One of the last witch trials in the United States was also one of the few in the New World to actually involve a witch. Miss Caroline Norton, a halfblood with great talent in herbology and healing, had returned to her home in Connecticut after completing her education at the newly-founded Salem Institute. In 1760, however, she attracted the attention of local authorities after taking extraordinary measures to save the life of a young man gravely injured in a hunting accident. Despite her assertion that the seeming-miracle was “but the work of our kind and gracious Lord, whom I serve as best I may,” the town council intended to go forward with prosecution, seeking the death penalty. Miss Norton was imprisoned in iron and locked safely in a guarded room, but when the town fathers arrived to bring her to the courthouse the next morning, they were astonished to find no trace of the young healer. They attributed her disappearance to satanic powers and resolved to speak no more of her.
In truth, her mother managed to smuggle Caroline her wand, allowing her to simply Apparate away. When Johnny Steward, the young man she saved, learned she had vanished, he begged Mrs. Norton for information. At long last she agreed to pass Caroline a letter. After a year’s correspondence, she finally made her location known. They married soon thereafter, and Steward became one of the first Muggle residents of Sleepy Hollow, then the largest wizarding community in the region.
[X: photo by Wilson Freeman. For an extensive listing of witchcraft trials in the US, please see this site from the University of Tulsa. While many of these were extensions of extant feuds or lawsuits and dismissed by the courts, many others ended in tragedy]

One of the last witch trials in the United States was also one of the few in the New World to actually involve a witch. Miss Caroline Norton, a halfblood with great talent in herbology and healing, had returned to her home in Connecticut after completing her education at the newly-founded Salem Institute. In 1760, however, she attracted the attention of local authorities after taking extraordinary measures to save the life of a young man gravely injured in a hunting accident. Despite her assertion that the seeming-miracle was “but the work of our kind and gracious Lord, whom I serve as best I may,” the town council intended to go forward with prosecution, seeking the death penalty. Miss Norton was imprisoned in iron and locked safely in a guarded room, but when the town fathers arrived to bring her to the courthouse the next morning, they were astonished to find no trace of the young healer. They attributed her disappearance to satanic powers and resolved to speak no more of her.

In truth, her mother managed to smuggle Caroline her wand, allowing her to simply Apparate away. When Johnny Steward, the young man she saved, learned she had vanished, he begged Mrs. Norton for information. At long last she agreed to pass Caroline a letter. After a year’s correspondence, she finally made her location known. They married soon thereafter, and Steward became one of the first Muggle residents of Sleepy Hollow, then the largest wizarding community in the region.

[X: photo by Wilson Freeman. For an extensive listing of witchcraft trials in the US, please see this site from the University of Tulsa. While many of these were extensions of extant feuds or lawsuits and dismissed by the courts, many others ended in tragedy]

Dear Pieran Marshall,
The teachers and staff of the Randolph-Poythress Institute look forward to welcoming you back for your sixth year in just a few weeks. You have been assigned Room 36 in the Manor House, with Mr. Jeffrey Bollis as your roommate. Below, please find a confirmation of your class schedule. The rest of this packet includes your booklists and other notes from your teachers.

Magizoology EWE-1: MWF 9:00am-10:15amIndependent Study (Library): MWF 10:30am-11:45amHistory of Magic EWE-1: MWF 1:00pm-2:15pmSpecial Seminar -  South American Wizarding History: MW 2:30pm-3:45pm (Spring Only)Charms and Transfiguration EWE-1: TR 10:00am-11:45amSpecial Seminar - International Law: TR 12:30pm-2:15pmSpanish 2: TR 2:30pm-4:15pmFlight and Apparition R-5: F 4pm-5:30pm

Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Sincerely,
Marcus BanksDeputy Headmaster
PS: Mr. Marshall, while your efforts at breeding new and unusual salamanders in the hearth fire were, no doubt, appreciated by the other members of Woodbine House during last year’s uncommonly cold winter, I would caution you to remember that only registered varieties are allowed as pets, and no more than three can live comfortably in a fireplace the size of that in Manor House bedrooms. Kindly take the appropriate measures to avoid setting the building on fire. — Headmistress Blair
[X: Oatlands Plantation, Leesburg, VA]

Dear Pieran Marshall,

The teachers and staff of the Randolph-Poythress Institute look forward to welcoming you back for your sixth year in just a few weeks. You have been assigned Room 36 in the Manor House, with Mr. Jeffrey Bollis as your roommate. Below, please find a confirmation of your class schedule. The rest of this packet includes your booklists and other notes from your teachers.

