Master of Ice and Darkness
The Master of Ice and Darkness is an Imperial title in the Conclave. It grants the ability to direct the studies of the Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun, a College of Magic specialising in Summer magic. The Icy Crag stands above the vale of Volchitrava, south-west of Olodny, in the territory of Miekarova.
A college of magic allows the creation of new formulaic rituals. A formulaic ritual can take decades to complete, requiring extensive resources and many dangerous experiments. A college of magic speeds this process up dramatically by providing a forum for expert magicians and magical theorists to collaborate, providing them with good quality equipment and the guidance of a single individual who directs their research.
When the college was first built, the eternal Cathan Canae served as a patron of the magicians and their students. She was followed under controversial circumstances by Meraud, and later (following a grand tourney), by Eleonaris.
The Master of Ice and Darkness has the final say in the research agenda of the Icy Crag. Other magicians may approach them and suggest areas which might benefit their particular areas of study, or serve the interests of the Empire. As with both the Provost of the Halls of Knowledge, and the Dean of the Lyceum, it is possible for a Master to indulge their own interests, or to demand payment from people wishing to use the college's facilities to formulate personal rituals. Nor is there any requirement that the rituals formulated at the Icy Crag become part of Imperial lore, or be shared with anyone else.
In the event the Icy Crag were threatened, the Master would be responsible for removing that threat.
Ritual magicians from across the Empire come to study, debate, discuss and pursue arcane mastery at the Icy Crag. In return for maintaining a good standard of living, and access to the researches of previous generations, these magicians are expected to perform ritual research and study for the betterment of the nation and the Empire as a whole. The Master is responsible for setting the direction that research takes.
The magicians of a college can be directed to research the formula of a new ritual so that it can be mastered. The ritual must already exist in the form of an arcane projection, but there is no requirement to select one they have personally commissioned. A college can work on formalising one ritual at a time, and the research may take anywhere from a season to several years depending on the complexity and the resources available. The amount of time it takes to complete research into a ritual depends on the magnitude of that ritual.
It requires three months (one season) for every 10 ranks of magnitude the final ritual will have.
If research is not completed, the college keeps notes on their work so far, and may resume it at a later date from where it was left off.
At the completion, the master of the college receives a ritual text suitable for use in mastering the ritual. They may keep the knowledge of the ritual restricted to themselves and their allies, or through a declaration of Imperial lore the Conclave can have that ritual added to the wider body of Imperial lore, making it available to any ritual magician in the Empire.
OOC Note: The Master selects the arcane projection they wish to formulate by e-mail to Profound Decisions (email@example.com) prior to the next event. The final magnitude of the ritual text is not guaranteed to be the same as that of the arcane projection.
Mastery of the Lore of Summer
The Icy Crag lacks the resources available to the Lyceum, but excels at the study of the magic of Summer. When the Master directs research towards a project that is part of the lore of Summer, the work proceeds at the rate of 15 ranks of magnitude each season.
The Master can increase the rate at which a ritual of the lore of Summer is researched by spending money to purchase rare materials, esoteric tomes and exceptional equipment.
The first five ranks of additional research in a season cost 2 Thrones. The next five ranks cost a further 5 Thrones. The next five ranks cost a further 10 Thrones, and so on doubling the price for each additional five ranks of research within the same season.
The Master's Study
The Master has personal apartments in the central keep of the Icy Crag. The highest point in the college is the Master's study, a circular tower room that allows clear views of the forests of Miekarova. Even at the height of Summer, the apartments are chilly - but they are equipped with great furs taken from creatures of the Summer realm, given as gifts by the hunters of Cathan Canae.
The appointment, replacement, or removal of the Master is made by the declaration of candidacy as part of a Conclave session. Any Imperial citizen may hold the title. A specific candidate can Declare for the post of Master only once a season.
The Master serves until they are replaced by another magician using the Declaration of Candidacy. As a title in the Conclave, they cannot be revoked. When a Dean loses their title, research on their projects ends although it is possible for a Master to return to earlier projects of interest and have them completed in their name.
The Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun
The college takes the form of a white stone castle built atop a high hill overlooking the vale of Volchitrava. Not far from the border with Wintermark, the vale is also home to the powerful Gremani family, cabalists with a long history of mastering Summer magic.
The only approach to the college is a narrow climbing stairway carved into the side of the sheer cliffs, a vertiginous trek that is not for the faint hearted. Whatever the weather, anyone approaching the castle on foot must contend with unpredictable cold winds that strike without warning, threatening to pluck the unwary from the stairs and send them tumbling down into the forest if they are not careful.
The four high towers that rise from the castle proper glisten in the sunlight as if they were sheened with frost. Even during the warmest summers, the temperature within the Icy Crag remains cool and wintry. At the heart of the college is a potent Summer regio. Ownership of this regio appears to shift depending on which eternal is serving as patron. It is currently tied to Eleonaris, and it is not uncommon for heralds of the Summer Realm associated with the Queen of the Fields of Glory, or her allies, to visit the college.
Work on the Icy Crag was commissioned through the Senate by the Navarr Llewellyn Leafstalker, and the bulk of the materials required to complete it were provided by the Navarr and the Varushkans. In particular the Navarr Eternal Family and the Varushkan Gremani families played a significant part in ensuring the edifice was built while a similar project in Urizen failed for unknown reasons.
Not all the magicians associated with the Icy Crag live within its glittering walls. it is perhaps unsurprising given the relatively new status of the college, and its somewhat isolated location, that many Summer magicians (especially those in the south) prefer to correspond with the scholars here rather than relocate their homes closer. Still, a number of Varushkan, Winterfolk, Navarr and Dawnish have moved their homes north and settled in the vicinity of the college to take advantage of its facilities and libraries.
Still, the halls of the Icy Crag are open to magicians from all corners of the Empire, as long as they are prepared to commit some of their time to assisting whatever research is being prioritised by the Master.
As a college with an eternal patron, the magicians of the Icy Crag has a vested interest in maintaining good relations between the Empire and the Summer eternal. In particular, a reliable Summer archmage can only help the college to prosper in the coming years.