Member No.: 5
Joined: 18-June 08
Mages have always existed, though there are legends of the Pure Ones who were shards of the original, divine One. Early mages cultivated their magical beliefs alone or in small groups, generally conforming to and influencing the belief systems of their societies. Obscure myths suggest that the precursors of two of the modern organizations of mages(the Order of Hermes, and the Celestial Chorus) originally gathered in ancient Egypt. This period of historical uncertainty also saw the rise of the Nephandi in the Near East. This set the stage for the Mythic Ages.
Until the late Middle Ages, mages' fortunes waxed and waned along with their native societies. Eventually, though, mages belonging to the Order of Hermes and the Messianic Voices (the original Celestial Chorus) attained great influence over European society. However, absorbed by their pursuit of occult power and esoteric knowledge, they often neglected and even abused humanity. Frequently, they were at odds with mainstream religions, envied by noble authorities and cursed by common folk.
The rise of the Order of Reason:
Seeing their chance, mages who believed in proto-scientific theories banded together under the banner of the Order of Reason, declaring their aim was to create a safe world with Man as its ruler. They won the support of Sleepers by improving the useful arts of manufacturing, economy, wayfaring and medicine, and bringing them to the common people. They also championed many of the values that we now associate with the Renaissance. Masses of Sleepers embraced the gifts of early Technology and the Science that accompanied them. As the masses' beliefs shifted, the Consensus changed and wizards began to lose their position as their power and influence waned.
This was intentional. The Order of Reason perceived a safe world as one devoid of heretical beliefs, ungodly practices and supernatural creatures preying upon humanity. As the defenders of the common folk, they intended to replace the dominant magical groups with a society of philosopher-scientists as shepherds, protecting and guiding humanity. In response, non-scientific mages banded together to form the Council of Nine Traditions where mages of all the major magical paths gathered. These mages began what was known in the modern world as the Ascension war. The war was fought against the Order of Reason (and it new incarnation the Technocracy) for the hearts and minds of Sleepers. They fought on battlefields and in universities trying to undermine as many discoveries as they could, but to no avail - technology made the march of Science unstoppable. The Traditions' power bases were crippled, their believers mainly converted, their beliefs ridiculed all around the world. Their final counteroffensives against the Order of Reason were foiled by internal dissent and treachery in their midst.
The Rise of the Technocracy:
However, from the turn of 17th century on, the goals of the Order of Reason began to change. As their scientific paradigm unfolded, they decided that the mystical beliefs of the common people were not only backward, but dangerous, and that they should be replaced by cold, measurable and predictable laws of nature and respect for human genius. They replaced long-held theologies, pantheons, and mystical traditions with ideas like rational thought and the scientific method. As more and more sleepers began to use the Order's discoveries in their everyday lives, Reason and rationality came to govern their beliefs, and the old ways came to be regarded as misguided superstition. However, The Order of Reason became less and less focused on improving the daily lives of sleepers and more concerned with eliminating any resistance to their chokehold on the minds of humanity. Ever since a reorganization performed under Queen Victoria in the late 1800s, they call themselves The Technocracy.
The Order of Reason renamed itself the Technocracy and espoused an authoritarian rule over Sleepers' beliefs, while suppressing the Council of Nine's attempts to reintroduce magic. The Traditions replenished their numbers (which had been diminished by the withdrawal of two Traditions, the secretive Ahl-i-Batin, and the Solificati, alchemists plagued by scandal) with former Technocrats from the Sons of Ether and Virtual Adepts factions, vying for the beliefs of sleepers and with the Technocracy, and perpetually wary of the Nephandi and the Marauders. While the Technocracy's propaganda campaigns were effective in turning the Consensus against mystic and heterodox science, the Traditions maintained various resources, including magical nodes, hidden schools and fortresses called Chantries, and various realms outside of the Consensus in the Umbra.
In 1999 two major events would come to rock the world of mages everywhere.
The first is known to almost everyone, it is called the Avatar storm. The Avatar storm is a terrible storm composed of souls which exists between the Deep Umbra and the Near Umbra. This Avatar storm shreds the Avatars of Archmages (killing them instantly if they try to cross it), and wounding those few Masters who brave the voyage. This effectively cut the head off of both the Traditions and the Technocracy as their leaders were all powerful Archmages. If that were not enough since that time any mage who reaches Archmage status finds him/herself compelled to make a voyage to the Deep Umbra. The mage's magick refuses to function unless the Archmage is using it to further that goal, and the prospect of remaining on Earth becomes steadily more and more unbearable. Once the Archmage reaches the barrier she/he can pass through it without effort as though they were a master of the spirit sphere. Why this is happening no one knows, but the consequences are that the Earth realm is now effectively in the hands of younger, far less experienced mages, with Masters being the most powerful mages on Earth. The few Masters who remain on Earth are now the effective leadership of their Traditions or Conventions allowing a far greater freedom for all the mages involved.
The second event is the end of the Ascension war. Near the end of 1999 the Technocracy declared an end to active hostilities with the Traditions. Although Tradition mages still do sometimes run afoul of Technocracy mages, the Technocracy's active persecution of other mages seems to have ceased. Those in the know report that the Technocracy seems to be undergoing some major changes and seems to be too busy with other things to continue to fight a centuries old war they believed they had already won. Certainly the Avatar storm is to blame for some of this, as the leadership of both sides was cut off from the soldier who seemed were never told why they were fighting. However in 1999 something terrible happened in India, in Bangladesh. Most mages have no idea what it happened exactly, but the more powerful and well connected know the Technocracy nuked the hell out of something, and then declared a end to the Ascension war. Whatever happened rattled a lot of cages, and the Technocracy has never been the same.
Nothing in life is to be feared.
It is only to be understood.