In a realm dominated by hoary old towers with equally old wizards haranguing terrified apprentices and would be magicians spending the better part of their youth toiling away as slaves for their elderly mentors, Cinque-Parte Polygnostic is equal parts anomaly and affrontery.
Johannes Cinque, the Wand-Maker
One of the original founders of CP Polygnostic, Johannes Cinque was considered a mediocre magician by his dour and balding master who did not shed two tears when his apprentice of sixteen years threw his hands up in the air and quit his studies. Cinque excelled in the crafting of magical items as well as being proficient, if not gifted, in the realm of alchemy.
Hillsong Parte, the Oracle
Most are surprised to discover that the other cofounder of CP Polygnostic is not only a centaur, but a female centaur, and later the wife of Johannes Cinque. Counterpart to Johannes, Hillsong is a competent sorceress and while things of potions and powders are strange to her, magic is innate, and her intuition borders on the supernatural.
The Dark Patron
There are certain folk, immune to the passage of time, who are able to see things that even the most long in the tooth of human magi are quick to overlook. Dro’hizzir, a lord of Pulca and the leader of the elven Shadow Warriors, saw that the human Cinque had a gift for crafting magical items, but lacked focus or purpose in his work. Considered demented by the other lords of Pulca, Dro’hizzir became a distant and slightly malignant benefactor for Cinque as he hobbled along selling magical charms and doing unlicensed commission work for nobles who didn’t want the pay guildmage rates. Some consider it a stroke of genius, others a gift from madness, but it was simple pragmaticism that drove the dark elf to bring Hillsong and Johannes together.
Given his ability to remain unseen, it was a simple matter to dose the two with love potions, causing the man and centauress to fall in love with each other. It was a simple thing that a married man produced more and better work than a bachelor, and rumor he heard among the humans was that a sturdy woman with strong hips was best to have. It was simple for the elf to find the 1100 pound Hillsong and her impressive hips, and even simpler for him to bait her to find Johannes and his meager cottage shop.
A Cottage Industry
Hillsong and Johannes worked well together, and despite the alchemical induction of their relationship, the duo would eventually fall in genuine love with each other. They combined their knowledge of magic and alchemy and created a unique potion that allowed them to have children together, though Johannes’ sons and daughters all happen to be centaurs. This was all well and good for the duo, and their regular goods, amulets of protection and rings that detected poison made them decent money, it was a far cry from the arsenal of human made magical weapons that Dro’hizzir expected to reap for use in the shadow wars against the enemies of the dark elves. But he knew that such notions would take time to come to fruition.
During this time, hunger and famine were taking a toll on the vitality of the shadow warriors of Pulca as the enemies of the dark elves had made advances and forced the dark elves to abandon a number of valuable food production areas on the underground realms. During his last foray to the surface realms Dro’hizzir discovered a strange magical contraption that defied the law of conjuring food from magic. Goeric’s Bountiful Creel was left in an area where Johannes would find it, ironically when he was taking a day off to fish from the local river.
Recognizing the high quality of the creel and correctly guessing it as being Kitionan handiwork, he took it up and placed his days catch into it. It was a matter of delight that the handful of small glass-eye brim that he caught grew into a catch large enough that the entire family had fresh fish instead of watery fish stew for dinner. Two months later the couple had deduced the magical nature of the creel.
The Master Reveals Himself
It was a short time after this that Dro’hizzer revealed himself to the now engaged couple and their three children. Though he did not reveal his hand in their union, or the discovery of the creel, he requested of them a bite to eat. Generous to a fault, Hillsong fed the dark elf well. Still they were wary, for they had heard the tales of the dark elves, murdering everything they pillaged across with their silver scimitars, commanding war packs of panthers and black lions to devour their foes, and being able to poison a foe with a glance of their magical eyes.
Antigony Cinque-Parte, the Sculptress
Drawn to the arts of shaping stone, Antigony was the eldest of the couple’s children and recognized the stranger as the Lurker, for she had seen him atimes when he came to spy on the family. She knew that he had left the creel for her father to find. As a mostly white centaur, her skin is predisposed to sunburn and the hair of her head is very pale.
Dro’hizzer stayed as a guest of the family for a time, and paid them what seemed very generous for replicas of the magical creel. Employing her children, as well as several village children, Hillsong had the creels woven in short order and even made both friends and money teaching the children the finer points of centaur basket weaving and wickerworking. The elf found Antigony to be a constant follower and would delve every bit of stone lore from the elf that she could, often asking him to sit for her. Now few things can stroke the ego of an elf quite like sitting for a sculpture, and the centauress was talented, though her skill was still young and raw.
These Boots Were Made for Walking…
The creels completed and the famine gone from Pulca, Dro’hizzer found himself no longer subjected to questions about his sanity. His vanity was much greater as his lodging on the surface was now a stone built room in a proper stone house, and in the courtyard, his likeness was rendered from grey stone. Having recently been attacked by an errant priest and demon slayer, the dark elf found himself in possession of a unique pair of boots. The priest’s Gravestompers, with their silver fittings and religious images were pleasing to the dark elf. Unlike most of the common boots of this type, the boots Dro’hizzer obtained were enchanted to protect the wearer from the undead, as well as being baneful to the undead. Having a long running feud with a seven century old vampire lord, prudence demanded that he have an ample supply of these magical boots.
It was a simple matter and soon the now some years wed Cinque-Parte family was turning their minds to acquiring boots and granting them the proper enchantments. Having experience with the creels, the enchantment of the boots was much easier. It also helped that the couple had taken on no fewer than four students, of which only one was one of their own children. Within three years, most of Dro’hizzer’s Shadow Warriors were garbed with line leather boots that gave them an unexpected advantage over their vampiric rivals.
