During the restless hours between the bloody battles with wildmages, each member of the Covenant found a way to cope with the impending confrontations. As described in Damarad’s journals, some prayed, others sharpened their swords. He himself, besides recording everything around him, planned for the Academy with Lisei and others whose minds found peace in planning the future. It is evident, despite lacking his own words to back it, that Damarad saw the success of the Academy as the only outcome that could honor his fallen brethren and that could make all the bloodshed during the Second Age be vindicated. By the number of scribbled and scratched pages on various diaries, the former aristocrat had given a lot of thought on how to best structure his project of the Academy. He does mention that he found the ideal solution when, on their way marching north, he stumbled upon a single flower in the middle of a burnt field littered with corpses. He was drawn to the simplicity of the flowers’ design, despite the macabre scenario surrounding them. He later wrote that the eight-petal structure, with the central flower-bud, inspired him to arrange Lisei’s academy with that same motif in mind.
The Nine Guilds of the academy have been defined as having three core factors in mind. The first one is where a guild would operate: either inside the Academy’s premises or mainly outside city walls. The second core factor was would be when the guild would: to either prevent threats from coming to be, or to be reactive to and qualm them. The final one is how these guilds would operate: to either use almost exclusively their magical abilities to solve their problems and reach their goals, or to rely on a wider range of skills, both magical and non-magical. The ninth one, unbound by these categorizations, would be the Council of Doyens, a position for hierarchical superiority for those with oversight of the whole Academy and project. With time, the Academy’s growth made Damarad’s structure too top-level and the idea of Colleges would appear. Each of these sub-guilds would focus on a particular aspect of its guild’s calling. The same would happen much later with the introduction of Chapters, a subsection of a College. It is interesting to note is that neither of the guilds is known by the word “guild”, all the sub-guilds and are known as “College” and each sub-college as Chapter, achieving a level of consistency in the Academy’s bureaucracy that is quite unique.
Besides the ninth guild – The Council of Doyens -, the remaining eight guilds are:
– Faculty for Thaumaturgic Education: operated by the Sages, this guild focuses on the training and upbringing of all branded mages in the essential arts, some of its students being as young as newborns;
– University of Theoretical Thaumaturgy: despite all the eons manipulating its energy, magic still remains a big mystery for the races of Ôthin. One the savants intend to unravel;
– University of Applied Thaumaturgic Sciences: creativity is the most valued attribute between the Artificers. Creativity and ingenuity to marry the wonders of thaumaturgy with masterpieces of engineering;
– The Osmeri Atheneum: an Academy needs a Library, and the Atheneum is the biggest and most comprehensive one in the whole world. The Curators ensure all knowledge is documented and cataloged efficiently;
– The Bureau of Thaumaturgic Affairs: to prevent it to safeguard. Under these words, the Envoys act on suspected magical threats before they boom, as infamously displayed by their kidnapping of magic-born babes;
– The Bureau for External Affairs: even a magical society needs to keep a tap on non-magical threats, a net of spies and informants to be aware of any shifts of power. The Bureau’s Foras are very diligent in this task;
– The Clergy of Thaumaturgic Extrication: the taint of magic can stain man, beast, plant, and stone. The Menders of the Clergy are the healers of what has been magically broken;
– The Justiciar Order of Äimankäi: one of the most well-known branches, the order’s Justiciars were fighting wildmages when the Academy was still a dream in Lisei’s head.
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As thaumaturges flocked to the Academy, unofficial names started popping up like mushrooms in a dew morning: the Inquisition of Menders and Justiciars, the Guild of Spies, the Chapel of the Magic Machine… With the ever-changing organogram of colleges and chapters, the Academy and its Guilds go from reform to reform on an almost yearly basis. Damarad’s arrangement has been kept over the many millennia of Academy existence and its different inceptions, more due to sheer tradition than for being adequate for modern times. In fact, the increasingly bureaucratic structure of the Academy has guaranteed that a lot of otherwise useful time is wasted discussing Colleges and Chapter’s mergers, extinctions, returns from banning, splits, joint administrative custody, Guild-reassignments… Some would vent out that the ideals Lisei bestowed on the organization are lost over petty infighting, an interest on futile hierarchical title-adulation, and the will to over-regulate Magic – something in a perpetual state of mutation, while the Academy is unable to change its ways. Ironically, it seems that gathering the greatest collection of minds in the whole of Ôthin in the Academy has grounded progress to a halt. An unnerving stagnation that seems not only to be here to stay but to be cynically enjoyed by those who enforce it.
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