In the Mishipeshu Province, the Primaschola for young mages is the Great Plains School of Magical Arts. Centrally located in the province in what is known to Mundanes as Nebraska, the school is disguised as a large group of grain silos rising from the prairie, visible for miles around. But inside, the school appears as a medieval castle, with stone walls and floors, and great turrets for magical defense.
The school was over 200 years in the making, beginning with the land being set aside and protected with magical enchantments by French-Canadian explorer Jean Nicolet, a coureur de bois and compatriot of New World Magischola founder Étienne Brûlé. Nicolet was a flamboyant wizard who favored brightly colored cloaks and packed two wands that looked like pistols.
A hundred years later, Pierre Antoine and Paul Mallet, two French-speaking wizards born in Montreal heavily explored the Great Plains and located Nicolet’s secret location. They established a small school there, in cooperation with shamans from the Jiwere (Otoe) and Nutachi (Missouria) tribes. The original building has been lost to time, but magical residue remains.
Roughly a century later, Shaumonekusse, an Otoe tribal mage and Omaha founder William D. Brown collaborated to magically raise the first tower of the school in 1837, a single silo stretching skyward. Additional towers were added as the Province flourished in the 19th century, though not without conflict between the native wizards and the European settlers continuing to enter the area. Magimundi treaties with tribal mages were far better than the Mundane treatment of native tribes, but the relationship was often still one of mutual distrust and occasional violence. The cooperation to create and maintain the Primaschola was seen as a pathway to more sustainable partnerships, which continue into modern times. Today, the Great Plains school culture reflects the Province’s values, in particular the elevation of “grit” as the most valuable student attribute. Violence is looked at as a necessary aspect of survival and soft-hearted students can be ostracized. Great Plains does not have a specific rite of passage for its students. It is commonly joked that surviving until graduation is considered ‘rite of passage’ enough on its own.
Current Headmaster Aeron Adlar runs the tightest of ships at Great Plains. Students report to mandatory calisthenics each morning and they also learn martial arts, yoga, and the wielding of energy to create magical defensive shields and to increase the power of physical blows. Great Plains students have a strong sense of honor and respect for those who have trained their bodies and minds into temples or weapons, and it is unsurprising that Mishipeshu Wizards tend to vehemently uphold the Edicts of the Council of Five and see being a Marshal as the highest calling among wizards. The pranking at Great Plains appears to be seen as a flirtation with the other side of the law and a type of training for devious thinking that can then be honed for use in what is considered the honest living of Marshaldom. To be able to think like a criminal is the fastest way to then intercept a criminal.
Each start of term, students travel to Great Plains by entering an underground cavern on foot and divining the way to the school through a complicated series of twisted passageways. Light sources, both magical and mundane eventually darken during the journey, which remains frustratingly inconsistent for each student making the trek. It is agreed upon anecdotally that each student will only encounter the Duwende, the tiny iridescent miroven creature, once they have become completely and hopelessly lost within the dark passages. Only when the student has given in to the darkness and confusion, will the Duwende will then guide the student to the cave’s exit. It’s additionally reported that during the dark portion of the trek, very distinctive whispers of self reflection will suddenly come over the student. Some find this aspect of the experience to be far more troublesome than merely being lost in a dark cave. Students often carry an offering of copper, on the chance they encounter a Mishipeshu itself. A small fraction of students over the years have entered the cave system, never to emerge again.
Students at Great Plains participate in one of four silos which have a vocational or technical education designation that do not require further education at Magischola. However, many graduates further their education, especially if they are heir to a fortune in Leeuwendaalders.
The four silos of Great Plains are:
Although the prevailing culture among adult Magimundi in Mishipeshu is one of pragmatism and grit, student mages at Great Plains are among the most notoriously mischievous. Students work hard and play harder, and this is generally tolerated as socially acceptable among youth. Magical renditions of tornadoes, UFO sightings, unusual disturbances in weather patterns, swarms of insects, bats or toads — all of these are examples of elaborate pranks Great Plains mages have pulled just prior to their graduation ceremonies. One particularly notorious prankster clan made mayhem at the Nebraska State Fair of 2005, hexing all the pies for the pie-eating contest, cursing the cars in the Demolition Derby, and, by means that have not been discovered by cursebreakers, somehow the pranksters caused all the bulls in the rodeo to adopt small unit tactics to escape their pens. Some locals to this day believe they saw a finalist pig sprout wings and fly away, never to be seen again. There were a lot of Muta Memoria charms being cast that day.
Great Plains officials as well as Mishipeshu Marshals are kept busy ensuring young mages do not muck too harshly with Mundanes and risk exposing magic. Many see the merry pranking of Great Plains students as a sort of last vestige of hilarity before one takes one’s place upholding practicality, utilitarianism, and chain of command and don’t want to punish students too harshly. Others have forgotten the fun they once had and see the pranking as embarrassing and immature, advocating for strict and draconian measures to squelch even a hint of mirth as a waste of time when students should be focusing on studies. A smaller but noticeable group of Wizards, upon graduation from Magischola, find that their perspectives on the Magimundi are incompatible with their home province and never return to Mishipeshu.