Providence Preparatory Academy for the Advancement of the Arcane Arts (P2A4) is the oldest Primaschola in the Magimundi and was founded in 1619 by William Llewllyn Bradford. More than two-thirds of P2A4 students hail from Unsoiled Heritage Wizard families, a number that used to be 100 percent but is slowly falling due to more modern families condoning the mixing of wizard families with mages born among the mundane. The declining percentage of Unsoiled Heritage students is of great concern to many students and most faculty, though promising mundane-born wizards are tolerated once they have proven their worth through academic excellence and other initiation rites.

Chancellor

To be appointed Chancellor of P2A4 is considered the pinnacle of Magi-academia, surpassed only by being named Chancellor of Imperial Magischola of Massachusetts Bay.

The current Chancellor is William Ulysses Bradford. He takes his role very seriously and is a direct descendant of the school founder, William Llewllyn Bradford, for whom one of the courts is named. He’s a formidable presence and a revered scholar of ancient languages and traditions, particularly of Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Egypt, and Phoenicia. He is consulted the world over for translations and interpretations, and whenever erudite matters are concerned. To be selected into the Headmaster’s Circle, or the Bradford Bevy, is a great honor, and students chosen for their academic promise and good breeding take special, private lessons with Bradford himself.

Curriculum

The school’s curriculum is based in traditions of mystical and kabbalistic magic, and in particular draws from the Druid tradition. P2A4 graduates see themselves as guardians of magical truths and particularly value the traditions of prophecy, divination, arithmancy, alchemy, ancient languages and runes or sigils, devotional magic, and mind magic. Like the name of the province implies, mages here fervently believe in the concept of destiny and of fulfilling one’s place within the universe. Every mage is born to contribute to the world in the proper — and pre-ordained — way, and it is up to the person to determine one’s calling and to answer it with conviction.

Courts

The school divides its students into four Courts: Hutchinson, Williams, Morton, Bradford.

  • Bradford Court: The Lynx. Bradford Court follows the motto "Knowledge Before Action" and has an academic focus in divination, magical combat, and defense. The students of Bradford Court dedicate themselves to knowledge, to planning, and to careful consideration. They are seekers of deeper truths, rarely satisfied with simple answers.
  • Hutchinson Court: The Great Horned Owl. This court follows the motto "Question Everything" and has an academic focus in healing and alchemy. At the heart of Hutchinson Court is the idea that nothing is above questioning and reconsidering, as well as the idea of rebirth- dismantling institutions to replace them with newer and better ideas. Their founder, Anne Hutchinson, was the first Chancellor of P2A4.
  • Morton Court: The Black Bat. This court follows the motto "Never the Same Mistake Twice" and has an academic focus in cryptozoology and artificiery. This Court also tends to contain a large contingent of loup-garou students and a propensity to cause mischief, as their founder is often referred to as The Lord of Misrule.
  • Williams Court: The Flying Squirrel. This court follows the motto "Wisdom from Every Mind" and has an academic focus in cursebreaking and evocation. Williams Court prides itself on including diverse viewpoints and perspectives, as their founder, Roger Williams believed that one person can only understand as far as they can see, but many voices together can describe a world.

Traditions

As a particularly storied institution, P2A4 has a great deal of traditions and rites of passage that students undergo, and given the degree to which the primaschola puts importance on tradition, they are unlikely to halt any time soon.

The Bartering Birch

In order to enter the school, students must either solve a riddle or puzzle- or bring an item to trade which the Bartering Birch will accept as payment. Once accepted, students are launched into the air and to the school by the Birch.

The Three Trials

Because witches were primarily executed using drowning, burning, and hanging, P2A4 students undergo trials that represent each in order to commemorate those magic users who were persecuted before them and to never forget the reasons to remain a secret societty.

The Hanging Trial
This trial occurs when a student is accepted to P2A4 and they bargain with the Bartering Birch.
The Burning Trial
When a student at P2A4 turns thirteen years old, they must walk barefoot across hot coals whilst carrying two torches.
The Drowning Trial
In a student's final year, they make a journey to the 1000 Islands region, where they undergo a ritual in which they will locate and bargain with the fresh water mermaids, who will gift the student with a prophesy if they are successful.

Loup-Garou and Lycanthropy at P2A4

There is a large contingent of loup-garou in the Northeast, and many students have family members who are members of loup-garoux lodges. The method of becoming a loup-garou is a very carefully kept secret, though oftentimes family will initiate family into a lodge. Loup-garou are not to be confused with werewolves, as loup-garou have the ability to control their powers rather than being at the mercy of the moon or possessed by an animal instinct that removes reason and rational thinking, the hallmarks that raise humans and mages above mere creatures. On the contrary, traditional werewolves (Lycans), who become infected with lycanthropy as a result of a bite from another Lycan, are often looked down upon among the Magimundi, and P2A4 has a strict “no werewolves” admissions policy.

In defiance of this policy, Lycan Peter Romulus successfully passed as a loup-garou during his Providence Prep application process, thereby gaining admittance to the school and drawing attention to the arbitrary nature of the distinction. Romulus proved that he could indeed have a measure of control over his shape-shifting, through other magic methods, including a now-patented potion called a Romulus Potion that turns one’s skin into a mirror, deflecting and diffusing moonlight, allowing the lycan to resist the lupine mandate. Romulus’ potion has since been modified to temporarily shield vampires from the effects of sunlight, although it is very expensive with a very short shelf life (and to be found purchasing it is dangerous for one's social standing). It is very difficult to create, and requires magical ingredients that are quite rare and, in some provinces, illegal to harvest. Some among the Magimundi are attempting to decrypt and reverse engineer Romulus' work in developing the Romulus Potion — in other words, steal Romulus’s patented work — under the view that Romulus’s desire to profit from someone else’s affliction is callous, exploitative, and at best insensitive. Others view him as a successful entrepreneur and a shining example of how to use knowledge to conquer restrictions and empower magic users in new ways.

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