For those who read this blog for fiction, no worries. In Transit Monsters and the rest will get returned to. I just like worldbuilding now and again.
The Ancient Collegiate Esoterium Machina.Headquarters: Crux, Ith.
Spheres of Influence: Magic, Science, Knowledge
Symbol: A Gear, which it shares with the Church of the Machine.
Their name refers to knowledge granted from beyond what is already known. The Esoterium Machina is a international fraternity of arcane spellcasters, technologists and magical experimenters. They claim to have originated with the Aetheric Empire. If so, then the Esoterium Machina preceded the Ursyklon invasions over 10,000 years ago.
The Esoterium Machina is a collegiate organization as well as an expeditionary one. It focuses on students of the art of magic, their well-being and teaching. Until the last thirty years, it had remained secretive. The Esoterium Machina has expanded its focus to new fields in the last two decades. These include the technological wonders, like steamers or firearms. The complex sciences of alchemy, too, are a part of their new modern additions.
History.The Esoterium Machina's earliest record instance is during the Tomasi Empire. The Esoteric Pontiffs were an elite order of Tomasi Mages. They preserved knowledge. The Pontiffs also organized academies throughout the Maru Sea. When the Tomasi Empire fell, the Esoteric Pontiffs continued their work. Their academies remain, the centers of most cities found today in the Maru Sea.
The Esoterium Machina became a way for spellcasters to teach and learn. In the Age of Bloodfire, the Order learned that it couldn't contain the more fervent or mad members. So the Esoterium Machina developed a series of policies and bylaws. Their intent was to keep the peace between different spellcasters. It worked for a time, on the small scale.
The Othebean Crusades then came. Othebea saw chaos in the arcane mages and Witches wandering the ruins of the Tomasi Empire. They sought to bring peace. They erred and saw the Esoterium Machina as more a cult than a means to restore order.
They directed a good deal of their initial efforts against the Esoterium Machina. This caused a chain reaction in the southern Maru Sea. Without the Machina to hold back its rogue members, more and more went out of control. So more and more crusaders would journey to combat it.
The Esoterium Machina changed itself into a order of secret codes and messages. It became a conspiracy throughout the Maru Sea. All it's dedicated members kept Othebea from stomping arcane spellcasting out. It would be these long, lean years as hidden mages that would later help free them. These hardships helped the Esoterium Machina learn tactics that aided Ith's independence from Othebea.
After Ith revolted, the Esoterium Machina became a public organization. The Order is not affiliated with any specific government body in Ith. Most senators and other powerful politicians in Ith are members, as a matter of course. To be a mage in Ith of any respect is to also be a member of the Esoterium Machina.
Even Othebea has ended its long war against the order. Othebea has allowed the Esoterium Machian to even establish footholds in the Divine Monarchy. The Order even has outposts in the Jade Lands, Ocrid and even the reaches of Dark Soram.
"Teach Them Wonders."
The end goal for the Esoterium Machina, on the largescale, is to spread the art of the Arcane. The ideal is to get to the point that Arcane magic permeates every part of daily life. It is the power to make one's imagination manifest. Those that succeed at teaching it, understand how important the goal is. Those who can't be taught, or worse, the inability to elevate the unsorcerous is seen as a failure.
This goal pushes the Esoterium Machina in interesting directions. Some lead to expeditions or projects not thought up before. Others create new wonders Orphos hasn't seen before.
Politics.Tiers organize the Esoterium Machina. Those in the highest tier getting votes in the general policies and subjects taught by the order as a whole. Those of the highest tier bear the Platinum Gear. Ascension in the order is often done via a letter in a arcane cypher. Almost always it involves receiving a gear of a new metal.
Controversy has dominated the subject of the destructive magic versus helpful magic. Some consider the research into destructive magic to be dangerous. Others counter that the best defense against such magic is to understand how it works.
Another controversy regards the unsorcerous: individuals who lack sorcerous powers of any kind. Almost all these are humans. In Ith, they have few to no rights. Among some in the Esoterium Machina, this seems to be a failing they need to solve. Others see it as a matter of divine providence. Those without sorcerous means weren't chosen. Providence gave some that power, and it would be ridiculous, one side claims, to not use it. They point to animals, and ask if we should treat the unspeaking bestial animals we eat for food as persons.
None of these controversies have affected the Esoterium Machina as a whole. But the controversies are growing hotter. Advocates of the Unsorcerous make more and more demands for reform. Reform that might create equality. Reform that might make Arcane magic less of a societal elevation than it has been.