Profiles in Magic, Volume 1 (book)
Profiles in Magic, Volume One
Heritage Monographs, the official press of the Moon Mage Guild, is proud to present the first volume in the brand new Profiles in Magic series. The information within has been painstakingly researched through both personal interviews and constant research through the most ancient of books, compiled by a dedicated staff of scholars and Guild representatives.
This Profiles in Magic series is intended to highlight the spectacular lives of visionaries of the Guild. Of all the great figures of the Moon Mage Guild that have shaped history and revolutionized the practice of magic, one man towers above the rest -- Jares Braun, distinguished leader of the Celestial Compact and founder of the Moon Mage Guild. Heritage Monographs is honored to present, under the direction of Grandmaster Taramaine, the Profiles in Magic biographies which will detail the lives of those who have redefined magic as we know it. This, the first volume of many, we dedicate to Jares Braun.
Chapter One: History of Jares
Jares Braun was born the son of a miller in the outlying provinces of the Empire, near the city of Elirach. He exhibited signs of the powers of foresight at an early age. As one story goes, the eight year old Jares went to his village's well and said, "Suffering will come from here." Ten days later, people of his village began dying of a strange sickness. Imperial empaths managed to contain the plague before it swept outward to consume the Empire, though Elirach was devastated by the epidemic. A young seer who had accompanied the empaths heard the tale, and took the orphaned Jares back with him to Throne City.
At Throne City, Jares received more formal training under the Celestial Compact. He vigorously studied every book he could get his hands on and learned all he could of magic and prophecy. His innate skills and knowledge allowed him to quickly rise through the ranks of the Celestial Compact, and at the age of twenty-one he was appointed Head of the Assembly. To prove his right to remain as Head, Jares developed the magics allowing mages to manipulate moonbeams -- to form them, to strengthen them, to move them, to shape them. This revolutionary magic opened up new doors of opportunity for the Compact, and their mages began diligently working to explore the potential of those spells.
When Jares was the age of twenty-five, Empress Qoemeth invited the Compact's Assembly to the Imperial Palace. The Empress had heard impressive things about the small group of astrologists, and she decided to test them. If the rumors about them turned out to be true, then she had gained useful advisors and magicians. If the rumors proved false, she could curry favor with the populace by ejecting them from Throne City.
Empress Qoemeth told Jares and his Assembly of an ancient tomb to the west of Darkstone. The tomb was filled with dangerous magical traps, which the College of War Mages was having little luck studying. The Empress told the Celestial Compact to disable the traps and explore the tomb to see what secrets it held. So Jares led a small group of mages out of Throne City to the tomb. Records about what occurred after that are scarce, and many of the documents from the time have suffered severe water damage. However, it seems that the Compact was successful, and brought back several magical devices to the Empress. She was overjoyed, and welcomed their sect into the Imperial Palace. They used their powers of prophecy to aid her, and Empress Qoemeth ruled well and strongly for her next four years.
After four years, the Empress stepped down to pass the throne to a paranoid Human, the fourth Ponthilas. Ponthilas was overjoyed by the network of seers Qoemeth had set up in the palace, and based virtually every decision he made on their words. This was the golden age of the Celestial Compact. They had limitless resources and money at their disposal, and their magical and astrological knowledge flourished. Many far-reaching developments seen even today were made during the reign of Emperor Ponthilas IV. Ponthilas sanctioned the building of a massive observatory in Throne City.
It wasn't until Ponthilas died in his fourth year as Emperor that the Compact became worried. The Dwarven successor, Saranell II took the throne and immediately stated his dislike of the Compact. Saranell claimed they were all frauds and deceivers. Fearing dismissal from the Imperial court, the Assembly applied for recognition by the Board of Wizardry as a formal college of magic.
The Compact was rejected. Their worst fears had come to pass. Jares came up with the idea of gathering other groups of magic similar to the Compact and joining together. Using the last bit of influence as an Imperial advisor he had left, Jares ordered pigeons sent out to every corner of the Empire as he summoned various sects of mages to Throne City. Among the five who later signed the Lunar Accord along with the Celestial Compact, Jares invited others: artists who foresaw through the perfection of their paintings, music, and sculptures; lunatics who received visions by taking themselves far past the thresholds of pain; mages who had forsaken religion and the gods and covered their bodies in tattoos of lunar patterns and identified themselves by the arrangements. Fifteen sects were invited aside from the signatories, and only the barest of information about them remains. These groups have long since vanished from Elanthia, their magic, knowledge, and techniques forever lost.
