History of the Warrior Mage Guild, Volume 1 (book)
The History of the Warrior Mage Guild, volume I
by Maegwynel Nel'far
Table of Contents:
- I. The Beginnings......................... 2
- II. The Outcasting......................... 4
- III. Time of the Clans...................... 8
- IV. Blackfire Cabal........................10
- V. Rise of the Council....................15
- VI. The Lost Years.........................16
- VII. The Human/Elven Wars............volume II
- VIII. Mages in the Empire.............volume II
- IX. The Time of Arhat...............volume II
- X. Rise of the Dragon Priests......volume II
- X. The Guild in Recent Years......volume III
I. The Beginnings
While many histories cite the powers our ancestors wielded before the rise of the World Dragon, it is unknown whether they used, or even knew of, elemental magic. It is more likely their powers focused in other directions, only periodically delving into bending the elements to their will.
Regardless of the powers they once had, their magical traditions did not survive the World Dragon's rise, and so our more recent ancestors were left to muddle through on their own, with no teachers or knowledge to sustain them.
The first uses of elemental magic were crude and instinctive, the result of Mages tapping their powers to ward off danger or avert a crisis. Without control, precision or training to their magic, magic, they could not rely on it to protect them, and often what protection they received was worse than the danger itself.
Countless stories are told of a Mage being attacked by a wild beast and then burning down whole forests when he merely wanted To incinerate the animal. Or of a woman stopping her child from Drowning by diverting a river, and causing a drought that killed scores of people.
It was not until the village shamans began practicing elemental magic that it became more than a sporadic thing. In a time when position was all-important for a Clanmember, the shaman had to be able to do what he promised. Whether it was calling the rain to end a drought or summoning a wind to impress his chieftain, the magic had to work on demand.
For generations, shaman and apprentice studied the world around them, trying to find some way to understand the magic and bring it under control. There was so little contact between the various tribes and Clans that none realized that the piece of information they had struggled a lifetime to learn was known all along by the shaman across the river. Eventually, after several generations had passed and the bare beginnings of a magical system had been established, the shamans gave up on Elemental magic and turned instead to Holy, becoming the ancestors of the Clerical Guild.
However, not all gave in. Many apprentices enjoyed the study of the elements, and had no desire to spend their lives praying to squabbling Gods. For a time they remained in the clans, shunned by their former masters but welcomed by the people who found their abilities to be useful -- when they worked. These Mages lived among their people for many months, until the Outcasting.
II. The Outcasting
In a dream, all the shamans throughout the lands were brought before the Thirteen Immortals and given a message to take to their peoples. Those who had forsaken the path of the gods, the way of Holy magic, were cast out of the Clans. No man would feed them or clothe them, and no woman welcome them into her home.
In a day filled with bitter heartbreak, the Elemental Mages left their homes and families, and wandered into the dangerous wilds. Some traveled in large groups, some in pairs, and some were forced to find their way alone. Very little is known about this dread time when well over half the Mages who followed the path of Elemental Magic died of starvation, or in the belly of a wild animal.
Those that survived began seeing visions, or so they thought, of a great horned owl that followed their steps, whether through day or night. Many ignored this sign, and soon died from sickness or cold. Others, those wise enough to see beyond the surface of things, began following the owl as it wandered the wilderness.
Slowly, they began to meet other Mages following the owl, also outcast from their Clans. Travelling in larger groups, still following the owl's flight, the Mages were able to hunt better food and keep themselves fed. All across Elanthia, groups of Mages were being led towards a great forest, and through its trails.
Eventually the mages reached a clearing in the heart of the Forest, by some twist of fate arriving all at the same time to find the great horned owl they had followed resting on a boulder in the center of the clearing.
In the confusion of meeting, none noticed when the great owl disappeared, flying into the night on ghostly wings. Only much later did the confused and frightened people notice that the rock in the center of the clearing, once pure white stone, now bore a large black scar, shaped like an owl with wings outstretched. In the sky above, the Constellation of the Owl, sign of Firulf, God of Elemental Magic, burned brighter than ever before.
Note: Modern scholars believe that the Outcasting was merely a ruse on the part of Firulf, or Meraud depending on the scholar's belief in demiurges, to bring the Mages together in brotherhood. Firulf knew that the study of Elemental Magic would never progress far if the Mages did not come together to share knowledge and techniques, and so contrived a way to bring them together.
The First Gathering was a momentous occasion, not only in that it brought the various races together in common purpose, but also because the study of elemental magic took its first dramatic leap.
Held in the clearing where the grey owl had led them, the Mages began sharing the knowledge they and their masters had struggled for many years to learn. Ancient feuds and wars were ignored and their old Clans forgotten, as each Mage came to realize they had found a new Clan, one filled with true brothers and sisters in magic.
The Mages began building homes among the trees, using the expertise of their Elven members to make their buildings blend in with the surrounding forest. Every evening, and long into the night, the Mages would sit around a communal bonfire and exchange the knowledge within them.
Not to say that all was peaceful. There were many arguments over which viewpoint was the correct one, and many Mages felt their entire world crumble around them as everything they had once believed to be true was proven false. Many Mages came close to leaving the Gathering, and it was only the fear of starvation and the cold that kept them there.
Gradually the arguments stopped as beliefs were proven true or false, and Mages began accepting that another could know more about a subject than they did. An uneasy peace was established, and Mages began relearning magic based upon the truths that were revealed.
For many months the Gathering continued, each day bringing new insights into the world around them, and into the very heart of magic. But as the store of common knowledge slowly ran out, and the rate at which new secrets were discovered began to slow, there was division among the gathered Mages.
Each Mage felt he should concentrate his research in a specific direction. Some wished to study the element of Water, others Fire. Others wished to learn how to combine the elements to control the weather.
Mages whose goals were the same, or near enough to find common cause, began to band together in the hope that greater numbers would sway their fellows to follow them. This proved ineffective, and after many weeks of long and bitter arguing, the Gathering ended. Each group went its separate way, to found a new Clan based on studying and understanding a specific aspect of the Elements. Stories tell, however, of a small group of Mages who remained behind to tend the grove of the Gathering and the stone which bears the mark of Firulf. No one knows if this is fact or fiction, but all believe that if such a group existed, its members would be blessed by Firulf and deeply knowledgeable in the ways of Elemental Magic.
III. The Time of the Clans
As the various clans spread out, they tried to remain in contact with those groups whose philosophy was comparable to theirs. Clans of Fire kept close ties in the hopes that knowledge would be passed along from one Clan to the other. However, as the distance and the time between them increased, these contacts slowly faded. Many Clans so completely lost touch with the others that they began to believe they were the only practitioners of Elemental Magic in the world.
It was the clans who remained nearby, however, who soon became notorious throughout Elanthia. Many Clans sought the areas with greatest elemental power to aid them in their studies. Of course, those areas were also sought after by other Clans. To many, the arguments of the Gathering were still too fresh to share their lands with other Mages. And so, since neither Clan would yield rights to the land to the other, they went to war.
For many years the Clans warred. At first they fought over land. But as time passed, they fought to avenge those killed in the previous wars. Many innocent villages and town were caught in the middle of these wars and would hire another Clan to defend them. This only complicated matters by bringing yet another group of Mages into the unending series of feuds and bloodshed.
During this time, apprentices had to be very careful which Clan they approached for training. They had to know which element they had the greatest affinity for and which Clans taught that form of Magic. Otherwise, they ran the risk of being killed by a Clan hostile to the element they used.
Many stories abounded about innocent young men and women seeking out the Magic within themselves, only to be brutally slaughtered by a rival Clan. As these stories spread, fewer and fewer young people left their homes to be taught. The fear of death was just too great.
And even if they did find the right Clan, who was to say they would be taught more than the basics needed to go to war?
As time went by, the senior Mages of the Clans realized there were no more young to train. They had stopped coming long ago, and all their younger Mages had been killed in the wars. If they continued their folly, none would be left who knew the secrets of Elemental Magic.
An uneasy peace was called, the Clans grudgingly agreeing to share the land and to send new apprentices to the right Clan. The peace lasted for many years, only occasionally broken by minor battles, which were quickly arbitrated by the other Clans. Things seemed to be going well, until the rise of the Blackfire Clan.
IV. The Blackfire Cabal
The Blackfire Clan (known to historians as the Blackfire Cabal) started out as a somewhat reclusive Clan dedicated to the study of Fire. The clan realized early on that different colors of fire had different properties. White fire, for instance, burned with the hottest flame. This Clan began searching to see what properties other colors of flame had.
After discovering several spells that would change the color of a flame, none of which did more than look pretty, the Clan decided to try removing all color from the flame.
Many years were spent in the pursuit of the black flame, years filled with many failures and frustrations. It was one enterprising Human, who some Bards consider one of Arhat's ancestors, who discovered the spell that would call the Blackfire.
During their many tests, they discovered that Blackfire, rather than burning a substance, consumed it. Once called, it could feed upon anything except the earth itself. And even that was left scarred and unwhole after Blackfire's passing.
When they realized what devastating power they controlled, the Blackfire Cabal became overwhelmed with greed. The lands where their Clan was settled had barely enough mana to support their research, the main reason it had taken them so many years to develop the Blackfire. They began to plot to take over the neighboring clans and resettle upon land with greater power.
Their first targets were other Clans of Fire Mages. Whether they feared that another Clan might also discover the secret of Blackfire and turn it against them or hoped to increase their numbers through conscripts and converts is unclear. Whatever their reason, they conquered their neighboring Clans and gave them two choices. To die, or to join the Cabal.
