“There is a story of a jealous and infamous man who, to avenge himself on a rival, contracted an incurable disorder, and made it the common scourge and anathema of a divided bed. This atrocious history is that of every magician, or rather of every sorcerer who practices bewitchments. He poisons himself so that he may poison others; he damns himself so that he may torture others; he draws in hell with his breath so that he may expel it by his breath; he wounds himself to death so that he may inflict death on others; but possessed by this unhappy courage, it is positive and certain that he will poison and slay by the mere projection of his perverse will.”
– Eliphas Levi
Magical folk or Margus as they call themselves are individuals who have unlocked the hidden potential inside themselves, allowing them to perform true magic. Far from the medieval visions of the witches' sabbath, Agency is no Faustian bargain but that does not mean they are immune to gaining inhuman qualities.
Being a Margus is not hereditary nor is it something that is entirely learned. By destiny or by sheer luck some individuals will experience the blooming where their theurgical capacity is unlocked. The blooming varies from Margus to Margus, making it unpredictable and sometimes dangerous to those around them.
SMOKE AND SHADOWS
Modern theurgical society is governed by five global bodies known as Conclaves: the Numinous Domini, the Institute of Reason, the Shapers of the Clay, the Hunters of Serenity and the Perennial Pilgrims. The term Conclave originally referred to groups of Margus who banded together to escape prosecution during the witch trials of the Middle Ages but over time these more distinct groupings emerged. Modern Conclaves are extremely varied, the lockets (local branches) of any particular Conclave may be extremely different to one another, united only by basic principles though not praxis.
Ultimately the main purpose of a Conclave is guidance out of how to achieve the Hallowing, a sort of state of transcendence. No one really knows how it works, its different things to different people. Christians want to get into Heaven, Buddhists want to reach Nirvana and some Neopagans want to go to the Land of Summer while Margus, want to achieve the Hallowing.
Disputes between the Conclaves are taken to the Charmera, akin to the United Nations among vulgates (ordinary humans), the Charmera is meant to encourage interconclavial cooperation though it is about as effective as the before mentioned organization.
Margus not aligned to a Conclave are known as Anchorites. Anchorites are more common than unaligned deviants of other kinds though they lack the protections that Conclaves afford their members.
Before the Conclaves, Anchorites were the norm, at most they would tend to group into small lockets of six or less.
“Witchcraft is never cookie-cutter. Like recipes from a book, the recipes are often tailored to individual tastes as long as the general formula and steps are understood.”
– Mat Auryn
The Numinous Domini believe the Hallowing is complete control over anyone they consider to be their lesser. To them magic is (and should remain) a gift of only the select few and they believe they are the crème of the crop. They only accept new recruits from within their own five families, requiring non-family members to marry in if they wish to join though they prefer marrying between families unless an individual is extremely talented. Historically they, like many noble families, would inbreed believing it would keep their lines pure leading to disease and deformity that cursed their families for generations which even magic couldn’t cure. Even within the Numinous Domini’s own families not all will experience the blooming and any family members who do not have always been looked down on if not slaughtered outright.
The Institute of Reason believe the Hallowing is the entire human race achieving the blooming, that is they want to turn all vulgates into Margus. They believe Agency is the next evolution of humanity and through subtle means they slowly introduce magic into the mundane world.
The Shapers of the Clay believe the Hallowing is to become a god. Humanity has always adapted to the planet to suit its own ends so why would magical folk do any different? They wish to control the earth, the planets, the moons, the stars, everything.
The Hunters of Serenity believe the Hallowing is a state of total peace and comprehension. Whether isolated and restrained like monks or fun loving, they seek to understanding and refine their true selves.
The Perennial Pilgrims believe the Hallowing is become one with the divine as the ultimate expression of faith and dedication. Whether they believe in a single deity or multiple, they seek to enhance their relationship with them and nurture their faith.
MINUTES AND HOURS
The formation of the Charmera led to the creation of the commissions, boards that oversee the domains of magical folk known as mandates. There is no standard number of commissioners, it can range from five to twenty though each commission is generally led by a single chairperson.
Though democratic in nature they have a real big problem with representation; for each commission is commonly dominated by the primary Conclave of a mandate and they tend to drown out the opinions of others, even when collectively they might outnumber the primary Conclave. While secondary Conclaves may have little representation, Anchorites seldom have any representation at all. Some have sort reform, but change is slow and far from universal.
Commissions sometimes find themselves in conflict with vampires due to overlaps in domain and purview. Shrewd commissioners will know to make deals with vampires or stay under their radar, for as powerful a Margus may be, vampires have been at it for a lot longer than they have.