Bureau of Thaumaturgic Affairs

Since day-one, the Academy has been very clear about one thing: anything Magic-related is Academy’s business. Be it within its walls or in a far-flung corner of the world. And while inside its other guilds great strides are done towards understanding Magic as a whole, the need to seek out and study anomalies in the wilderness is also paramount. For that, the guild members of the Bureau of Thaumaturgic Affairs scour the land, pilgrims to forgotten places, queer places, ill-fated places. To Understand is to Safeguard. With these words uttered between their breaths, spoken as a mantra, the Envoys ride to meet suspected magical threats before they boom. Unlike most guilds in the Academy, the colleges and chapels are quite organized with the Thaumaturgic Affairs. While fake merchants, archaeologists, historians, tomb raiders, and full-blown adventurers coexist under the same guild roof, their tools and arenas are kept separate for better analysis. They do collaborate quite well, performing joint ventures into deep caves, gloomy ruins, and fetid cemeteries of multiple chapters, to cover all bases.

The Thaumaturgic Affairs had its busiest period at the beginning of the Third Age, as did the Clergy. The end of the hostilities did not mean the world of Ôthin had returned to normality; there was plenty of aberrations, oddities, and inconsistencies that defied the explanations of the Academy, and were out of the Clergy’s mending hands. It fell to the Envoys to study, test, and document their findings, reporting to the Council and the Savants of the Theoretical University. And then, the Envoys would be dispatched to the next spot. this has caused some friction with some Menders of the Clergy, who have felt at times that the Envoys’ scope was too narrow and lethargic. All complaints are met with the same rebuttal. Flagging problems before they escalated, monitoring threats as they come to be, assess the dangers before any actions can be had: that is an Envoy’s mission and responsibility. Or, as the more sarcastic remark, “maybe you should have chosen to become an Envoy instead.

But perhaps the darkest deed an Envoy must perform is the kidnapping of children. Newborns, babes, and toddlers, most struggling to crawl or stand: it matters not. If an Envoy feels a magic spark within one young enough to be taken. Be it through guile, superstition, purchase, or even by force, these agents will ensure they return with a new recruit for the Academy. The younger, the better: easier to sever the ties between the kidnapped and its family, quicker to heal those lost bonds with new ones. A tally of all the families that have sired a mage-born is kept as current as possible, and eyes are always on them until their parent’s fertility has waned and the labor of magical offspring is no longer a concern. A big revolt occurred some centuries ago, as some Envoys had grown attached to those they reaped, and they defied the council. As their ashes laid still smoldering, the Doyens decreed that Envoys were to never have contact with those they took, and measures were to be taken to ensure none diligent enough could unravel that connection. In a way now, all Envoys feel fatherly towards all children. But, with diluted responsibility, they cannot and do not stay for more than a night after delivering a new prodigy to the Faculty. Then, they ride.

Cover picture: Desert cave ruins by wwsketch

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