No Books of Men: World Building – Enlightened Academies, part I

Now to start in on the next (and final for a bit, as I really need to get back on track with editing that damned novel) bit of world expansion for the No Books setting. These are the Academies where mages of the Council are trained. While I will not be listing the Order’s institutions here, know that they do exist but are primarily located on the Atlantean Archipelego. These will be organized primarily by continent, but as those divides are as much political and cultural as they are geographical, there wil be a bit of bleed through on the classifications. It’s really more of a breakdown for convenience than a geographical rule of the setting.

Today, we’re starting with the Americas. Why? I live in N. America and thus my brain starts there, close to home, as opposed to elsewhere. Plus, Columbiana University is the place where all this began, as it was there that the original No Books of Men site took place (and thus the vast majority of the upcoming stories are too).

Name: Collegium Illustrata Columbiana
AKA: Columbiana University, Columbiana Academy (rarely)
Location: Columbiana (city), Colorado, USA
Cloak: SEP Field, any non-mystic human approaching the valley will find themselves forgetting what they were doing/why they’re heading that way/remember something else they should be doing. Magi and other supernaturals are immune to this effect, and almost any kind of enchantment on mortals will also provide immunity.
Region: The Columbiana Valley is NW of Denver and hidden within the mountains. Officially within the confines of the National Park there, the Valley appears on local maps but there is only one listed (dirt) road into the Valley and the Valley itself appears almost 500% smaller on maps and imaging due to its enchantments. The Valley itself is packed full of thick forest, which contains many of the various Remnants native to N. America (thunderbirds nest in the cliffs, Sasquatch populations roam the woods, Canotila build homes in the treetops, etc). Also of note: there are small but significant populations of both werewolves and changelings within the Valley, which maintain diplomatic alliances with the Mages.
Size: Medium, ~17,500 students
Structure: Headmaster & Asst Headmaster at the top, a local leader of each House is elected to sit on a University Council, students divided by House and dorms available by House as well (primarily for Undergrads).
Headmaster: Emil Hastings (de jure) and Richard Mansfield (de facto)
Specialties: Mystic Sciences, Psychic Phenomena, Alchemy
Dominant Houses: CES, Opifex, Lian, Masar (in decline)

Columbiana was founded by settlers along the E. Coast of N. America in the early-1500s by European members of the High Council seeking to replace the Academies they had lost when the Order forced them out of their strongholds in Europe. Founded with the express purpose of bolstering alliances with the local tribes and their willworkers (many joining one House or another) and training the next generation for the new world the Schism had wrought. It was originally planned to have a separate lodge for each House and its primary practice, but practicality brought it down to a more manageable trio of large building. Of these, only one still survives.

As European colonization took hold and slowly moved west, Columbiana moved just ahead of it. At one point or another, the school has been physically located in (modern day) Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Nebraska, and now in Colorado. Each time it moved, a small “campus” was maintained containing a portal to travel to the current location and similar portals were created along the West Coast as population centers there grew. For much of its history, Columbiana was a moderately small school and was under threat of becoming a footnote when a few of the European Academies were reclaimed.

In the late 1800s however, the school’s size exploded. New money and resources flowed in with industrialization, only supported by the modernist Opifex of the school. Columbiana has become one of the most prominent schools under Council control, as it pushes the definitions of modern magic more than any other (except perhaps its sister institution, the EUCT). Additionally, through the opening of new (smaller) campuses in many of the major cities of the continent (all connected through portals), it has become the thriving heart of the North American Magi Community.

Name: Qhapana Puyu
AKA: Temple of the Sky, Puyu, Academy at Macchu Picchu
Location: Near “Macchu Picchu,” Andes Mountains, Peru
Cloak: The living/active parts of Macchu Picchu were mystically relocated a safe distance away from the ruins and all trace of it has been removed from the original site, which now serves as a Tourist Location. At its new location there is no mundane way up the moutain to the city (i.e. no roads/paths/climbing spots/etc) and the mountain’s peak is always concealed by clouds. The only way in is through magical means (or potentially a flying vehicle if one can (likely mystically) navigate through the thick cloud cover).
Region: Macchu Picchu remains a thriving, if small, city in the traditional Incan style. The mountain beneath the city is partially hollow, and the network of caverns are wholly self-contained habitats and ecosystems designed by the magi to preserve the fading natural state of the mountains and provide refuge for the dwindling Remnant species (such as the Alicanto, the Monai, and the camahueto) native to the region.
Size: Small, ~9000 students
Structure: Monastic; High Priest and High Priestess represent the physical and spiritual realms, beneath them are the “Stewards” which oversee the instructors and the instructors teach the students. All are nominally priests or priests-in-training, but most do not take ceremonial rites to officially take on the title. While Houses are present and membership in one heavily encouraged, the House system is seen as detrimental to learning and is not factored into the education process.
Headmaster: High Priest Ninan Cuyochi III (claims descent from a “dead” king which left to pursue the priesthoodd) and High Priestess Quya Anawarkhi (no hereditary claim, but took a “queenly” name upon taking up the role of High Priestess).
Specialties: Duality Magics (light & shadow, heat & cold, etc), Prophecy, Weather Manipulation
Dominant Houses: Sophia, SIlvani, Tanka

Qhapana Puyu was already ancient when the Incan Empire was founded, and only moreso when the city of Macchu Picchu was built around it. Some theorized that the Gods themselves had built the temple in the Dawn Age. Others find the Ayar predecesors more likely. Still others, of more skepitcal sort, think its all bunk and instead point out Macchu Picchu was built in the 1400s. The age of the stone temple seems to point to an older origin, but it is difficult to be sure (even with magic).

What is certain is the alliance which brought the temple into the Council’s orbit. As the Second Schism War loomed on the horizon and tensions grew greater between the Council and the Order, the Council sought new allies to suppor them in the coming war. The People of the North and the People of the South had already shown great kindness in providing sanctuary and support for the fleeing magi, but now they wanted more. As representatives of the Council debated with the Incan magi, they slowly negotiated a full scale alliance which would outlast even the Incan Empire itself and ensure the Temple’s enshrinement as a center of learning and culture within the Council.

Today, the Temple is seen as an important center of the Council’s power in South America, but is often overlooked by the rest of the world. Most of its students do not stray beyond the borders of the Southern People’s lands (i.e. S. America), and even those who do tend to be unassuming or otherwise do not make enough waves for others to notice their presence on the world stage. This isn’t to say the Temple’s students are not influential, quite the contrary, but it does show how the Temple’s teachings on humility and modesty have left an indeliable mark on its alumni.


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