There is a certain sleepy and genteel charm to Solaris province, which has a long and varied history. The province has an air of mystery, with hidden mountain hollers and secret and meandering passages through swamps. It is believed that magical flora and fauna remain undiscovered in the area. Solaris Province is home to Magnolia Sun School of Sorcery, a primaschola that is notable for its ever shifting between different times and locations.
Like in Destiny Province, Unsoiled Magical Heritage is considered superior by many, and some Unsoiled families are considered more superior than others. A long tradition of aristocratic heritage and conspicuous wealth resides in Solaris, and mages born into certain scion families have a notable legacy to continue and endure heavy familial pressure. The provincial government tends to be more conservative than the other provinces, with the prevailing attitude among Magimundi being one of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” New ideas are initially approached with a measure of caution, bordering on fear, and disbelief, bordering on disdain.
Though modern Solaris has a wide range of political opinions and community cultures, from the late 17th century through the early 20th century the province had a pervasive problem with institutionalized racism. Although the Magimundi never allowed slavery, the Mundane culture of the area informed the prevailing provincial attitude for much of this time period. As the province gained power, its Magisters became increasingly homogenous and almost universally comprised of Unsoiled Heritage or, at the very least, Wizards from families whose lineage could be traced to known European lines. Both the mood and the official policies became less one of cooperation with the indigenous tribes and more one that systematically shut them out of power. This became further complicated by the Mundanes introducing enslaved Africans to the province. Vehement debates about whether magical intervention to end systematic oppression should be an exception to The Statute of Mundane Separation and Secrecy were held, with some Wizards forming the secret society, the Fellowship of the Hydra, to covertly undermine mundane slave-owning practices and to assist slaves in their escape from cruelty. West African slaves brought their own magical traditions to the province. These competing magical practices were seen as troublesome by many of the old guard, who feared the marginalization or assimilation of their own magical culture.
As a result of these fears, powerful Solaris Wizards were able to create the provincial law that mages of African heritage were not allowed to attend Magnolia Sun, thereby also shutting them out of advancement in the Magimundi economy or full participation in the provincial government. When Parthena Cloudbourne defied the province magisters and instituted an open admissions policy to the school in 1862, this led to the rise of Thanatos Akeldama, and The Martyrdom of the Seven, and to the eventual change in provincial law that officially opened the doors of the school to all magic users in the province.
During the years of mundane slavery, the Solaris Magimundi also struggled with how to treat children of slaves who exhibited magical powers. Philanthropic organizations who search for youth who manifest magic among the Mundanes have long existed in North America. These organizations would later become the Cinnabar Society, and were dedicated to discovering and mentoring promising young mages born among the Mundanes, helping them recognize their powers and develop them through education, mentorship, and gifts of the Leeuwendaalders necessary to enter the Magimundi. However, the matter of youth of West African heritage born to mundane slaveowners was a tricky problem that created much conflict among Solaris Magimundi for over a century. Members of the Cinnabar Societies disagreed about how to handle them, some arguing that the Statute of Secrecy prohibited them from interfering, while others also felt that the Magimundi should respect the customs and culture of the Mundanes, which considered these children to be property of their white owners. Still others argued that inhumane and oppressive laws should be broken as a matter of social justice and civil disobedience, thus it was right and proper to subvert the mundane laws permitting slavery and to rescue enslaved children who manifested magic.
During these debates, a controversial splinter organization known as the Candicens Primoris sought out the children of slaves who exhibited magical powers, and negotiated them away from the slave-owners using a monetary exchange. This practice required the also-illegal exchange of Leeuwendaalders for mundane dollars and, as many pointed out, amounted to a purchase of a Wizard, a tacit acceptance of slavery in the Magimundi. Arguing that their “purchase” was the only palatable way to obtain the young mage’s freedom and was done as an act of kindness, Candicens Primoris members offered magical training and protection that outwardly appeared to be an improved lot in life and was at first an acceptable solution to the debates. In practice, however, the children “rescued” by the Candicens Primoris essentially traded one life of slavery for another of indentured servitude to a magical master. Many of these children were trained solely in illegal or dark magic, as a way for the white Wizard to access its power without the risks associated with it. Publicly, the group continued to maintain its benevolence, and Wizards appalled by their tactics gained little traction with provincial justices who felt they could not take sides on the issue. Justices were also being bribed or intimidated by Candicens Primoris members who offered “protection” from the dark magic they were perfecting, or who cut the officials in on the considerable black market profits they were making. Most Magimundi felt there was little they could do, and justified to themselves that the children were at least better off with Candicens Primoris than they were under mundane slavery.
