Arcane Magic and Wizardry in Blackfen
Arcane magic does not play a significant role in Blackfen and the majority of the population live their lives having minimal, if any, contact with the arcane arts. As such, for the vast majority, magic is something to gasp and wonder at and wielders of arcane magic are held in both awe and suspicion. The wizards of Arrasia guard their secrets closely, but their power is both a comfort and a threat to those in authority, who realize its potential to help them in the war against Zykerathox, but also fear its power and mystery.
In a rare example of arcane flambouyance, a couple of streets where the most affluent and powerful of Blackfen live do in fact have rows of lamps which burn bright with a constant, arcane light, which are cared for by linkboys whose job it is to cover and uncover the lights, as well as offering their traditional 'normal' light service of lighting and extinguishing the street lighting of Blackfen.
Like most Councils around Arrasia, the authorities have very little in the way of magic at their disposal, as the cost is generally prohibitive and the secretive wizards usually reluctant to share. Such things that they do have include the Revealing Orb, which sits in the center of the City Council Chamber where private meetings are held and detects the presence of anyone in the room not ordinarily visible, a Stone of Knowing, used by the Chief Justice of Blackfen to gleam the thoughts of those being interviewed, and an Arcane Guard, used, amongst other things, to help guard the public city coffers. Perhaps Blackfen's greatest arcane acquisition, however, is a golem constructed at great expense by the Apothecaries, Alchemist's and Arcanists Guild as a commission for the Blackfen authorities. It guards the main gate to Old Palisade Town, helping to keep order there and boosting the defenses (and morale) of those stationed at the gate. The golem is an amazing thing to behold - as tall as a giant and with mechanical internal workings and a metal exoskeleton, the operation of its movements and ability to comprehend instructions entirely down to arcane magic. This amazing metal creature is the city's ultimate detterent.
Even though magic does not have a great bearing on the lives of the majority of the population and arcanists are viewed with with both fear and suspicion, their art is not generally considered to be a dark one (unless, of course, they follow the darker arcane pathes). Nonetheless, when wizards are seen on the streets, adults tend to cross to the other side, while small flocks of children gather to watch wide-eyed as these strange indivduals go about their business. There is little in the way of arcane wares for the ordinary Blackfen citizen, but there are one or two sellers of arcane curiosities and trinkets and alchemical powders and potions, especially one shop affiliated to the Longstaff Wizards.
The Apothecaries, Alchemist's and Arcanists Guild - the most powerful arcane guild in the land and which can be found in nearly every town and city - is dominated in Blackfen by the Longstaff Wizards, who actually preceded the Guild and were instrumental in bringing about its creation in Blackfen. Needless to say, they designed the Guild's structure around their own needs and the two are now tightly interwoven, despite being technically separate entities.
The Longstaff Wizards are a powerful and secretive group who can likewise be found throughout Arrasia, though particularly in Karnish and its empire. Traditional in their outlook, Longstaff Wizards seek a deeper understanding of their art and invest heavily in researching and understanding the arcane arts and how to further manipulate its properties. To fund this astronomically expensive task, the Longstaff Wizards are also in the business of creating and selling magic, occasionally in the form of magic shops which sell pseudo or faux magic, usually alchemical in nature, but also to rich individuals and, in particular, to nations in need of arcane services.
Although they have very little real interest in politics, the Longstaff Wizards are aware that politics affects their business, so try to maintain some influence over the decisions that may have a bearing on them. In Blackfen, this is done through their dominant position within the Apothecaries, Alchemist's and Arcanists Guild, which has a permanent voting seat on the City Council.
Although not everyone in the Apothecaries, Alchemist's and Arcanists Guild is a Longstaff Wizard - indeed, far from it - the High Sage of the Table of the Six Staves (the council of master guildsmen who have authority over the Guild) has always been a Longstaff Wizard since the inception of the Guild in Blackfen, allowing them to control the agenda of the Guild and its role within the city.
The Guild itself is open, for a hefty fee, to anyone with an interest in the arcane. Actual arcane spellcasters, however, are required by City Council decree to be members of the Guild in order to practice their art. Members of the Guild can use the extensive Guild Library, gain referrals, stay in the Guild's private rooms (for a small, additional fee), and members can even claim a small one-off insurance payout should they hit hard times. They can also attend the many courses, functions, alchemical workshops and speeches put on by the Guild.
The Apothecaries, Alchemist's and Arcanists Guild is also home to two small chapels, dedicated to the worship of Feyzeu and Concei Japur. While the chapels are open to anyone, only Guild members can access the private chapels.