Archmages, also known as Seekers or Archmasters, are mages that have chosen to leave the Path as defined by their Watchtower and constructed their own way to the Realms Supernal, referred to as the Golden Road. Archmages are the only beings capable of performing Imperial Rites, feats of magic so immense that they can change the entirety of the Fallen World. Many of them strive to achieve Ascension.
The Initiation of an Archmage is called the Second Awakening or the Threshold Seeking by some. Through mastery of his soul via command over the Arcana or his dedication to the Mysteries, an Archmage has achieved such a degree of insight into the hidden truths that he has glimpsed the first steps of Imperial magic. The aspirant searches for the Quintessence that represents his understanding of magic and that will aid him to cross the Abyss. The search for this Quintessence often mirrors a Mystery Play during an Awakening and is indeed the catalyst that enables the aspirant to leave the Fallen World. Once this is achieved, the aspirant finds himself on his Road within the Abyss, reenacting every single Paradox and being revisited by every Abyssal creature he ever dealt with. Mages that fail during this stage let the lies of the Abyss crawl into them, thus becoming a Qliphoth.
Should the aspirant manage to cross the Abyss, he finds himself in a confusing landscape of symbols of pure Truth. Some of these mages end up absorbed by the Supernal Symbols, never returning to the Fallen World, the Truth of their existence vanishing into greater symbols. Only by focusing on specific symbols encountered during his initial Threshold Seeking can the mage filter the raw Truths into something that a human soul can withstand. He forms a Lustrum, where he is confronted by the natives of the Realms Supernal. Should any Archmages wish to interfere with his attempt, they may act now. After resolving any interference from natives or fellow mages, the aspirant is confronted by a Supernal native representing the separation of that realm from the Fallen World. Only by defeating the guardian can he prove himself worthy and claim the symbols in the Lustrum as his own. They form a Cintamani, the symbol of his archmastery, which acts similarly to a Watchtower but is only accessible to the new Archmage and his Archmaster brethren. The Cintamani is connected with the Fallen World through the Golden Road, through which the Archmage can now return. In most cases, other Archmages then reveal themselves, courting the newcomer and explaining exactly what has happened to him.
Interaction with the PhenomenalEdit
Archmages that return find that the world around them has changed. Their arrival in the world of pure Truth has altered the Truth that is expressed in the Fallen World: Persons are slightly different from how they remember them; in some cases, entire cabals have vanished. This is referred to as Aponeia, and will continue every time an Imperial Spell is cast. Some mages postulate that the Aponeia transport the Archmage into a parallel world where the changes they made to reality have always been present.
Archmages no longer have a physical body in the sense most mages have them: their understanding transcends physicality, allowing them to enter the Golden Road with a single thought, regardless of the circumstances. From their Road, the Archmage can create Irises and Chantries, connections with the realms of the Phenomenal and personal worlds within their own soul.
Archmages organize themselves into five Ententes, cliques of like-minded individuals whose view of Ascension is relatively similar. These groups vie to define the Phenomenal in a struggle known as the Ascension War. Contrary to the name, participants do not engage in open warfare - such would rend the Fallen World apart- but seek to shape and nudge the Tellurian towards the form they desire using Imperial Rites.
The involved factions include:
- The Alienated, priests to the Old Gods cast out by the Exarchs who seek to reinstate them as rulers of the Supernal
- The Aswadim, seekers of the Abyss, who strive to sever themselves from the restrictions of the Supernal to claim one of the half-real worlds within the void to rule
- The Bodhisattvas, advocates of Ascension who seek to lift up all of Mankind to reach the Supernal Realms, aiding Sleepers to Awaken and mages to reach the Threshold
- The Exemplars, paragons of the Atlantean Orders who seek to advance the teachings of their Order and strengthen their Supernal symbolism
- The Siddhas, students of the Arcana who strive for mastery over the ten Arcana and to strengthen magic as a whole
- The Tetrarchs, servants of the Exarchs who have ascended to their masters' right hands; they seek to reinforce their status, hoping to someday either merge with or supplant their Exarch.