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Once the mages were back at the negotiation table, Skelfer
laid down the law. No more would they bicker over who
held authority over whom, or how much authority the cabal
as a whole might wield. The Emperor himself had granted
Skelfer complete authority over wizards, to govern and
enforce as he saw ﬁt. The only question now, he declared,
was whether the other mages would take their rightful place
in the order, or allow it to proceed without them.
The cabal, he decreed, would be governed by a council
of its greatest and most experienced members. This council,
in turn, would be chaired by a single high Spellwise; this
leader would not hold ultimate authority, for the council
could overrule him, but he would maintain order during
meetings, and he would decide how to implement the poli-
cies of the council.
For this ﬁrst generation, Skelfer himself would serve
as high Spellwise, and he would appoint the members of
the council from among the many wizards. From that point
onward, however, the council would select its own members.
Should a member die or retire, any council member could
nominate a replacement, on whom the council as a whole
would vote. Similarly, any council member might nominate
a new high Spellwise, should the position come empty, with
a vote of the council determining if that nominee should
take the chair. This system has evolved through the years,
into the current governing policies of the Cabal.
The Cabal, Skelfer decreed, would evaluate all who
wished to study wizardry, and would teach all who showed
both potential and a willingness to follow the rules. Its expe-
rienced members would devote themselves to the advance-
ment of wizardry, studying magic itself and constantly ad-
vancing their understanding of it. They would advise local
nobles on matters mystical, and they would work together
to hunt down and neutralize sorcerers and other rogue spell-
casters. Any wizard to commit a crime would be brought
before the council for justice, and that justice would be
swift and sure.
Finally, in the year 910, all was in readiness. The laws
were written, buildings purchased, positions assigned. The
Wizard’s Cabal formally announced the start of its ﬁrst
classes in wizardry, located where it had all started, in the
city of Vestfold.
Public Perception and the Rise
of Radiah Zurren
The Cabal’s “coming out” was not met with the public en-
thusiasm for which Skelfer and the others might have hoped.
While many prospective students did indeed join the Cabal
and begin their studies, the people of Vestfold — and else-
where in the North, as news of the Cabal spread — grew
ever-more concerned. They trusted Skelfer, at least to an
extent, but the notion of organized wizards frightened them
no less now than it had immediately after the Mage Wars.
The people of the North had already seen what happens
when wizards attempt to rule, and they weren’t anxious to
risk it happening again.
The Cabal attempted to prove their trustworthiness.
The Spellwise, as the ﬁrst of Skelfer’s students were called,
offered to serve the local barons as advisors and aids on
all magical matters. They publicly and loudly declared that
they existed to serve the Empire, not threaten its citizens.
But even where the nobles were assured, the populace at
large was not.
Nor was all the public nervousness a natural occur-
rence. In several major communities, Vestfold included,
surviving sorcerers and other members of the eldritch un-
derground fanned the ﬂames of paranoia. They whispered
of the wizards’ duplicitousness, arranged public demonstra-
tions, even arranged magical “mishaps” on one or two oc-
casions, designed to make the public fear allowing a large
population of casters in their midst.
At the same time, just as the Cabal needed him most to
put a friendly face on things, Skelfer suddenly seemed to
lose interest in the day-to-day governing of the organiza-
tion. He appeared in public, and even in council meetings,
less and less frequently. When he did appear, he seemed
distracted, almost haunted, as though he had things of far
greater import on his mind. Rumors reached the Cabal of
Skelfer sightings in all lands across the North, and even
beyond. He vanished for days at a time, then weeks, then
months. To this day, nobody is certain what efforts might
have occupied his time. Some suggest that it all simply got
to be too much for him, that he couldn’t face yet another
period of anti-mage hatred. The popular belief is that Skel-
fer’s age simply caught up with him, that he was ailing and
growing ever sicker. Most who have studied him, however,
believe that he had stumbled onto some great secret in his
studies, perhaps something even more important than the
spell focus itself.
Yet because he was not dead, nor had he complete-
ly abandoned his duties, the council could not remove the
White Mage from his position as high Spellwise and replace
him with another. Arguments over how to handle the
mounting crisis, and their absentee leader, ripped through
the council, preventing them from accomplishing anything
on either front. They desperately needed guidance, and it
simply wasn’t coming from Skelfer Ard.
It came, instead, from one of his earliest students.
Radiah Zurren, a human with a hint of elven blood, was
in fact a blood relation of the hated Raddan. Disgusted by
her great-uncle’s cruelty during the Mage Wars, Radiah was
one of the ﬁrst low-level wizards to rally behind Skelfer’s
call when he came out of seclusion. Further, she was one of
the earliest to practice the arts of the arcane warrior, and was
by this time known as one of its greatest masters.
Radiah approached the council with a proposition: They
would not merely train a new generation of wizards, but of
arcane warriors as well. These mystic knights have proven
remarkably popular with the populace, as well as effective
in protecting them from rogue spellcasters and the strange
creatures inhabiting the wilderness of the North. These
arcane warriors, rather than wizards, would serve as the
public face of the Cabal to the public. They would be emis-
saries, guardians, and bringers of justice. They would ﬁght
for the commoners as strongly as they did for the Cabal.
