The Collegium is a loosely organized body of wizards who police the activities of magic users, and particularly fellow wizards, across Cendra. They rose from the ashes of the disaster that was Threvanosh, when wizards realized that even a single one of their number could reach such heights that they could burn the world. The Collegium’s purpose is to enforce a certain restraint on magic users so that another Threvanosh can never happen. Wizards are a solitary and independent group, however, and so the Collegium remains a loose if widespread body.
All wizards are expected by the Collegium to become members. There are only five ranks within the Collegium: vucan (voo-CAHN), caliad (CAL-ee-ahd), kerios (KEE-ree-ohs), savrios (SAHV-ree-ohs), and majilis (MAH-gel-lees). Vucan are apprentices, under the care of a kerios, a master. Vucan are promoted to caliad upon completion of their apprenticeships; vucan who abandon their masters are forever vucan. A vucan is expected to serve their kerios unquestioningly while their kerios trains them to control their powers and to practice magic safely. Few rules govern what a kerios can and cannot do to their vucan.
Once a vucan becomes a caliad, they are free to wander and practice their skills until such time as the senior members of the Collegium, the savrios, recognize their power and maturity to be a kerios and take on vucan of their own. Once every 3 years, all members of the Collegium gather to elect new savrios (vucan cannot vote), a meeting called the Concordat. Savrios act as the body that rules and polices the Collegium, and they elect a Majilis, the highest-ranking member of the Collegium who directs its policy. A Majilis must be re-elected at each Concordat.
The actual functioning of the Collegium is less orderly than it would seem to be. There are few actual rules and policing is uneven at best. There is little to keep a kerios from refusing to promote a vucan, to keep a savrios from ignoring his duties, or to make sure a caliad is properly recognized to become a kerios. The savrios are in charge of enforcement but each savrios approaches this task with varying (and sometimes non-existent) amounts of zeal. Savrios are also responsible for policing each other, and even the Majilis, while the Majilis is charged with keeping the entire organization together and directing its focus. The end result is that there is no shortage of disaffected vucan and caliad who have given up on the Collegium and roam the world on their own.
The primary aim of the Collegium is to make sure magic is not practiced in such a way as to destabilize Cendra. They frown on magic intended to interfere with the gods or disrupt the planar structure of creation, or of trying to harness or entrap spirits and other beings of uncertain origin and power. They also crack down on wizards trying to destabilize nations or interfering with wielders of great political power lest they provoke suspicion, hostility, or even pogroms. The Collegium generally does this by hauling perpetrators before tribunals with most punishments being periods of imprisonment, or death. Mercy is not their strong suit as most savrios would rather not take a chance on a vengeful wizard later pursuing them. Enforcement of these rules is carried out through scrying, spying, and outright violence.
All wizards are expected to be members of the Collegium, but not all are. Their power is significant but not infinite and some magic users, such as the Par’ven’ashi, are outside their control. The members of the Collegium are loathe to start destructive wars and risk their own skins to expand membership. Solitary magic users however will likely be ‘encouraged’ to become members and may find themselves in significant distress if they refuse and practice magic in such a way that the Collegium disapproves. Membership does carry its benefits, giving practitioners a vast network of fellow mages to learn from and even ask for help from.
Membership is distinguished with a simple mark placed over the heart, a tattooed circle which glows a very faint blue; the Brand. For each rank achieved, a bar is added to the interior of the circle connecting the center to the circle. For a vucan, it runs from the lower right, caliad from the lower left, kerios from upper right, savrios from upper left, and Majilis from the left. This means, for example, that a caliad’s Brand would appear to be a circle with an upside-down V in the middle. Once applied, no known method can remove the Brand.