The Arcane Consortium is the largest sorcerers' order / organisation in the world.
Its history goes back to around about the formation of the Valkyon Federation (only a few years before, in fact) and originally was three separate orders who were different-minded, who joined together against a common foe.
The Consortium's governing body is named the Great Council of Sorcery, and the three main factions are the Collegium Arcane (Velika), the Symposium of Arcane and the Mysterium (both in Allemantheia).
The other sub-factions that spawned from the three main ones aren't so well-known, and mostly they're just referred to as a part of the faction they're tied to for simplicity.
Over the Consortium's history they have faced many wars, such as the Argon War, and have seen many changes, such as the Consortium War.
Originally three separate orders, the Consortium united only a few years before the formation of the Valkyon Federation, and at first were incredibly wary of each other, not fully trusting after many years of keeping onto separate paths. Due to the animosity, and inner fights amongst them, there were Councillors elected from every faction and sub-faction (sub-factions had been formed from the main three by this time) to sit on the governing body of the Consortium, known as the Great Council of Sorcery. There were also Elders who acted as the leaders of each faction personally, who were second-in-command to the Council for each faction. Each one would be referred to as "Eldest".
Over the years, the Consortium slowly strengthened their bond due to their love of sorcery. Most of them loved to discover new magical phenomenon, while others chose the path of harnessing their powers for battle. Many chose the paths of knowledge, some chose the path of war, and only a few ever looked into the "darker arts" of sorcery. Over the years, the Consortium allied themselves and formed ties with the Federation, and often might be seen on the battlefield, though this common sight slowly dwindled as less and less mages would choose the war path.
However despite not being openly active, the Consortium still had their fair share of power. They were among the first to send researchers to the Island of Dawn when it had first arisen from the sea, for example. They played an active part in the First Expedition and even more so in the expeditions to the Island that followed. However, they also had an active hand in the Argon War too, offering some of their sorcerers and researchers to study and battle against the argons and generally just being a right-hand man to the Federation. However what they did not realise was that they had traitors among their ranks - and the Argon War would be just the beginning to the fall of the Consortium...
Following the betrayal of many of the Federation's great commanders (the most infamous being Samael), the Great Council had concluded that action was needed. Every single one of the Federation soldiers and Consortium mages had free will, meaning that they had the power to betray the Consortium and the Federation at any point. It had become a matter of desperation, and thus, the Council made the worst decision possible - they tried to eliminate all free will from their soldiers, in order to strengthen their armies.
They looked within the darkest of sorceries and the most ancient of rituals, but nothing they found seemed to be powerful enough, not effective enough, to aid them in their cause. Time passed, and the Federation was beginning to fall even more as more and more of the traitors were coming. Desperation spiralled out of control amongst the Council, and they ended up fleeing to their enemies, to seek their help and their counsel - the argons.
It appeared the argons had a secret power that they held dear to themselves, that allowed them to control their soldiers. That was why argon dust was so dangerous (as it once had an effect on a former Templar) and why it had terrible effects to anybody who meddled in an object that was argonic. It would manipulate the person to their "master's" will, and they could not disobey. It was so perfect, yet would be incredibly controversial as the method of making one a slave was very painful and would break the law. Therefore all Council members agreed and swore an oath to never share this information with the outside world, and that they would hide their army to the best of their ability, and defend Arborea in times of need. Three Elders were selected from each faction to keep a general watch on the army, one of which being Veldesti from the Symposium.
A Rising Threat
Veldesti was an Eldest of the Symposium and had always lusted for power and control ever since he was a young man and had joined the Symposium. He was very manipulative and demanding, having a way with some of the Council members to achieve his own ends and desires. As he rose in power, he became more manipulative. However he had begun to grow jealous of the other two Elders he had to share the control over the army with, so in secret, he tampered with the argonic energies and made the control under his, after tricking the Elders into performing a ritual to give him the control. Of course, he would make sure they still thought they had control.
