- Name: Grandes Ecoles l'Espoir (Called Espori Academy for short)
- Also Known As: Academy of Hope, Magic Center of the World
- Classification: Elite School, Magic Academy, Magic Research Facility, Mage Association Department
- Location: A small town near Paris France
Background and General Information
Espoir Academy acts as the world HQ for the Mage Association. The Mage Association is so to say a guide of all the Mages in the world. There are many departments in the world and while there is a certain rivalry going on between all of them, generally speaking they work together and support each other. The only exception seems to be the sharing of crucial knowledge. It helps preserve the balance of power and keeps peace inside the Association. While the other departments don't accept orders from Espori Academy it still formally holds the title of the Mage Association Center thanks to it's impressive size and influence. Besides being a school it has many other functions regarding the Magic World one of the main ones being keeping said world hidden from the rest. That is one of the reasons it works closely together with MI13 from England. Besides that it's highest priority just like with any other Department is the gathering of knowledge and exploration of world through Magic.
Espoir Academy is also unique in the sense that it's the most reformed one of the Departments, embracing freedom and technology.
Considering it's position as the center of the Mage Association Espori Academy is surprisingly young when it comes to age. In fact it's the youngest of the major Departments in the world. Previously that title was reserved for the Clock Tower, a school in England with a very similar structure. But there was a crucial difference. Clock Tower was far more elitist, strict and closed up. It was ruled by aristocrats. If one was not of noble birth they could not make it very far in the Clock Tower. Most of the Lecturers were Lords, all of the administration was the same and even the students were divided into categories based on the history of their family. The entire complex rejected the concept of "hard work" and instead focused on one's bloodline. They did not believe that effort or training were the key to success but breeding and good parental material.
As a result a good majority of the students and older Mages which were looking for a good research facility were frustrated. Though they'd complain and try to reform the Clock Tower the nobles would always ignore the requests and keep the situation as it was. The years passed and no change seemed to happen. As a result mass emigrations of Mages started. Their goal was France. There they started their own school which would later join hands and become a single Department in the Mage Association. Even though the aristocrats held much power in the Clock Tower they had to rely on the numbers of the lower and middle class. That forced many of the nobles to emigrate too, resulting in teeth clenched teamwork with the commoner Mages that were already established in France. Over the years Clock Towers lost it's importance and influence and was disbanded. It was replaced by the Espoir Academy which in the meantime united the best Mages that could be found it France.
It kept the system of the Clock Tower but there were crucial changes to the ideology. Though aristocrats still existed and there was a tension between them and the common folk it wasn't as nearly as bad as it was back in England. While being from a noble family did give you an easier start, not being from one didn't cripple you. All positions inside the world of Magic became open to even normal people if they worked hard enough. The facility also became more accepting of less orthodox forms of Magic such as Runes and Witchcraft. They also embraced technology, something which was considered heresy in a good part of the Magic World up till then. Not only that but they combined Magic and technology creating School of Magic based on that meld. Furthermore the school also became much more international as it opened it's doors to just about anyone, while Clock Tower would do extensive background checks and discriminate against many nationalities.
Thanks to it's will to change Espori Academy quickly entered it's golden age.
An age that is going on even today.
About the School
When talking about Espori Academy it's very easy to split it up into three parts. First there's the town itself. While it functions like any normal town in France that is only a facade. Every single inhabitant is either a Mage, a supernatural being or is at least aware of the World of Magic through some means. Most of them live there because they either are attending the school or are working there or in the case of supernatural beings are looking for shelter. They usually help with research in exchange for protection.
To the north edge of the town the school itself can be found. A grand complex resembling a castle. The school that can be seen though is actually just that, a regular school. Well a very elite regular school, but still a normal one nonetheless. It has it's own administration and staff, clubs, activities and is not really connected to the Magic School which is below the ground. In fact it is possible for someone to attend one of the two without the other one, though awareness of the supernatural is needed for both. Though as said it is not obligatory, most students attend both schools ensuring that they will have a career outside of Magic which will in turn help the school itself as having rich ex-students with influence is certainly helpful. Because the fact that people are aware of the supernatural it's not unusual to talk about Magic and the other school even overground, though the direct use of Magic inside the non-magic school is not allowed.