Magizoology EWE-1: MWF 9:00am-10:15am
Independent Study (Library): MWF 10:30am-11:45am
History of Magic EWE-1: MWF 1:00pm-2:15pm
Special Seminar -  South American Wizarding History: MW 2:30pm-3:45pm (Spring Only)
Charms and Transfiguration EWE-1: TR 10:00am-11:45am
Special Seminar - International Law: TR 12:30pm-2:15pm
Spanish 2: TR 2:30pm-4:15pm
Flight and Apparition R-5: F 4pm-5:30pm

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Sincerely,

Marcus Banks
Deputy Headmaster

PS: Mr. Marshall, while your efforts at breeding new and unusual salamanders in the hearth fire were, no doubt, appreciated by the other members of Woodbine House during last year’s uncommonly cold winter, I would caution you to remember that only registered varieties are allowed as pets, and no more than three can live comfortably in a fireplace the size of that in Manor House bedrooms. Kindly take the appropriate measures to avoid setting the building on fire. — Headmistress Blair

[X: Oatlands Plantation, Leesburg, VA]

Sanguinem aeternum
A spell which causes the hands to seem to run with blood continuously. Its origins are in a 1753 blood feud between the Lowrys and the McGinnises, two wizarding clans then living near Darien, Georgia. Malcolm Lowry devised the spell after the death of his brother and used it as retribution against Samuel McGinnis. The South-Eastern district soon formalized and restricted its punitive use.
Commonly known as the “Lady Macbeth curse”, sanguinem aeternum was once a common punishment for murderers in the AWC, often compounded with other components of sentencing. Popular in the five eastern and central districts, its use as a judicial measure never caught on in the west. The spell fell out of fashion in the 19th century, particularly in the wake of the American Wizarding Civil War, but remains on the books as a potential component of sentencing by the wizarding courts.
[X: photo by Nathan Carême]

Sanguinem aeternum

A spell which causes the hands to seem to run with blood continuously. Its origins are in a 1753 blood feud between the Lowrys and the McGinnises, two wizarding clans then living near Darien, Georgia. Malcolm Lowry devised the spell after the death of his brother and used it as retribution against Samuel McGinnis. The South-Eastern district soon formalized and restricted its punitive use.

Commonly known as the “Lady Macbeth curse”, sanguinem aeternum was once a common punishment for murderers in the AWC, often compounded with other components of sentencing. Popular in the five eastern and central districts, its use as a judicial measure never caught on in the west. The spell fell out of fashion in the 19th century, particularly in the wake of the American Wizarding Civil War, but remains on the books as a potential component of sentencing by the wizarding courts.

[X: photo by Nathan Carême]

The warding of wizarding communities and housing that exist within the confines of the AWC is a duty delegated to the Department of Secrecy and Obfuscation, who use a number of techniques to keep the magical activities common to wizarding households a secret from their mundane neighbors. Magical techniques utilizing spells of obfuscation and spatial warping are difficult to maintain with simple castings and enchantments, and the more permanent use of runes and sigils is a far superior way or keeping those protections functional. Sadly, such magical inscriptions would draw far too much attention from muggles if they properly engraved onto the buildings and structures they’re intended to protect, so agents of the DSO have been forced to find other methods. So it is that the keen eyed mage might occasionally spot, hidden amongst the normal graffiti and street art of a muggle city, a Nordic rune of protection, or a Babylonian hieroglyph of invisibility. Such magical glyphs need upkeep, of course, but the DSO does what it can to keep them fresh and keep muggle agencies from clearing their carefully laid protections.

The warding of wizarding communities and housing that exist within the confines of the AWC is a duty delegated to the Department of Secrecy and Obfuscation, who use a number of techniques to keep the magical activities common to wizarding households a secret from their mundane neighbors. Magical techniques utilizing spells of obfuscation and spatial warping are difficult to maintain with simple castings and enchantments, and the more permanent use of runes and sigils is a far superior way or keeping those protections functional. Sadly, such magical inscriptions would draw far too much attention from muggles if they properly engraved onto the buildings and structures they’re intended to protect, so agents of the DSO have been forced to find other methods. So it is that the keen eyed mage might occasionally spot, hidden amongst the normal graffiti and street art of a muggle city, a Nordic rune of protection, or a Babylonian hieroglyph of invisibility. Such magical glyphs need upkeep, of course, but the DSO does what it can to keep them fresh and keep muggle agencies from clearing their carefully laid protections.

