The Archmages are the ruling council of Eustace, a major realm of Gard. The council of eight wizards wields supreme executive power in that realm, except where that power conflicts with Emperor Rommestilanis’s imperial right. The Archmages meet at the Towers of Erudition in North Almond.
The council of Archmages has had roughly the same shape for the last 500 years or more. There are always eight wizards on the council, one for each of the eight schools of magic (abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation, illusion, necromancy, and transmutation). For the first 250 years or so of that time, only men could become Archmages, but that rule is no longer in force. The body has also historically enjoyed a great racial diversity.
Each Archmage serves a single term of 64 years, with the appointments staggered so that one term ends every 8 years. The body is self-selecting. When a term ends, wizards submit their names for consideration, and after a secretive, months-long process, the seven remaining Archmages select one to join them from among the candidates.
It is not permitted for anyone to serve two terms as an Archmage, even if one of those is only a partial term. Short of irreversible death or retirement, the only way for an Archmage to be removed from power is by the command of the Emperor.
Members of longer-lived races have no trouble serving out their entire 64-year term. Other Archmages may die in office or be forced by old age to retire. The Archmage will, in these cases, nominate someone, often a friend or former apprentice, to serve the remainder of their term. A new appointment is still made when the 64 years is over. Because no one may serve twice, being selected to finish a partial term is considered a dubious honor. Usually a dying or retiring Archmage will nominate, not their protege, but a competitor to their protege to finish a term with only a few years left.
There are other considerations also stemming from the length of the term. The Archmages consider candidates from any race, but if the candidate is of a short-lived race, they prefer a young, savvy Archmage with a lot of potential to an experienced wizard who will die only a few decades into their term. So apprentices tend to flock to whatever school of magic will have an Archmage vacancy soonest, planning to be candidates for the position. The Archmages don’t mind this.
Within the council itself, Archmages have their own alliances and rivalries. These shift and change over time. So far, the Archmages’ machinations have never led to civil war, but there have been instances of Archmages dying or disappearing mysteriously. The most recent to do so was Cyan the Younger, who supposedly deserted his post in Dragonfall in 459 OC and has not been located since then. Rumors state he is the leader of the Clairvoyance Society.
The Archmages currently are composed of 3 humans, 2 elves, 2 dwarves, and 1 gnome. The next term to end will be that of the Arch-Illusionist, which ends in 481. The appointments proceed in alphabetical order, so the most recent appointment was the Arch-Evoker, Fandango.
- Arch-Abjurer Tangerine is a male human. He is known for having no sense of humor at all, and for having such a strong Eustan accent that even other Eustans think he sounds funny. He is also an ordained priest of Exene, but he rarely brings that up.
- Arch-Conjurer Sienna is a female dwarf. She has a huge number of children. It’s joked that she can conjure dwarf kids at will. Sienna is often accompanied by a lantern archon she befriended, but the archon gets very insulted if you call him her familiar.
- Arch-Diviner Lazulum is a male human. He’s the one the Archmages usually send to diplomatic affairs that take place outside Eustace. For more information see: Lazulum.
- Arch-Enchanter Amaranth is a female elf. She’s very prim and proper, and is never seen without a traditional dress and parasol. The parasol is actually her bonded item, and it functions as a wand of charm monster.
- Arch-Evoker Fandango is a female human. She graduated top of her class at the Collegiate, and was the favorite student of venerable professor Heef Firehands. She prefers to use diplomacy rather than violence to solve problems, although her ice magic is supposed to be second to none.
- Arch-Illusionist Dark Moss Green is a gnome female. In her time as Archmage, she has invented 64 new illusion spells, most of them fairly useless such as disguise tree. She also enjoys walking around North Almond in disguise, for fun.
- Arch-Necromancer Orchid is an elf female. People usually find her creepy, and she tends to play that up by putting on makeup to make herself look deathly pale in public appearances. Behind closed doors, she loves practical jokes. Arch-Abjurer Tangerine does not like her.
- Arch-Transmuter Emerald is a dwarf male. He never dresses formally. He is very outspoken about political issues, sometimes to the point of rudeness. A point of pride for him is the fact that he is very strong for a wizard, able to hold his own in a physical fight.