Dan Obeah

Founder: Tituba
Colors: Green and silver
Symbol: Raven
Attributes: Transformation, Intelligence/Wisdom, Renewal
Motto: By Wisdom and Foresight (Consilio et Prudentia)

The crest for Dan Obeah features the house mascot, the raven, a wise and cunning magical familiar that is not to be underestimated. With colors of green and silver, Obeah is connected to the earth, to healing and renewal, and to the magical ores and elements that grow within it. The phases of the moon symbolize growth, change and transformation, both magical, as the founder is a shapeshifter, and throughout one’s life as one continues to incorporate new knowledge and become closer to one’s authentic self. The motto, By Wisdom and Foresight (Consilio et Prudentia) demonstrates the importance of knowledge and clear-thinking in all things, most especially in taking care of others and the environment.

The shield shape and weapons evoke the African heritage of the house founder, a woman who elected never to reveal her actual name, but came to be known as “Tituba” based on a common disguise she used. A powerful wizard of Ashanti origin, the person we now know as Tituba journeyed to the Caribbean and South America before taking up residence in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, seeking to heal and teach magic. Tituba is a healer, midwife, shaman, and a Nagual, who transforms into a leopard or jaguar. She recognizes that healing sometimes means surgical excision, and that can mean removing a scourge from society by sometimes unorthodox means in order to achieve greater health for the community. Her expertise in botany, ritual, potion making, and the relationship between the spirit and physical world were sought after by the wizened from around the world, and more than once she has helped restore the essential energetic balance among beings. The raven holds a broken chain, both symbolizing freedom from the literal enslavement of Tituba and other people of African origin in the New World, and the freedom of the mind that wisdom brings. Members of Dan Obeah seek to break free of barriers and to use knowledge to transform the world.

Many members of Dan Obeah (Dan is the Akan word for House, the first language spoken by Tituba) come from prominent families of wizard heritage from North Eastern North America, a province called Destiny. However, any mage can be accepted into Dan Obeah, and house members particularly seek out those with the shape-shifting ability, an interest in healing, and students with exceptional knowledge and skills who wish to use them for justice.

 

House Croatan

Founder: Virginia Dare
Colors: Orange and Brown
Symbol: Painted Turtle
Attributes: Honor, Courage, Preservation
Motto: To Dare is to Do (Audere est Facere)

The crest for House Croatan evokes the traditional heraldry of its founder. The powerful elemental wizard Virginia Dare was the first British child born in the new world, to parents Ananais and Eleanor Dare, themselves formidable wizards of British heritage. The crown symbolizes the sovereignty of Virginia Isle, the famous floating island populated mostly by Dare’s extended family, and its proud state of autonomy from the five provinces of the North American magical world. Virginia Isle mainly floats in the sky above the Atlantic and is protected by a wide variety of flying creatures: dragons, wyverns, manticores, and wisps. Typically the Isle migrates southerly to Solaris Province in the wintery months, and then north to Destiny as summer approaches.

The rope shown on the crest both tethers and liberates, demonstrating the ties to tradition and the ability to cast off those bonds. Additionally it refers to Virginia Isle’s mutually beneficial relationship to many wizard communities, both on land and over water. The ship’s wheel or helm reflects the economic powerhouse of Virginia Isle, which serves as a mobile port-of-call for Magimundi mercantile sailing vessels. It also represents that one may steer one’s course through life, and that the actions one dares to take set the direction of one’s journey. Bold action is privileged by house members, as is reflected in the house motto: To dare is to do.

In fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, Dare forged four arrowheads in the colors of the four directions. After placing the arrowheads in the shape of a Maltese Cross, Dare’s arcane power caused the cross to turn counter-clockwise, opening a portal into the earth. Like Hercules, Orpheus, Virgil, and Dante before her, Dare journeyed to the center of the earth. There she met a giant terrapin whose eight children supported the eight directions. A ninth child, with a colorful painted shell in orange, brown, red, and yellow, chose to return to the surface with Dare, and is depicted upon the crest. Croatan house colors are brown and orange, the colors of the turtle, of autumn, and of camouflage.

