The Enclave is the greatest organisation of magic users in Unther, possibly even rivalling the Church of Thoth in knowledge of ancient magics. It remains neutral in all the affairs of Unther, trusting that it is safely out of Gil-Geamesq’s reach, and waiting for his eventual downfall.
The Enclave is said to have a secret headquarters somewhere in the Napi’Ther Eqlu, but no one has been able to pinpoint it’s location (including Shu-Ruppaki “The Reaper”) and reports of Enclave activity show that they can be in multiple locations simultaneously.
The beginnings of The Enclave lay far back in the history of Unther, when Gil-Geamesq became the God-King of the greater Untheric Empire. He had already begun on his path to paranoia and madness, and soon after his accession began persecuting anyone that could be deemed a threat to him.
As well as persecuting the godkings of Unther and their churches, Gil-Geamesq also grew to distrust the significant magical might of the many practicing magic users in Unther and Akanu who were renowned for their skills and destructive magic. His increasingly restrictive monitoring and limitations on practising magic (starting around 1 DR) caused many of Unther’s mages to begin leaving Unther and Akanu. At first they travelled to the more distant provinces of Unther (the Wizards’ Reach, the Shaar, Estagund, etc), but as time passed many of them chose to leave Unther’s borders altogether (heading to places as far afield as Athalantar).
Those that remained in Unther went underground and became more radicalised by the criminal elements of society that they were forced to associate with and from outside groups such as the Amethyst Sodality. By around 200 DR these underground mages were revolutionaries acting against Unther and had infiltrated other organisation (such as the now disbanded Church of Gir-Ubil) which would form the basis of the Brotherhood of the Black Flame.
Following a failed rebellion and the destruction of the Brotherhood in 249 DR. The surviving mages dispersed across Faerun and the Planes. A handful of these mages encountered a functioning portal of the Imaskari and happened to be carrying the correct Portal Key. They discovered a portal nexus (a demi-plane created by the Imaskari that housed a number of portals connecting to places in a single region of Imaskar) and have used that demi-plane as their headquarters ever since, using some of the still functioning portals to access sites across Unther.
As the centuries passed, the surviving mages recruited new members and their goals changed so that the Enclave today is dedicated to preserving the magical lore of Unther.
Headquarters: The Fire’s Conjunction, a demi-plane portal nexus created by the Imaskari to allow for instant transport to places throughout a region (in this case the lands of Imaskar south and west of the Alamber Sea).
Members: 74 magic users of varying skill
Hierarchy: Strict meritocracy
Leader: Rafasshepu (Master Sorcerer) Nizaen (Flamelord) E-Simud
The Enclave is highly rigid and structured, much like that of a church. Its members have ranks (with elaborate titles to accompany them) and progression through the ranks is strictly by deliberation of the Council of Purple Flames.
Every member of the Enclave has a rank that denotes his ability to master the secrets of magic (roughly approximate to the various spell levels that exist; 1-9 plus an additional rank for mastery of the most complex of rituals). These ranks, in descending order are: Rafasshepu, Bii-Hasshepu, Saab-Hasshepu, Ner-Hasshepu, San-Hasshepu, Huu-Hasshepu, Ed-Hasshepu, Sel-Hasshepu, Ist-Hasshepu, Om-Hasshepu.
The current leader of The Enclave has the titles Master Sorcerer and Flamelord. One title (Flamelord) denotes his position as head of the Inner Council, the other (Master Sorcerer) denotes his mastery of the secrets of magic. The reigning Flamelord does not need to be a Master Sorcerer and can have mastered magic to a much lesser degree as long as he is elected by the Council of Purple Flames.
Beneath the Flamelord are an Inner Council of Rafaniza (Greater Flames) of which the Flamelord is the head. The council makes all the decisions for The Enclave and its members, including who is promoted to new positions and deliberating who can be recruited from the outside.
Other positions below the Flamelord and Greater Flames are a series of seemingly random titles (in descending order) such as Mystery Keeper, Portal Finder, Amethyst Shard, Black Ember, and Spark.
The Council of Purple Flames: The council usually contains the 5 most powerful magic users of The Enclave presided over by the Flamelord (who acts as a sixth member), although occasionally the Council promotes a lesser member to its ranks if some of the more powerful members are untrustworthy.
The Council sits regularly in a room sculpted out of the dimensional ether just off the main portal chamber. There is much stock put in traditions and before each council meeting the members will typically introduce themselves with a long list of their achievements and titles before circling round a stone table and banging staves with each step.
Dogma / Motivations / Goals
The goal of The Enclave is to preserve the magical lore of Unther, this includes any magic found within Unther’s borders and so actually encompasses some of the lore of Okoth, Imaskar, and other lost nations.
Its members are sent are sent to scout out rumours of ruins, scour bazaars, and raid treasuries in order to secure magical items, spells, and knowledge so as to preserve them and prevent them from falling into the hands of the unworthy. This means that the Enclave has been hoarding as much magical lore as it can lay its hands on for the best part of a millennium.
