8: College for Knowledge

 

After letting the archive do a little research on the Martial Sects and School of Sorcery, I now knew that there was a belief that such establishments had always been.

Or maybe I’d always known it, but I knew about it from back in the days before those sects and schools had actually started to be a big deal.

Their power and status in today’s society was such that it was easy to see how one could be made to believe that the groups had simply always existed. Not sprouting anew after the war that nearly wiped out our species.

In this theory the groups would have existed on the old earth. Operating in secret, as either small, exclusive cloisters that operated separately from the rest of the world, or as shadowy cabals that had come built into the foundations of the old worlds most prestigious organizations. Be they schools,  governments, or corporate bodies.

I for one wasn’t one of those who held this belief, but then again, I willingly admit that, that was more due to a refusal to believe that before Agartha, humanity had, had any mystics and ascetics with supernatural powers amongst their ranks.

For me, earth was and would always be, a world where physics and the laws of nature could be trusted to act rationally.

A world where the only monsters were those that hid within the heart of man. And the only magic was the magic of a child’s smile….period.

The archive seemed to disagree with me on this, and for once I was choosing to disagree with it.

Whatever their origins were after the end of the old world and full activation of the leveling system the schools and sects really came into their own.

They’d already been expanding beforehand with Agartha’s rich magical atmosphere lending them credibility and lots of new blood.

But after the bombs fell, it was a whole new ball game entirely.

The first good thing that came to them was the leveling system, which to them might well have seemed like manna from heaven. A magical tool that simplified and amplified all cultivation techniques, and magical training, by simply making it a matter of accumulating mana.

In this new Agartha the word “bottleneck” was only used for actual bottles. Raising one power was a smooth process that only required sufficient mana levels in the environment and time, to do. Raising one understanding in a technique just meant sticking with it as the leveling system seemed to have some boosting effect on ones magical and martial comprehension and the periphery effects of leveling up on intellect meant that so called geniuses could be readily created.

The second benefit that the end of the world brought these groups was the fact that for the longest time, they were one of the few surviving groups to exist in the post-apocalyptic world.

They and the churches and a few other small groups, were the ones who were largely responsible for the recovery of civilization.

Naturally that meant that once everything was up and running again, they got to enjoy a hefty amount of authority in the new world that they’d built.

Thus it was, that in the current age, belonging to a decent sect within a school was like belonging to an entirely different social class.

A sect or school was like a country within a country. In truth the more powerful sects and schools tended to keep a handful of countries in the “secular” world, as subordinates. Controlling the royal houses and recruiting students from the countries’ young nobility

As for why I suddenly was doing so much research on sects and schools, well that was because I was starting to consider the idea of joining one.

Actually I was beyond the consideration stage that was why I was here in Kensett City.

After making up my mind to make the best of this new world, it occurred to me that perhaps my former “arms-reach” approach had been a mistake. Just joining a guild or getting a job somewhere wouldn’t cut it.

I decided that instead of just being a complete free agent, I’d see about becoming a part of something instead. Joining a faction that was actually a proper faction. Sure, it wouldn’t be as trouble free as being a freelance with the hunters, who still existed in this age, by the way, but I figured it’d pay off in the long run.

Looking the fact that I was probably going to be around for a while, if not for an eternity, it wouldn’t hurt if I tried to work on making some friends in this new Agartha, or failing that, it  wouldn’t hurt if I got some underlings.

Many hands made for shorter work after all.

In both cases that would mean having some kind of status. As my current status was that of some no name urchin from out of the wastes, if I wanted to eventually become somebody who mattered, the best chances of that would mean joining a school or a sect.

Which brings me back to why I was in Kensett. The little city was a small place, built up at the edge of a dark forest in the Tri-American Midwest.

That forest was an enchanted forest, full of magical beasts and magical flora, the kind of place that sects and schools of sorcery tended to set up for use as a holy land. Perfect for rearing new talents.

With the size of the forest, it was big enough for multiple such institutions to share. Though whether they were doing so willingly or whether they were doing so because it was the only way for them to hold the forest for their own use and resist the pressures of the bigger sects and schools, was up to debate.

All I cared about was the fact the three mage schools and two martial sects that made up the Blackwood Union had the right amount of repute and prestige for my purposes.

They also just happened to be holding open recruitment.

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