Arcane schools are rarely founded and rarely last long. They gain reputation just by surviving their first year. A school attracts danger by its very nature. Rivals seek revenge upon the instructors or headmasters for real or imagined slights. Governments feel threatened by the concentration of power. Even the curriculum can destroy the school, when practiced by careless or over-reaching students. The White Lotus Academy is remarkable, because it's been teaching students for over 143 years.
Not every master of the arcane is self-taught. Most arcane practitioners learn from a single tutor, such as in an apprenticeship or through bargains with mighty powers, and some martial traditions pass on the lore of the swordmages. More than a few worthy candidates have been turned away from such arrangements for reasons of temperament or ambition -- or getting on the teacher's wrong side. For people who can't partake in personal tutelage, there is the White Lotus Academy.
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About the Author
By night, Peter Schaefer drives his armor-plated, solar-windpowered tank through the ranks of the evil yak-men who fight to crush all that right-thinking humans hold dear. His only ally and secret sponsor in this vigilantism is Griselda, the Hierophant Mercurial, who supports Peter with high-tech toys and subtle magic from her position within the secret world government in Taipei.