"I was but a child when I took my first steps into the Grand Arcaneum. A child who got a bit too rowdy in the home I was then staying in, sparked a flash of untempered magic that brought the Society to the doorsteps and which eventually brought me to theirs. My child self, sheltered as I was, must have thought it like a prison sentence. Yet, the trek there softened that well enough! The bridge utterly flabbergasted me! Absolutely beautiful, how something like that could even exist, but it was nothing compared to the Arcaneum itself. A monolith of stone.The trek to it was daunting. Best way to describe it. The tower only got bigger and bigger as they escorted me there, and the doorway seemed a bit underwhelming at first until we passed the threshold.
First thing that hit me was that it was...loud! So many colorful bustling bodies making their way around the lobby, but then I noticed the ceiling, a dome that mimicked the outside world's sky. And then the doors! Doors lining the circular room, opening and closing. People going in. People going out! And the walls! All manners of banners and pictures and portraits and other knick knacks just for everyone who has had the privilege to tread within that marvelous place.
Now, the images have started to fade slightly but I will never forget my wonder. It would be a taste for what was to come with my forays into the art of magic, even if there would be gaps in between. As one may come to expect in a scholarly life. And I had not realized it then, as I stared at everything in that lobby with my mouth gaping open, but I would soon consider the Arcaneum my second home, and the Society the family I had always longed for, and would continue to do so for the next four decades of my life."
The Grand Magister serves as the effective head of the Arcane Society. This individual determines the direction and the focus of the Arcane Society. However, the Grand Magister does not have absolute say in determining the Society's major actions. Grand Magisters serve in the position for life by default. Whenever a new Grand Magister needs to be appointed, they are chosen from a very specific pool. The current Grand Magister during the Age of Empyreals is Alexandre du Faeien. After the Grand Magister, there is the Magisters Magni, an elite council of mages who both advise and temper the Grand Magister's decisions. Individually, each Magister ranks below the Grand Magister but together, they have an equal if not higher influence. Similar to the Grand Magisters, Magisters retain their position for life, and future Grand Magisters are always chosen from one of the Magisters Magni. To become a Magister Magni, a mage must exhibit mastery over at least one school of magic as well as expert status in three others. They must then exhibit their expertise in a trial known as the Rite of the Magisters. Furthermore, alterations to the requirements and the Rite have been allowed in the past. The modern-day Arcane Society follows a structure similar to the continent's universities where successful mages receive masterships or expertise in certain fields of studies. Members of the Society are categorized into one of four tiers, based on their ability to manipulate magic: novice, adept, expert, and master. Individuals may receive multiple rankings for each of their areas of specialization, though their overall rank reflects their highest achievements. Rank in the Arcane Society depends heavily on academic accomplishments, if not practical ones related to the furthering of useful and preferably benign applications of magic. However, field agents sometimes referred to as "adventurers" even within the Society may also reach elevated statuses by carrying out the Society's regulatory purposes regarding magic throughout Varia. With such renown, mages of the Arcane Society gain greater access to the organization's resources as well as opportunities elsewhere. This meritocratic practice thus keeps the Society as an internally competitive body. With these possible opportunities, students travel from all over the continent, and sometimes beyond, to study at the Arcaneum.
The Arcane Society is a politically independent and diplomatically immune organization as prescribed by the Avonian Accords. Its utmost focus regards the usage, regulation, and distribution of magic and related paraphernalia.
The Society and RegulationThe Arcane Society's founding purpose was to regulate the use of potentially dangerous magic on the continent of Varia which, despite the institution’s name, includes both arcane and divine magics. The most straightforward way the Society fulfills this task involves the registration of any mages with the Society, giving them free reign to observe their conduct as it relates to the use of magic. This mandate applies more so to casters of the arcane variety; however, divinely inclined mages may receive a pass for being associated with the Order of Avalon. Otherwise, the Society possesses alternative means of identifying and pinpointing possible abuses. Under the Avonian Accords, the Society has jurisdiction over the entire continent of Varia to capture and detain mages guilty of undocumented use of extremely dangerous or forbidden magics.
The Society and ScholarshipSecondary to their policing of dangerous magics, the Society also involves itself in the study, research, and development of magical studies. Over the ages, the Society has gradually become more well known for its scholarly pursuits, making it one of the premier magical research communities in Zentrem. It manages one of, if not the, vastest collections of magical scholarships which they have partly opened to the public for utilization. In relation to this purpose, the Society also provides magical services as well as access to enchanted items, for the appropriate price.
Every accredited mage college on Varia is considered a branch of the Arcane Society. However, the Society's main branch of operations is located in the city of Curieux in Conais. It has ownership over the Isle of Faen on which stands the Grand Arcaneum, though it remains connected to the city proper by a structure known as the Prismatic Bridge–a wide crystalline bridge that brims with a soft array of colors. Since the Arcane Society provides, as well as regulates, the sale of magical services, it possesses a notable treasury (including both currency and commodities) for use in the organization's upkeep and expenditures. Services rendered can accrue fees as little as a few hundred gold to the thousands. Despite all of the above, its most valuable asset lies in its large repositories of knowledge. Thousands of years of scholarly work lie in the Arcaneum's Archives Infinium, and its individuals procure new knowledge every day.
At the beginning of the Restoration Period, the Archmage Vyliar'faeien established the Arcane Society as an elite group of mages dedicated to regulating the use of dangerous magics in post-War Varia. The Society set up its headquarters on the Isle of Faen on the southwest coast of the continent and has continued to operate from that site for millennia. Gradually, the organization expanded into various other branches as well as its range of services. The elite group of mages gradually grew to become the Grand Magister and Magisters Magni with ranks of other spellcasters and scholars perpetuating the Society's work as well. In the modern day, the Arcane Society remains the second oldest still active organization in Varia.
"The Arcane Society has always been a place where like-minded scholars can study magic! In a safe, not world-ending environment. And we just happen to do the same regulatory processes for magic users all over Varia. After all, magic is awesome!...But it can also be awesomely dangerous."
—Grand Magister Alexandre du Faeien
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