This, Radiah maintained, would certainly sway public per-
ception of the Cabal in a more favorable direction.
For a time, the council denied Radiah’s requests. While
many of its members felt she was on the right track, others
feared to follow her suggestions. They disliked the notion of
letting someone other than a true wizard represent the Cabal
to the public, and they disliked even more the notion of cre-
ating yet another faction within the Cabal, with whom they
would have to share power and authority.
Public perception worsened, however. In one recorded
incident, a sorcerer gang attacked a known wizard. They
claimed afterward that they believed him to be a sorcerer,
but those who knew them maintained otherwise. In the face
of this mounting problem, more and more of the council
members came around to Radiah’s way of thinking. When
Skelfer returned from one of his absences and threw in his
weight behind Radiah’s idea as well, the deal was sealed.
Most of the existent arcane warriors were dispatched into
the communities of the North, while a few remained behind
to train a new cadre, drawn from the Cabal’s new students.
The arcane warriors were set up as a standing army.
Each was assigned rank, based on his experience, and each
was expected to follow the orders of his superiors. While
promotion might be granted based on particularly brave or
effective actions, as in any military order, only arcane war-
riors who had obtained a certain level of proﬁciency might
become ofﬁcers. (In mechanical terms, no arcane warrior
can be commissioned as an ofﬁcer before 7th level.)
It worked like a charm. The arcane warriors gave the
citizens a sense of security and protection the wizards them-
selves could not. They worked with standing militias and
city watches, tracking down not only rogue casters but
mundane criminals as well, when their duties permitted.
They even located some of the sorcerer agitators and put
a stop to their efforts. In mere months, public perception of
the Cabal improved notably, and over the course of a few
years, the organization had grown into an acknowledged and
accepted aspect of the government of the North.
Skelfer’s Last Battle
For all their success during these years of growth and
gaining the public trust, not everything went well for the
Wizard’s Cabal. It was during this time that they lost their
best and brightest, the man who had, until recently, been
their guiding star.
As the arcane warriors moved out into society, they en-
countered several factions of the Eldritch Underground. One
such encounter occurred in the swamps along the Misauga
River, near the border of the Duchy of Ten. The arcane war-
riors, led by Radiah herself, had pursued a handful of ren-
egades all the way from Kenville; when the sorcerers turned
to ﬁght, they believed it to be the last act of a desperate
It was actually an ambush. Having allied with a band
of sorcerers dwelling in Ten, the renegades had a power-
ful band of spellcasting allies waiting near the border. The
arcane warriors of the Cabal suddenly found themselves
surrounded and outmatched. Radiah rallied her forces, and
despite overwhelming odds, a combination of skill and bril-
liant tactics allowed them to escape the ambush with only
30 percent losses. They could not ﬂee far, however, and they
knew the sorcerers would never permit them to leave.
Unable to contact the Cabal for aid on her own, Radiah
instead set out with her best soldiers to capture one of the
enemy sorcerers alive. Once done, she was able to mysti-
cally compel him to attempt to scry on Skelfer himself.
As Radiah anticipated, Skelfer detected the attempt to
observe him, and was able to trace it to its source. When
the White Mage appeared before her, Radiah explained the
situation, and requested he summon additional aid from the
He never had the chance, for it was then that the sorcer-
ers set upon them.
Skelfer fought alongside his student and her soldiers,
and surely the gods themselves ﬂinched from his magics.
Enormous globes of ﬁre rained from the sky, vaporizing
entire portions of the swamp (and, of course, the sorcerers
therein). Elementals rose from the waters and dragged sor-
cerers to watery graves. Waves of pure energy surrounded
him, and all who entered into them fell dead.
Yet even Skelfer was not mighty enough to take on
the entire band of sorcerers by himself, so Radiah and her
arcane warriors fought alongside him. Blades fell and spells
ﬂashed, and though many Cabal warriors died that day, four
sorcerers fell to every one of them.
It was nearing the end of the battle when a vicious stroke
of lightning ripped through the ranks of the arcane warriors
and felled Radiah Zurren herself.
What happened afterward is sketchy, at best, for all
witnesses to the event were heavily occupied in their own
battles. According to some, however, Skelfer raced to the
side of his fallen student, and placed his hands gently on her
shoulders. He muttered under his breath, perhaps casting
a spell, and simply rose and walked into the marsh mists.
When the surviving warriors, heads bowed by grief even in
their victory, approached their fallen leader, they found her
sleeping peacefully, all traces of her wounds gone.
None can say how the wizard Skelfer might have healed
her, if that is what he did, for such powers are well beyond
the province of even the mightiest mage. Nor can anyone
ask him, for from that day, none ever saw the White Mage
To reward Radiah’s service and sacriﬁce, as well as the
fact that it was she who turned around public opinion of the
Cabal, the newly elected high Spellwise immediately nomi-
nated her to take his former place on the council. The others
approved with an overwhelming majority, making Radiah
the ﬁrst arcane warrior to sit on that august body.
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