In the mid-19th century a group of West African Wizards known as the Busua (Bū-swa) began adopting magic users born into slavery, rescuing them from the hands of Candicens Primoris and training them at their own Wizard training facilities, known as Boafo Keteke (BWA-ō/ku-TEK-uh, Akan language). A dark time of open persecution of the Busua began, with Candicens Primoris leader Luther Zebulon using trained dark mages to attack Busua members, notably with blood magic, and a powerful new killing curse. Some members of the Fellowship of the Hydra and the Solaris Cinnabar Society joined forces with the Busua to help them counter the Candicens Primoris, at great personal and professional risk. The province became bitterly divided, and Principal Parthena Cloudborne took the unprecedented bold step of admitting black mages to the school, in defiance of the provincial law. Her actions prompted most Unsoiled Heritage families to remove their children from the school, and private academies were set up to educate their youth. Some of these, notably schools for women from high-born families such as Philomena Finebottom’s Famous Finishing School, persist to this day. Once provincial officials enacted the practice of open admissions to Magnolia Sun in 1870, many families returned to the school, though the Hollingsworth Citadel for Young Mages and several of the Boafo Keteke were open until the 1970s, when another wave of reforms was instituted in the province. The curriculum of the Boafo Keteke is a part of Magnolia Sun, and the school imports a variety of flora and magical ingredients from Africa.
Wizards and magic users in Solaris Province have regular contact with other planes of existence, and many tend to specialize in magic that deals in summoning, banishing, obtaining information, or predicting and altering the course of the current bodily existence.The shifting yet fertile soil of the coastal system seems to alter the ley lines under the province and periodically extra-planar beings, ghosts, spirits and poltergeists belch forth from the mire as the earth energies seek to close the gap. There is also a high concentration of Scarring in Solaris Province, allowing for Corruptors to enter our world. Some dark Wizards specialize in artificially engineering these faults and Scarrings in order to summon such beings, but these practices are strictly forbidden by one of the oldest Council of Five Edicts, and a Solaris Province law that predates it. While magic users are accustomed to contact with visitations from other planes, to actively attempt to disrupt the web connecting them merely to “see what happens” is viewed as reckless. This law originated in 1762 after dark Wizard Gunnar Immuffati deliberately broke the ley lines running through the Ozarks and brought forth a contingent of semi-ethereal creatures in the shape of manticores who terrorized the area for nearly 50 years before the last one was banished.Bèlmounae, and since the reforms of the 1970’s, faeries, sprites, pixies, nunnehi, yunwi tsunsdi and other [Miroven]] can attend Magnolia Sun, though not without a measure of disdain from older, more traditional Unsoiled Heritage Families who believe that Primascholae are intended for human magic users only. The relationship with fae creatures is tricky at best, and more than one Solaris mage has found themselves on the losing end of a deal with Miroven. There are numerous fairystones found throughout the province, with a conglomeration of them in what is now southwest Virginia. These stones are used for bartering with the fae and many contain magical residue, which may be reveal beneficence or malfeasance.
Of particular interest — or trouble, depending on the point of view — in the province are the fairymaids, who are beautiful creatures with long lush hair, sometimes visible wings, and one tiny foot in the shape of a deer’s hoof. Like the wila or samodiva they are usually dressed in free-flowing gowns, and their garments are often decorated with feathers. Typically described as a tall, slender, blonde women with pale, glowing skin and fiery eyes, a fairymaid may use her power to “turn” a man’s head and leave him quite demented. Attempts to document this effect have recently revealed that this power affects mages of all genders, not only men. They usually live near water, and Magnolia Sun’s proximity to water makes it an excellent place for fairymaids to exist. It is known that a certain percentage of students at the school —- often from the most prominent Unsoiled Heritage families are, in fact, fairymaids who conceal their non-human traits. Also hidden among the Magnolia Sun population are members of the ancient tribes of Moon-Eyed People, pale, nocturnal, light-sensitive humans who usually live underground in caverns and caves and are known for their ability to craft (and animate) stone. Moon-Eyed People must use magical enchantments, potions, and various wards to be able to be out in the daytime. Even the light of a full moon can be toxic to them. Because of lingering discrimination and animosity stemming from the ancient wars between the Moon-Eyed People and the Cherokee Nation, students who are full or mixed Moon-Eyed tend to conceal their identities.
Solaris Province is also home to large contingents of undead. Hidden communities of vampires can be found, particularly in the Louisiana and Alabama bayous, the Savannah and South Florida swamps, in Morts-Vivants, a colony on the island known as Dominican Republic, and a wealthy urban vampire clan that is harbored in Miami. Wizards in Solaris have negotiated a mutual-benefit relationship with the vampire brethren, as both groups seek to remain hidden from the mundane eyes. This relationship is an improvement over the contentious one of the 19th century, when Solaris Wizards waged battle with Solaris vampires over the killing of escaped African humans who had been enslaved by the Mundanes. Vampires preyed upon runaway slaves, viewing them as easy and accessible targets for their hunger and a way to more openly feed without consequence from Mundanes. Many Solaris Wizards, on the other hand, were in favor of at least tacitly aiding slaves while still abiding by the letter of the Magimundi Statute of Mundane Separation and Secrecy.