For an unknown reason, a Consortium agent came to visit the Templars of Dawn, a castanic named Finlayn. Finlayn claimed to seek the Templars of Dawn as a messenger from the Consortium, claiming to be out looking on a mystery of some stolen books from the Mysterium. Around about the same time, a baraka named Dairuin had arrived, announcing he had recently heard of the Templars of Dawn, and that he had come to help them. (Although he did mention he did not wish to elaborate why, other than he was like-minded and wanted to see justice to the world...) After some time there was an explosion as a failed experiment went disastrously wrong. It took place down in the research facility, in the Elevators below Allemantheia. At first, the crowds nearby were startled, and some reported a certain man was sighted nearby - a castanic named Finlayn.
The other mysterious Consortium mage, Dairuin, happened to be in Allemantheia at the time of the incident, and tried to discover more, but was denied access by the Consortium security guards. After searching, Dairuin found the castanic who had seemingly caused the uproar, Finlayn. It appeared that the Consortium was hunting Finlayn for an unknown reason, and if Dairuin took him to safety, he may consider not surrendering them to the Consortium.
Confused, Dairuin teleported them to Lumbertown, to visit his friend, Clement, at his farm. It appeared Finlayn was one of these "weapons". Dairuin knew at once something fishy was going on, as the man healed unnaturally fast, and glowed like red hot metal, and his eyes seemed to have a murderous glint to them. Dairuin had suspected however a couple of years ago that there was something going on in the Consortium's ranks, but was talked down and proved wrong, so out of sheer curiosity and fear, Dairuin kept Finlayn and visited the Templars' farm. However Finlayn was clever, and while at the farm, slipped out of Dairuin's hand and fled. According to Hierach Sinesia, the last time he was sighted was fighting an elf named Daefen at the farm.
Without Finlayn, Dairuin was stumped, so went to Allemantheia with his friend, Ephenee. When visiting the Symposium, Veldesti threatened Dairuin that the Consortium knew of his betrayal and they would always be watching. As if to back this up, both he and Ephenee were attacked by assassins almost instantly after leaving Allemantheia.
Dairuin could not return to Velika due to the Collegium, so instead travelled and hid in the shadows. Seeking more knowledge on this matter, he travelled to the Eldritch Academy in Pora Elinu, one of the oldest magical libraries. Dairuin went to a secret library in it, and searched, however after both Ephenee and him were attacked by cursed creatures, they left. Dairuin was at a dead end in his search, and was being hunted and confused.
With no other choices, Dairuin went to the research facility to consult with the Consortium's researchers, to discuss what exactly was going on. However, Ephenee followed him, and they went down together. Having enraged Veldesti, they sealed the Elevator door shut and weapons attacked the pair. They managed to fight them off rather simply, until they unleashed kargonic powers. They bound Dairuin to the spot, at the price of unbinding the door. Ephenee escaped to the Elevator, unaware Dairuin was still bound. She was about to jump back in, when the door slammed shut and she was taken to the top. At the top, that Elevator was trapped shut.
Fall of the Consortium
With Dairuin captured, Ephenee travelled to the Templars of Dawn to ask for their help immediately. The elf Cardinal, Nirë, agreed that they must take action, and a group of six (Berzeba, Cilan, Ephenee, Goldboss, Nemrod and Nirë) to rescue him from the clutches of the Consortium.
When they went, Veldesti proved to be ready for attack, and they were instantly attacked by weapons. They managed to fight off the weapons, and rescue Dairuin, at the cost of Nemrod having to blow up the research facility. They escaped due to Berzeba and Nirë's strength, Nemrod, Dairuin and Goldboss's powers and Cilan's archery.
After Nemrod teleported them, Veldesti was enraged. They made a magical wall to seal the destruction from what visitors to the Elevator would normally see. Veldesti summoned a gathering of the Great Council of Sorcery, to discuss what had happened to the research facility, and to convince them that not only Dairuin was a threat, but now the entire Templars of Dawn order.
Wanting to take matters into his own hands, Veldesti sent an assassin, Katheial, to attack the Templars when they least expected. Katheial managed to sneak onto the Templars, and attacked. The Templars fought her off, and captured her. She was questioned by Dairuin and Nirë in particular, however it appeared that she was one of the weapons. Mercilia concluded she might have a method to free Katheial from the effects, and managed to free her. Having her freed, she still would not talk despite her stating she despised Veldesti for what he had done to her. They decided to keep her prisoner.