Under Jares Braun, the Lunar Accord was signed, and the Guild of Moon Mages was formed. The six signatories, who shall be remembered for all times, were: Jares Braun, Alicia Crowther, the first Kir, Madelle Firejuggler, Mizuhari, and the Nameless One. The creation of the Guild is, perhaps, Braun's greatest magical accomplishment.
Chapter Two: The High Council
After the signing of the Accord, Jares and the other signers formed the High Council as the directorial board of the Guild. The Council had many purposes, but the primary one was to ensure the survival of the Guild and the preservation of its knowledge. The High Council is Jares Braun's legacy.
The Council's Structure:
The Council consists of twelve members of the Moon Mage Guild who serve as representatives for their various sects. Each member receives one vote. The Council Members are usually very influential, knowledgeable, and skilled mages who often serve in other roles before their appointment, such as political advisors, Heritage Keepers, Inquisitors, or Guildmasters. Leading the Council is the Grandmaster, or Guildmaster Prime. The Grandmaster leads the Council meetings, deciding what issues will be brought before the Council and who will speak in what order, and also casts a vote to break ties in the event that such occurs. The Council meets once a month, though may convene more frequently during times of crisis and emergency.
The Duties of the Council:
The Guildhalls - The Council's duties in this regard are twofold. First, the construction of new Guildhalls, and second, the maintenance and upkeep of existing Guildhalls. A prime example of this would be the excavation of the Crystal Hand Fortress in the Lesser Fist of Heaven for use as a Guildhall. When flooding damaged the fortress, the Council established a temporary presence in the Pierless Inn of Riverhaven until they could repair the fortress and reopen it.
Direction of research - The Council is responsible for directing the research of the Moon Mage Guild in many ways. They oversee archaeological excavations such as those of the Su Helmas Temple, the Taisgath Obelisk, and the Crystal Hand Fortress. The Council writes, approves, and publishes historical, biographical, and research texts. And thirdly, the Council oversees the study of artifacts, celestial portents, and new spells.
Miscellaneous Duties - In addition to those things mentioned above, the Council also has various other tasks, such as evaluating the requirements of its students, and serving as a political advisory to the sovereigns of the provinces. They also appoint people to positions within the Guild, such as appointing new Guildmasters, Goldcaps, Heritage Keepers, or Inquisitors. The Council also maintains all Guild records in their library in Throne City.
Each member of the Council is responsible for overseeing one of six major tasks, and each task is assigned two Council members. Two members oversee the Inquisitors and Y'Shai, two oversee Guild architectural works such as maintenance, construction, and excavation, two are responsible for the Guildmasters and evaluating student requirements, two are responsible for magical research and determining appropriate usages of magic, two oversee Heritage House and control Guild research, archives, and records, and two control the Goldcaps. The Grandmaster oversees all functions. Originally, though, the Council had only five tasks, as the Goldcaps were developed later. The Y'Shai were also created later, but the Guild still had Inquisitors.
The Selection of the Council:
The process for appointing a new Council Member consists of three steps. First, sect appointment. Second, Council approval of the representatives. And third, a coronation.
Each Sect has their own means of determining who of their number will be allowed to take a vacant seat. The Crystal Hand generally decide quickly and with little fanfare. Quite a bit of voting and arguing sides occurs when choosing new Celestial Compact representatives. The Progeny's seat has always been passed down from mother to daughter, and this tradition has gone uncontested by the other representatives. It is unknown what method the G'nar Pethians use. It also isn't clear what the Gypsies do, except that it involves a week long festival that includes extreme amounts of drinking and many games of chance. Unclear also are the Skindancers' methods, since they insist that they were simply "chosen by the spirits."
Once the sect decides on a new seat, they put this person forward to the Council, and the Council votes to accept or not accept the new member. It is rare that the Council rejects a member with the support of their sect, but such a thing has been known to happen from time to time. When the infamous Ivory Mage of Aluandi was put forward, he was rejected by the Council. He went into isolation after that, and has rarely been seen since.
Once the Council accepts a new member, a lavish ball and coronation follows in Throne City.
Chapter Three: Life After the Lunar Accord
Braun was appointed the first Guildmaster Prime of the fledgling Guild, and led the Council with wisdom for the remainder of his life. It was through the actions of Jares Braun that the Moon Mage Guild managed to earn some respect in the Imperial lands, where most were sure the Guild would fail miserably beside the College of War Magic. It's not certain how the life of Jares Braun came to an end. Some say he died in his sleep of old age one night at his manor, while others claim Jares led the Moon Mages during the turbulent times of the Empire's collapse. While the former is far more likely, the latter tale only lends further strength to the greatness of this man. And this concludes our research on Jares Braunand the High Council.