The Shadow Network is an association of European wizards who all agree to assist each other while practicing their magic in secret. The Network works hard to guide all wizards in being discreet and safe. They had no actual leader or true organization other than sharing the symbol of the dragonfly as a promise of their willingness to help each other. More than one wizard has praised the Shadow Network for leading them through a treacherous world of churchfolk eager to hate them.
WHAT IS IT?
They have but One Law. Never reveal wizardry to the churchfolk. Doing so will result in banishment or even death if their indiscretion leads to the revealing of another wizard or speak softly shop. Not until an apprentice has become a journeymen will he or she get their dragonfly mark. This is to ensure that the apprentice is ready to live their magical life in secret and less likely to expose the other wizards to the churchfolk.
This law is very much like the One Rule the Peddlers, a traveling culture of magic, have and is perhaps the strongest reason the Shadow Network and Peddlers often help each other. It is not unusual for a Peddler to have a dragonfly mark, or one of the Shadow Network wizards to have a Peddler mark.The Peddler marks work only for the clan of Peddlers its for. When differing clans of Peddlers meet, its done more openly unless they already bear each other's marks and are meeting in a protected rendevoux.
As John/Johan, also known as The Dragonfly continued with his evasive living, he began to impress upon the other shops a need to create a more effective means of hiding their magics and, more importantly, ways to support each other. One of the first things he did was establish a symbol they could all share, the dragonfly. Churchfolk, whether Catholic or Protestant, viewed the dragonfly as sinister, and a symbol of evil or injury. This felt right as all the wizards believed this was what churchfolk thought of them, and the reason they conducted all their magical business secretly within their speak softly shops. Though he never told the others it was his real name, John using Johan while wizarding started a trend amongst the wizards. They each chose a wizard name. So began a registry of the wizards of Berlin, all with names never used except when doing business under the mark of the dragonfly. Among the churchfolk, rumors began to spread of the existance a shadow network of superstition and the occult. No one could figure out the name of the network. That was because the wizards decided to not give their cooperative association a name. Out of humor, they called themselves the Shadow Network. No one is sure when the name actually stuck.
The Dragonfly Mark
These new wizards, having been watched in secret, will be given their own dragonfly marks when they are accepted. When they get their mark, they give their new wizarding name to be placed in their master's registry, or in the registry of the Shadow Network wizard who accepts them, which is then magically added to the main register kept by Johan. When banished, the dragonfly mark is removed, cutting off that individual from seeing and accessing the Shadow Network. Its a harsh penalty and is sternly enforced for breaking the One Law.
The mark of the dragonfly is invisible to all but others with the mark or those potent enough with magic to see through its magic veil. This mark not only reveals marks others may put on their mundane shop shingles, but grants them the ability to pass through portals into sanctums and meeting "halls" maintained for the fellows of the network. Unlike the Peddler marks that work for a single clan, the dragonfly mark works for the entirety of the network. Once an apprentice becomes a journeyman wizard do they get their dragonfly mark. The Shadow Network will recruit new wizards from the ones they guide, not just from among their own apprentices.
The Shadow Network was first established by John of Berlin, a bookbinder who worked as a journeyman in the speak easy shop of the master who had trained him in magic as well as bookbinding. It all began as a way to dodge the assassins sent by his father. John was the bastard son of an ambitious prominent noble whose first legitimate son had just been born. To ensure his "proper" son would be his true heir, their father decided the bastard son had to die. Being friends with other quietly trained journeymen wizards, he managed to avoid discovery so well, the assassins finally believed his mother's tearful protestations that he had died in childhood. This took two years and, even then, John never relaxed. By the time John's father died in 1471, John was 39. He took back his real name, Johan of Tangermunde and used it as his wizard name. Humble as Johan is, he is still considered the one great authority of the Shadow Network. He does not bother to correct anyone who declares themself the greater wizard, prefering to only step in when there is trouble that might reveal the Shadow Network. At the age of 370-something, he has alot of wisdom and experience to draw upon.