History of the Order of Hermes
With the fall of Rome, the practice of Magic in the European world fractured. The great magical societies of the Roman era, always secretive and hidden from the mundane world, were scattered and fragmented into dozens of furtive sects or, more commonly, individual sorcerers passing on their knowledge to one or two apprentices. Many sorcerers took to attacking or raiding one another for knowledge, supplies, and vis (raw magic embodied in material form), further heightening distrust.
It was in this climate that the wizard Bonisagus discovered both the parma magica, a simple yet extremely powerful magical shield, and the first outlines of a universal theory of magic, based on the mystical works of the legendary Hermes Trismegistus. These were the keys that would allow wizards to once again work together for the common good, and it became the life's work of his apprentice Trianoma to carry this out. Trianoma, a gifted diplomat, traveled throughout Europe, contacting wizards and convincing them to join in a new magical society known as the Order of Hermes. In AD 767 the twelve greatest magi met at Durenmar, swore to uphold the Hermetic Code, and the Order was formed.
Each of the founding magi became the head of a Hermetic house, a mystical lineage of magi tracing their loyalty back to one of the founders, including both apprentices and "adopted" magi who opted into the Order after its foundation. Each house emphasizes a different magical method or approach, based on the personality, style, and goals of the founder. In addition, the Order is divided geographically into a number of tribunals; the magi in each tribunal meet every few years to discuss policy, resolve internal conflicts, and punish violations of the Hermetic Code.
More Information on the Magical World of A.D. 875: