The magi of Yoremba are known throughout Erde for the excellence of their spell work, an excellence ensured by the training young adepts receive from the guilds, named Circles. In Mawali, the Circle of the Star is responsible for identifying and training individuals with magical ability, ensuring the safety of the city from magical mishaps. The Circle’s most important responsibility however is the defense of the city.
The Circle of the Star was founded specifically to defend Mawali. Legend has it that Mawali was attempting to hold an army at bay and, though he was powerful, he was not powerful enough to stop them. As a magician he naturally had apprentices, and they had been engaged in protecting the people. But when Mawali fell, and the city was about to be overwhelmed, seven of his most courageous apprentices took up his spell. Together they raised the shield around the city. Mawali’s most courageous apprentices were not necessarily his strongest. Several began to falter under the strain of the massive spell. When the other apprentices saw this they hastened to help, drawing circles of power around the feet of the casters. These circles greatly enhanced the power and range of the spells. The casters now could not only maintain the shield they had erected, but they could attack the invaders. With lightning bolts, whirlwinds, and sandstorms they repelled the attackers. In the end, it took all twenty-one of Mawali’s apprentices to defend the city, and it cost them much. Half of the apprentices and Mawali himself perished. Of the apprentices who survived, five had expended their magical ability past their endurance, and were never able to cast again. One of these was an expert administrator, and became the first shah. The others became teachers and judges. The apprentices who retained their magic found the Circle of the Star so that never again would one of them lose life, or magic, in defense of their home.
Becoming part of the Circle is relatively easy. Anyone who can demonstrate the ability to draw magic and shape it is allowed to begin training. This is not an altruistic attitude but one of practicality. Since people who have power will use it, the Circle prefers to keep these individuals under the guidance and protection of the Circle.
There are ten degrees of mastery, and students may choose to be tested at each equinox. Not every equinox sees a student ready to progress, and most students never progress beyond the first two degrees of mastery. When a student does achieve the next degree of mastery he or she is recognized in solemn ceremony, which is generally followed by a night of wild celebration.
The Circle of the Star also maintains a code of conduct which governs the practical applications of spell work. Under this code, any merchant who wishes to sell magical goods or services must obtain a license from the Circle. The license states what goods and services the merchant may offer, and guarantees the quality there-of. This authority is given to the Circle of the Star by the shah, and helps to ensure the safety of both the citizens of Mawali and the members of the Circle. Though the Circle requires a small fee for the license, and the license must be renewed every five years (accompanied by an examination), the Circle never burdens the merchant with the fee. Again, this isn’t altruistic. The purpose of the licensing is to govern the use of magic in the city. If merchants can’t afford the fee they begin to practice illicitly. Licensed merchants are authorized to display the emblem of the Circle of the Star, and use a stamp to mark their goods.
Many people believe the Circle of the Star is the true power in Mawali and in one sense they are correct. However, the day to day administration of the city is, well, boring. Few magicians have patience for such mundane activities. The Circle has never forgotten, however, that the shah is descended from one of their own. As such, the shah maintains the regard, respect, and backing of the Circle of the Star.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.