Agincourt: Magic

Main Baseline Parameter Variant from the Earth Line: Functional Magic

Magic is active, known, and to a degree tolerated on Agincourt. Before the Black Death, roughly one person in ten thousand had the potential for some kind of magic (including folk magic, hedge magic, ‘wise’ folk, etc). Of these, maybe 1% had the potential for full sorcery. However, those with magical potential had a better survival rate during the Black Death, so as of 1413, the proportion of potential users of some kind of magic has risen slightly to about one in seven thousand, with somewhere from 1-2% with sorcerous potential.

The Order of the Flame

The Order is a Vatican-sponsored organisation, which trains sorcerers and ritual magicians within “proper Christian” guidelines. In status, the Vatican considers it a Lay Order, but with its college within Vatican City. However, it is unusual in that its membership is drawn from many different walks of life, from the humblest peasant to the greatest noble, and being part of the Order gives its members status equivalent to the high Orders of Chivalry. What qualifies someone to become a member and be taught its rites and knowledge is a closely guarded secret. The only common factor, is that all the members are male. Women are not deemed worthy to join their company.

Members of the Order serve within many of the Continental Royal Households, acting as protectors of various kings and princes, and presumably reporting everything back to their Vatican masters. But given that relations between the Plantagenets and the various Popes had always been somewhat variable, the Vatican had never deigned to send one of the Order to England.

There are other similar organisations for the training of sorcerers across the Middle East, Asia and the rest of the Medieval world, which usually work within the prevailing religious systems of those areas.

The Order of the Flame claims to regulate all magic in the Europe of Agincourt, in the name of the Church, and is hostile to various “non-Christian” organisations, which it considers heathens and heretics. However, somewhat naturally, this jurisdiction is not recognised by most of those other organisations.

European Magic Outside the Order

Despite what the Order would prefer, there are other magical practitioners in Europe who do not consider themselves bound by the Order’s strictures. Rather more of them than there are members of the Order
The majority of Non-Order sorcerers, and all sorceresses in Europe, can trace their magical heritage back to seven members of the Order who rejected its teaching and restrictions in 1170, and broke away to form their own group, Septem Stellae. Their fundamental disagreement was the Order’s willingness to burn women who showed sorcerous potential, instead of training them, and they indicated their willingness to teach anyone with the potential for sorcery. Somewhat naturally, this did not find favour with the Order, although as they continued to teach in a basic Christian framework, there was very little the Order could do about it. In the nearly 250 years since the Stellae was founded, there have been about half a dozen other defections to it from the Order.

Non-sorcerers comprise the other 98-99% of people with magical potential, and include ritual magicians (of both Christian and non-Christian schools), alchemists (in a world where the Elixir of life really could exist) and those who practice folk/hedge magic and witchcraft. Most common are the ‘wise’ men and women in villages and small towns. However, there are also formal groups who work in a more ritualised setting, such as the Keepers of Albion – followers of the Celtic Old Religion who guard the borders England against magical threats.

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