Tommy Knockers 

While Tommy Knockers have worked their way into Muggle legend as mischievous sprites that live in mines, the Tommy Knockers are actually a close relative of the common English Garden Gnome. Instead of living in household gardens or vacant fields like their cousins across the Ocean, the Tommy Knockers live deep in the mountains and make use of the expansive cave system. Unlike the English Gnomes, the mountain dwelling Tommy Knockers have a fairly good relationship with those who traverse various mining pathways and cave structures. They have been known, on occasion, to pull a lighthearted prank or two on an unsuspecting miner, such as stealing half a sandwich from a closed lunch pail. Others have been known to develop a fondness for certain miners, almost always Muggles or squibs, leading them to deposits of gold or silver, and have on occasion saved lives by pushing an unsuspecting person out of the way of a rockfall. Remaining invisible or camouflaged with the dirt of the mountains, the Tommy Knockers have earned their place in Mountain Spirit lore.  

(Submitted by ronandhermy, pictures added by the mods)

Tommy Knockers

While Tommy Knockers have worked their way into Muggle legend as mischievous sprites that live in mines, the Tommy Knockers are actually a close relative of the common English Garden Gnome. Instead of living in household gardens or vacant fields like their cousins across the Ocean, the Tommy Knockers live deep in the mountains and make use of the expansive cave system. Unlike the English Gnomes, the mountain dwelling Tommy Knockers have a fairly good relationship with those who traverse various mining pathways and cave structures. They have been known, on occasion, to pull a lighthearted prank or two on an unsuspecting miner, such as stealing half a sandwich from a closed lunch pail. Others have been known to develop a fondness for certain miners, almost always Muggles or squibs, leading them to deposits of gold or silver, and have on occasion saved lives by pushing an unsuspecting person out of the way of a rockfall. Remaining invisible or camouflaged with the dirt of the mountains, the Tommy Knockers have earned their place in Mountain Spirit lore.  

(Submitted by ronandhermy, pictures added by the mods)

The Lazerus Plant

Discovered by Gabriel de la Canal in 1816, the Lazerus Plant continues to be the subject of intense scrutiny by magical theorists and magibotanists. Snr. de la Canal discovered the plant quite by accident. He and his partner, Martin Aspeth (those famous explorers who charted much of the North Americas on behalf of the early AWC), had set their nightly camp up in a dried river bed somewhere along the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains. Having pitched their tent and set the magical wards to guard their sleep, Gabriel noticed the strange and seemingly dead weed clinging to the side of the ditch.

Ever the curious botanist, Gabriel gathered some of the plant and gave it a cursory examination before deciding it was completely mundane and stowing it in his bag. He thought nothing more about it until they returned to Boston the following fall, when he removed desiccated remains of the weed from his bag and set them aside. It wasn’t until he accidentally spilled water on the dried remains and watched the seemingly dead herb begin to rejuvenate itself that he realized the significance of his find, and instantly began a thorough investigation of the plant.

The Lazerus Plant has an amazing hardiness, and can bring itself back from the very brink of death. It can root in almost any environment that provides adequate water. Though Snr. de la Canal originally hoped the plant might be extremely useful in healing potions, he quickly discovered his error in trial runs when he also realized that only a certain small fragment could bloom into full grown plant and human skin was a perfect environment for germination. [1]

For over two centuries magical theorists have hoped that the Lazerus Plant might hold the key to eternal life, but in the last five years a new theory has started to blossom amongst those involved in its study. It has always puzzled scholars that the plant, being so hard and fast to root, did not cover the entirety of the Americas if not the world. Its willingness to die none withstanding, it should be immensely fast spreading and yet remains largely contained to the American southwest. It is now believed that there is actually only one Lazerus plant, and all subsequent samples are merely distant expansions of that original weed, linked and potentially immortal so long as the parent plant survives. The location of such a plant has never been discovered, but magibotanists believe only it is capable of actually reproducing without complete destruction.

