The Flower Mountain Escuela Mágica exists as a network of individual schools located in the deserts of the Southwest, with campuses in the base of canyons, among the dunes of the Mojave, hidden in the fields of Saguaro, and along the beaches of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California. Students from what is considered the Southwest United States and Northwest portions of Mexico travel underground via the Fumarole Funiculars and the Lava Tube Lazenby to take courses at the various campuses, each of which specializes in a particular magical tradition. The school buildings appear to be rock formations to Mundane eyes, and are accessed by the Magimundi using constantly changing magical incantations.
Flower Mountain was founded formally in 1868, though individual tribal and community schools existed in the region for over a thousand years. After the massacre and relocation of many native tribes by the mundane U.S. Government, a persecution led by Colonel Kit Carson, a formidable mage who exploited his powers of divination to befriend and betray native shamans, the Baja Province Magimundi felt a greater need to protect its members through increased secrecy and collaboration. A coalition of native healers and mages, including Chiricahua Apache warrior and prophet Lozen; Eulalia Pérez de Guillén Mariné, the mage and magister of Southern California; Sarah Winnemucca, a Paiute teacher; curandera La Huila (Maria Sonora); and curandero Don Pedro Jaramillo, banded together to create the school and the underground transportation network that serves its students. The school takes its name from the Mayan mystical mountain associated with sustenance, protection of the people, creation, and the home of the ancestors. Flower Mountain’s curriculum is a combination of indigenous magical practices as well as rites and rituals introduced primarily by Spanish-speaking wizards.
The province is often seen as quite fragmented politically, with little sense of provincial allegiance or identity. That leads to an air of what appears to some other provinces as a kind of lawlessness, but Baja province dwellers understand it to be loyalty to local concerns. Wizards and magic users value personal freedom, family bonds, community culture, regional or tribal kinship, then, more reluctantly, provincial authority, and, with greater reluctance still, to the Magimundi world itself. Most Magimundi families in Baja are matrilineal, stemming from the indigenous and Spanish heritages, and Yayananas, or Grandmother Elders, are the most revered keepers of the magical traditions. The Arch Justice of Baja province is sometimes viewed as a renegade and is known to be unpredictable. Her vote is often courted by those with wealth and influence who make the pilgrimage to her estate at Cerro de la Encantada, and Arch Justice Chavez considers her wild card status to be a boon to the province. More than one backroom deal has resulted in significant investment of Leeuwendaalders or a certain “look the other way” latitude for a cadre of Baja wizards, and Chavez does not give away her support for free. Baja Province has some of the most lenient Magical Laws regarding potions, draughts and drams, and if it can be made, it can be found for purchase in Baja, if not from an official apothecary, then from a roadside vendor who has spread out their wares on a magic carpet.
Students at Flower Mountain are divided into one of four paths: The Scorpion, The Coyote, The Vaquero and The Shaman. Students on the Scorpion Path study hidden forms of magic, ancient rituals and incantations, runes and esoteric languages. Coyote Path students study how to manipulate the natural world into formations, buildings, and sacred sites that concentrate arcane energies using elemental and astrological power. Students on the Vaquero Path focus particularly on the care and use of flora and fauna for magical purposes, including crystallography, metallurgy, magical creatures, and botany. The path of the Shaman will have students focus on the creation of potions and powders to attain altered states of consciousness for the purposes of interacting with the multidimensional world, and achieving magical feats that are normally impossible to achieve due to the limitations of human memory and linear thinking.
Mages at Flower Mountain take part in a special ritual at age 15, when they have their official induction into the Magimundi. Known as answering the Call of the Condor, the school hosts a three-day event over the 5th new moon of the year. Students are taken into Death Valley where they undergo a series of challenges that test their accumulated magical knowledge and require them to survive among the elements. During this time, students construct their own magical talisman, which they present to the faculty for assessment upon their return. As the moon reappears, the students emerge from the darkness, and three more days of celebration ensue, culminating in a grand masquerade and the awarding of their Saturn Sash, signifying their entrance into the Magimundi. This experience is a powerful memory for all Flower Mountain alums, and often forms friendships and rivals that last a lifetime.
The school’s current headmaster is Estrella Santa Maria, who was elected to the post despite having never completed Magischola herself. While a student at New World Magischola, Santa Maria distinguished herself as a powerful healer in the curanderismo tradition, and, like Flower Mountain co-founder Pedro Jaramillo, was gifted with clairvoyance and the extraordinary power of remote healing. She became embroiled in a scandal in the 1980’s while a student at NWM, as she was found to be using her clairvoyant healing techniques to relieve the suffering of AIDS patients throughout North America. Santa Maria was accused of unauthorized intervention in the mundane world and put on trial in the Solaris province, where NWM is located. Unapologetic for what she argued was not improper use of magic, Santa Maria was nevertheless convicted by the Justices of Solaris of violating the Statute of Mundane Separation and Secrecy . Despite advocacy by then-Chancellor Othello Grier, Santa Maria was expelled from NWM, thereby making it impossible for her to achieve the official credential of Wizard or to legally practice as a Healer in the Magimundi. People in the Baja Province viewed this situation as an affront to their provincial authority, arguing that Santa Maria should have been tried in her home province. She is seen as a kind of folk hero for both her compassion for the suffering of others and for her willingness to stand up for her beliefs. Partly to recognize her prowess as a curandera and partly to thumb their noses at Solaris, Baja Province officials unanimously appointed her Principal of their primaschola, and cited provincial authority to quell the objections of outsiders who felt convicted felons should not be eligible for government posts.
Baja Province is home to two Chupacabra farms run by Hudson Unlimited, however there are many wild Chupacabra in the region as well. Wild Chupa are noticeably larger and more dangerous than their domesticated cousins, which are bred for their exclusive use as guards at the Magimundi Prison, Avernus. Wild Chupacabra spines are prized as wand cores and as a crucial ingredient for other talismans. Mages of Baja Province also take care to avoid the clutches of the Ahuizotl when they venture near fresh water, particularly lakes with underground caverns. An Ahuizotl hand is a powerful magical fetish, though trade in their body parts has been illegal since 1963 by the Council of Five Edict for the Protection of Endangered Aquatic Species. The province is home to many other magical creatures, some of which are just being discovered. It is also rumored that at least one Flower Mountain faculty member is a Nagual, and mages with this shapeshifting power are becoming more prevalent in Baja province, perhaps as a response to some burgeoning threat.
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