College of the Stars, greatest seat of the scholarly and magical arts upon the continent
Historians disagree slightly on exactly when the College of the Stars was founded. While the story of the founding is extremely well known, and pretty much everyone agrees that it has been embellished over the years. Most historians agree that it was founded early in Acryn's history, initially serving as a small council of advisors who educated those children of the Salic bloodline eligible for succession to the Throne. Later, the tuition was expanded to include all children of Salic blood, then all Noble blood; each time more advisors were employed and more facilities were made available to the tutors.
By the time the revolution came, the college had already existed as an independant entity for some time. Nobles educated in the college would often not leave, choosing to devote their spare time to studying within the college's walls and tutoring the next generation of Nobles. There were even facilities made for the education of general public, but these were limited to specific fields of advanced labour (such as engineering) and were kept well away from the rest of the College.
The revolution itself very nearly passed the college by. It was not as clearly oppressive as many Noble institutions, and its involvement in educating many of the founders of the revolution was well known, giving it a non-partisan and positive sheen in the eyes of the common citizen. The revolution was essentially over by the time those same leaders turned their eyes on the place of their education, well aware of its role in protecting a great many Nobles within its walls. When they went to drag those nobles out they discovered a near impregnable fortress, the ancient stone walls of the college designed to repel invading armies from before Acryn's wall was built, the porters suprisingly well trained and armed, and the Scholars themselves possessing more mana and magical power between them than anyone could quite comprehend. That an impass had been reached was understood very quickly, and the newly formed Council sent representation to the College in order to reach a resolution. After some amount of negotiation, the College agreed to acknowledge the Council as the legitimate leadership of Acryn in exchange for a formal position on the council. Additionally, any noble within the College would be given the opportunity to renounce their family name and any claim on their estates or to flee the city unhindered, with any refusing the offer to be handed over to the City Watch for execution.
In the first days of Acryn, the Queen was watching the skies with her lover. Above the the stars glittered, and one in particular held their attention. As they discussed their future the star shone brighter, before dropping from its place in the heavens and landing some distance from the palace. The Queen's lover, who was a talented augur, declared that this was the spot that the future Kings and Queens of Acryn must be educated, she then picked up the Star and placed it within the Queen's crown, binding the future of the Monarchy to the future College of the Stars.
No-one is quite sure exactly how the official structure of the college works. There is a Principal, Vice-Principal, and Demi-Principal (with the Principal being a purely Council role). After this, there are a host of department heads, deans and vice-deans, professors, rectors, adjuncts and registrars. It is common for influential members of the college to share their surname with the department they work for.
The College of the Stars places great importance on the collected wisdom of the ages. Almost all education is theoretical, on the understanding that once your theory is good enough, you'll be able to do it in practice. There are a number of Department heads which will take great pride in the fact that they have never had to put their knowledge into practice.
Principal Francesco Fractura is, despite common misunderstanding, not a Rite of Fracturing mage; although he can trace his family to the head of the school at the time of the uprising. Francesco himself is a well renown orator and an excellent duellist, both of which tend to get displayed at parties or gatherings to which he is invited.
Ghita Darrish, Dean of the School of Wounding, 4th in line to become head of the Darrish Household, and Principal Consultant on matters of information retrieval to the City Watch. Rumour has it that she is also a likely candidate for the position of vice-principal, as the current vice-principal has been in ill health for some time.
Younger brother of Giulio Runes, Leonello lived most of his life in his brother's shadow. When Giulio resigned his position as dean of the School of Runes and Scribing, Leonello took over from him. Out from under his brother's shadow (and with a bit of a chip on his shoulder), Leonello managed to rise to the position of Demi-Principal. The natural conflict between the two colleges is only exaggerated by Leonello's constant one-upmanship of his brother.
Never forget that unapplied learning is like a hammer without a nail, completely without point.
Approximately fifty years ago two wealthy merchants fed up with the elitism of the College of the Stars decided to found their own college. Initially focussing on business management, navigation, and other mercantile skills, the college quickly expanded after idealists started flocking to teach the underprivileged. Twenty years later, the college started to gain real political sway after those educated in the college started to gain positions of authority in the city. Fifty years after its founding, the college is a stable feature of the city, although the fact that no-one in the college is offered a default position on the council remains a point of consternation among Alumni.
The Principal of the College is Simon Holland, co-founder of the college and nearly 90 years old. He took over from the other co-founder, Frederick Jones, after his death 12 years ago. Below him are a group of department heads who share in the day to day running of the college.
The focus of the college is in practical application, and all departments have field days and practical labs. Most buildings erected within the city have had labour supplied from the college's architectural department, and political students are always on hand around the council to provide note taking. Because of this, and even though the college's magical department is small, the college is the largest consumer of mana within the city, and is always willing to pay a fair price for anyone willing to venture away from the city and secure some.
Simon and Fredrick made their fortune trading wine and precious gems with the west and the Serradic Empire. Rather than retiring in comfort, they took their fortunes and founded the Peoples College of Acryn. They believed that in the same way they had built a fortune on their own backs, any person in Acryn could become truly great if given a chance to shine. The College they founded continues to provide free education today, largely because of Simon's political activity, ensuring that there are always donors willing to keep the college alive. A very private man, Simon has very little to say about himself, always keen to keep the College and its work foremost in peoples minds.
A graduate of the PCoA, Pat is a talented engineer and is much in demand for building projects around Acryn. A demand she leverages to ensure that there is always a steady supply of jobs for PCoA graduates, or at least in the fields of building, architecture, and engineering.
Brother of Leonello Runes, and ex-dean of the School of Runes and Scribing of the College of the Stars. Giulio was particularly enamoured with the idea of teaching based on merit alone and was a vocal supporter of the newly formed college for several years before he handed in his resignation and picked up a more junior position in the Peoples College of Acryn. The only mage in the college at the time, he quickly gain prominence, before forming the department of Applied Magic. The department remains small but active, having only 4 teaching staff in total.
When talking about each other, the colleges tend to exgagerate the differences in each other's approach to teaching to an outrageous extent. It is common to hear members of the College of the Stars remarking that you can earn a diploma from the People's College of Acryn without ever opening a book. On the other hand, the PCoA often claims that graduate engineers from the CotS have never even seen a building.