[1] This not only defeated Gabriel’s hopes that the plant might help people heal, but completely distorted the entire purpose of his research. The single part of the plant (usually found near the root) still capable of complete regrowth after shredding became a favorite tool of poisoners in the 1800s, producing an extremely painful method of death when ingested. The rapid expansion of the plant not only choked the victim breaks through the sensitive tissues of the throat of lungs.

(Reblogged from asylum-art which did a lovely post on the Rose de Jericho)

The Lighthouse Witches 

While Maine has been the fostering ground of many young witches and wizards that would later go on to do great things in both the magical and non-magical communities, it is also known, in a few and select circles, for its Lighthouse Witches. Ever since the lighthouse became a necessity of sea trade and safety, witches and wizards have flocked to maintain them not only for their perfect isolation from meddling well meaning family, friends and neighbors of all sorts, but for their inherent mystical connection with the sea and all the seas magical creatures.

Many young women, finding that confining themselves to traditional magical or muggle roles to be too much of a burden, decided to strike out for some peace and quiet after their school days. Able to maintain the lighthouses with a few simple charms and a well placed hearth spell, the witches who locked themselves up in the literal tower were able to get down to business doing research and magical experimentation. Well out of the sight of non-magical persons, and of overly concerned relatives, the Lighthouse Witches were able to enjoy their more academic and fringe worthy pursuits in peace.

Some of the most noteworthy Lighthouse Witches were Miranda Smith, who is noted for having documented the stars movements and discovered that when certain constellations were in place magical properties of certain fish species increased tenfold. George Wilkcox Jr. (the only child of Mayor Wilkcox of Shersbury who was determined to see his name passed on no matter the gender of his child) who is best known for her adventures with the North American mermaids who taught her their language and whom she later lobbied on behalf of in the famous Wizengamut case The Merish Tribe of Southern Rock v. Cooper and Coper Oil and Hunting Co. And Jane Merrygold Winters, who was the famed Ancient Runes researcher who had major breakthroughs in the pronunciations, placement and use of Ancient Runes from various cultures. 

The Lighthouse Witches are, sadly, a dying breed as more and more lighthouses have become machine operated. But there is still the odd lighthouse or two that some young witch may still yet use to discover new and mystical knowledge.

(Lighthouse Witches are based off of the women lighthouse keepers that were a staple of the Maine coastal community for many years.)

(Submitted by ronandhermy, pictures added by the mods)

The Lighthouse Witches

While Maine has been the fostering ground of many young witches and wizards that would later go on to do great things in both the magical and non-magical communities, it is also known, in a few and select circles, for its Lighthouse Witches. Ever since the lighthouse became a necessity of sea trade and safety, witches and wizards have flocked to maintain them not only for their perfect isolation from meddling well meaning family, friends and neighbors of all sorts, but for their inherent mystical connection with the sea and all the seas magical creatures.

Many young women, finding that confining themselves to traditional magical or muggle roles to be too much of a burden, decided to strike out for some peace and quiet after their school days. Able to maintain the lighthouses with a few simple charms and a well placed hearth spell, the witches who locked themselves up in the literal tower were able to get down to business doing research and magical experimentation. Well out of the sight of non-magical persons, and of overly concerned relatives, the Lighthouse Witches were able to enjoy their more academic and fringe worthy pursuits in peace.

Some of the most noteworthy Lighthouse Witches were Miranda Smith, who is noted for having documented the stars movements and discovered that when certain constellations were in place magical properties of certain fish species increased tenfold. George Wilkcox Jr. (the only child of Mayor Wilkcox of Shersbury who was determined to see his name passed on no matter the gender of his child) who is best known for her adventures with the North American mermaids who taught her their language and whom she later lobbied on behalf of in the famous Wizengamut case The Merish Tribe of Southern Rock v. Cooper and Coper Oil and Hunting Co. And Jane Merrygold Winters, who was the famed Ancient Runes researcher who had major breakthroughs in the pronunciations, placement and use of Ancient Runes from various cultures.

The Lighthouse Witches are, sadly, a dying breed as more and more lighthouses have become machine operated. But there is still the odd lighthouse or two that some young witch may still yet use to discover new and mystical knowledge.

(Lighthouse Witches are based off of the women lighthouse keepers that were a staple of the Maine coastal community for many years.)

