Destiny Province is the oldest Primaschola, the Providence Preparatory Academy for the Advancement of Arcane Arts (P2A4), founded in 1619. It prides itself on being the most prestigious and academically rigorous Primaschola among the Magimundi. Successful students are very driven to uphold this elite status, but there is a significant but small subculture of students who refuse to conform to the hierarchical indoctrination. The mainstream culture views this attitude as an insult to the school’s glorious tradition, and has created a Court of Providence Prep to house these miscreants and misfits: Morton Court, named after the original Lord of Misrule, Thomas Morton, who thumbed his nose at the Puritan settlements and openly allowed alcohol consumption and dancing around the May Pole.
More than two-thirds of P2A4 students hail from Unsoiled Heritage Wizard families, a number that used to be 100 percent but is slowly falling due to more modern families condoning the mixing of wizard families with mages born among the mundane. The declining percentage of Unsoiled Heritage students is of great concern to many students and most faculty, though promising mundane-born wizards are tolerated once they have proven their worth through academic excellence and other initiation rites.
To be appointed Headmaster of P2A4 is considered the pinnacle of Magi-academia, surpassed only by being named Chancellor of Imperial Magischola of Massachusetts Bay. Current P2A4 Headmaster William Ulysses Bradford takes his role very seriously, especially as he is a member of the Bradford line and a direct descendant of school founder William Llewllyn Bradford, for whom one of the school Courts is named. He’s a formidable presence and a revered scholar of ancient languages and traditions, particularly of Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Egypt, and Phoenicia. He is consulted the world over for translations and interpretations, and whenever erudite matters are concerned. To be selected into the Headmaster’s Circle, or the Bradford Bevy, is a great honor, and students chosen for their academic promise and good breeding take special, private lessons with Bradford himself.
The school is located within a heavily fortified citadel atop a mountain peak in what is known to mundanes as “New Hampshire.” Students launch themselves over the walls of the complex via the Bartering Birch Tree at the base of the hill. Each student must either solve a riddle or puzzle, or bring an item to trade that the Bartering Birch accepts as payment for admission. Once accepted, students sit in a sling hanging from the thickest branch and, trebuchet-style, the Birch lobs them over the wall. Other students await in the inner courtyard to cheer and catch incoming students as they attempt to conjure a graceful landing. Exploits with the Bartering Birch are discussed for years, as many view the Birch to be fickle or capricious in its admissions requirements, offering somewhat thick-headed offspring of powerful wizard families an easily solvable riddle, or accepting an outright bribe of Leeuwendaalders, while other potential students must solve a complex runic translation in an esoteric language or trade very valuable magical artifacts in order to pass muster. P2A4 has the largest collection of Hands of Glory, for example, as a result of the Bartering Birch’s persuasive rhetoric and eager students’ willingness to pilfer or poach historical artifacts to further their own chances of admission. Other ways of entrance into the school include Teleportcullises at Washington Irving’s grave in Sleepy Hollow, and the grave of Jeanne Mance in the Hôtel-Dieu cemetery in Quebec.
The school’s curriculum is based in traditions of mystical and kabbalistic magic, and in particular draws from the Druid tradition. P2A4 graduates see themselves as guardians of magical truths and particularly value the traditions of prophecy, divination, arithmancy, alchemy, ancient languages and runes or sigils, devotional magic, and mind magic. Like the name of the province implies, mages here fervently believe in the concept of destiny and of fulfilling one’s place within the universe. Every mage is born to contribute to the world in the proper — and pre-ordained — way, and it is up to the person to determine one’s calling and to answer it with conviction.
Because the three means of executing witches were drowning, burning, and hanging, P2A4 students go through a trial representative of each in order to commemorate those magic users who were persecuted before them and to never forget the reasons to remain a secret society, away from the eyes of the mundane. The hanging trial takes place at their acceptance to the school, when they bargain with the Bartering Birch. On Samhain (Sow-en) of the year a P2A4 student turns 13, students endure a trial by fire, walking barefoot across hot coals while carrying two torches.
During their final years at P2A4, students take a pilgrimage to a cloister hidden in the 1000 Islands region, where they meditate and fast for three days to cleanse and purify the body and mind. After, they take part in a ritual that involves locating and bargaining with the fresh water mermaids, who will gift a successful student with a prophecy, revealing their destiny. The merfolk in the 1000 lakes region seem to be unaffected by the ongoing conflict between mermaid tribes in the Great Lakes, but the ritual has gotten increasingly dangerous in the past generation, as the mermaids appear to be souring in their relationship to the Magimundi. This attitude change is often blamed on the inclusion of mundane born and mixed heritage students at the school.
