The Arcanum is the governing body and society of sorcerers on Earth. It brought order and direction to the chaos of competing sorcerous cultures and governments that came before it. The foundation of the Arcanum focused and enhanced the efficiency of the sorcerous fight against the Ravagers. It brought unity and the pooling of knowledge and resources that led to the successful creation of the Guardians and turned the tide of the Great Conflict. The existence of the Arcanum, its Council, and its Orders is the primary reason sorcerers can live lives of relative peace in the modern era.[i]
At its most basic level, The Arcanum is a government of sorcerers. Traditionally, the Arcanum is run, overseen, governed by a council of nine masters representing the White, Grey, and Black Orders. Each of these selects three members for the Council. Historically, the White and Black Orders oppose each other much of the time and rely on campaigning the Grey to their side, but there are exceptions. With the creation of the Red and Blue Orders, there have ben petitions to add, or reassign, seats to the Council to represent the new orders. As with the petitions to create Red and Blue schools, these petitions have not gained much support with the Council.[ii]
The Arcanum is more than a governing body, though. It also provides for the education and training of sorcerers throughout the establishment of schools and confirming standards for educators throughout the Orders. Currently, there are three official schools around the world, each operated by an elder Order (Black, Grey, or White).[iii] The Council provided oversight, as do the Orders, of the schools, their educators, and their administration. Failure to meet Arcanum requirements is grounds for dismissal, though none of the schools will ever be closed outright.
The Arcanum is also the social center, indeed the entirety of society, for sorcerers. Whether remaining with one’s Order or with all Orders, sorcerers go about their lives surrounded by fellow members of the Arcanum anywhere in the world. Because of Arcanum law and organization, all communities of sorcerers within its purview are patrolled and protected by Guardians, often supported by Red Order warriors. Moreover, all Arcanum members have recourse to the Justiciar sect of the Grey Order for legal disputes among themselves or against the Council. Most Arcanum communities are integrated into, and concealed by, those of normal humans. This arrangement has been found to enhance response time to Ravager incidents and resulted in a reduced loss of human and sorcerer life and collateral damage. The last may seem somewhat illogical, as more fights between Arcanum forces and Ravagers take place in major population centers. However, the Ravager prefer major human cities in which to operate. Thus, having Arcanum communities in the same places reduces response time and makes hunting Ravagers more efficient.
Of similar importance, having communities within human populations also affords chances to interact with normal humans. This both reminds sorcerers of why we fight and allows for relationships between humans and sorcerers, albeit usually limited ones. The introduction of new blood to sorcerous stock has been a major project of the Council for most of the last two centuries, despite opposition by the White Order’s Scholomance sect. Were it not for unions between sorcerer and human, sorcerers would have become dangerously inbred centuries ago. In fact, some believe we came worryingly close to the danger point during the 17th and 18th centuries, when fear of “witch” trials restricted relations severely.
[i] The Council would like everyone to believe so, of course. The truth is that apostates largely live peaceful and safe lives outside the Arcanum. In large part, this safety comes because of groups like the Chameleons, Youxia, and Shadowmasters, whom the Council refuses to acknowledge (see Appendix B).
[ii] The old Orders don’t want to lose their stranglehold on political power, or their control over instructing the young. But, the tighter they grasp, the more sorcerers question their reasons, motives, and flee the Arcanum for the freedom of the so-called Apostates.
[iii] The fewer the schools, the less deviation from the party line and the more control the Council and Elder Orders exert. They will never allow the new Orders to build their own, approved schools. And that may be the issue that drives a mass exodus to the Apostates.