Cipher Mages

OOC Note: Interested in playing a Cipher mage? Make sure you check out Playing a Cipher Mage!

Cipher mages are those people who have been branded with their own Cipher brand, and can access the Cipher to build and manipulate spells using Cipher marks - this is called Cipher Magic. No Cipher mage can access the Cipher and perform magic before receiving their Cipher brand, but people born to a Cipher mage bloodline may feel attuned to the Cipher.

Many years ago, in a event known as the Schism, the Cipher mages of the world found themselves divided into two houses, with two ideologies: the Scions, who believe themselves to be honour-bound to not use the Cipher in ways that would affect humanity as a whole; and the Riven, who have no reservations about using the Cipher to affect the course of history or for personal gain. The feud continues into the modern day, with the two houses staunchly divided on this and other issues. Forced into an uneasy stalemate overseen by the Clave, any action taken by one house is countered by the other, and all sides are keenly aware of the costs that all out war would take on the world as a whole.

Allegiance to the Scions or the Riven are associated with familial bloodlines, and crossing from one side to the other is extremely rare and considered a great betrayal. Due to the fact that the Scions and the Riven also use different Cipher brands (the Scions use a mark contained within a circle; the Riven are branded with a mark contained within a triangle), even after switching houses, a Cipher mage will always carry the symbol (and the stigma) of their original birth house.

The Clave is made up of former members of both houses, many of whom grew dissatisfied with the stalemate and the never ending conflict between the houses. They now serve as arbiters and overseers for both houses, making sure that the balance of power is evenly distributed and that both sides adhere to to the truce.

There exists something of a fourth house - the Exiled. These Cipher mages have been excommunicated from their house, for crimes such as attempting to aid the other side, or murdering a Cipher mage of their own house. The Exiled are stripped of their place within their house's community, and disowned from their families. The Exiled have no desire to join the other house, and operate independently from both, although they may continue to harbour allegiance to their original house.

The existence of Cipher mages, the Scions, the Riven, the Clave and the Cipher itself is a closely guarded secret that the mage community has kept hidden from the world for centuries.