There is a large contingent of loup-garou in the Northeast, and many students at P2A4 possess this particular shapeshifting ability. Loup-garou are seen as privileged werewolves among the Magimundi, with a “born this way” acceptance that is rooted in their ability to control their powers rather than being at the mercy of the moon or possessed by an animal instinct that removes reason and rational thinking, the hallmarks that raise humans and mages above mere creatures. On the contrary, traditional werewolves (Lycans), who become infected with lycanthropy as a result of a bite from another Lycan, are often looked down upon among the Magimundi, and P2A4 has a strict “no werewolves” admissions policy. In defiance of this policy, Lycan Peter Romulus successfully passed as a loup-garou during his Providence Prep application process, thereby gaining admittance to the school and drawing attention to the arbitrary nature of the distinction. Romulus proved that he could indeed have a measure of control over his shape-shifting, through other magic methods, including a now-patented lunar shield poultice-spell combination that turns one’s skin into a mirror, deflecting and diffusing moonlight, allowing the lycan to resist the lupine mandate. Romulus’ spell has since been modified to temporarily shield vampires from the effects of sunlight and is sold in a proprietary and encrypted format to those mages and wizards who have the Leewendaalders to afford it. It’s a very difficult spell, and it must be maintained constantly, requiring magical ingredients that are quite rare and, in some provinces, illegal to harvest. Some among the Magimundi are attempting to decrypt and reverse engineer the spells — in other words, steal Romulus’s patented work — under the view that Romulus’s desire to profit from someone else’s affliction is callous, exploitative, and at best insensitive. Others view him as a successful entrepreneur and a shining example of how to use knowledge to conquer restrictions and empower magic users in new ways.
At Providence Prep, most students wish to matriculate to the Imperial Magischola of Massachusetts Bay, and some see moving on to New World Magischola to be of little value and even a disgrace on themselves and their family. Every year, NWM takes those P2A4 graduates who are not accepted to Imperial, many of whom arrive at NWM feeling rather hostile, superior, or apathetic about their prospects for success. Other students choose to leave the Eligeri, or “elected” legacy behind, and make their own paths, often choosing New World Magischola over Imperial as a way to snub their families and demonstrate independence.
The school divides its students into four Courts: Hutchinson, Williams, Morton, Bradford.
- Hutchinson Court, the Falcons, rules over the specialties of magical maladies: curses, hexes, jinxes, poxes, afflictions and magical accidents. Students study bioenergies, herbology, rituals, and the balance of the physical and metaphysical body.
- Bradford Court, the Wolverines, rules over powers of the arcane, wielding fire, ice, and animal familiars to intensify magic to shield and attack. Students gifted with transfiguration powers, with the exception of loup-garou, tend to belong to this court, which also specializes in apparitions, projections, and teleportation.
- Williams Court, the Moose, deals with mystic, kabbalistic, Solomonic, Goetic, and all manners of runes, sigils and glyphs that are used to reveal truths, fashion wards, and enhance powers. A keen study of astral movements and alignments also plays a role in this Court of study.
- Morton Court members, known as Porcupines, are concerned primarily with the matters of cryptids and magical creatures, and the fashioning of magical artifacts, charms, and fetishes from their potent parts. This Court also tends to contain a large contingent of loup-garou students. A small group of Morton Court members prefer conservation over commercialism, though all members are particularly protective of the Jersey Devil, which is rather a patron of Morton Court Misrulers, coming to their aid in times of trouble.
Students at P2A4 often wear button-down shirts (tucked in, of course), khaki pants (freshly pressed), house ties (in Double Windsor knots), and a fleet-footed wizard version of boat shoes, known as Angkat, that give the sensation of floating above the world by just a few inches. Members of Morton House mock these clothing norms of course, at the very least wearing frumpy, wrinkled, and ill-fitting models, or embracing the court jester look to actively play the fool in the court of such limited fashion. The school seeks to distance itself from the mundane fascination with Sleepy Hollow and Salem, and Magimundi members of Destiny Province sometimes turn up at mundane events in those areas as a matter of tourism and entertainment.
Optional Cliques: Destiny Fanatics, Misrulers, Nerd Culture Enthusiasts, Socialites, Unsoiled Insiders, Loup-garou Advocates