Many Mages, those who knew how to turn the powers of Fire to destructive ends, eagerly joined, wanting the secret of Blackfire. Others, those who had discovered how to turn Fire to healing or defensive purposes were destroyed. And so only the destructive powers of Fire have survived to current times.
Whether in overconfidence, or laziness, the Cabal allowed one apprentice Fire Mage to escape. The apprentice, a Halfling named Thistle Walksweaving, escaped to a nearby clan of Earth Mages, and told them his story. His body was broken and scarred from the flames he barely escaped, and his voice was shattered from screams of pain.
The clan of Dwarves, hearing his story and seeing the physical evidence, instantly sent out a call to the nearest clans of Water and Air mages to join together. Only one Mage from each clan responded. The Water mages secretly felt the world was better off with fewer Fire Mages, and the Air Mages had always been allies with Fire, so they should be safe.
The Water mage who answered the call was a young Elven woman named Iluranel eth'Riel, who was eager to win a name for herself by defeating the Blackfire Cabal single-handedly. Although deeply gifted in Water Magic, Iluranel had a temper to surpass any Fire Mage, and, like all Elven children, was sheltered and naive about the world.
Jesram Windwhisper, a young Elothean and a pacifist by nature, answered the call with the intent to mediate what he thought was a routine dispute between Clans. When he saw Thistle's shattered body, he gave up hope of mediation and began planning to contain the Cabal.
A powerful Earth Mage named Anther Lorn joined Iluranel and Jesram as they went in search of the Cabal, hoping their combined powers could defeat them. They were joined in their search by Thistle, who, despite his many burns, escaped from the Dwarven Earth Mages to join the fight.
After nearly losing their lives many times, the Four discovered a spell that could stop the Blackfire and kill any Mage who could cast it. They were forced to work together, to trust each other despite their many personality conflicts and differing magical backgrounds.
Working together, the Four learned how to call the Void by banishing all the elements from an area. All Water, all Air, all Earth, and all Fire must be removed at the same instant to create a Void where nothing could survive -- not Blackfire, not the mage who summoned the Blackfire.
For many years the Four hunted the Mages of Blackfire, tackling them singly or in pairs. Many say that, while Iluranel and Thistle gloried in the battle and the revenge, Jesram and Anther wept for each life they took. Finally, the Four found the Clanhome of the Blackfire Cabal, an ancient tower in the middle of the Plains of Salt. Faced with a score of Blackfire Mages, the Four nearly walked away. Only Thistle's resolute courage kept them there.
The Four eventually destroyed the Cabal after a pitched battle in which Thistle was killed by a shard of Blackfire. With his last strength, he cast the spell that would complete the Void around Blackfire tower, destroying the Cabal. Though his friends tried to take him to an Empath, Thistle refused. During their many years of fighting the Cabal, he had learned the secret of Blackfire, and he felt the world would only be safe when that secret died with him.
The three Mages buried their friend on the Plains of Salt, on the spot where the Blackfire Tower stood before the Void was called and it was destroyed.
Knowing now that Mages from different sects _could_ cooperate, the Three set out to found an academy of magic that would teach all Elemental Mages, and teach them to work in harmony with one another. They were the founding members of the Council.
V. The Rise of the Council
Very little is known about the Council, save what has survived in myth and legend. And even those will vary depending on who tells them.
What all the stories have in common is that the Council was a group of powerful Mages who created a Citadel on the top of a mountain somewhere south of the Dragonspine Mountains. For centuries, this group of mages defended the cities and people around them from the roaming packs of dangerous creatures that infested the land during those years. It is from this guardianship that our guild gets its name: Warrior Mage.
The Citadel was the first to create training regimens that all Mages must go through, creating a common background that students and full Mages could use to help settle differences.
All Mages knew the basics of the four elements, as well as the ethical and practical uses of the spells. Many Mages devoted themselves to researching new spells and new areas, and it was in the Citadel that the elements of Aether and Electricity were first discovered.
Very little is known about how the Citadel fell, although many stories agree it was voluntarily disbanded when confronted by a group known as "The True Path". What power this group held over Mages strong enough to defend the whole of Elanthia for centuries is left to the speculation of scholars, and the fantasies of children.
VI. Lost Years
After the fall of the Citadel, many centuries passed when Elemental mages returned to the people and avoided attention because the use of elemental magic was held in low esteem. They returned to the practice of taking apprentices and training them. This time it was more efficient because the Mages now knew more about their powers and could even give basic instruction in the element their apprentices had an affinity for before finding them a Master of that element.
Many Mages kept the title of Warrior Mage, joining the Guard of their town or city and using their powers proudly to aid in its defense. Some hired themselves out as mercenaries to trading companies, spending their lives guarding caravans and trading ships.
It was not until the coming of Lanival, and his chief Mage Arhat,that Warrior Mages again banded together in honor and fellowship.