The Thaumaturgical Society for the Furthering of the Arcane Arts is a multinational conglomerate of wizards, scholars and philosophers, based mainly in Wayrest. The Society (as it is generally known as) was founded at the end of the first decade of the 4E by Altmeri immigrants fleeing the end of the Thalmor-Beautiful Civil War. Although many of The Society's founders and main financial backers are ex members of The Beautiful, or had Beautiful connections, The Society is not a political organisation and has no official affiliation with that movement. The Society is currently the state-backed de facto Magical Organisation in Wayrest, and recently Evermore.
The purpose of The Society is, as stated in it's full name, the furthering of the Arcane Arts. The Society shares no link to the Tamrielic Mages Guild, and identifies itself as a step away from the Galerion approach to magic. The Society instead seeks to research into the originals of magical or thaumaturgical phenomenon, and establish the laws that operate behind them. This revolutionary approach to magic is more or less novel in Tamriel: Society Masters are said to look mainly to Kagrenac and Clan Rouken for their inspiration. They are known to be ruthlessly efficient and iconoclastic in their thinking.
The Society is also not ordered like the now-defunct Mages Guild. The Society is officially nothing more than an affiliation between like-minded Wizards, a pooling of resources so as to better serve the interests of research and mutual gain. However, the various Masters of the Society wield considerable power, greater than any Wizard or local Guild Leader in the old Mages Guild, and tend to have teams of younger apprentices working exclusively on own research projects. Entry to The Society is purely financial, though there is also a series of Trials that, at a Master's discretion, have sometimes been known to be applied in place, with exceptional candidates entered into the Society without payment. The nature of these Trials is a closely guarded secret.
The Society are equally secretive about the nature of their research. It is said their "Research Projects" often have mages numbering the hundreds assigned to each, and the fruits of which are said to be hidden somewhere in a vast underground cavern beneath County Wayrest.
Relationship to the CrownEdit
The Society's political position in Wayrest has recently been bolstered by Queen Elysana's official patronage of the organisation, in retaliation to Daggerfall's welcoming of the splintered Mages Guild to move their headquarters to that city. Although strictly speaking there is a guarantee of free trade within the City of Evermore, the backing by the state has all but squashed all of the slim competition The Society faced in Wayrest, and it's monopoly on magical learning has spread across the Kingdom, with many old Mages Guild buildings having been bought and converted into Society Lodges and Schools.
Despite being based almost exclusively in Breton lands (There is said to be a Society Lodge in Port Telvannis, as well as one in Sentinel, amongst other places), almost half of all Society members are expatriate High Elves, forced from their homes by the conquest of the Thalmor, and the purges that followed their victory. The Society's largest Lodges are all found in the Altmer ghettos of Wayrest City, as well as it's own University, which focus on the education of magically gifted commoners for use in an arcane workforce.
The Society are predictably secretive about their internal organisation. After one is initiated into the Society and becomes an Associate, the next move upwards is to become a Brother, which is when access to most of the enormous (probably unparalleled) wealth of resources the Society owns is gained (the thought is that a Brother must first provide something of wealth of his own -either actual money, or his services, before he has the right to to take). Although proper all members of The Society are Brothers, all Brothers are not apparently equal, with the ranks "Acolyte" picking some out for special merit. Somewhere above this in the hidden hierarchy of The Society are the Masters, who tend to be owners of individual Lodges, and apparently wield almost unlimited power above all those beneath them. Past the Masters, there are also the Doctors of The Society, few in number, who are shrouded in secrecy: presumably brilliant sorcerers who themselves direct the entire course of The Society's research. Above all of this, spoken only of in whispers, are the Fathers of The Society, presumably made of the organisation's founders. Nothing is known of these members, only overheard words exchanged between Masters.