Unsoiled Heritage

Someone with Unsoiled Heritage has four grandparents with magical ability. Your parents and your grandparents went to Primachola and, typically, Magischola, and you’ve grown up knowing about the Magimundi and being a part of its culture and governance. You likely know little about the Mundane world, as you’ll have less need to interact with Mundanes. There is no proof that magical ability is blood-related or inheritable, but that doesn’t stop members of Unsoiled Heritage from believing that magic does run in families and that by having generations of mages in your line you are superior to those who do not. To be “Unsoiled” means to have remained true to magical roots, to only mix and bond with others who are also from known magical families.

Unsoiled Heritage families often possess considerable wealth and status, and have lives that are laden with power, privilege, and influence, though not always. Some Unsoiled Heritage families are clearly more privileged than others, and that depends on the length of the line, where you are from, and how much economic control your family wields. Those from disgraced Unsoiled families may find themselves facing hard times, or it may be that a family’s wealth never quite seemed to rise in spite of being quite magical. In most cases, being of Unsoiled Heritage means never having any economic-based concern, and usually getting what they want.  Unsoiled Heritage families do not hesitate to throw their weight around, and generally that works. Lately, however, younger and more progressive members of the Magimundi have put less stock in one’s heritage and do not give immediate obeisance or respect simply because of family lineage. Furthermore, “Nouveau Unsoiled” lines are popping up, as a wizard marries another wizard, and two generations later, as long as mages keep partnering with other mages, the criteria for meeting Unsoiled Heritage is met. The old families will allow such a technicality, but that is what it is. Certainly these Nouveau Unsoiled are not of the same caliber and prestige as the magical lines that go back centuries.

Those of Unsoiled Heritage have a great deal of pressure to meet or exceed high standards of success and to uphold their family’s reputation. Young folks of Unsoiled Heritage are often pitted against each other in proxy competition.  Any Unsoiled Heritage student who is ever less than perfect in any way has faced the humiliation of being informed that they have disappointed or failed their family. Free spirits who do not tow the family line face the prospect of being scapegoated, disowned, or disinherited entirely. Most every Unsoiled student has had to contend with their individuality being constrained by the dominant figures of their family.

Perhaps most significantly, arranged marriages are still considered the norm for Unsoiled Heritage families, and that spectre looms large for students at Magischola. It is tradition for the Magischola years to be ones where those of Unsoiled Heritage can engage in whatever romantic entanglements they wish (as long as it doesn’t lead to long-lasting consequences), but that after graduation, such nonsense will stop.  Dominant heads of the families are proving to be very resistant to non-traditional marriage arrangements, which is a significant source of stress for those students have found themselves in love with an “unsuitable” partner. Furthermore, many Unsoiled Heritage families have business and political interests in the Magimundi that members of the next generation are expected to join. In many ways, being of Unsoiled Heritage means having a lot of privilege but a lack of agency.

Mages of Unsoiled Heritage are sometimes looked upon as lazy, entitled brats who have never had to work for anything their entire lives. Others look up to them with some measure of envy of their privilege and esteem. But generally, they are thought to have significant magical power innately, access to secret magical techniques and knowledge, and a reliable source of wealth within their reach. Having a person of Unsoiled Heritage involved in your project or endeavour can often create the appearance of guaranteed success (can their family allow them to fail?), and therefore invite further investment once the project is identified as a “safe bet.” Some Unsoiled Heritage students look down upon those of Mundane or Mixed heritage. Others care less and still others (though this would be potentially disgraceful in some families) actively advocate for all heritages.

Nouveau Unsoiled 

When the Unsoiled Heritage rules were put in place in the Magimundi, the unifying governance was still young and the agreed-upon rule seemed to make sense at the time, but is proving to be rather short-sighted. The rule is that to be Unsoiled, you must have four grandparents who are Unsoiled themselves (e.g. both of their parents were magic users). “Nouveau Unsoiled” are families claiming Unsoiled status by generational attrition. Eventually, Mixed Heritage mages who form partnerships and have children with each other will generate an Unsoiled Heritage offspring once the criterion of four magical grandparents is reached. The “True Unsoiled” families do not take kindly to these “Nouveau Unsoiled,” accusing them of exploiting semantics.

