Pyromancy is fire magic; a Pyromancer can cast fireballs, create walls of fire, or protect allies against fire, depending on power level. Anything to do with fire, the Pyromancers have mastery over it.
The former Arch-Mage of Pyromancy was a volatile woman named Shaftile Sabrese Pyreslake. After her disappearance and believed death, her twin brother, Versaisna Lucair -- also known as the Ash-Maker, claimed the Arch-Mage's seat.
Until the Ash-Maker took over, School of Pyromancy was located in the Lasair Bán (luh-SARE bahn), a.k.a. "The Dome". In 1264 Versaisna had the Dome demolished and Cnoc Liath erected in its place. Most people simply refer to it as Greystone. Potential students display their abilities in a testing ceremony called Soilsigh (SHOH-ill-SHEE) in hopes of being inducted into the school.
Pyromancers wear armbands on their left bicep, of a color corresponding to their rank, whenever they are outside the confines of Greystone. Hence, red for red, orange for orange, etc. Any Pyromancer caught walking outside the Dome without his or her armband is "severely punished", or so goes the rumor. So far no one has done it.
So what keeps people from slapping on an armband and waltzing into the Dome? Guards at the doors check the armbands of those entering. Any who are not Pyromancers are told the stitching of their armband is different from the one used on Pyromantic armbands--which is a lie, but one the city believes.
The truth is a small tattoo every Pyromancer gets when he or she enters the Dome. This is what the armband covers.
Pyromancers, like all others possessing Magical Gifts, are born with the ability to focus on specific traces of an elemental energy in the Ley Lines. Those possessing the Gift are free to apply for the Illumination at any time in their life.
The Illumination, called the Soilsigh by locals, is a spectator trial of skills, almost as popular as Cactus-Catch, a game played by children and adults alike, though the adult games are publicly attended and provide an entertainment for Wadi locals in the early spring. Each Soilsigh is held in the Arena (officially named the Sand Fields, but only the older residents still refer to it as the Fields), the same place as every publicized Cactus-Catch game. Enclosed within a thirty-foot stone wall thatsupports tiers of hewn benches on the inside, the ovular structure is only built large enough to house a third of the population, but that number is decreasing as the population grows. The Arena is located between the First and Second Wall, the middle ring of the city, which makes it available to all residential use if permission to open the gates is obtained from Sunstone Palace, and on the South side of the city to keep the sun from blinding competitors.
The Soilsigh is held four times a year: the first in mid-March, the second mid-June, then mid-September and mid-December (to use our time for relation). Each Soilsigh corresponds and preceeds traditional local celebration by a day and has long been considered the true start of the seasonal celebrations. Two weeks before each designated Soilsigh, all who wish to participate in it are invited to the Arena for registration and assignment of tutors, if so desired. The right of having a tutor may be waived by the potential student or denied by any official Pyromancer with suitable means, though this has only been known to happen once since the tradition began. Tutors, once assigned, will teach very basic centering techniques and the correct way to summon real fire, though this fire, as it is being cast by those untrained, is often very, very weak and burns slowly through any material provided during the actual event. A few cases of strong fires have been recorded, and even one of a firewall constructed during a Soilsigh, but these occassions are very rare and indicate a strong, natural affinity for the Gift by its neophyte user.
Every possible student is allowed to register for two Soilsighs only, though these do not have to be done consecutively. If a contending beginner fails at his or her first Illumination, they may wait as long as they like until they try again, though they will not be provided a tutor during this time. Tutors are never assigned without registering first and names are meticulously checked over an expanse of ten years previous to make sure a potential student has not tried the Soilsigh twice already. It is more than possible for someone who has failed their second Illumination to try again after a ten year period since the records are checked back no later than this time period, but few have been known to attempt it. There may be cases of this unknown to those in the Dome, but they consider it unimportant, thinking only that a person who would do such is either very dedicated or will have aged enough that they will not advance far within the Dome ranks since their skill was not strong enough to admit them at the first. How students are chosen is known only to the Arch-Mage himself.
If a student succeeds in passing their Soilsigh, then they become a novice of Pyromancy and a member of the lowest ring, the Tine Dearg, which, literally translated, means Red Fire. Each novice is given a red armband to wear on their left bicep, the cloth covering an inked design of a small, black star inscribed within a rayed circle and another circle missing from the center of the star. This tattoo is not public knowledge and all students are expected to keep the design covered at all times with the armband if they leave the confines of Greystone. Any student caught walking outside walls without their armband is severely reprimanded, but only rumors of the exact punishment are whispered inside Greystone. As anyone can fasten an armband to their left arm and pretend to be a Pyromancer, this tattoo helps for true identification, though on the few occasions someone has tried to enter the Dome when they were not a student, each was told the stitching on their armband was incorrect and therefore marked them as someone outside the teachings of Pyromancy. To this day seamstresses will peer at Pyromancers who walk through town, wondering what special stitch is used that they have yet to learn.
The levels of Pyromancy are proclaimed by different colors of armbands corresponding to those known of fire at different heats. From first level to fifth, the rings of Pyromancy are the Tine Dearg (Red Fire), the Tine Oráiste (Orange Fire), the Tine Buí (Yellow Fire), the Tine Gorm (Blue Fire) and the Tine án (White Fire). Instructors of Pyromancy are addressed according to the level they teach:
Tine Dearg - Dóiretreath. Pronunciation: DEE-reh-trah. Translation: Sand-Burner.
Tine Oráiste - Dóirecoill. Pronunciaton: DEE-reh-coal. Translation: Wood-Burner or Forest-Burner.
Tine Buí - Dóireór. Pronunciation: DEE-reh-or, Translation: Gold-Burner.
Tine Gorm - Dóireuisce. Pronunciation: DEE-reh-oo-ISH-keh. Translation: Water-Burner.
There are no instructors for the Tine Bán except the Arch-Mage, because the level of White Fire houses only the Council members. Each council member is addressed as Dóirealta, which means "Star-Burner" and is pronounced as DEE-reh-AHL-tuh. If any member of the Council teaches a level of Pyromancy, they are always addressed as Dóirealta and not as the term reserved for other teachers of each level. The Council itself is known as An Roth (Ahn Rawth), The Wheel, and was named after an unchanging pattern of stars that can be seen every winter in the Eastern sky above Wadi, a rough circle of seven stars.
For more information on Pyromancy, contact: