipes or clogs, identifying and cleaning up any sudden formations of unprotected and diseased cesspools, and on some occasions delving into the deeps of the lower sewage systems to deal with problematic pests that sometimes cause damage to the overall system.
Public Opinion
But despite this important work, Sanitation Mages are often looked at as failed sorcerers, ones that couldn't cut it at the Sumners Sorcerers College and thus was related to wallowing in filth their entire careers. Many citizens view these workers are gross, and even think they carry around the stench of filth and disease everywhere they go with them.   This rumour is wholly untrue, as the mages carry with them protective charms and enchantments to ward off stench and dirt. Unfortunately, because of their work, they are always around filth and stench, so the association of the two has always stuck. And even though they do so much good, arguably just as much if not more than mages of higher status with more prestigious titles, the Sanitation Mages are often looked at as exaggerated janitors.

Work Attire and Equipment
Sanitation Mages wear a special uniform that clearly identifies them, the uniforms also include a few special incantations to help the mages with their work. Instead of robes, that can easily track filth, Sanitation Mages wear full-length pants and long-sleeved collared button-up shirts made from thick cloth. The cloth range in colour and depend on the rank of the Sanitation Mage within Central Sanitation. The colours start at navy for lower-ranked sanitation staff, mustard for coordination and middle management staff, all the up to burgundy for senior staff and leaders of Central Sanitation. Each uniform is enchanted to allow dirt and grime to slip off of the material easily, allowing for ease of cleaning, though larger spills and messes can overwhelm this magic and dirty the material. In this case, the uniforms are sent off to Central Sanitation for a thorough cleaning.   The uniform also comes with special boots and gloves, each of which fits tightly over the pants and shirt of the uniform. Both are made with heavy leather, though the gloves are made to be a bit more supple to allow for ease of casting and dexterity. The gloves and boots are enchanted with the same cleaning magic as the rest of the uniform, however, for higher ranking sanitation members both can come with additional enchantments as well. The boots can have limited levitation capabilities allowing for traversal over large spills, pools, and the like without having to physically enter them. And the gloves have been enchanted with divination magic, allowing the wearer to quickly identify what any material is comprised of and if it contains any potentially harmful diseases.  
Central Sanitation and Assigned Districts
This is both the name of the city division that the mages work for and the official name of the building in which the Sanitation Mages gather to learn what their assignments going forward will be. Several hundred individuals work here, but only about half of them are actual Sanitation Mages, the others are clerical staff that keep track of all the administration side of the department. For such a dirty job, Central Sanitation is actually one of the most organized city-run services in all of Sumner.   The Sanitation Mages come here and meet with their assigned managers, who will let them know which district they will be assigned to for the following month or more, what to keep an eye on if anything, and any ongoing or prior issues that have occurred in the area that they should be aware of. The Sanitation Mage, or mages depending on the size of their assigned area, will then depart Central Sanitation and spend their shifts in the designated area.   Accommodations are set up for the Sanitation Mages in their assigned districts to allow them to reduce their travel time in between shifts, however, they are allowed to return to their homes if they have them, or are allowed to bunk in the dorms of Central Sanitation. However, they are excepted to work at the agreed-upon time and if they are found to not be in their designated district on time they are punished and may have their pays deducted, or if they are a repeat offender fired outright.
Summary
A not so sought after position in Heldrin's Capital Sumner, Sanitation Mages as they are officially known are tasked with keeping the city clean and protected from occurrences of extreme filth and the potential outbreak of diseases associated with such messes. Also known as Cleanup Wizards or, less flattering so, Soiled Sorcerers, these spellcasters have been given the responsibility to clean up Sumner's streets, alleys, sewers, and public places from severe spills, severe sewage system issues, and any disturbances that may affect the cities sanitization and its population's health.   These Cleanup Wizards are typically not tasked with daily cleanup duties like sweeping away detritus as most of the city has access to a large sewer system. And while not every home has direct access to the sewers, hundreds of sewage wells allow even the poorest neighbourhoods to dispose of their waste safely. However, when major incidents occur, sewage pipe breaks, cesspool overflows and dealing with potential and/or ongoing disease outbreaks that might put the city in danger the Sanitation Mages are called in.
Alternative Names
Sanitation Mages, Cleanup Wizards, Soiled Sorcerers
Type
Sanitation
Related Locations

A Sanitation Mages Enchanted Glove
These gloves are magically enchanted to be extra resilient to filth and grime with most dirt slipping effortlessly off with a small brush of the hand. Higher ranked mages in Central Sanitation often have gloves embued with other abilities including divination magic that allows them to identify any known substance or disease it may be carrying.


Cover image: Sewer by Wayne Leung Hou-wai

Comments

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7 Dec, 2021 01:40

"Dear Sir, The Soiled Sorcerers' Association, Local #12, District #6 has sent this gift basket, complete with 4 bars of handmade soap, 2 bottles of cologne, and a scented sachet to thank you kindly for a job well done. While we realize it is a paltry thanks for the crappy job you were assigned to do, we hope you appreciate the newly imbued scents of burning lava, fresh falling snow, and lavender (boring, we know). As a token of our further appreciation, we've also enclosed this discount coupon, good for one hot bath at any of your favorite local resorts (room not included; prices may vary from district to district). Yours Truly, The Board of Supervisors"   Sanitation workers are SO under appreciated! Our quality of life would greatly diminish without them. Nicely done. :)

7 Dec, 2021 03:20

Thanks! I was inspired by descriptions of night soil men in 19th century London and thought to myself, how would a mage cleanup a growing city? And I agree sanitation is incredibly important, cities wouldn't exist in the modern age without it! :)