(Submitted by ronandhermy, pictures added by the mods)

Every school has its initiations, rituals and ceremonies in which the students take a part in, either with or without the approval of the faculty and staff. In their fifth years, students at the Mesa Academy run a darkened labyrinth beneath their school, facing their own dreams and nightmares on a ritual quest that spans the course of the year’s longest night. Rumours likewise tell of RPI witches taking to the sky when the moon is full, separated from the night’s cool embrace by their own skin and laughter. Allegiance Academy alumni sometimes speak amongst themselves of a secret society that walks outside the halls of the island-bound fortress. The Walkers of the Drowned Road are said to escape the walls of the school in secret to commune with ancient spirits that haunt the ocean’s floor, seeking out their secrets and hidden names. 

At the Laveau Academy there is another ritual that all students are invited, but not required, to participate in. The Laveau Academy, by long tradition, does not simply teach its children magic. Its eponymous founder believed that a certain poise and social maneuverability were vital for the successful witch or wizard. As one of her earliest lessons at the school, Marie exemplified this fact by walking across gator infested waters supported only by a narrow rope and her own confidence. Barefoot, she navigated the treacherous path and then invited her students to do the same, explaining halfway across that balance was as vital to magic as it was to avoiding the hungry maws below. None of them died during the test, but a few did suffer some small injuries…those who passed became her favored few, and many went on to become teachers in their own right.

The test remains a tradition at the school. Every year the Headmistress takes third year students into the swamp and performs the walk, stopping halfway across to explain its significance. As stated, students are not required to take the test, but those brave enough to at least make the effort are rewarded for their gumption. Those who complete it often gain the special attention of the Headmistress and her faculty, as well as acclaim amongst their fellow students. In the modern era, real gators aren’t used to test the student’s poise, but as a rule they aren’t told that until after. Transfigured logs and the school’s own resident weregator, Groundskeeper Lefort, take their place, adding a seeming peril to the murky waters of the bayou.  
(Tightwire over the water. Performance “InSitu” at the Parc Camifolia (Chemillé, FR) Cie Mesdemoiselle.)

Every school has its initiations, rituals and ceremonies in which the students take a part in, either with or without the approval of the faculty and staff. In their fifth years, students at the Mesa Academy run a darkened labyrinth beneath their school, facing their own dreams and nightmares on a ritual quest that spans the course of the year’s longest night. Rumours likewise tell of RPI witches taking to the sky when the moon is full, separated from the night’s cool embrace by their own skin and laughter. Allegiance Academy alumni sometimes speak amongst themselves of a secret society that walks outside the halls of the island-bound fortress. The Walkers of the Drowned Road are said to escape the walls of the school in secret to commune with ancient spirits that haunt the ocean’s floor, seeking out their secrets and hidden names.

At the Laveau Academy there is another ritual that all students are invited, but not required, to participate in. The Laveau Academy, by long tradition, does not simply teach its children magic. Its eponymous founder believed that a certain poise and social maneuverability were vital for the successful witch or wizard. As one of her earliest lessons at the school, Marie exemplified this fact by walking across gator infested waters supported only by a narrow rope and her own confidence. Barefoot, she navigated the treacherous path and then invited her students to do the same, explaining halfway across that balance was as vital to magic as it was to avoiding the hungry maws below. None of them died during the test, but a few did suffer some small injuries…those who passed became her favored few, and many went on to become teachers in their own right.

The test remains a tradition at the school. Every year the Headmistress takes third year students into the swamp and performs the walk, stopping halfway across to explain its significance. As stated, students are not required to take the test, but those brave enough to at least make the effort are rewarded for their gumption. Those who complete it often gain the special attention of the Headmistress and her faculty, as well as acclaim amongst their fellow students. In the modern era, real gators aren’t used to test the student’s poise, but as a rule they aren’t told that until after. Transfigured logs and the school’s own resident weregator, Groundskeeper Lefort, take their place, adding a seeming peril to the murky waters of the bayou. 

(Tightwire over the water. Performance “InSitu” at the Parc Camifolia (Chemillé, FR) Cie Mesdemoiselle.)

A Note on our Brief Hiatus

Hello followers! First, as always, let me say thank you for following our blog. I never thought, and I’m sure my fellow mods will agree, that we would acquire this many awesome and responsive followers interested in the head canon we’re trying to build here. 100 followers was really astounding, and I’m not sure I can adequately get my head around nearly 1,500! So thank you so much…it really makes my day to see all the reblogs, comments, questions, submissions, and likes that y’all throw our way :D

As you’ve probably noticed, posts from the AWC have been a little scarcer recently, but I just wanted to drop a note that this will be changing in the near future. Of your three mods, one has recently been wrapped up in taking the Bar Exam, one has been at LeakyCon (making her fellow mods very jealous indeed), and the last has been doing some really awesome directing and theater work, so we’ve all had a lot on our plates and haven’t had a ton of time recently. But no worries! American Wizarding will be back soon!

