For millennia, Earth’s mages have defended humanity against magical threats such as ghouls, demons, and dark magic. The mages recharge their powers with natural energy and work in secret to protect normal, or Mundane, humans.
In the fourteenth century, a demon assault unleashed the Black Death and devastated Europe. Stopping the demons decimated Europe’s mages, allowing the ghouls to multiply. Because of the darkness this conflict brought to human hearts and souls, the mages adopted the motto Servire Luci, or “To Serve the Light.” For centuries, they called themselves Light Mages™ , but the practice fell out of favor as the ghoul menace diminished. Now they see themselves as protectors of humanity and servants of the light.
The magical battles of the fourteenth century terrified humanity and led to the era of witch hunts and persecution known as The Burning Times. Valuable magelore was lost when those who would have passed it on were executed and ancient texts were destroyed.
Light mage families survived by blending with their Mundane neighbors, but the mages have never regained their former numbers. When European nations colonized the Americas, the settlers included small groups of light mages hoping to practice magic safely. They were surprised and pleased to discover that the current inhabitants also included those with magical Gifts, which were encouraged rather than feared.
As the European settlements increased in number and size, pushing the native peoples out of their ancestral lands and occupying more and more formerly open lands, the mageborn found privacy for practicing their arts more difficult to ensure. They became increasingly secretive as a result. They adopted a strategy of fostering–exchanging family members for training–similar to the practice of the nobility in the Middle Ages.
As science gained ascendancy in Mundane minds and fear of magic faded, mages began gathering informally to share their knowledge and train their children.
The mage community lives in plain sight under its neighbors’ noses, with a governing body in each district, or shire, headquartered at a compound called a collegium. The southeastern United States Collegium is located outside Brunswick, Georgia, and is disguised as the Georgia Institute for Paranormal Research.
Some mages have an affinity for one of the five elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit, while others have no particular affinity. Some are more adept than others at certain things such as healing, magical combat, translocation, scrying (magically using a bowl of water to see images of people, places or objects), or divination. All are dedicated to protecting humanity against dark forces.