As a renowned cryptozoologist, Dare’s vast knowledge of hidden magical creatures of the air, earth, sea, and underworld helped her to create and defend Virginia Isle. She could summon creatures to her aid, and communicate in their own languages. Dare had such affinity for all living things that even the most hostile magical creatures would submit in her presence, and poisonous plants would not affect her. She delighted in demonstrating these powers by defiantly chewing arum berries, drinking nightshade draught from a goblet, or running barefoot across thorns and nettles without the slightest scratch.

Virginia Dare was instrumental in the founding of New World Magischola in 1635 when her daughter Ophelia was refused admittance to Imperial Magischola of Massachusetts Bay. She provided the majority of the Leeuwendaalders necessary to fund the school’s construction and pay faculty salaries. The Samson family, directly related to Virginia Dare herself, remains the custodian of a generous endowment that almost single-handedly supports the continued funding of New World Magischola.

House Croatan has come to be associated with Cryptozoology as the legacy of its founder. Additionally, it’s associated with wealth in Leeuwendaalders, and many students from families of unsoiled wizard heritage call House Croatan their home. Like Virginia Isle itself, House Croatan is a bit of an enigma to those outside of it, with carefully kept secrets and traditions. There is an air of exclusivity among house members, who consider their election to Croatan to be evidence of their power and influence among the Magimundi. Other houses are quick to remind Croatans that no wizard is an island unto itself.

 

Maison Du Bois

Founder: Étienne Brûlé
Colors: Royal Blue and White
Symbol: Grizzly Bear
Attributes: Loyalty and Strength
Motto: Always Just (Semper Aequus)

The crest of Maison Du Bois features the noble North American Grizzly Bear, a formidable hunter and master of survival. Much like the Du Bois house founder, Étienne Brulé (Ay-tee-en Broo-lay), grizzlies control wide territories and are often found in coastal systems. The royal blue symbolizes this element of water, as Brulé was a trapper and explorer along the Great Lakes region, and traveled the intercoastal waterways throughout eastern and midwestern North America. The stars symbolize navigation, of knowing one’s place in the universe, having a sense of purpose or direction.

The compass evokes this as well, although it also points to a powerful magical artifact that belonged to Brulé, who charmed (or hexed, depending on your point of view) an ordinary compass to detect the heartbeats of any living creature. Brulé alone possessed the considerable knowledge to distinguish the species of each heartbeat detected, which he used both to become an infamous tracker and trapper, as well as to escape the long arms of the French-Canadian authorities who would attempt to regulate and outlaw Brulé and his compatriots, known as coureurs de bois. They considered themselves entrepreneurial and independent; the authorities thought they were undercutting their economy and avoiding their tariffs. A superior partnership with the native tribes meant Brulé and his partners operated outside the reach of the colonial rule, just they way they liked it.

The grizzly symbolizes Brulé himself, who worked closely with the Huron Bear Tribe before they allegedly tortured and devoured him on suspicion of betrayal. Escaping by canoe down the Susquehanna river and to the Chesapeake Bay (where he met up with another house founder), Brulé let this story of his death stand, so that he could continue to operate more covertly. News of his supposed demise also had the beneficial effect of throwing off his many enemies. Members of Maison Du Bois, like their founder, have a tendency to never back down and what appears to be an honorable fight can turn into escalated retaliation that backfires.

The oak branches refer to the steadfastness and strength that members of Maison Du Bois value. The grand oak trees start from a single seed and grow to provide shade and protection in the forest. Members of Maison Du Bois, who are often drawn to the Path of the Marshall, see themselves as providing this sort of shelter from harm through their commitment to maintaining law and order in the provinces. The crossed axes refer to the mastery over the elements, a pruning and taming of the wilderness to forge a new world and to provide personal gain in the form of commerce and use of natural resources. They also refer to the cutting down of tyranny, treachery, and lawbreaking; members of Maison Du Bois identify with slicing through injustice, and attacking evildoing wherever it may be found. They themselves may have a certain disregard for the rules, but this is obviously a matter of interpretation.

