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Mages

The Magic Council (sometimes called the Light Magic Council, though there is no Dark Magic Council) is based in Sartor, but its mandate is the oversight of the world's mages. For many centuries the only mages chosen for the Council itself were Sartoran, unless one had earned world renown, causing expected resentment, even though everyone acknowledged that the very oldest texts were written in Old Sartoran and the oldest archive was in Sartor, as were the headquarters. Through slow negotiation, compromise, and a series of extremely bright mages from other lands, the Council has gradually evolved into an expectation of informally acknowledged "chairs" from various regions of the world.

Mages inevitably get involved in politics, though they try to stay aloof (or maintain the appearance of aloofness): a separation of matters of magic and of state requires careful structure in countries wherein magic use is not exercised by the monarch or governing body.

Like Scribes, mages can be royal advisors, spies, diplomats, tutors, researchers, archivists, and even architects or engineers as well as people trained to perform spells. At the lowest level are the mages who earn their money performing the simple maintenance spells that make daily life better. Such magic is easy, repetitive, but necessary: those drawn to that tend to like a day of ease.

More ambitious mage students go into design, whether of roads, bridges, buildings, or aids to living. The execution of all these constructions means negotiation with the guilds who oversee the raw materials. At all times mages are hyper-aware of the need for environmental harmony. The earliest and most emphatic lessons mages learn is how very close humans came to being identified as vermin by the indigenous beings eons ago, and eradicated just as other vermin were.[1]

Others become Mage-Healers, or Healers. This requires study of the human body as well as acquiring knowledge of medical practices developed over the centuries. The diagnostic tools are thus observation and collection of evidence plus certain spells, so Healers actually do heal. Because magic works, there is very little chicanery in the world of medicine, other than some harmless panaceas for the rich and bored, or for those whose personalities require constant attention on imagined or minor ills. Healers are trained to aid in emotional and mental ills as well. Because of the benefits of early magic, catastrophic disease is not known, though disease as a result of lifestyle choices does occur. No magical cure for the long-term effects of too much alcohol has been discovered, for example; any spells invented negated the alcoholic "buzz" and were largely ignored. Healers thus mostly deal with broken bones, the occasional tooth problem (the bacteria that cause plaque was one of the first things eradicated by early mages), virus or bacterial illnesses, accident, and of course the beard spell (or removal of same if fashions change) for young men. This spell also goes for unwanted body hair for either gender, depending on fashion and personal preference. Healers will dispense gerda to women who ask. Healers may charge for services (many cater to the wealthy, and function more as psychologists than as physical healers) but are not permitted to turn anyone away. To refuse service to someone who cannot pay will bring the Mage Council's negative attention, and almost certain reassignment to a necessary but unpleasant duty for a considerable period. Tax moneys in most kingdoms are set aside for social welfare, and this includes a sum for Healers who keep records of treating those who cannot pay. Some Healers will go into kingdoms, like Chwahirsland, whose Healers are reserved strictly for the army, and dispense healing for nothing.

Higher level mages have far more rigorous requirements for mastery, including a period of isolation, without being able to perform any spell, just to observe. Mastery is awarded for accretion of knowledge; invention of spells is not a requirement as these need to be tested before being disseminated. There was once an expectation of new magical spells being invented in order to achieve certain levels of mastery, but the negative effects (including the wrong personality type being drawn to achievement at any cost) brought about revision of the requirements for mastery. More frequently, mages will be given a tough assignment as their mastery project, which will test all their skills. These assignments can range widely from the easing of a pending earthquake (requiring a very complicated set of spells) to the negotiation between two powers over some issue that involves magic.

There are defensive mages, whose entire work is to keep up with all the nasty new things dark-magic mages come up with in order to effectively destroy their enemies, and to counter them, ward them, or make it harder for them to do their deeds.

Mages are trained to keep very exact records (the successful performance of spells often requires them to be written down in precise sequence) and are encouraged to frequent self-examination. At any time the Council may demand a mage furnish records as well as undergo verbal examination if there is a question of probity. This is a rule, but, of course, humans being humans, it doesn't always work like it should.

Notes/References

  1. actually shifted to another world or plane, but they did not find that out for a very long time, and the Mage Council decided to keep that out of early curriculum the better to bring the lesson home.

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Page last modified on January 17, 2011, at 01:22 PM