Within the Augury itself, there exists a unique culture that comes from shared experience and isolation. Their home is no prison cell, but it is a cage nonetheless, and one they did not choose. Kept within walled compounds reminiscent of universities and separated from society, only permitted to leave under strict supervision, the augurs cling to all they have left: each other. It is an environment that breeds great resentment or great loyalty, depending on the person.
A belief that is impressed upon augurs is that they are inherently dangerous to society and themselves. Because of this danger, they must strive to always be in control of themselves and highly aware of their abilities. They are taught to cast only when needed and never upon the innocent. They are taught that in a world where magic is freely allowed, those who would use it for ill would rule, using their abilities to repress and kill those who are not able to cast. Because of this attitude, many augurs believe themselves morally superior to the witches of the Vale. It is an effective us-versus-them tactic and has created a rift between the witches of the Vale and the witches throughout the rest of Tnarem.
The Dark Mark
Augurs are recognizable by a small tattoo in the shape of an inverted triangle beneath the left eye, the same triangle that is the symbol of the group. It is impossible to remove without mutilation, the intention being that the symbol is visible and dangerous to remove, leaving those marked easily recognizable for life. Those who entered voluntarily, or who were placed in the Augury as children, wear a hollow triangle, those forced into the Augury wear a solid one. Every augur is given this mark upon first submitting to the Augury.
Submitting to the Augury
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The average age for those entering into the Augury ranges from 6 to 15 years of age. Most will not see the outside of the Athenaeum walls again until well into their 20's or even 30's.
In the regions where the Augury is present when a person begins to show signs of the Awakening, they are presented with a choice: submit to the will of the Augury and Carnifex, or live their lives in a state of constant secrecy. Most, because they have been taught that the gift of magic is inherently dangerous--and rightfully so--will choose to submit themselves to the Augury. In Mercia and Dubhion, the punishment for practicing magic outside of Augury sanction is death, a consequence few are willing to risk. The title of augur carries many connotations, both negative and positive, however, it is considered honorable to submit oneself as it is a show of putting the whole of the region over the self.
Joining the Augury is no lighthearted event. Children who join will not see their families for decades; adults who join may very well remain within the Athenaeum walls long after their parents have passed on. An augur must earn their right to life outside of the Athenaeum, and they will never be without the scrutiny of the Augury or Carnifex. To join is to give oneself to the organization entirely and until death. In return, the witches are well-educated, provided with positions within the institutes or under the direction of them, and will never want for shelter, food, or necessities again.
The Search for Salis
Much like the Schecolei, the Augury employs the use of aurpathy to determine whether someone is magic-capable or not. Their method is not as complex or in-depth as the Schecolei's simply because they do not care what sort of magic a witch is able to cast only that they are able to cast. Where as a tester in Lornesse delves deeply into the vitae of the subject, searching for nuanced information, the testers of the Augury operate on a simple positive and negative result. If the subject is magic-capable or, to the Templars, if the subject's Salis has overrun their Caeli, they are deemed unfit for freedom. If their Caeli remains intact, they are deemed safe and may retain their freedom.
The casting process is almost exactly the same as the one employed by the Schecolei as it is a simple aurpathy spell: the subject is given Source to awaken them and then vitae is taken from them and used to discern their magic-capability. The difference arises in how the reading is done. The person's vitae is never absorbed like it is in Lornesse, and instead is smeared on the hands of the caster. This allows for a weak reading--just enough information for the caster to tell whether someone is magic-capable or not.
Life in the Augury
The default place of learning for witches outside of Lornesse, the Augury is an established organization that both educates witches and protects Tnarem from them. A magic-capable person submits to the Augury upon the realization that they are magic-capable--usually when they are first awakened. They will remain in the Augury for the rest of their lives, as they are no longer free to live in the world outside of it. The average age of someone entering into the Augury is 6 to 10, though some submit earlier or later than the average age range. If the person who submits to the Augury is a noble, or someone of high birth, they will no longer be considered eligible for marriage by their family or society at large; their lives are no longer their own. They belong to the Augury and will no longer have contact with the outside world save for via letter and perhaps the occasional visit from loved ones.
The education someone receives from the Augury is on par with the average education for a noble, and the education process mimics that of the same social status. A child remains focused on primary topics until around the age of 14 or 15 at which point they are pushed in a more specialized direction. For augurs, this means they are trained to aid a specific college within the Athenaeum. They will continue to train for that college until their early to mid-twenties, at which point they become a member of that college and take a full role within it. If they are lucky, they will be granted the ability to act as an agent of the Augury outside of the confines of the Athenaeum, though such positions are rare and coveted. Alternatively, if an augury is lucky, they will be granted a position among the Carnifex and become a force of protection for Tnarem, free to live outside of the walls of the Athenaeum, but at a bloody price: they will hunt down the casters who refuse to submit to the Augury, or those who have fled its walls, and see that they meet the punishment for such defiance, death.
Because of the magic-dampening effects of eolith, the stone is implemented in many ways into the Augury and the life of its augurs. The most prominent, controversial, and iconic way is via the use of eolith "collars." Every augur is immediately fitted with and made to wear a collar upon submitting to the Augury with the intent of that collar keeping them from being able to cast. These collars are locked at the nape of the neck and the key to them is held by Augury faculty or senior Carnifex members. An augur is not allowed to remove the collar on their own and will wear one their entire life unless granted specific permission to forego it.
When wearing a collar, a witch may attempt to cast, however, their spells will have no effect. Instead, the colors within the eolith stone will glow faintly, betraying their attempt to cast. After a collar is removed, it takes about five minutes for a witch to regain their ability to cast.
The Verum Surgere
When an augur is first given Source around the age of 11 to 13, depending on how their studies are progressing, the ritual is known as their Verum Surgere, or their "true awakening." This is the point when an augur is considered fully inducted into the Augury. While the age of this ritual is usually the early teens, it is shifted up or down depending on several factors including at what age the witch submitted to the Augury and what sort of caster they are.
Serving the Augury
By the augur's mid to late twenties, they are ready to be placed in a position of power within the colleges, or, if they are particularly skilled or connected, in a position outside of the organization. Most will begin their service to the Augury within one of the colleges and move on to positions in the Carnifex or outside of the organization. If an augur intends to hold a position in court, they will usually wait until they are experienced enough functioning within the Augury before they are awarded such an esteemed position, and the position will always be to act in the interest of the Augury or Carnifex. The average age for an Augury/Carnifex appointed diplomat is mid to late thirties.
There exists three separate colleges within the Augury, each serving a different function in service to the group. All of them share the responsibility of initiating new augurs into their ranks and teaching them the skills necessary.
With the largest structure in any of the compounds, this college is home to the magisters
and the hundreds of documents they preside over. It is the role of the Athenaeum to study and record magic in all its interactions, which are copied and stored in various archives for the aid of both augurs and their overseers. It is the magisters that the Carnifex turns to for answers when investigating magic.
By far the most populated of the colleges, these augurs are called bollines
and are the main workforce within the Augury. They work in teams under the supervision of bureaucrats to construct public works on the scale of which would be impossible without the use of magic, or to hasten a high-priority project. Full-fledged bollines with much practice spend more time outside the Augury than not.
Although it is the smallest college by both size and population, the Praesidium is perhaps the most honored of all. The athames
it houses are those trusted most by the Augury and, by extension, the Carnifex, because they are the ones who serve their state and faction as weapons. In the field, they receive all manner of privileges and special training, and so to be an athame is to be the freest and most respected an augur can be.