The Bondsmages or Bondsmagi are practitioners of the magical arts. They sell their services to other nations from their city of Karthain, and are the only magic users in the world, as other known sources are quickly assimilated or destroyed. In their city, they are known as 'The Presence'.
History and overview
Bondsmage is the title given to the practitioners of the sorcerous arts. Where once in history there had been various different groups with magic abilities, the Bondsmages of Karthain have eliminated their competition, making their organization the only practitioners of magical arts, and thus making their name synonymous with those of magical skill. During the late Therin Throne era, a war between the king and the Bondsmages resulted in the capital being razed; the Bondsmages - a total of four hundred conjuring at once - called fire from the sky and torched the city. The only object spared was the throne itself, left as a reminder of the power of the Bondsmages to all that would oppose them.
Seat of Power
The seat of rule is known as the Sky Chamber. It is guarded by what is described as a plain door, and appears to be opened by casting one's sigil upon it. The chamber is fifty yards in diameter and has a domed glass ceiling that resides twenty feet underground. The glass dome takes on an enchanted image of the sky. As one makes their case before the council and Archemagi, the sky changes, becoming sunny and bright if the collective is in favor of the speaker, and growing dark and cloudy if they are not presenting a good case. There is a large circular pool of Dream Steel in the center, with four chairs arranged around it for the Archmagi to sit. The Dream Steel - like other examples of it - can be manipulated with the mind, and is shown to take on the skyline of Camorr at one point in a 'flashback' of Patience's memories.
The Bondsmages have a set of laws they follow, including a code that states that one who murders a Bondsmage must be hunted down and murdered as well. Other laws include not being able to tamper with the elections of Karthain directly, as well as not using magic on the citizens of Karthain.
Among taking their seat of rule in Karthain, the Bondsmages stripped the city of it's active military; they themselves being powerful enough to stop any invading forces, whether by their own magical talent, or simply by their reputation.
There are four Archmagi at any given time. All are 5-ring ranked, and their ages vary, with the youngest being forty, and the oldest mentioned by age being seventy. Their names are purely traditional and ceremonial, and do not reflect their personalities. Female archmagi are known as 'Archedama', while the males are 'Archedon'
- Archedama Patience
- Archedon Providence (patience age)
- Archedama Foresight (Forty years old)
- Archedon Temperance (Seventy years old)
Bondsmages are ranked on a scale of one to five, with rings of tattoos on their forearm denoting which rank they belong to. One ring would be a novice, while five is the mark of a master.
Magic skill is not a hereditary trait, and children of magical talent being born to magical parents is extremely rare, in that only fifteen have been born to magical parents in four hundred years. Nonmagical children born to Mage parents typically take positions of political office or work for the mages, and are raised just as any parent would raise their child. Magical children born to Bondsmages are named by the non-mage parent if applicable, to avoid the mage parent knowing their full red name.
To the Bondsmage, a true name (red name) is a very powerful tool, allowing for the use of many control or directly targeted spells to be cast on someone, and to a much larger effect, when compared to not knowing the target's name. Because of this, in Karthain it is taboo to use a true name. Mages and common folk alike do not present their true names, choosing to use a grey name or nickname as a form of protection.
A red name is a child's birth name. Among the nonmages, it's typically safe for close family to know your full name, and not as big of an issue than it is for mages. A Bondsmage on the other hand guards their red name with their lives. Their colleges, friends, instructors, business partners, etc, are never to know their red name, as it holds vast power over them. Children with magic talent born to mage parents are rare, yet when it happens, the non-mage parent is supposed to be the one to name the child so the mage parent never knows the child's true name.
A grey name refers to the name a Bondsmage takes upon receiving their first rank tattoo. This name is personal and symbolic, usually reflecting a love of the person taking the name, such as Archadama Patience's chosen name before becoming an Archmagi being 'seamstress' due to her love of sewing, or Falconer's being due to his obsession with his bird and the open sky.
The Bondsmages offer services to the rest of the world at a price, following their creed of "incipa veila armatos de" - "we become instruments". Black Contracts are issued much the same as any other Bondsmage contract : A panel of Archmagi hears out the contract and discusses the risks and details of the contract. Speakers can bring up points, either for or against the contract. The four Archmagi then rule, needing a majority vote for the contract to be deemed acceptable. At least one mage must be willing to carry out the contract for it to be accepted.
Sigils and Abilities
Each Bondsmage has their own sigil; a mental representation of themselves, which they can project to others in the same way one would give their name as identification. Examples of these are
- Falconer's sigil ; wide bright sky, sensation of soaring, wind against face, freedom of high flight
- Patience's sigil : Folds of pale silk with needles punching in and out of delicate lace, a rough edge of cloth unraveling in to threads
It is shown during The Republic of Thieves that the council of Archmagi have a joint sigil they project at the start of their official duties.
The powers of Bondsmages are numerous and may in fact be near unlimited in nature. Known examples of these powers are as follows :
- Paralyze opponent
- Cause bodily pain (Targeted locations and full body)
- Create convincing illusions
- Control minds/bodies
- Cause localized weather
- Steer ships mentally
- Create alchemical/Magical hybrid creatures
- Bind themselves to a familiar
- Levitate objects (implied)
- Vanish from a room
- Rain fire from the sky
- Purge poison from a body
- Incite hostility in animals
- Share visions of memories
- Instantly Speak telepathically over vast distances
- Control targets minds/bodies over vast distances
- Minor Magic; Light fires using mind/words.; He spoke a word and the word became fire.
Named Bondsmages include The Falconer (three rings), Navigator (three rings) , Coldmarrow (four rings),
and Patience (5 rings).