The original house motto was Persevere and Excel, two qualities Brulé valued, and cultivated in his students through rigorous physical training, including wilderness quests and survival tests. After the Magma War of 1825-1830, the house motto shifted to its present-day one, Semper Aequus or Always Just. The most highly trained and sought-after Marshalls now come from New World Magischola, and nearly all from house Du Bois. While Brulé once outran the government’s edicts, today members of Maison Du Bois, and the Magimundi Marshalls, seek to uphold them.

 

Casa Calisaylá

Founder: Calisaylá
Colors: Red and gold
Symbol: Coyote
Attributes: Respect and Equality
Motto: Honor the Past, Embrace the Future

Casa Calisaylá is named for its house founder, the last surviving member of the Karankawa, a group of Indigenous North Americans who lived along what is now the coast of Texas and its islands. Karankawans were completely wiped out by war and disease after contact with the Spanish conquistadors.

The house colors are red and gold: red for the blood of the ancestors shed in battle, and for the lifeblood of those who carry on their memories, and gold for the sustaining warmth of the sun. The Karankawa were renowned longbow hunters, especially in shallow water. The arrows on the crest evoke this history, but now also represent the trueness of one’s path and the ability of the skilled archer to determine it. The pearl between the faces represents the inner truth that is hidden within each person, formed over time from a source of vexation into something of great value and beauty. Karankawans also were skilled pearl divers, and lived as well in the water as on land.

The coyote is powerful not only for its role as friend of humanity but also as the mediator between life and death. Coyote is a trickster, associated with both creation, and equivocation. The Karankawa people were particularly beloved of Coyote; the name Karankawa means “dog-lover” and domesticated coyote pups lived among them as companions and guards. Like Coyote, interactions with Calisayláns can be a mixture of cunning and mischief.

Casa Calisaylá is about borders and crossing between them. The two faces at the top of the crest look back to the past, to those who have gone before whom we honor, mourn, and respect, and to the future that awaits, that is left to the living to create. It also means never forgetting what has been lost, the ancestors and artifacts eradicated by conquerors, and the fierce protection of family, beloved, and precious cultural and magical objects to ensure their safety. The faces are indistinguishable as male or female, as Calisaylá did not hold to the gender binary. Gendered pronouns are never used to refer to Calisaylá.

As a powerful wizard who could walk between the world of the living and the world of the dead, Calisaylá’s body and face were covered with tattooed symbols, incantations, and mystical sigils in unknown languages. They kept their naked body shrouded in magical red and gold smoke that never faded or faltered. Calisaylá was not given to overt displays of merriment and displayed an incredible willpower and sense of focus. According to Étienne Brûlé, Calisaylá possessed more raw magical power than any of the founders, and among their magical feats was a talent for summoning storms and controlling destructive weather. It’s alleged they had the power to conjure and pilot a hurricane and it is known that they could wield arcane fire.

Casa Calisaylá is most associated with the cursebreaker path in honor of its founder, whose ability to decode curses included an as-yet-unable-to-be-replicated method of temporarily suspending a curse while keeping it intact, and leaving no trace of tampering. This talent was particularly useful for obtaining secret information, and Casa Calisaylá cursebreakers still strive to emulate their founder’s coolness under pressure and knack for getting people and objects to divulge their secrets. A few of Calisaylá’s own warding spells remain on the school, since their casting appears to be impossible to duplicate by wizards in the modern era.

Cursebreaker students in Casa Calisaylá are driven to use their talents to unearth the truth, but they are also quite talented in hiding it. House members are very often into runes, rites, magical theory, secret codes, uncovering past knowledge, and solving puzzles and riddles (or making them). No knowledge or type of magic is considered off-limits, and members of Calisaylá flirt with the borders of traditions and laws in their quest to honor the past and embrace the future, the house motto.

There is a strong oral tradition among the house members, of storytelling told around a communal fire, and of magic through sound and music, especially from instruments made from natural objects, such as shells, wood and stones. Calisayláns are known for their bold thinking, inclusiveness, and a general distrust in institutions. House members have a history of pursuing their own projects instead of coursework, and have a certain disregard for rules that limit creativity and autonomy.