Mundane Heritage

A student with Mundane Heritage is one who is born to two mundane parents, but also includes those whose magical heritage is permanently lost due to unusual circumstances, like orphaned mixed heritage students with no record of their actual parentage, or the children of illicit affairs that have been covered up or concealed. These children are grouped with Mundane Heritage precisely because information that would have proved them to be of Unsoiled or Mixed Heritage cannot be found.  In either case, the character is raised in a family with no magical abilities and has never been shown the hidden world of the Magimundi.  They have otherwise lived an entirely typical life as a citizen in the mundane world until such time as they discover their own magical ability, or they are discovered by members of the Magimundi through careful observation or divination.

At this point, a Magimundi agency like the Cinnabar Society or another philanthropic group takes custody of the magical youngster boarding them at the Primaschola, or they are literally adopted by a magical family in a foster care system provided by the Magimundi.  The separation from the mundane family of origin is quite commonly a harrowing one.  If the magical youngster is not merely made to disappear without explanation, an accident is typically staged so that the mundane parents believe their child has died.  The Cinnabar Society has a mandate to make the grieving as painless as possible, but is generally believed that the effort does very little to comfort these families. “There are many ways to do it worse, but no way to do it right,” is the popular quote regarding these circumstances. By the Edict of Mundane Separation and Secrecy, mages with Mundane Heritage may not ever visit their previous family until after they have reached adulthood, and in most cases, they elect not to do so.  Visiting their mundane parents again is widely considered to be more harmful than helpful since the mage cannot honestly explain the circumstances and also must once again retreat to the hidden world of the Magimundi, forcing the parents to go through mourning a second time. That said, it is commonly known that many mages of Mundane Heritage flagrantly break these rules to make contact with their family, explain as much of the circumstances that their Mundane family will believe, and swear them to secrecy. Because the pain of losing a child is so great, it is standard for even the most hardened Marshals to judiciously elect not to pursue these violations of the law, even when they are obvious, as long as the general secrecy is kept.

It is important to note that mages with Mundane Heritage come into the Magimundi with no Leeuwendaalders, so any wealth they possess has been gifted to them by the Cinnabar Society or their benefactors, and in most cases this meagre amount is barely sufficient to get by.  This desperation can force a Mundane Heritage mage to make some very difficult choices.

Mages of Mundane Heritage are sometimes looked upon with pity which often borders on contempt from those of the other heritages. Generally, they are considered to be people of  grit and toughness, exceptionally hard workers and driven scholars. That they appear to have “something to prove” to the rest of the Magimundi is often considered to be a boon when hiring or recruiting for difficult jobs or challenging tasks.

Mixed Heritage

A student of mixed heritage may have one (or more) mixed or mundane parent or grandparent. Mages of mixed heritage are the majority in the Magimundi, and as such this is the default presumption anyone would make about a mage they have just met. A person of mixed heritage can be relatively new to the Magimundi or established, poor or wealthy. Since they grew up aware of the Magimundi, they do not need to be indoctrinated into its culture, and they usually do not face the pressures to conform to the rigorous standards of Unsoiled Heritage families.

Mixed Heritage families have at least one instance where a Magimundi forms a family partnership with a person from the Mundane world. It has become tradition for there to be a revealing of secrets the night before an official ceremony. This is, by most accounts, a very harrowing experience, where the partner from the Mundane world has to make a final decision.  An answer of “no” typically means that partner’s memory is erased, the ceremony is called off, and any gifts returned. “Yes” means that the partner agrees to become a citizen of the Magimundi, beholden to its edicts and secrets. They are given some cursory assistance adjusting to their suddenly very different life, some classes and counseling, but the main burden of acclimating them rests on their magical partner.  Harsh penalties await both should the non-magical partner fail to keep the Magimundi’s secrets.  Mixed Heritage mages who may be particularly wealthy, or very “close” to Unsoiled Heritage, may find themselves drawn into the web of intrigue of Unsoiled Heritage society, facing most of the drawbacks and gaining few of the perks.

Those With Magical Heritage But No Magical Ability

Though rare, occasionally children never appear to develop magical ability. Among Unsoiled Heritage families, this is a potential source of great shame, and the embarrassing situation is concealed lest a scandal erupt. Others usually still attend Primaschola, where considerable effort is made to try and spark their magical abilities (usually unsuccessfully).  Though subject to very disrespectful pity, these individuals are still considered part of the Magimundi, and the ones who are well connected are quite frequently employed in administrative duties by Magisters, Fonctionnaires, and Alcalde. Occasionally, these individuals choose to reject the Magimundi and live and work entirely in the mundane world.  This is technically a breach of the Edict of Mundane Separation and Secrecy, but it’s seldom enforced by Marshals.