Codex: History (2017)


The recorded history of sorcerers and mages in general begins approximately 500 years ago, in 2500 BCE.  The oral history of stories and legends goes back much further, but cannot be corroborated.  Alongside the oral tradition are the numerous ancient tales of the non-human species that co-habit the world.

The earliest days of sorcerous history were a chaotic mix of people trying to guide, control, or aid the humans around them.  They were disorganized and every sorcerer fended for himself.  According to the early sources, the chaos began to settle down sometime circa 2700 BCE, with the establishment of sorcerous organizations that were parallel to humans building cities and civilizations.  Although problematic in some ways, and difficult for both sorcerers and humans, the system of local groups seems to have worked for the ancient world, with its lack of widespread communication and trust between tribal groups.

Circa 2200 BCE, the flaws in the system were exposed by the appearance of the Ravagers.  The introduction of the beasts and the need to protect humanity could not be served by a random collection of small, local, tribal groups.  Certainly, many sorcerers formed regional organizations, such as the intercity cabal of Mesopotamia.  However, even regional organizations were fiercely territorial and tribal in their outlook, focused on their own power and preserving their own knowledge and secrets for themselves.  As with the earliest sorcerers, they were not good at sharing and coordinating with outsiders.

As the Ravager threat grew, the ancient groups splintered.  Some felt they should employ humans in the war, equip them to protect themselves.  Others feared that taking such actions would cause the humans to turn against, and possibly destroy, sorcerers.[ii]  Ultimately, some leaders—including Barosu, Senefer, Madda, Fu Huo-te, and Ariach Havi—pooled their resources to bring disparate groups of sorcerers from across the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and Asia together.  This was the prototype for the Arcanum, circa 1500 BCE.  It would be another century before the Arcanum was officially founded, and three more after that before most of the world was united beneath it.  But, the effects on the Ravagers were almost instant, as scores or hundreds of groups were acting with a unified strategy and comparing anti-Ravager tactics for the first time.

The Arcanum continued to expand its territory and allied organizations throughout the European, African, and Asian continents well into the medieval era.  By the Renaissance, the entirety of those three continents and most of the Americas were members.  Only the native sorcerers of Australia were not under the Arcanum’s aegis.  According to official Council records, the Council approved the development of the Guardian Project in the early fourteenth century.  The first working versions were produced in 1374.  They were quickly distributed throughout Europe via the Church and Jewish communities, and more slowly elsewhere.

The so-called Age of Exploration had little effect on the Arcanum as sorcerous transportation was already more efficient and sorcerers beat humans out of Europe by a few centuries.  The Industrial Revolution began to cause some problems as humans spread and passed news faster, and kept better records.  The wars of humans often disrupted Arcanum society, as the invention of firearms led to more wide scale destruction and flight allowed better views of the terrain and mapmaking.  On the other hand, the wars were often used to great effect to cover and conceal major conflicts and engagements with the Ravagers.

In the modern world, many elder sorcerers are struggling to adapt while younger sorcerers hunt in the nightclubs and music venues, theaters and coffee shops.  They all find concealment both more difficult and oddly easier with the invention of smartphones and Photoshop.

[i] Expurgated propaganda, more like.  Kemp ignores the centuries of the Sorcerer Wars and the Arcanum’s numerous purges and pogroms against those not sufficiently loyal and Apostates.  Also excluded are the Arcanum’s bouts of attempted genocide against non-humans and the several rebellions against the Council’s supposed authority.

[ii] Kemp conveniently ignores that some sorcerers also didn’t want to arm or equip the humans because they would be more difficult for sorcerers to control or enslave later.

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