 

Lakay Laveau

Founder: Marie Laveau
Colors: Deep Purple and Black/Grey
Symbol: Alligator
Attributes: Tenacity, Creativity, Cunning
Motto: With Mind and Skill (Mente et Artificio)

The final house of New World Magischola is Lakay Laveau (Lah-kai Lah-voh), which was added to the school in 1835 after Chancellor Solomon Gundy invited the House founder, a wizard known publicly as Marie Laveau, to the school. Lakay is the creole word for house, and its use demonstrates Laveau’s heritage. The crest of Lakay Laveau features the North American alligator, an adaptable predator that haunts the bayous around New Orleans and the swamps and coastal waters of the southeastern portions of the continent. Alligators lie in wait patiently, then move quickly and decisively to seize their prey. The mere suggestion of their presence can cause people to change course and a confrontation with one is ill-advised without intense firepower, teamwork, or a somewhat foolhardy bravado. Laveau house members can be as patient, cunning, and intimidating, but also like the alligator, they are fiercely protective of their own, as their “jaws of death” can become “jaws of love.”

House colors are deep purple and dark gray. Purple is the color of royalty and wealth, the deep colors that emerge from sunset and the color of Marie Laveau’s hypnotic eyes. Gray is the color of twilight, of the in-between spaces of dusk and dawn, a mixture of light and dark that some say is an absence of color, but is a palette for Laveau to work with. In voodoo, the deep purple is recognized for power, psychic abilities, and contact with the spiritual world, a very useful color for seances and necromantic rituals.

The ivy on the crest represents tenacity. There is a dual nature to ivy: it is beautiful and useful, to control erosion for example, or to train and prune into artful shapes. Like Laveau members, ivy is not something to be underestimated or to ignore. What starts as the tentative embrace of a tiny tendril can transform into the clinging claws of a choking vine that is difficult to control.

Laveau herself was a powerful artificier (art-ih-fish-ee-er), and house members in particular use this French spelling and pronunciation, both as homage to Laveau and as a philosophical differentiation from those who craft objects based merely on their function and not their artistry. Artificiers believe in both form and function, and that the most powerful objects also have an aesthetic, and that the aesthetic itself adds magical power to the artifact. It’s believed that Laveau did not teach her students her most powerful artifact creation techniques, and many house members strive to discover or reverse engineer her secrets. The house motto is, “With Mind and Skill,” speaking to a combination of theoretical and practical knowledge. As master artificier and artisan, Laveau felt that those two values were the only ones of importance, and held contempt for those who advocated for creating with prudence or restraint.

The skulls on the crest are for death, merely another state of reality according to Laveau, and not something to be feared or prevented. “Show me the dark places and there I will dance,” Laveau is reported to have said with a smile, and house members do not fear the unknown, unexplored, or what lies beyond. Laveau hand-picked students with exceptional intelligence, skill, creativity, tenacity, and a willingness to take risks.

Laveau possessed great magical powers and knowledge of arcane lore, and was both feared for her prowess and revered as a wise wizard with a strong connection to the spiritual world. It is said that she created a potion made from vampire’s blood that keeps her eternally youthful and beautiful. She spoke four languages: English, French, Spanish, and Creole, and was considered the foremost authority on relics, bonded objects, numerology, and controlling the inanimate. She was a very successful businesswoman who commanded considerable wealth in both mundane currency and Leeuwendaalders.

As a potent artificier, she was consulted by mages of all traditions, sometimes for dark or dubious purposes, such as to regain a lost lover, to take a new lover, to eliminate a business partner, or to destroy an enemy. She frequently hexed hairpins, which she would use in the elaborate updos that she was known for among her clientele. Laveau herself had a beautiful cloisonné hair comb that allowed her to see through the eyes of another, living or dead. Her love potions and talismans were legendary as well, and she was often consulted for matters of the heart.

Among Laveau’s interesting theories was that wizards are themselves artifacts, and that artificiers in particular are compelled to continually improve themselves in order to become an evolving self-aware artifact.  House members often bristle at lessons that appear to teach material that’s already known or won’t provide any measurable improvement of their skills as wizards. Others sometimes view this attitude as recklessness or arrogance, though usually from a safe distance.