Gil-Geamesq is noted as being extremely unworthy, along with all of his faithful and his administrators. Whenever possible, members of The Enclave will retrieve magic from Gil-Geamesq and his people, but the secrecy and safety of The Enclave and its members comes first, so it is very rare that anything is recovered from any of Gil-Geamesq’s strongholds directly.
The Enclave has thus far been sworn by the Council of Purple Flames to stay out of the affairs of Unther. As long as Unther exists they will protect the magic of this empire, although many are now coming to terms with the fact that Unther may not be as eternal as the godkings once claimed. On the few occasions that members of The Enclave have deigned to interfere in Unther’s politics, the retribution from Gil-Geamesq has been swift and brutal (most recently Shu-Ruppaki was sent to destroy The Enclave, he killed many members but was foiled by the combined magical might of the Council of Purple Flames).
Membership / Recruiting
The Enclave keeps a close watch on accomplished magic users within Unther (an easy task given the low numbers). If new members are needed then the magic users they watch are carefully vetted to see if any will be suitable to join The Enclave. Typically new recruits should be loners, have no love for Gil-Geamesq, be loyal to Unther, and be able to follow orders.
Those that meet the requirements are approached with the promise of greater secrets, providing they are willing to give up their former life. A series of tasks and tests are given to ensure the prospective member is of the correct character and has the magical aptitude The Enclave needs, these tests include mental probing. If they pass then the member is given a final opportunity to change his mind. Once he joins The Enclave he is taken, blindfolded, to the headquarters where he must remain for at least a year without any contact with the outside world. Those that do change their minds are left unharmed.
The Enclave has no allies, The Enclave needs no allies. It has long decided to stay out of the affairs of Unther and remain steadfastly neutral in all politics, choosing only to preserve the magical lore of Unther. While Unther continues to exist, The Enclave will likely remain completely neutral.
There is a group of magic users in Messemprar calling themselves The Northern Wizards. These magic users are attempting to contact The Enclave (without success) in case Messemprar rebels against Unther, however The Enclave would never share its knowledge with others and so such an alliance is unlikely to ever come about. The Enclave is however watching the Northern Wizards closely and has several members placed within the Northern Wizards organisation.
If The Enclave and its members have an enemy (despite it’s neutrality) then it would have to be Gil-Geamesq himself and his church. Even The Enclave cannot ignore what Gil-Geamesq and his paranoia have done to the once great Empire of Unther, while they do not act against Gil-Geamesq, they are not above opportunistically stealing magic from his stores (when possible) and slaying his servants when they are sent against The Enclave.
E-Simud “Magus Emeritus”, “Flamelord” (Good, Human – Mulan, Magic User 17): E-Simud is the current head of The Enclave, the oldest member of this order of mages, and one of the oldest living humans in Unther (godkings not included). He is blind and decrepit, but his mind is still sharp and holds more magical knowledge than all the other members of The Enclave combined.
Ish-Arddalon “5th Elevation Magus”, “Greater Flame” (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Expert 10): Ish-Arddalon is the youngest member of the Council of Purple Flames (at the tender age of 38). He was previously a wizard belonging to the An’Ular House of Ish who fled Unthalass in 1339 DR (scared by the “accidents” befalling the House and Church of Ish-Tarri). He was recruited into The Enclave and was trained by E-Simud himself. Ish-Arddalon has proved himself to be an excellent politician, hence his position on the Council despite his unexceptional magical ability.
Avid char Solmeszk “2nd Elevation Magus” (Evil, Rakshasa, Magic User 4): Avid is a member of the Solmeszk family from Durpar. He joined the Enclave several years ago and his first assignment has been to infiltrate the Northern Wizards in Messemprar to assess their motives and capabilities. Avid is secretly one of the Al’Chazar, and a member of the Amethyst Sodality, and his goal is to take control of the Enclave and its portal network.
Sphere of Influence
Unther: Unther is home to the primary concentration of power of the Enclave. There are numerous permanent, two way portals that connect the Fire’s Conjunction (the Enclave’s headquarters) to Unther. One such portal exists near Lake Azulduth, another in the Napi’Ther’Eqlu (Greenfields), another along the River Alamber, the exact location of these portals is unknown to all but members of the Enclave. There are also a number of highly secret portals whose knowledge is restricted to only senior members of the Enclave (such as the one above the Spring of Eternal Hope in Shussel, and another in the fortress of Metos).
The Fire’s Conjunction: This large demi-plane was an integral part of the Imaskari Empire and was used to keep the far flung and disparate empire connected; troops, communications, and supplies were all sent through the portal network to parts of the empire within seconds even though they were separated by thousands of miles.
The portal network was organised into geographical regions (like Unther, Raurin, Kara-Tur, etc) and all portals within a region would connect to a Portal Nexus which in turn could connect to other Portal Nexus or to any portal within its region. The Fire’s Conjunction is just one such Portal Nexus; the one that connects all portals within Unther, and was presumably created by the Imaskari (although some architecture in the deepest parts of the demi-plane suggest other influences).
