Country of Origin: Cymeria
There are Theurgy (p. the-ur-gy, thûr-j) sanctuaries in other countries (as permitted), but they originated in Cymeria and still answer to a Cymerian based hierarchy. Foreign Theurgy Sanctuaries also serve as embassies.
Circa 2052: Mathias Azarov is the first King of Cymeria to publicly acknowledge that the Shadowed One’s dominion has increased exponentially since the fall of Atlantis. As one means to combat the Darkness, Mathias finds a quorum of powerful Derwydd and requests that they create an organization dedicated to the seeking of magical artifacts, especially those related to the Great Talisman. They are to take charge of these artifacts, guard them, and learn from them. What Mathias does not tell them is that since the Scepter of Destiny exists, he believes there are still physical aspects of the Convergence in existence. He felt that if they could all be located and brought to the Cavern of Light, they could be physically reunited and the Convergence restored.
Restoration of the Great Talisman (Convergence) would restore the balance and stabilize the Ley. Initially, few Shards would be found and verified. The ones that are were brought to Cylch Arcanus and offered to the Heartstone. If the gem were truly a Shard, it would dissolve into the Heartstone, and the great jewel in the center of Harkania’s trilithon capstone would grow larger and the glow increase.
Protect the Throne of Ages
In conjunction with the reigning High Lord, the Theurgy Guild is tasked with protecting the Throne of Ages which is believed to house the essence of the Convergence (Great Talisman).
Restoring the Convergence
Find and restore the Shards of the Great Talisman which was scattered by the Four Winds after it was shattered.
The Theurgy Guild was originally responsible for the formal training of young Cymry. During the Interregnum, this task fell by the wayside since the Tsars would not tolerate other powerful Cymry. By the end of the Interregnum, it had ended completely, and subsequent High Lords did not restore it beyond the basic teaching of the ethics of magic.
Since 3539 when Mikhael Stormdanovich became the High Lord, the Theurgy Guild has resumed teaching the arcane arts to Cymry and others with magical abilities. In 3531, he mandated that the Theurgy create and staff colleges where Cymry can be taught the Old Ways and the ethical use of their abilities.
The Theurgy Guild is now a sanctuary for those whose arcane natures preclude them from living in the public realm.
The Theurgy Guild’s abiding and overall purpose is to find the Shards of the Talisman and reunite them to restore the Convergence to full power and restore the balance of the Ley. To this end, their Mages undertake Quests to locate the Shards as well as other magical artifacts. This task is not one that will end quickly as there are millions of fragments of all shapes and sizes, although none tends to be larger than a basketball.
Recovering a Shard is not always straightforward and easy. When a quest begins, the seeker, known as a Gyfrin (rank or title that means Mage) will be tasked by one of the research Scholars with finding and verifying that an artifact is, indeed, a Shard. If the item is located and authenticated, it is then up to the Gyfrin to find a way to secure the Shard and return it to the Sanctuary in Harkania. Once there, the second round of authentications is done before the Shard is offered to the Heartstone in the Cavern of Light.
Unfortunately, others have also found the Shards, and they have been utilized in various jewelry (even crown jewels), artifacts, art, magical talismans, etc. Finding ways to liberate these items can prove tricky…and a diplomatic nightmare.
Novitiates and Sentinels train for many years before being allowed to join a Quest of any kind. Upon attaining Journeyman status, a Novitiate will be assigned to a Gyfrin for their final training and testing. After several years, usually determined by the Gyfrin, the apprentice graduates to Gyfrin. Even then, they will accompany an older, more experienced Gyfrin for several Quests.
Quests are not undertaken strictly for Shards. The Scholars scour texts, documents, books, and scrolls for allusions to other arcane artifacts, even for other texts such as grimoires. If an item is located, its existence reasonably verified (i.e., it is not a known myth or hoax), they will select a team, brief them, and they will undertake that quest. During the quest, the team may learn of other items and follow-up on it before eventually returning to Sanctuary.
It has been learned, somewhat through trial and error, that many Shards lay at the heart of other arcane talismans and artifacts. In some places, they are even a focal point in religious rituals. Returning these Shards to Harkania has proven, and will continue to prove, challenging.
