Q. What’s the difference between a mage and a loremaster?
A. In many parts of the Realm, mage is the title given to someone adept in spellcraft and divination who offers his or her service to monarchs, governments, or cities in need of magical assistance. Mages provide protection against supernatural threats. They predict the future (once in a while they actually get it right), they solve riddles and uncover arcane secrets, and they offer sage advice (sometimes it’s actually good).
Many professional mages begin their training at the college of magecraft on the island of Kyning Rore. They then go on to have illustrious -- or infamous -- careers at royal courts.
Sometimes mages who have different skills will band together as a guild or league and offer their services as a package deal. The people of Skald hired one such guild of mages, but the “deal” turned out to be a bad one for them. It has often been remarked that a kingdom was doing just fine until they hired a mage, and only then did all sorts of frightening and inexplicable things began happening. There are those who have even accused mages of stirring up or faking supernatural trouble and then stepping in to solve the problem, in order to trick the gullible.
A loremaster, in contrast, is someone who collects and tells stories. To some this seems like a far less important calling than that of a mage. But it mustn’t be forgotten that the Realm is a world made of stories. Magic comes in many different shapes and forms in such a world, and in some stories there is no magic at all. So the power of any mage or wizard or sorcerer is limited by the “laws” of the story they are part of. Whereas a loremaster studies and delves into the deep source of all magic and all stories: the fathomless fire.
This is the power to shape Story itself, and mages who do not understand this power use it unwisely, with disastrous results. The hasty and ignorant tend to disregard the work of loremasters in favour of the dazzling spectacles that some mages can put on.
Q. Why doesn’t the city of Fable have a resident mage or mage guild?
A. Some say this is because Fable isn’t important or wealthy enough to afford a true mage as advisor. No mage who wanted to make a name for himself would bother setting up shop in such an out-of-the-way place. There would be no renown (or money) in it.
Others suggest Fable has no mage because they’ve never had need of one. Fable has a resident loremaster, Nicholas Pendrake, a toymaker by trade. He may in fact be the last of the loremasters, although his granddaughter Rowen is said to have inherited much of his gift for Story.