The Fire’s Conjunction was named by survivors of the Brotherhood of the Black Flame who went on to become the Enclave. The main chamber contains 8 portal openings (a recess in the wall that contains a portal) that can be used to connect to any portal within Unther (dependant upon what key you are carrying and touch to the portal opening). Between each recess is a corridor that leads to other chambers that are strongly Untheric in architecture and fixtures.
Further out from the main are more corridors that lead to odd rooms that are definitively Imaskari in origin, they have strange attributes such as low gravity or oxygen or reverse gravity or total darkness, they appear to have been rooms used for magical experimentation.
Almost a mile from the central chambers are half formed corridors and chambers that appear to be slowly dissolving into the dimensional ether. These chambers look to have fixtures and fittings on all surfaces, suggesting they were built by creatures that could walk on walls and ceilings. Each chamber appears to contain an insect-like cocoon and within a few of these pods are a single black star shaped gem that is fragile and easily shattered. Few venture this far into the demi-plane because there have been strange sightings of ghostly spirits with multiple arms and some wanderers report being attacked by a glowing orb that absorbed all magic cast at it.
The Enclave is able to draw upon the magical knowledge of over 1,000 years of magic users in Unther, as well as a powerful but now defunct order of fire mages (The Brotherhood of the Black Flame), and the recovered magics of Imaskar and Okoth. As a result The Enclave has access to some of the most powerful magics known to exist in Faerun today (and long thought lost by mages of other realms).
As well as the magical knowledge, they have the skill of over 70 successful magic users (all at least 5th level) and the magic they can wield.
The Enclave has been plundering ruins, caches, and bazaars for over 1,000 years and has the most well stocked magical component store south of Thay.
Finally there are untold numbers of magical artefacts stored in the depths of the Fire’s Conjunction (although most are classified as dangerous and locked away by the magic of the Flamelord and the Council of Purple Flames), should The Enclave ever face destruction then these may be deployed in its defence (and have done so at least once in the last few centuries against Shu-Ruppaki).
Portals: The primary secret to the continued existence and success of the Enclave is down to the large portal networks left behind by the Imaskari (and other more ancient powers).
These two way portals are completely undetectable unless activated, and can only be activated by specific keys that not only activate the portal but also determine the destination of the portal, as a result each portal can have multiple keys.
The Enclave has searched diligently for centuries to locate as many keys to as many portals as they can find (often by trial and error with an unlucky individual travelling Unther to known ancient ruins whilst carrying handfuls of items of Imaskari origin), and thus far have multiple keys to 11 different portals and at least two keys for different portals that lead to the Fire’s Conjunction.
Members operating in the field are given a token to travel through a portal and a time/place to return to in order to meet someone carrying the token to return to the Fire’s Conjunction. There are annual checks of each known portal on Shieldmeet by senior members to ensure lost agents are able to get back if they missed their meeting point and to see if the portal is still safe.
The Cowl of Eyes: This item has been in possession of E-Simud for many centuries and is believed by most of the Enclave to be a magical item of his own devising that helps compensate for his failing sight with the use of special lenses.
The cowl itself takes the form of a billowing robe with a hood, but once donned only the hood is visible and can take the form of any headwear the wearer desires (cap, turban, headdress, etc), E-Simud is fond of changing the form of the cowl regularly. The type of cloth is of unknown origin, it is thin yet keeps the wearer at a comfortable temperature, shimmers with random colours but appears white unless closely inspected, at times it seems almost transparent with strange runes (Imaskari) flashing over its surface. Lenses can be pulled down to cover the eyes of the wearer (as many lenses appear as the wearer has eyes) which grants enhanced vision for prolonged periods.
E-Simud has on occasion produced similar looking headwear or lenses to those members he deemed needed it for particular missions. These copies were produced spontaneously from the inside of the Cowl of Eyes (E-Simud literally plucked them out of the hat) so either E-Simud has produced several similar items during his lifetime or the cowl has a means to produce lesser copies upon command.
The true powers of this cowl are known only to E-Simud and he never discusses the item, some in the Enclave have catalogued apparent powers that they believe can be attributed to the Cowl of Eyes (and not E-Simud’s incredible spellcasting ability). The Cowl of Eyes grants the wearer enhanced vision several times more precise than a normal human, the wearer can see through magical obscurities (including invisibility and various protections from divining). On command the wearer can scry far off places and even potentially read the thoughts and emotions of individuals.
Sages of ancient lore believe the Cowl of Eyes is of a far more ancient craft, the runes that flash across the cloth when certain powers are used are the same kind used by the Imaskari but they may be of an even more ancient script. The Cowl may even be responsible for the extensive amount of magical knowledge that E-Simud possesses and it may even be possible that E-Simud is able to communicate with the cowl as he is often heard conferring with it by the name “Fazakum” which in an ancient dialect of Unther roughly translates as “The Oracle”.