The Magic Academy itself is found underground. It extends in a spiral patter downwards. A massive complex that covers the whole town. The school is divided into Sections which are assigned a certain number of floors. The deeper underground the more important the section is. The students can choose between a huge selection of subjects and research areas. They attend the school for five years, but most don't leave after that. They stay at the school going after their own career and research. It is worth to point out that both of the schools are very international with French students and staff members being a minority. The lessons are also both in French and English. While certain terms and concepts remain in French that is mostly a formality and a way of showing respect towards the place. The school is somewhat specific in the sense that the five years are not spent in practical application of Magic but mostly theory, essays and exams. While students are encouraged to practice spells and make use of their Magic in clubs, rarely are there tests that need them to directly use spells. That is both a safety measure as well as a statement on the fact that knowledge is the number one priority. In that regard the school feels a lot like a classic High School with a few minor exceptions. The clubs range from mundane reading clubs through the use of Magic support to more unique ones such as various Magic Martial Arts clubs. Many of the clubs also work with the research facilities that are part of the school so that many club members just transfer after they graduate.
The school does it's best to give the students as many chances as possible.
Though Espori Academy is generally considered a school, it is much more than that. Actually the school is only a small part of the complex that is called Espori Academy. The perhaps second most prominent part are the Research Facilities. They are the place where new spells and theories are made. They are divided by areas and only the fifth year students, Lecturers and already graduated Mages have access to the facilities. They are heavily monitored and all knowledge found inside of it is considered property of the school rather than the one who made the discovery though they still get credited and have a decent position ensured for themselves. Besides the research and education going on knowledge is stored away as well. Espori Academy has vast archive in fact the amount of knowledge stored there is second to only one other Department in the world while the sheer amount of the two can outnumber the combined rest possessed by all the other Departments.
The school also has it's own training grounds and practically a military base for Magic. Besides that there is also a prison located in the deepest section. Being part of the Mage Association of course also makes it some sort of police force for Magic. It is to ensure that Magic is no revealed and that rouge mages don't cause too much damage. They also cover supernatural beings that wander around or cause problems. But like most Departments they rarely send out their own Mages. Instead they make use of mercenaries they call Enforcers. Most of them are Mages or supernatural beings but there are even normal humans among them.
While they are not considered to be formally part of the school many of them become some sort of permanent addition to the staff in the sense that they regularly do missions for the school.
- Lobby Section (1 - 2): The first two floors are fittingly enough the lobby with a receptionist, an information board and chairs to sit. Students usually don't linger around too much here and it's mostly the Enforcers who spend their hours waiting for paperwork to be done and for them to be allowed entrance.
- Service Section ( 3 - 5): Surprisingly enough the next section of the facility is not devoted to research or education but profit and entertainment. Here one can find various shops selling relatively cheap tinkers and magical objects as well as a number of unique services such as magic hairdressers and cloth shops.
- Dormitory Section (6 - 15): Whole ten floors are used for dormitories. While living in the village or even outside of it is an option, this section offers a cheap alternative. The only drawback is the fact that the rooms are also used by Enforcers who are far older than the students attending the school.
- Lecture Room Section (16 - 20): The sections most students spend the most time in. These floors have nothing but Lecture Rooms. They are split up accordingly depending on the Lecturer and the area of Magic that is taught there.
- Research Section (21 - 25): This is where all the research happens regarding new theories and various artifacts. Only senior members are allowed here.
- Noble Dormitories Section: (26 - 28): These rooms are reserved for special guests and the students from important families as well as influential Mages. They are rarely used as the town and city provide better options when it comes to living.
- Auction Section (29 - 30): This is where auctions for valuable magical artifacts and mythical beings are held.
- Training Grounds Section (31 - 35): On these floors combat can be practiced, it is off limits for students except certain school clubs. One of the rare deeper Sections Enforcers have access to.
- Archives Section ( 36 - 45): Ten floors storing nothing but books, artifacts and documents. One of the biggest collections of magical knowledge in the world.
- Administration Section (46 - 49): All the important people including the chairmen are here. Usually all of them are extraordinarily powerful Mages too which is needed given what is below.
- Headmaster's Office (50): The office of the man who rules over the whole school.