Nature of the Shards
The Shattering of the Talisman was an arcane rending and destruction of the Convergence, the energy source that bound and controlled the magical Ley. The end result was the formation of physical forms of the Great Talisman known as Shards. The Shards appear to be gemstones ranging in size from no larger than a man’s small fingernail to as large as baseballs. In essence, they look no different from other naturally occurring gemstones such as diamond, emerald, opal, lapis lazuli, etc. The differences are…
Shards have what is known as the heartglow, a faint pulsing light from within, usually pale gold or blue in color. The heartglow would closely resemble a natural star flaw within the gem. These occlusions are very rare in nature. Therefore, it would double or even triple the value of the gem.
Shards cannot be cut or shaped by the hand of man. Whatever form they are in when found, that is how they remain.
Shards present as cut and polished gems, not as rough stones.
The Theurgy also seek arcane knowledge. Their goal is benevolent as they only wish to learn and to guard the arcane secrets of the world in the belief that certain things need to be kept safe from those that would use it for self-gain or to the detriment of others.
The Gyfrin also act as unofficial spies for Gero Dawnrunner, often bringing back important news and information regarding the politics of foreign lands. The only issue is, in some cases, by the time the Mage return home, the news is long out of date.
There are some Derwydd sprinkled throughout the Theurgy Guild. It is an excellent cover for the adepts.
The Theurgy is led by the High Elder. These are Cymry of great age and wisdom. This position is held for life, but they must undergo a form of the Ddyrchafael to ascend to this rank. They answer only to the High Lord or High Lady should she succeed her husband in power.
Mistress of the Theurgy
As the High Elder is usually a man, there is also a Mistress of the Theurgy appointed. She is the one tasked with the day-to-day management and running of the Guild. The Mistress routinely handles diplomacy and dealing with issues.
Ranks and Levels
Gyfrin undergoes many years of training before taking the oath. Novitiates move up in rank as they complete a level of training. There are no standard time periods for training after the first year. It takes as long as it takes to achieve the status and rank desired.
Training to become a Gyfrin is completely separate from a Cymry’s arcane training although the one does not preclude the other.
Novitiate: The lowest of the ranks. These are the men, women, and children entering their first year of service and training.
Apprentice: Second Year Students
Journeyman: Last year of training, usually marked by being assigned to a ranking elder for further training before attaining the full rank of Gyfrin, Priest or Priestess.
Gyfrin (Mage; p. Gyfrinydd, Gyfrinwyr): The rank of Gyfrin is held by those trained in Questing. They have a good knowledge of the arcane and how it works. All Gyfrin can sense the arcane and its nature which aids them in their Quests. A Gyfrin rarely has higher arcane abilities, but there are exceptions. All are trained in various forms of combat.
Sentinel: These are the fighting element of the Theurgy.
It takes at least one Sentinel and one Gyfrin to go Questing. Often these pairs are married or related in some form. In some cases, the pair will be made up of two Mages where one has served as a Sentinel or has combat training from other sources…such as those that join the Theurgy Guild after their two years of mandatory Guard service.
Scholars: Scholars and scribes spend the majority of their lives researching and adding to Sanctuary’s vast library of arcane knowledge. They also teach future Guild members and at the arcane schools for the Cymry.
Again, this is slightly misleading as people can be called to the Theurgy, be found and taken in by the Theurgy, recruited, or dedicated to the Theurgy by another such as their parents. At any time, a person can leave the Guild without censure.
Anyone throughout the land of Cymeria may apply for a position within the Guild, either Sentinel or Scholar. It is something akin to applying to an arcane university. All Cymerian applicants must have completed their two years of mandatory service in the Cymerian Guard. Those found and brought into the Theurgy from other lands might be given an exception for the mandatory service.
Potential Gyfrin are found, usually by other Mages during their travels. Gyfrin being sensitive to the arcane can feel the presence of a potential novitiate. In some cases, the parents of a suspected sensitive (particularly if they are younger children) will contact the Theurgy and request testing and then dedicate the child to the Theurgy, to be taken when he/she is old enough.
