Pirates of the Expanse
The Crown Mages
The Crown Mages are an elite organization of spellcasters owing their allegiance to The Crown. The Crown Mages trace their origins back to before even the Empire as it’s currently known, when the original tribe of elves maintained strict spellcasting disciplines.
Today, Crown Mages can be found serving in many capacities. The average Mage is an accomplished wizard, choosing not to specialize, but to remain master generalists. In addition, Mages are highly educated on any number of topics, and are thus dispatched as advisors to lords. This arrangement serves an additional purpose, as the Mage can ensure that their charge’s loyalty to the Crown doesn’t waver.
Crown Mage training is among the most intensive and competitive in the world. Only the most elite private universities can hope to match the training the Crown Mages offer. A potential Mage is selected at an early age for intelligence and early capability: the average Mage is reading by the age three or four. Mages are selected based on aptitude tests and taken to one of various Crown Mage Academies across the planet at age five or the equivalent if the student isn’t human (Mages are often fiercely loyal to the Academy they were trained at and maintain rivalries with other schools).
At a Crown Mage Academy, the student spends twenty years of their life learning not only advanced magical theorems but also history, politics, and a variety of other courses. By the time they graduate, all Mages are capable sages on a variety of topics. Despite the rigorous training, very few Mages wash out of the training: the selection process is so intensive that most who make it in stay, and the instructors would much rather work to help a struggling student than recruit a new one and start from scratch.
After their training, a student is promoted to the rank of Apprentice. Apprentices receive both their uniform (traditional blue robes with a crescent moon emblem over the heart) and their first assignment.
There are ample opportunities for advancement: Mages carry out reach on their own time, either alone or collaboratively. There are approximately a thousand Crown Mages in the world, although most are among the lower tiers. In theory, advancement is based on a simple system: Apprentices graduate to full Mage status after several years and a commendation from a superior, Mages can be granted the status of Illuminated Master by a council of Elders, who also select their own members. Becoming a Master is no small feat, requiring more time than most humans have. Thus, Masters are typically either very old humans or, more predominantly, elves.
The Crown Mages are headed by a single Elder known as the Omniscient. The Omniscient is personally selected by the Crown.
Crown Mages are exclusively wizards. Occasionally, a member of another class who distinguishes themselves exceptionally (enough to grant them Illuminated Master status if they had completed Academy training) may be granted an honorary status of Mage. This has only been extended to a dozen individuals in the Crown Mages’ thousand year history, and only ever to spellcasters.