Arcanis Academy

Through study and practice, a witch can overcome anything. Through military training and understanding of the arcane arts, a team of witches is unstoppable.
— Reginald Augustus Emerson at the opening of Arcanis Academy
  Arcanis Academy is a military-style academy that trains high-level witches and wizards how to perform both offensive and defensive magic. Positions at Arcanis are coveted and competition for enrollment is fierce. Witches from the most powerful and affluential families in Salaris attend Arcanis.  
Arcanis Academy trains students for a career either in the military as Wizard Officers (WOs) or as Academy Elites, graduates employed by Arcanis in a para-military fashion. Both career paths offer excellent opportunities for advancement and many go on to politics and other influential careers after completing their service to the academy and/or their country.   The academy acts as both an institute of higher learning and a mercenary
organization, as government agencies, wealthy merchants, and others can pay for the services of academy cadets and Elites. Low-risk assignments are given to cadets as training exercises, while higher-risk and covert operations are performed by Academy Elites.


Founded in the year 360 of the Divided Era, Arcanis Academy has shaped the history of Salaris for hundreds of years. Academy cadets and Elites have been involved in everything from war to covert operations to security details and everthing in between. Some ambassadors to other countries are even rumored to have Elite academy training.  

Founding Arcanis Academy

Despite being born to a well-established and powerful line of witches, Reginald Emerson's family, like so many other prominant witches of that time, suffered financial collapse under an explosion of the mage population, favored by the mage Emperor Imbrianus who granted them land and titles over even the most powerful and affluential witches.  
Upon his father's suicide, and disappointed with his lack of advancement in his military career, Reginald returned to his home to find the Emerson estate in disrepair and the Emerson lands reduced to a mere fraction of what they once were - much of the land having been siezed by the emperor and redistributed to a mage family, and the rest sold off by his own family to pay taxes and debts.   Unwilling to succumb to complete financial ruin, Reginald did something drastic: he sank the remainder of his fortune into turning his estate into an academy to be
For more information on magic levels and the differences between mages and witches, please visit:
Magic Tiers
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The amount of magic a person can wield greatly impacts their socioeconomic status

attended by high and mid-level witches, those most affected by the expanding mage power. Using his social connections and charismatic personality, he persuaded many to join Arcanis Academy.   Combining his military experience, his knowledge of the arcane, and the remainder of his family's resources, including an impressive library, he offered cadets education in offensive and defensive magic as well as combat training and military formations.  

The Great Uprising

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.
— Pablo Picasso
  Saving his estate through tuition was not Reginald's only goal in starting Arcanis Academy. Soon, the academy would also serve as the base of operations for the Witches' Might Group, a secret society led by Reginald, attended by the most powerful and prominent witches, and dedicated to the liberation of witches.   The Witches' Might Group operated in secret to strike the first blows against the mages while Arcanis cadets gathered and trained more of the community under the Arcanis banner. In the spring of 380 DE, Reginald Emerson, leading the Witches' Might Group and Arcanis Academy, declared war against the mage class and the emporer, starting with a series of strategic strikes and assassinations.   The Great Uprising lasted 20 long years with many battles. The anti-mage sentiment spread throughout magic and non-magic communities alike, and many joined the bloody civil war. Through dangerous and now forgotten magic, the Witches' Might Group eventually managed to suppress the more powerful mage bloodlines, after which the mages were soon defeated and the Imbrianus empire was broken up into five separate nations:  
Imbria Banner by hcraven

Expanding the Academy

After the war, Reginald was celebrated as a national hero in Salaris and awarded the lands that once belonged to the Emerson duchy. He immediately started massive renovations and expansions, intent on expanding enrollment capacity and the influence of the academy.   This project included additional barracks, training facilities, outdoor sunken arena for magical training and demonstrations, and more. Despite the approval of the magical community, these massive expansions created tension with the Salarian government, which undoubtedly feared Reginald's ambition. This unease was further compounded by the fact that Reginald continued to train numerous cadets in military formation during the renovations in what could be described as a standing army.  

Death of a Founder

Reginald Emerson died before he saw his renovation and expansion projects completed. However, his death would mark a turning point for the Academy. Reginald's son, Augustus Emerson, assumed control of Arcanis upon his father's death. He oversaw the completion of the renovation and expansion efforts. However, Augustus held a different vision for the academy.   Augustus oversaw massive expansions to the library and classrooms, shifting the focus of attendance more toward education. He also started the Academy Elites program, a program designed for the most highly accomplished cadets to extend their training and work for the academy by completing various assignments paid for by external sources.