It is preferred, considering the number of years a Gyfrin must train, that they are found and brought to Sanctuary at the youngest age possible. Here they are gently raised, nourished and tended, as well as taught, in a creche with other children.
Members of the Theurgy are not isolated from real life, family, and friends. While they do have to spend a portion of their time at Sanctuary or Caer Arcanus, they can have primary residences elsewhere.
Holds and Residences
The Theurgy Guild has two primary holds although Caer o’r Orsedd is not technically a year-round residence.
Sanctuary is constructed near the base of Mynydd Cysegr (Mt. Sanctuary). In typical Cymry fashion, it takes advantage of the region’s vast system of caves, chasms, and waterfalls to make a nearly impregnable fortress. In Saesneg, Cysegr means sanctuary.
Sanctuary is distinguished by its tall, slender towers and spires lending it a fairy tale appearance. The waterfalls that cascade from around and below it add to its air of mystery and peace.
Despite what one would think, Sanctuary is a realm of air and light. Moonglobes hung at varying heights and in varying sizes, add to the ambient natural light filtering in from as many windows as could be constructed into the edifice. Even the libraries and workrooms, deep in the caves are well lit, and a carefully manufactured system of small air tubes keeps the air dry and fresh.
Inside the main structure lie the majority of classrooms, the rooms belonging to the creche where novitiates are housed and the rooms and apartments of Guild members who have chosen to live there rather than in their own external residence. There are also guest rooms and apartments for visitors such as the High Lord. Additionally, there is a large and well-appointed apartment belonging to the High Elder of the Guild.
In 635, High Elder Elias ap Nuatha, also known as Nuatha Silverhand commissions the construction of a citadel over the entrance to the Cavern of Light. The citadel would serve as a home to the High Elder and his family as well as the Guardians of the Cylch. In 2052, the Caer would also become home to the fledgling Theurgy Guild.
While technically one of two residences of the Theurgy Guild, Caer Arcanus is still considered one of the seats of the reigning High Lord. In modern times, there is usually a small group of Theurgy and Sentinels in residence who continue to study the Cavern of Light and the Cylcharcanus.
It is believed that the core essence of the Great Talisman, the Convergence of Power, has taken up residence in the Cylcharcanus, specifically within the Heartstone, also known as the Seat Perilous. Mynydd Arcanus is not the highest or even the second highest peak in the Cambrian Mountain Range, however, it does seem to be the peak located as close to the geographical center of the dominant range as possible. It is likely, if precise measurements were taken, it would be found that the Heartstone lies at the heart or center of Harkania March. Thus, it is the heart of Cymeria.
There is a portal just off the great hall of Caer Arcanus and another in the High Lord’s guest quarters allowing him to come and go from the Cavern of Light as needed.
Until 3551 and the establishment of the Arcane Academy, there were no centralized centers for training the Cymry population in the use of their arcane skills. Formal training, if allowed at all, was done by a parent or scholar engaged by the household for the job. The only way to receive formal training was for the Cymry to request to join the Theurgy Guild which carried an expectation of service afterward. Those Cymry that desired to learn to use their abilities or just to learn more of their arcane legacy were forced to seek the knowledge on their own. This meant large gaps in their learning and misinformation that could be potentially dangerous.
While it is preferred that Cymry begin attending the academy during childhood, there is no minimum age limit for joining the academy. Testing is done for older Cymry to establish where they fall in the ranks and degrees as it is easier to continue training forward than to regress the mage and try to reverse their training. Age groups are, however, trained separately. For example, there might be a 1st Degree Novice group for six to twelve-year-olds and one for sixteen to eighteen-year-olds.
The goal is to eventually graduate Cymry Adepts that all have an understanding of their abilities as well as a moral regard for when and how to use them.
Most of the Cymry that know they are from one of the ancient and still pure bloodlines have also been given access to training, even if it is done secretly. It is possible, as in Mikhael Stormdanovich’s case, that a Cymry meets a Derwydd that takes him or her on as a student. This is, however, not the norm for the majority of Cymry.