Encyclopaedia Arcana #20: The Concord (Part One)

The Concord is a treaty between Dark, Light, and independent mages, and forms the main common foundation of international mage law.  It lays down rules that all mages are required to follow, no matter their nationality or faction, and was established at the end of the Gate Rune War.

How It All Began

The Gate Rune War devastated magical society.  Although the Light Alliance won, the destruction was so total that by the time the fighting finally ended it didn’t feel like much of a victory for anybody.  All sides involved took massive casualties.

In the aftermath of the war, there was a widespread perception that the old treaties and agreements had failed.  Most of the old guard and the leaders who had been active in the prewar period were dead, and the survivors had become generally disillusioned with the prewar ethos.  It was agreed that a new treaty was needed, and the surviving Light leaders from around the world assembled in London to draft the Concord.

Although the Council records the following process as a negotiation, “negotiate” is a little misleading as the bulk of the treaty was written by the Light faction with zero input from anyone else.  Even the independents in the Light Alliance didn’t get much of a say.  Seven months after the conclave’s official beginning, the Concord was presented to the magical world, and members of the Light Alliance dispersed back to their home countries to establish the new order.

The Reactions

To say that not everyone was happy with the Concord would be an understatement.  Members of the different factions considered it an imposition, a tyranny, a betrayal, a waste of time, or a piece of useless posturing, respectively.  It didn’t help that not only were the other factions not consulted, they weren’t even asked to sign it – the Concord was just declared as law.  The Dark factions saw it as a peace imposed under duress, and many planned to break it as soon as they rebuilt their strength.

However, the Light mages who drafted the Concord were not idiots.  They knew that trying to force a treaty too harshly would have strained their political capital to the breaking point – while the Light Alliance was the only real cohesive force still standing, its members were war-weary and reluctant to fight.  Instead, what the Light mages did was more subtle:  they made sure that the terms of the Concord were in line with what they predicted that the bulk of the factions would want to do anyway.  Their predictions were good.  Despite a few initial skirmishes most mages found themselves following the Concord even if they’d never supported it, until it became a habit.  Habit turned into custom, and custom became law.

The Present

Nowadays, the Concord is generally accepted worldwide.  Individual magical nations can (and do) make their own laws, but the Concord forms a larger framework of international law which takes priority and which all mages can rely on.  It’s this usefulness, more than anything else, which has made the Concord last.  It acts as a kind of diplomatic protocol:  mages can travel between countries and factions and have a certain level of legal protection while doing so.

The amount of respect the Concord gets varies.  Some mages take it seriously, some pay it lip service, and others break it on a regular basis.  However, even the mages who do break the Concord are careful not to get caught.  The various Light Councils might not enforce the Concord consistently, but they do enforce it, and while it isn’t common for a mage to be hunted down and executed for violating the Concord it happens often enough to send a message.

In Britain, the organisation responsible for upholding the Concord are the Keepers of the Flame, otherwise known as the Keepers.  Anyone charged with a violation of the Concord can be placed under arrest to be formally tried before the Council.

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