For millennia, the Illumination of Lucinda was a layered, complex system; a labyrinth of mages, clerics, administrators, and instructors. It was held together by worship of the Lady of Spells and the scarcity of magic. However, after the fall of Bloodstone, the darkening of the skies and the calling home of Allurial, the last Peractio, the Illumination underwent a massive transformation. To bring more magic to the struggling world and to ease fears about mages harbored by frightened minds and those who would be swayed by the words of the Deep Lord, the Illumination has reorganized into a simpler, stronger presence. Many of those who led in the past have willingly given up their seats of power for the sake of Lucinda and the Al'Noth; titles of old have been rejected in favor of less pontific nomenclature or no title at all.
First and foremost in the new church, there are now three schools for those who would learn the arcane arts or practice spellpraying to the Lady of Spells. Those who are just beginning their journey into the mysteries of the arcane, regardless of race, age, or status, attend schools of the Presage (also called Links of Lucinda). Students attending one of these schools are usually called Links. The schools are open to all, and older students who have moved to the Chain, even those who are in the Reaching, often attend and mix with the Links. The Octlar Mesh chooses a person every five years, called the Docet, to head each Presage.
Second in the schools is the Thaumaturge (also called the Chain). This is both the home of the libraries and lore collections and the place where the Links go to begin learning the process of spell creation; not merely the route casting of preexisting spells as the Presage teaches. This can be a life's work or a month's study, depending on the skill and desires of the student and the decisions of the Reaching. The leader of the Thaumaturge is called the Scrollregent, and there is one at each location that there is a Presage. However, not every location can support a separate building dedicated to libraries. On Dregar, Belinara, and Tilmar, the Scrollregent works inside the Presage. Scrollregents are chosen every ten years by the Octlar Mesh.
Third, is the Reaching. Here are those who are a product of the past, extremely wise in the ways of magic, or who have been both a Link and part of the Chain; they teach beyond the use of magic. In these buildings, are the whys and when-not-to's of magic. The wisdom of lifetimes measured in decades and centuries are gathered and passed on here. There is one person in charge of the Reaching, located in Spellgard, and she takes no title but goes by her birth name. Demisa Shimrastri was the first voted into the office and has remained the only person who truly heads the Reaching. While she is not a cleric, she will be the first to say she has 400 years of experience making mistakes and learning from them and that should count for something.
The Peractio, when there is one, has traditionally made decisions and directed the church unilaterally. Recent changes now give the Octlar Mesh the power to overturn a ruling by a Peractio if the vote is unanimous. The Octlar Mesh'the meeting of the five Docets, the five Scrollregents, the three Fosters, and the head of the Reaching'convenes every Octlar but can be called as needed. While the leader of the Reaching has a strong sway over opinions, each of the 14 in the Mesh have an equal vote. Many decisions that can be put to a larger vote are dealt with at the Star's Mage Vinculum when all who worship the Star's Mage converge.
- The Octlar Mesh on Octlar 21
Gathering at the Catena Campus once per year, the Octlar Mesh is both a mixing of ideas and the time when votes are taken on promotions and new responsibilities for Illumination members. The Campus is closed for this week and protections are at their highest for the year.
Among the other changes that have either revitalized or destroyed the church, depending on who you ask, is the translation of many texts into Common. Formerly, most of the works in the Chain libraries were in elven or the speech of dragons. However, few potential mages have the ability to both eek out a living and also spend the time required to learn such difficult languages. As such, to demystify basic magic, almost all of the known weaker incantations, protections, and illusions have been compiled into books that are taught in the universal language of Layonara. Those who wish to learn a few useful spells can now do so without spending a lifetime translating.
Elections and Organization
Lucinda teaches three things in equal measure, all being important to her and none taking importance over the other: to love magic, to love the discovery of the unknown, and to gain wisdom through the experience of arcane power. Each of the three schools that teaches in her name embodies one of these lessons.
Presage (Links of Lucinda)
Magic is. Love it. Do not fear what you do not understand. Come to the arms of Lucinda's faithful and learn to use your power. Embrace the Al'Noth as a gift that no one else can give you. Use it for yourself or others. Lucinda does not judge as long as it is done with passion and with respect to the Al'Noth.
