In time, our failures give rise
to our greatest successes.
The Unseen College is so named for its lack of a stable address. The campus is a haven for magickal experimentation. We push the boundaries of possibility, often working with magicks considered too dangerous to work with on Earth. Our research disciplines include alchemy, artifice, astrology, cryptobotany, geomancy, numerology and xenobiology.
Those who seek The College never find it… The College finds those who seek new horizons.
Thomas stared bleary eyed at the equations on the chalkboard. No matter how hard he tried, each possible answer that came to him also came with a myriad of reasons as to why it was wrong. Now the chalkboard was covered with so much dust from the repeated erasures that the equation was near illegible.
“Damn!” He spat throwing the chalk across the room.
Discouraged, he closed his eyes and covered his face with his hands. After a moment he lifted his head and stared out the window, trying to gather his thoughts and regain his equilibrium. Squinting against the brightness outside, it was a moment before he noticed the reflection of a man standing in the doorway of the room, watching him intently. He spun around in surprise, “How did you get in here?”
“Dr. Thomas Nation?” The stranger said. “My apologies for sneaking up on you. But you seemed quite deep in thought and I didn’t want to disturb you. Now that I have your attention, I’d like to help you with your… problem.”
“Do I know you?” Thomas stammered.
The stranger looked at the antiquated timepiece on his wrist and mumbled something under his breath before continuing. “Why don’t we discuss this at the café down the street, and see if we can find the answers you seek?”
“I highly doubt that you are going to help me find any answers. However, I have reached an impasse in my research, so a break might do me good.”
A short time later, Thomas sat across from the stranger at an oddly mismatched table on the patio of an outdoor café. Despite their conversations over lunch, his frustrations had not eased. “What you say does not make sense, nor have you given me answers that are helpful to the slightest degree.”
Jansen eyed the timepiece “All things in time. Speaking of which, are you going to finish that?” Without hesitation he leaned across the table, grabbed the other half of Thomas’ sandwich and began to wolf it down, while waving the waitress over with the other hand.
“Will there be anything else gentlemen?” she asked
“No, I think we’re good.” Jansen said, his mouth half full.
“Ok then. I’ll be right back with the check.” she replied and walked back indoors.
Jansen glanced again at the timepiece and smiled. “You do that”.
3… 2… 1…
Sudden vertigo gripped Thomas and his stomach turned. He grabbed onto the edge of the table for support as cold sweats wracked his body. Once the intense nausea passed, he opened his eyes and tried to get his bearings, but he couldn’t. Although the table and the stranger were still there, everything else was gone. Instead of the outdoor café, they were now in a large empty room with high ceilings, brick walls and a single closed door.
Jansen rose immediately and walked across the concrete floor towards the door. He unlocked it, and as the door swung open, he gestured to Thomas and said “Please. After you.”
They stepped out onto a wide stone path that led through a spacious courtyard culminating in a grand columned building in the center. Large stone steps led up through archways to the main entryway. The courtyard was surrounded on all sides by buildings of such diverse ages and architectural styles, that it looked almost as if they had been plucked from various times and locales and dropped into place. Thomas shook his head at the impossibility of such a thing.
As they walked towards the central building, a few colleagues of Jansen nodded at them both as they passed. Small groups of collegiate aged youths relaxed on the grassy areas on either side of the path, studying tomes, chatting and eating sandwiches.
The normalcy of the environment gave Thomas a sense of reassurance, but that quickly drained away when he glanced up at the sky. Although it was blue with small intermittent white clouds, the clouds were fixed and unmoving, and he could swear that the sky was flickering in his peripheral vision.
The path diverged off at several points, each denoted by a plaque inset into the stone. “Eco dome” “Lost Flora and Fauna” “Residences” and straight ahead of them, “Memorial Hall”.
Suddenly his attention was caught by a young woman strolling past him leading what looked like a Tasmanian wolf on a leash. Its striped haunches and marsupial tail were unmistakable, but this too was impossible, for it was well known that they went extinct many decades ago.
He craned his neck to try get a closer look at the creature as it passed, but ended up tripping on the first step of the central building. Red faced, he caught his balance and hurried up the stairs to catch up with Jansen, who waited at the top.
They walked past tall stone columns on either side of the front door and into a grand rotunda. Their footsteps sounded on the marble floors, and echoed off the walls and high ceilings as they walked towards an elder gentleman who waited expectantly for them in the center of open double doors.
Behind him, the room was alive with movement. People were bustling about in the immense chamber, its domed ceiling lit with moving star fields, maps and symbols projected by a large machine at its center.
“Ah yes, Dr. Thomas Nation.” The gentlemen said as he held out his hand. “It’s so good to finally meet you… AGAIN.”
As the Administrator spoke the last word, Thomas’ mind was bombarded with memories, from both current and past lives. He witnessed his greatest successes and greatest failures. He saw all manner of scientific experiments and equations, the complexity of which made his present theorem pale in comparison. He watched as his previous research transformed science into magick, the results of which could only be described as miraculous. And he understood it all.
Thomas came back to the reality that now awaited him and felt a gentle hand on his shoulder helping maintain his balance. Administrator Krell patted his shoulder and smiled, the crow’s feet of his eyes deepening as he spoke.
“Welcome back to the College.”
Written by Gregory “Lahzarel Thane” Krywusha
with Becky “Bekira” Tilly and Justin “Beeromancer” Wawrzonek
Unseen College Key Points:
- The exact location of the Unseen College campus is unknown to anyone outside the faculty.
- The UC campus is home to several extinct species of both flora and fauna.
- Research is done within a firm structure. The College is a place of many laws, but an explanation exists for each one… generally some experiment that could be easily destabilized.
- Many mute universities appear to have been inspired by the Unseen College.
- Founded by a Magi who left the Keepers rather than work under their restrictions.
- The Unseen College possesses an unexplained mechanism for rapid trans-ocean travel that the other factions envy. This ability to travel gives The UC the greatest knowledge of the Western Hemisphere among the major factions.
- Those who stay for long periods within the campus become attuned to it such that if they die, they have a high probability of spontaneous coalescence within the campus bounds.
- “Performing arts” — college slang for Intoning and Gesturing to cast spells. The UC members channel magickal energy through many other means, including artifact crafting and alchemical combination.
- The UC is home to the most prolific creators of artifacts among all Magi. The UC vaults are smaller than the Archivist Artifact collection, but most of the Archivist collection is UC-made. The UC would love to get their items back someday.
- UC Magi have little interest in mute science. Why study a set of “laws” that can be turned off with a few choice words? Those who were fascinated by mute research generally left the Unseen College when the TechnoWeavers were founded in the 1600s.