The Academy of Arcaro
On the western edge of the Wahiba Desert, known by most as the Sea of Sand, sits the Academy of Arcaro, Cisterra’s center of knowledge. Known by all and feared by most, Arcaro is the destination of all pilgrims of magic, drawing all many of arcane-minded and divine-desiring individuals. Wholly dedicated to the pursuit of wizardry, the Academy was founded by rogue sorcerors from Chusei and errant clerics of Lindel over a century ago, and continues to be home to over six thousand arcane researchers and divine petitioners alike.
The Academy is led by five Ephors-one for each element of study practiced therein. Each Ephor is elected annually by the enrolled students and professors, with professors have twice the voting power of students. The Arcane Ephor represents the study of wizardry and witchcraft, while the Divine Ephor represents the (impartial and non-religious) study of divine magic. The Lore Ephor represents the archivists and librarians at the academy, and carries responsibility for documentation of the Academy’s studies and of Cisterra’s history. The Eldritch Ephor represents the martial application of the Academy’s studies, and leads the Eldritch Knights in its defense. The Archephor is the leader of the oligarchy, and represents the amalgamation of the Academy’s theurgical studies. Archephor Haslam is the current president of the university, and is a renowned mystic theurge of unspeakable power.
Arcaro is one of only two neutral city-states in Cisterra, and currently serves as the de-facto capitol. This said, Arcaro is not seen in a good light in many other cultures. The Shogunate of Chusei believes it to be a pursuit of evil, black magic, while The Grand Dukedom of Lindel sees the Academy’s divine research as a perversion and abuse of divine gifts. The Dwarves avoid Arcaro for anything but business, both because they detest magic and because the Academy unrelentingly attempts to discern the Dwarven secrets of Alchemy. Orcs give the Academy wide berth, as previous assaults have ended in massacre at the hands of the Eldritch Knights. The only people group that seems to frequent Arcaro is that of the Rabiah Halflings, who visit the Academy often to trade wares and news.
Arcaro has a strict anti-religious focus, and even the clerics who study there do so not out of service to the Divines, but to discover new ways to eke out magical power from their deities. These practices keep The Shogunate of Chusei from allowing the Academy knowledge of sorcery, as the students and professors dishonor the blood of Elven ancestors by studying its arcane properties. The Rabiah Oracles, though frequently seen near Arcaro, never stay long enough for extended study, and many of Arcaro’s researchers have attempted (unsuccessfully) to keep a Halfling Oracle at the University for study.
Militarily, the Academy of Arcaro is widely recognized as one of the most powerful martial forces in all of Cisterra. The Eldritch Knights that guard the Academy’s fortress walls are capable of arcane wizardry and swordplay approaching that of Chusei’s Samurai warriors. Even the archivist Loremasters display unfathomable magical prowess in battle, though they very infrequently participate in such ‘trivial’ matters. Perhaps the most feared and most potent of Arcaro’s mages are the few who practice the mystic arts of theurgy-including the current Archephor Haslam. These twisted wizards are said to have mastered the art of divine blessing and arcane magic simultaneously, and the few times their power has been seen have been the stuff of legends.