However only two days had passed and an old traveller came to the farm, seeking the counsel of the Templars and accommodation. Feeling sympathetic for the old man, the Templars offered him a drink and they discussed politics. Mireli came to the farm, and was tasked with showing the man to his rooms inside the farmhouse, when suddenly the man grabbed both her and Katheial (who had been made into a maid) and teleported them away.
Veldesti imprisoned Mireli inside a hidden dungeon beneath the Collegium Arcane in Velika, and used her to try and force out information. He also left Katheial to his weapons, to restore her to her weapon status and to nullify the effects of Mercilia's treatments. However, Mireli was surprisingly resistant. Sevanah, a Councillor, questioned her, and still got nothing.
The Council held yet another meeting to discuss Veldesti's treatment of Mireli, and they ordered him to keep his forces at bay and to not attack the Templars until the Council have decided the next course of action. Veldesti was furious, and knew he could not utterly eliminate the Templars, so devised a trap. He took Mireli, and transformed her into a weapon, then tampered with her memories. He based her at an abandoned camp in the Allemantheian Outskirts, and got his weapons to plan bombs around the camp. He would then take himself and three assassins to the farm, a little number for the Council to not notice. His aim was to lead the Templars to a trap, and to make them turn against the Council as well, believing that they also ordered the attack. Veldesti attacked the farm, and his assassins took up a long fight. Having underestimating the Templars, Veldesti blasted himself away and teleported to Allemantheia. However Dairuin detects he may be able to follow where Veldesti had gone off to.
Meanwhile, Nirë, Azerael and Scarborough are in Allemantheia, consulting with Sevanah, a Councillor of the Great Council. For some reason, she seems unwilling to listen to reason, even to the point of denying point black. However her fears were confirmed - Veldesti might have not listened to them. At first she ignored it, pretending to listen to the others, when the woman, Aurata, arrived and spoke in private, there was no escaping it. The Council must be informed, and they must take action at once.
As Sevanah busied herself with negotiations, many had begun to anticipate Veldesti's return. However meanwhile Dairuin has been tracking the energies from the teleportation and scouting the area. From his missions he sensed argonic energies at a seemingly abandoned camp, which concerned him. Going back to the farm, he consulted with the Hierach Sinesia about this disturbing matter. After a long discussion, they decided it was best to rescue Mireli rather than have Veldesti have a Templar who is quite possibly one of the weapons now. They were attempting to get a rescue mission started up with five or so people and Sinesia rejected many people. Dairuin was a bit concerned that this might be a trap, and they would be utterly squashed, but also understood it from Sinesia's point of view. However this business was pointless anyway, as they were about to teleport and Aelwyna made a big mess of things.
She teleported away most of the farm, and because the teleportation was messed up, people like Skylarae were thrown into the Symposium while Raxin's fate was unknown. Furious, Sinesia gave Aelwyna the...rough side of her tongue.
They decided they couldn't turn back now, so Dairuin led them to the camp where he had traced Veldesti to. They hunted it down but it looked empty, and no sign of life was to be found. Suddenly a roar came up and they had found Mireli. To most it made no sense, but to Dairuin it made sense - she served Veldesti now. She was a weapon. As if Veldesti read their minds, he charged into the camp and fought off Idekai and Cilan. However, pretending to be weak, he feigned defeat to distract the Templars. Meanwhile he got weapons to go to the camps' defences, and soon set off the explosions. He teleported himself and Sinesia out of there (Sinesia by accident) and got into a fight.
The Templars had to escape for their lives and reluctantly, Dairuin let Aelwyna teleport them to Allemantheia. They arrived on the scene and defeated Veldesti, and took him back to the farm as prisoner.
A New Ally
Nirë was sent to go and negotiate once again with Sevanah after this rescue mission, and had been in Allemantheia for quite some time. Eventually Nirë returned - with one of the Consortium leaders, an elin called Sevanah. Apparently, after hearing about all this, she'd came to the farm with a deal: she would heal Mireli from the influence of Veldesti, and we would let her talk to the traitor. After some discussion the Templars agreed on that, and she released Mireli from Veldesti's spell.
Sevanah promised that she would summon some diplomats to discuss with the Templars about the situation. For now... There would be peace.
The Arcane Consortium's main purpose was to see justice done to the sorcerers in the world, and to protect any knowledge. However in recent times, the Consortium's goals have been shifted and it has begun collapsing on itself. It will seek knowledge to no end.