This is the message of the Presage, where those with the ability may learn to control innate magic or to cast spells. Here is taught all the basics of tapping into and protecting the Al'Noth. Here too, with practice, one can learn more subtle forms of the art. No distinction is made between the power of Lucinda's divine magic and the Al'Noth, and both clerics and mages may learn here side by side. Four continents and one island have temples and shrines that include a Presage. The largest is located on the Catena Campus in Spellgard. The halls are open to anyone. There are guides to help new students and there are safe rooms to practice spells in. Anyone who wishes to be consecrated by Lucinda's clerics may do so here at no cost. The Spellgard Presage is the premier school, teaching over a thousand students now and much expanded from its previous size. In charge of this school is Docet Ricketbarker, a middleaged halfling who was instrumental in both changes in the church structure and formation of Love and Magic, the Lucinda and Ilsare sect.
For every lesson learned, there are ten lost to time. For every spell created, there are a hundred waiting to be scribed. You are here to know more, to delve, to uncover, to create. You are here to read what has come before you so you might test the limits of your understanding. You are here to travel the world and add to the knowledge of the Al'Noth. You are here to share that knowledge in the name of the Star's Mage. And you are here to find out what puts the sparkle in our Lady's eyes; the discovery of magic and magic through discovery.
The Thaumaturge is the second stage of learning, often called the Chain because it is where the Links begin to combine their knowledge and build new spells. The libraries and other collections of knowledge reside here, allowing a Link to begin researching on his or her own. Overseen by a Scrollregent, there are thick stone buildings slathered in magical protections and dedicated to the collection of arcane knowledge on Mistone, in Spellgard, and on Alindor at Castle Imjam. Smaller libraries exist within Presage buildings on Dregar, Belinara, and Tilmar. Students can spend any amount of time here. Rarely will a student speed through spell development and be able to manipulate the Al'Noth in months. Usually it is a matter of years and a lifetime for some. The current Scrollregent of the Spellgard Thaumaturge, Umbek Haggerstan, has spent twenty years of his life delighting in the discovery of new spells and powers, and he espouses no desire to join the ranks of the Reaching.
All the power in the world will slip through mad fingers without wisdom. Magic is power; it grants the ability to command one's surroundings and make what you will of them. Yet, Lucinda teaches that to misuse arcane power is to fail in the love and understanding of magic. To draw too strongly on the Al'Noth and to break links of energy and strip the very air of magic are abuses. To be in the Reaching is to know both how to break the Al'Noth and why one should not.
Those who cast arcane spells are often happy in the Chain, researching and learning. But to those who have learned either through hard experience or cautious nature the dangers of the Al'Noth, the Reaching is home. The lessons here revolve around all the ways the Al'Noth can be damaged, all the ways magical flow can be hampered, and how to remedy those situations; the ethics of magical use. Beyond that, the Reaching teaches that these things that damage the Al'Noth should not be done. Most of the members have the experience to avoid the most evil uses of magic as well as those practices that damage the source. It is this group that watches for those who would damage the Al'Noth and brings them to Illumination justice.
Members of the Reaching are some of the most powerful spellweavers on Layonara. A good many draw on both divine and arcane power, and they tend toward older individuals with more time spent in the practice of their art. Add to that the emphasis on wisdom rather than raw power, and they make remarkable foes to those who cross them and powerful allies to those who earn their respect. The elected leader of the Reaching is Demisa Shimrastri, an elven woman from Voltrex.
Housed in Spellgard, this series of vaults are the single most magically protected structures on Layonara. Here rests the Scroll of Al'Noth, the Rebus Runea, spells deemed destructive enough to unbalance the world, and rumors speak of spells that mimic the effects of Bloodpools gathering dust in the rooms as well. The vaults are located deep under the Catena Campus, and it is said that no one mage could in a lifetime dismantle the layers of spells protecting it. In fact, it would take an army of spellweavers with both arcane and divine spells and the powers of a rogue as well, which is appropriate because that is what put the protections in place to begin with.
The Tenebrium is headed by a group of three mages called Fosters, all of whom are required simultaneously to open any door, and none of which are heads of the Presages, Thaumaturge, or Reaching.
At the head of the church for decades was the Peractio, Lucinda's chosen representative. There have been five over the history of the church: two elves, a halfling, and two humans. The last Peractio was Allurial, the Queen of Mistone. She was the closest link to Lucinda who walked as a living, breathing being. She was the perfect combination of power being both a mage and a cleric. Decisions of the church, then in its more complex incarnation, were approved by her in the time of Bloodstone walking the world. After his defeat, Lucinda called her final chosen link home. Since then, no one has stepped forward who can legitimately lay claim to the title.