Augustus's Goals:
  • For the academy to become indispensable to Salaris
  • To polish the academy's image as a force of good
  • For the academy to become self-sustaining such that it no longer relied on tuition, but could rather pay its cadets for their service
Augustus desired government contracts, but at that time, most contracts came through wealthy merchants looking for security, often during the transport of goods. Anyone from the community could submit a request for Arcanis services, and Augustus would assign Elites and cadets to these tasks at his discretion. Sometimes, this resulted in some rather bizarre and interesting tasks required of academy attendees.  

Nomas Riots of 712

In the summer of 712, a series of riots erupted throughout Salaris with nomas protesting inhumane working conditions, wages, and civil rights. In many cases, these riots and protest demonstrations proved too much for local authorities like city guards. With the Salarian military occupied with border disputes, the government turned to Arcanis Academy for help in resolving these riots.
  Academy leadership deployed Elites to the most volatile locations and positioned cadets to stand guard at the calmer protests. In many cases, the presence of uniformed cadets prevented the demonstrations from turning violent. The Elites proved themselves capable of subduing the protesters with minimal casualties and damage.   This first, major contract with the Salarian government and military was largely considered a success, and it shifted Salarian leadership's view of the academy from that of a potential threat to a useful ally. Arcanis Academy thereafter received more military and government contracts.  

Academy Integration Act

Four years later, the Salarian government passed the Academy Integration Act. This act allowed Arcanis Academy to be treated, in many ways, as a government agency. Academy Elites were granted security clearances and the academy has since been granted an untold number of classified missions. A training program was developed with the Salaris Army General that would allow graduating cadets to join the military at a Wizard Officer level.   However, the Academy still operates under the contract model, wherein the Salarian government submits requests to be fulfilled at the discretion of the academy's superintendent. Though in practice, government and military contracts are almost never rejected. This means the academy is utilized by many different agencies.   Civilians are also still allowed to submit contract requests, though those have become much rarer in present day.

Magic is Might

Reginald Augustus Emerson
Founding Date
360 DE
Education, Magic
Alternative Names
Emerson Academy
Training Level
Highly competitive
Emerson County, Salaris
History of Arcanis Academy

Arcanis Training Paths

Primary career paths for cadets: Academy Elites or military Wizard Officers For more information, visit Attending Arcanis

Life at Arcanis

See Arcanis Cadets for more on the academy dress code and daily life of cadets
Arcanis Cadets
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Articles under Arcanis Academy

  • 360 DE

    Founding of Arcanis Academy
    More reading
    Arcanis Academy
    Additional timelines
  • 380 DE

    394 DE

    Great Uprising
    Military action

    A massive coup / civil war in Imbria that had long-lasting repercussions. Witches rose up against the ruling mage class and toppled an empire. (see Magic Tiers)

    More reading
    Great Uprising
  • 399 DE

    420 DE

    Reconstruction and Expansion
    Construction beginning/end

    At the end of the war, Reginald Emerson began massive renovations to the Emerson mansion and newly expanded grounds in an effort to expand the reach and influence of Arcanis Academy

  • 403 DE

    Death of Reginald Emerson, Founder
    Life, Death

    Upon the founder's death, ownership and management of Arcanis Academy fell to his son, Augustus Emerson, who would transition the academy from a standing army to an educational institution and mercenary business

    Additional timelines
  • 712 DE

    712 DE

    Nomas Riots of 712
    Civil action

    A series of riots and demonstrations throughout Salaris where non-magical people protested their lack of freedoms and security.

    Arcanis Academy was tasked with subduing these riots. The success of the Academy Elites and cadets improved the academy's relationship with the magical and nomas communities as well as opened them to receiving contracts from Salarian government and military, including training of Wizard Officers for the military.

    Additional timelines
  • 716 DE

    Academy Integration Act
    Diplomatic action

    Arcanis Academy officially integrated into the Salarian government as a military training facility. Elites granted security clearances and classified assignments.


Author's Notes

This article was created for The History Challenge. Be sure to check out the associated timeline by selecting the red box above.
Thanks for reading!   *Flag created by me using FlagMaker 1.7

Please Login in order to comment!
Jun 12, 2020 03:06 by Diane Morrison

This is well done! I like looking at magic systems as practical integrations in a realistic world, because of course they would be. If magic exists, people would put them to work somehow, and a pseudo-military branch makes sense. Good work.

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga. Mother of Bunnies, Eater of Pickles, Friend of Nerds, First of her Name.
Jun 12, 2020 05:03

Thank you :)

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