Archmage is an Imperial title bestowed upon a magician by the members of the Conclave. There are six archmagi in the Conclave; one for each of the magical realms. They serve as a focal point for ritualists of that realm, as well as helping to guide the use of the Conclave's resources.
The six archmagi match the six realms into which magic is divided. Where the influence of a grandmaster is primarily political, the archmagi are responsible for attending to the magical business of the Conclave. They are assumed by the Senate, the Military Council, foreign dignitaries and Eternals alike to be well-versed in the capabilities and lore of their Realm. The archmagi are often seen as the public faces of the Conclave; they are the individuals most likely to be consulted by other Imperial bodies when they wish to know what magical possibilities exist.
Each archmage is addressed by their title and the name of the Realm of magic they stand for - Tavistock, Archmage of Spring or Archmage Reyon d'Esange of Summer. The title archmage comes originally from Urizen, a development of the title mage.
The six archmagi are responsible for attending to the magical business of the Conclave. They represent the Empire to the eternals, and vice versa. They also work with magicians versed in the ritual magic of their realm to expand the Empire's understanding and power in that realm, and employ it to the advantage of Imperial citizens.
Addressing the Conclave
Once per summit, an archmage can raise an address to the agenda of a Conclave session for free. This power is intended to be used to let an archmage appraise the Conclave of a magical problem or development related to their realm of mastery, but the archmage is free to address the Conclave however they wish.
Each archmage is expected to represent the Empire to the eternals of their realm, and vice versa. While it is perfectly legal and extremely common for individual citizens to speak with almost all eternals and their heralds, the archmages are the closest the Empire has to having a formal representative to the Realms, similar to an ambassador. Most eternals understand that the archmage is a representative of the Empire and look to them for assistance on formal matters. The majority of eternals will meet with the appropriate archmage before meeting with other magicians, and will sometimes ask the archmage to be present at any meeting. They also instruct their heralds to look to the archmage for support and protection should it be necessary.
To empower them to carry out their work, each archmage may choose to send a missive of up to 313 words to a single named eternal of their realm each summit. This message is guaranteed to reach the eternal. No eternal who wishes to maintain relations with the Empire will fail to respond to the missive - even if those relations are currently strained.
It is impossible to predict with certainty what form the response will take. Usually an eternal that is well-inclined to the Empire - or is agreeable to the wording will make contact with the archmage at the following summit - possibly creating a chamber connected to the hall of worlds or more likely sending a herald as an envoy. If the eternal is hostile to the Empire - or is insulted by the content of the message - then their response may be aggressive or dangerous as reflects their nature.
The nature of the missive is such that it serves as a powerful invitation making it easier for the eternal to respond. An eternal who is sent a missive by an archmage of the Conclave is able to enter the Hall of Worlds at the next summit regardless of any state of emnity that may exist. It is not unknown for an eternal to take the opportunity to appear with their entourage in the Hall of Worlds in parley, though most choose a more low-key response. A peaceful response is not the only option however though it is exceptionally rare for an eternal to respond with force.
To send a missive, the archmage must cast open portal on the portal at the back of the Hall of Worlds and cast their message into the portal when it opens. Attempts by other characters to send missives in this way will fail, as will any attempt to send more than one missive per summit, or a missive longer than 313 words.
it is not illegal for an archmage to use the power of plenipotentiary to send a missive to an eternal who is under enmity, although it is possible that the contents of such a missive might constitute a crime.
If an eternal chooses, they respond to a missive sent by an archmage with a formal parley that takes place in the Hall of Worlds. The civil service will be aware of the timing of the parley and will communicate the information to everyone attending the summit through the normal means.
A formal parley follows similar rules to those that govern speech during a Conclave session, but it is the archmage with whom the eternal has come to treat who determines who may speak. The archmage cannot forbid entry to the Hall of Worlds during the parley but the laws of Conclave mean that no magician may to speak unless they are granted permission. Speaking does not require a payment of mana, and the archmage may silence the speaker at any point.
A violation of parley by a citizen is prosecuted as an act of subversion against the state - but this may be the least of the magician's concerns if the eternal chooses to take offense at this breach of protocol.
Like the missive, the parley is bound by powerful oaths that govern it. These solemn oaths bind both parties, prohibiting them from acts of violence - if the eternal or the Empire were to break this contract, the hearth magic of the oath would likely exact a terrible price. An eternal that does not request a formal parley is not bound by this oath and is free to respond to a missive in any way it chooses.
it is not illegal for an archmage to engage in a parley with an eternal under enmity, but otherwise the usual rules apply. An archmage who parleys with an eternal under enmity must be scrupulous in their conduct if they wish to avoid investigation for potential treason.
Master of Magic
In situations where it is unclear if a specific act of magic breaches a Declaration of interdiction or association with a herald or eternal breaches a Declaration of Enmity an Imperial Magistrate may issue a formal request for the appropriate archmage to provide a ruling. Control of the judicial process remains with the Magistrate, but the Archmage's ruling on whether the act is a breach of the relevant declaration is binding.
An archmage is legally obligated to provide a ruling when requested by a magistrate or else to direct the magistrate to another archmage better able to clarify the situation.
Regalia of the Archmage
Each archmage receives a staff, a chain and a belt when they take the title. Together these are referred to as the regalia of the archmage. These items are re-enchanted each year. If an archmage loses their position, then the items must be given to the new archmage. If part of the regalia is lost or stolen it may be replaced depending on the resources available to the Conclave; otherwise it remains lost until the next Winter solstice when a replacement is made. Theft of part of an archmage's regalia is a very serious business. Archmagi are encouraged to take all appropriate precautions to keep these items safe.
Staff of the Archmage
The archmage takes custody of the ceremonial staff of the archmage. Each of the staffs of the archmagi is a ritual staff, appropriate to the realm of the archmage, which grants two additional ranks of the appropriate realm lore skill.
Chain of Aesh
The chains are magical items that can be used to empower ritual magic, and are bound to the archmage in the same manner as other magical talismans. Once per event the archmage can evoke the power of their chain before a ritual from their Realm is performed to reduce the effective magnitude of that ritual by 10. The archmage does not need to be a participant or contributor to the ritual, they only need to be present; likewise, they do not need to be of the same nation as the coven they are using the chain to assist.
Belt of Stars
The belt allows an archmage to help different covens work together. Once each summit, they can invoke it to allow multiple covens from the same nation to co-operate on a single ritual from the archmage's realm of magic. This counts as a daily ritual use by each coven involved in the ritual, and while the covens may perform a ritual together, they are still treated as separate covens for all other purposes (for example, a ritual that affects an entire coven will only affect one target coven). Each coven can use their own paraphernalia while performing a joint ritual. The target covens must all be from the same nation but that does not have to be the same nation as the archmage invoking the belt.
Any ritual performed with the power of the belt of stars takes an extra minute to perform for each additional coven involved.
The appointment, replacement or removal of an archmage is made by declaration of candidacy as part of a Conclave session. A candidate can be presented for the post of archmage only once a season, and the title can be held by any Imperial citizen.
An archmage serves until they are replaced by another magician using the Declaration of Candidacy. As a title in the Conclave, an archmage cannot be revoked.