All nations in the magical world have an organisation responsible for enforcing the Concord and their national laws. In Britain, this organisation is the Keepers of the Flame.
Cops or Robbers?
The easiest way to think of Keepers is as magical police – they investigate breaches of the Concord, question witnesses and suspects, and in some case make arrests and bring suspects to trial. Keepers are also tasked with the responsibility of protecting magical society as a whole, and so act as the Council’s military arm.
Another way to look at it – and the way other Light mages tend to see it – is that Keepers are the internal affairs division of magical society. When a mage is doing something dodgy, it’s the Keepers who are called in to take a look. This is rarely appreciated by the mage in question.
The Keepers are very, very old – not only are they older than any mundane police force, they’re older than most countries. Practically everything about the group has changed over the centuries, including their name (they were once known as the Keepers of Secrets). As a result, their organisation is a confusing mess of archaic and modern. The Keepers have been organised in different ways at different times, but at present they are made up of three sub-divisions: the Order of the Star, the Order of the Cloak, and the Order of the Shield.
New Keepers usually start their training as apprentices. Keepers who’ve reached master rank keep an eye out for potential recruits, and pick them out at the novice stage. Keeper apprentices are taught the profession along with magical instruction, and upon graduating to journeyman stage petition to be accepted into one of the Keeper orders.
Keepers are one of the more highly trained branches of the Council. A Keeper is expected to be proficient at battle-magic, investigation, and also politics, although in practice most Keepers don’t manage more than two out of three. The challenging nature of the work means that Keepers tend to have substantially more experience than other mages their age, and as a result are generally deployed alone or in pairs. It’s rare to see more than two Keepers together – it tends to be assumed that one or two Keepers can handle most situations. If three or more Keepers are sent out in a group, it’s a sign that the Council is taking something very seriously.
Nobody Loves A Cop
Keepers aren’t popular. The police-work aspect of their jobs means that independent mages see them as the Council’s brute squad, and Light mages view them in the much the same way that they would an internal affairs division – sure, what they do is necessary, but they’d much prefer for them to be necessary way over there. Dark mages tend to see Keepers as enemy combatants, and this is more or less accurate – if the Council decides to go after a Dark mage, it’s the Keepers who’ll be sent to do it. As a result, it’s not easy for Keepers to make friends.
Keepers have another problem, one that outsiders rarely notice but which in the long run is much more demoralising. The Keepers are supposed to enforce the Concord, but they’re only supposed to enforce the Concord when the Council wants them to, and very often they have no idea when that is. If a Keeper is strict with someone favoured by the Council, they’ll be reprimanded. If they’re lenient with someone the Council doesn’t like, they’ll be reprimanded too. Worst of all, it’s common for Keepers (especially the Order of the Star) to be called in on cases where different factions of the Council want different things, meaning that no matter what the Keepers do someone is going to blame them for it. Some Keepers deal with this by entering the political game, allying themselves with Council groups and serving factional interests, while others just keep their heads down and try to do their job. Either way, the disconnect between the description and the reality of their jobs tends to make experienced Keepers quite cynical.