The Unofficial School
It was local common knowledge that the Cinque-Partes were not only well off and beneficial wizardly folk, but unlike the pederastic magi in their phallic towers, they Cinque-Partes were decent folk, a man a wife, several children. The sort of place that the children of the villages would go when they could. Hillsong was a natural teacher, and Johannes, now a bit heavy around the midsection was considered well educated by the locals and nobles even if he couldn’t name all 400 celestial beings or correctly calculate the Sidereal date. Construction became constant and the family attracted not only petitioners to learn everything from basketweaving to enchantment, they also attracted other patrons, such as weavers looking for work, or scribes looking to pass on their art in exchange for food and lodging. It was a haphazard time of informal classes, non-existent schedules, and general anarchy.
The Brilliant Prank
It is still a mystery how the vial made it’s way to the nascent school, but the Korinthan Cracker Powder made the school, just as it almost destroyed it. The vial has half empty when found, after a student had used some of it’s contents to scare other students in a prank. The vial was taken to Johannes who was able, after some arduous study, to determine what it was, and more surprisingly, how to manufact the powder as well. The same mode that brought the vial to the school, carried this discovery back to Korinth. As can be expected, the Thieve’s Guild was VERY unhappy about the discovery and dispatched a team of assassins to eliminate the school, destroy the records and seize all of the Cracker powder that had been illegally made.
The assassins made a great show of destroying much of the school’s original buildings, wounding several innocents, and invoking the ire of Dro’hizzer. The dark elf defeated the assassins and in a moment of uncharacteristic sentimentality used both his innate ability as an elf to heal, and a irreplaceable drop of magical potion, he saved the lives of Antigony and her mother Hillsong though the elves of Pulca no longer required their aide. Now, when the Shadow Warriors battled the Thieve’s Guild in Korinth, it was a matter of principle and pride as the thieves had attacked something the elves considered under their possession.
Fire of the Mind
The years of magical research and practical application of enchantments and sorcery had given Johannes a unique view of magic. This would be taken to another level of understanding after an unexpected run in with a Godkiss butterfly. None knew he had a parasitic infection in his brain, but during the creature’s incubation Johannes worked feverishly writing what would be the culmination of his life’s work, The Enchanter’s Rubric. This book laid out in plain detail the mode of preparing a mundane item to be enchanted and how to modify difficult spells to be placed into items.
The primary use of this work was the manufacting of wands, the most common tools of wizardry, though more ordinary magic items, such as Staves of Servants could be created, along with self sweeping brooms, animated furniture and the like. More in depth applications can be found by diligent readers, such as creating magical weapons and armor and such.
In game terms, access to the Enchanter’s Rubric can provide a situational bonus to the roll to create a magical item. If the wizard in question lacks the basic skills to enchant an item, the book grants the ability to enchant an item ala a Tome of Golems.
Sadness and Grief
After his many long years, the emergence of the adult Godkiss butterfly was more than the venerable Johannes could survive. The elderly human, now many times a grandfather, was then in his late eighties. Hillsong, herself nearly a decade his senior and increasingly lame in her front longs did not long survive his passing. It was with a surprisingly heavy heart that Dro’hizzer left the the grounds of the school, naught to return again. His experiment had done well for him and his people, and the pain he felt at the natural deaths of mortal creatures left him feeling vulnerable and weak.
The Foundation Laid
Antigony would step up and take the place as the Headmaster and officially name the school Cinque-Parte Polygnostic, to honor her father and her mother. With the wealth her parents had made and saved, and the generous donations of various parties who liked to see less money in wizard’s wiry old hands, a new campus was built. The new school kept the open and friendly feeling of the old one, with wide courtyards that were as much places for play as they were gardens. A meandering river slunk through the grounds and fishing was encouraged though the original creel had since done as many magic items are wont to do, having slipped away some years before, unnoticed.
The central plaza of the CP Polygnostic is dominated by a statue of an elf, his face stern but wise. When carved in stone, there are precious few differences between a forest elf and a dark elf. Most properly educated mages consider the school to be an abomination on the face of magic, rending away the mysticism around the arts and turning their ability to make students into slaves for years on end into idle dreams of the past. Even worse, in their eyes, mundane arts are taught as well. It seemed that nothing could sully the school further in their rheumy old eyes, but then the old men discovered that a student could be learning something as crude and base as basketweaving, pottery making, or fishing, or riding horses. Students of the arcane arts were intended to spend their hours with hands cramping from endless scribery, their eyes strained from working in too little light and quivering with fear over upsetting their magical mentor.
Yet the old men’s fears were in large part unfounded. The school, though offering a vast variety of skills was rather limited in it’s magical stock. Most of it revolved around enchantment and alchemy. So potions and basic magic items were being produced in good numbers, as were a number of magical arms and armor, but nothing like the truly eldritch powers commanded by the evokers, and pyromancers, and fiendish necromancers of the black towers.
CP Polygnostic is much like a modern vocational school, offering relevant courses and study and applicable knowledge. This compares with the wizards and their apprentice based system being more like the traditional universities. A Polygnostic student isn’t going to learn ancient and arcane languages, magical history, or strange and obscure spells. They will know the basics, and will be able to a couple of things fairly well when they ‘graduate’. This graduation, unfortunately, is not recognized by any Mage’s Guild, which will require a second apprenticeship for such students, or by more powerful, wealthy, and influential personages. Besides, only those who couldn’t stand up to the real rigors of magical study run away to Polygnostic.