- Prison Section (51 - 60): The prison where not only mythological creatures are kept but also rouge mages who's knowledge is too valuable for them to be executed.
Ranks and Titles
Inside the Academy there are various ranks one can attain. They can be divided in a two categories. First are the titles gained in the school itself. Things like Mage and Archmage, which tell about one's powers and progress when it comes to the art of Magic. While they do not directly confirm one's authority inside of the Academy they do suggests how much respect that person usually gets from the other members inside the school as well as the positions one can attain. The other titles are titles of nobility such as Lord and Earl. While they don't say anything about one's power as a Mage they do give the person respect and a certain amount of authority. While they do not guarantee high positions they do increase the chance of getting one. Those who have both a Magic and Nobility Title use both.
- Heretic: This is not as much a title as a branding. Heretics are Mages who are considered criminals or deviants in some form or another. Stripped of all rights and depending on the threat hunted down by Enforcers as well.
- Rouge Mage: A Mage who much like the Heretic is considered an outcast in one way or another, but not an outright criminal who is hunted. Has no rights.
- Mage Junior: The title most students posses. It simply tells one that the Mage in question is a first, second or third year student. It does not directly imply any level of Magical Power. They cannot have any position inside the school other than Student Council Membership and Club Presidents.
- Mage Senior: The title fourth year students carry. While they are practically the same as Juniors, they do have access to the Research Facility, more movement freedom as well as well as chance to get temporal honorary positions as some sort of practical training.
- Mage: The most basic title possessed by most adults. Simply implying that they have graduated the school. They make up most of the Magic population and can have a few different positions inside the school. Suggests average Magic power.
- Grand Mage: Slightly more uncommon than the Mage title. Grand Mages are those who have displayed above average power or have contributed to the Magic World in some other way such as exceptional research and discoveries. Can occupy the same positions as a Mage.
- Archemage: Exceptional powers and talented Mages are given this title. They are considered the finest elite of their generation. Well respected and equally feared by many. They usually become Lecturers or become part of the administration. Many chairmen possess this title.
- Archemage General: One of the few titles that is not based on direct difference of Magic Power but rather in authority. Those Archemages who hold some military power inside the Academy, usually by possessing a number of troops of battle trained Mages, are given this title to signify their unusual spot in the school. Usually hold no position in the school administration as they focus on extermination of Heretics and other outside threats.
- Sorcerer: An extremely limited number of Mages can possess this title. It is given to those who are only the best of the best. They have perfected their form of Magic to the point where it's as natural as breathing for them and where no other Mage could possible match them. A title which combines hard work and natural affinity. Mages from this category is considered extreme threats and are known for their ability to accomplish alone what hundreds of Archmages do together. Some of the chairmen posses this title. One must have this title to have a chance to become Headmaster.
- Grand Sorcerer: The Sorcerer who becomes Headmaster is awarded this title. Usually it either means that he is slightly better than the other Sorcerers or that he is older or wiser thus better suited for the position. While the gape in Magical Power is nonexistent, the gap in respect is huge.
- Phantasmal Saint: A title that is so rare that many think that no one ever even possessed it. It is a title awarded to those that are so powerful that they become a rumor or legend. Mages who are worshiped and are considered to be more god than human.
- Mage Knight (if one has a Magic Title higher than Mage it replaces the "Mage" part): The most basic Noble Title. A Mage who is directly serving someone of higher Nobility Rank and acts as their personal guard. Enjoy a few privileges and a decent amount of respect. Unlike most other Noble Titles with which one is usually born with, this one can be obtained if a Noble selects them as their Knight even if they are not of noble birth. Even students can obtain the title.
- Baron: Descendant of a family which ruled a smaller territorial unit in the past. Enjoy some respect but usually have to put up with Cannot knight someone.
- Viscount: Lord of an estate and member of a prestigious family. Cannot declare someone a Knight.
- Count/Earl: Descendant of a ruling family at some point in history. The family must still play an important role in society and be active for the title to be acknowledge. Enjoy more respect than Viscounts- Cannot knight someone.
- Viceroy: Must be of noble birth, but the title itself is gained by being selected by Royalty to represent them. Can knight someone.
- Lord: Current head of a prestigious family which has a well established history and has retained most of it's power. One of the most respected and highest titles one can have. Can knight someone.
- Prince: Must be a child of a current royal family. The highest possible title of nobility one can attain. Can knight someone.
Though Magic has greatly varied through the ages and various civilizations, today a generally accepted definition of it is the producing of supernatural effects through the use of an internal or external power source. That power source is usually defined as Mana. Mana comes in many different forms and is not as much defined by it's own characteristics as it is by the deed of producing Magic.
It forms the entire basis of spell based Magic and represents the very core of all casting. But that is in fact the only connection there is. While Mana is the general source, in which way it's applied and how it's put to use is completely up to the caster himself. Some use Mana from the inside of their bodies, others absorb it from the surroundings while others again use objects to do the same for them or use it's natural mana storage. Because of such simplicity and diversity, the number of individual Magic Schools and Paths is enormous. As such the general course of Espori Academy is to teach one about the control of their Magic and Mana rather than a specific school, though many do exist inside the Academy and can be visited if one wishes to do so. But because of this it's incredibly hard to classify Magic as it's hard to make a good and accepted system for it as the various Magics don't follow any strict natural guidelines and are often unique.
Instead the school keeps a list of all official, know and recognized Magics alongside the list of notable users with varying degree of detail.
Staff, Students and NPCs
A French Lecturer and one of the most prominent ones. He comes from a poor family and has worked hard to achieve his position in the school. As such he serves as the prime example for the middle and lower classes and is mostly adored and loved by most of the students who come from families like that. He tends to be foul mouthed, very outspoken with a short fuse. And many students would also call him lazy and a child abuser given his tendencies to give his students absurd tasks to do for him including picking up his car from the mechanics or going shopping for him.
Despite those "rough" traits he deeply cares for all the students and is rather helpful when he really needs to be. As a Mage he is painfully average not being able to compare to the other staff members. In fact even some of the better students could most likely beat him in straight up fight. But on the other hand he is brilliant Lecturer and is incredibly skilled when it comes to communicating with the students and getting the best results out of them.
Jean is very prone to getting into conflicts with other Lecturers and usually keeps to himself not wander any lower than into the school than he needs to.
Many students think he has a crush on Cornelia.
Cornelia Ophelia Auriallius Celestine the Third
The polar opposite of Jean. She comes from a noble family from England and got her position as soon as she arrived to the school. She pretty much represents all of the aristocratic students of the school. She's quiet, calm, reserved and stoic. Approaching everything with a certain coldness and boredom. Despite the fact that she represents the aristocrats she certainly does not favor them. While calling her harsh and somewhat cruel would be understandable, she is certainly not unjust. If she happens to walk past a few aristocrats bullying another student she will personally punish them, even if their parents donate a lot of money to the school.
She has the habit of opposing Jean, something out of fun only it seems. While he gets invested way too much into the arguments yelling loud enough for the entire town to hear, she brushes it aside in a monotone voice and a sly smile on her face. Unlike him she excels as a Mage, being in the top ten in the entire school easily comparable to the chairmen and the headmaster. As a Lecturer she is not as invested as Jean nor does she put in as much effort or tries to communicate with her students, but her knowledge is valuable and those who manage to pick it up can certainly consider themselves lucky.
A mysterious spirit of a young girl with blond hair roams the halls of the school. Some lecturers take it as nothing more than a myth, though many students swear that they were saved in times of grave danger by the spirit.
Her identity, motives and even her very existence are a mystery, but the stories centered around her have become a symbol of the school
An idealistic young man, from a secret magic race. He wants to train his magical abilities and become friend with as many people as he can. His magical prowess haves special affinity to the element of Light and his desire is to be a Magical Knight, akin to the ones in the stories told by this father.
Book of Phantasmal Species
What "On the Origin of Species" is to biology that is the Book of Phantasmal Species to the research of mythical creatures. It contains various confirmed theories on the origin of the the beings, their nature, capabilities, usage in modern Magic, history, natural habitat and evolutionary process of each line as well as a list and classification of all beings. The book is the bread and butter of those who make their living by collecting samples, ingredients and hunting down rare and legendary beings. Is not restrained to beasts alone but also extends to plants, herbs and even specific Heroes and Demigods of the past.