We’ve gotten a number of really great asks and submissions we’ll be reviewing in the near future and posting, and then we’ll also be writing our own stuff again too. So stay tuned and thanks again!

~The Mods

“…finding the appropriate materials to form a wand core is the work of centuries. Not just any part of any magical creature will do after all, as the magic of the beast rarely outlives the beast itself, and in those rare instances wherein the enchantment survives it is usually a brief thing. The pelt of the demiguise is the perfect example. It is well known that the beasts’ hair, when carefully woven, retains its ability to become invisible. The magic is short lived though, and far from perfect…the obfuscating force wears thin within just a few years, and even careful preservation cannot maintain the garment’s powers for long. 

Thus, the discovery of those magical creatures’ whose parts and pieces have both the requisite strength and durability to be of use as a wand core is the work of generations, and is comprised of much trial and error. In Europe only three cores have proven to be of high enough quality for use: dragon heartstrings, unicorn hair, and phoenix feathers. Two of these cores, the phoenix feather and dragon heartstring, are also used in Northern Africa and parts of Asia. Other types of core are not unheard of of course, but they generally require fairly consistent replacement over the course of years, and the expense of acquiring such replacements is usually more than most are willing to bear.

In North America, the expense of importing traditional European wand cores had led to the adoption of new types of wand core. There are currently four that are most commonly used: gowrow tusk, pacific sea-serpent spines, and the tail feathers of thunderbirds and firebirds. Every individual mage in the United States seems to have an affiliation with one of these cores, though true masters of wandcraft prefer to say that each wand core has a preference for a particular type of witch or wizard. 

The tusk of the mighty Ozark gowrow is harvested carefully on a yearly basis by the caretakers of their vast reserves in the American south-east. The gowrok uses their tusks to shift the soil and stone through which they burrow, and the magic inherent in them retains its affinity with the earth after harvesting and even centuries after the death of the wyrm through which it was gathered. Mages with an affinity for wands with gowrow tusks tend to be practical, even-tempered, and strong willed. Common sense is the keyword of this core.

The pacific sea-serpent is common throughout the world’s largest ocean, and technically comes in variety of breeds and families. The pacific-moon serpent, a gorgeous and musical beast that is most commonly found off the western coast of the Americas, especially off the southern coast of California is the primary source of wand cores, as the creatures are both exceedingly friendly and their spines are very flexible.  The recipients of such wands are likewise generally very pliant people, being willing to adapt and bend as needed. Empathy (though not necessarily sympathy) is the trait most associated with this wand. 

Firebirds are distant relatives of the phoenix, native to the American Southwest. Like their Indian cousins, the firebirds are closely associated with fire and the sun. Less intelligent than their Indian cousins, the firebird is larger and tends to remain aloof from all other species, both mundane and magical. When the firebird bursts into flame to restart its life-cycle, it leaves behind its mighty pinions, which are gathered for use in wands in the AWC. Passion highlights the personalities of the wizards and witches chosen by these wands, and a focus on creativity is common. 

Similarly related, the thunderbird of the American northeast also contributes its tail feathers to the cause of American wizardry. Thunderbird feathers kept in the Smithsonian Institute of Magical History have been shown to hold electrical charges and be able to predict the weather even after being stored underground in glass jars for over a century. The power of the wind and storms resides within the bodies of these mighty raptors, and carries over even after the plumage is plucked by intrepid caretakers and magizoologists. Wizards who handle these wands tend to favor sharp wits and academic intelligence over other forms of mental cognition. As the proud owner of just such a wand, this witch can certainly testify to natural superiority of thunderbird feather cores…”

Lidia Thrift, Magical Crafts in the AWC - Volume II (Required Reading for the EWE Level enchantment courses at the Blackgate Academy).

“…finding the appropriate materials to form a wand core is the work of centuries. Not just any part of any magical creature will do after all, as the magic of the beast rarely outlives the beast itself, and in those rare instances wherein the enchantment survives it is usually a brief thing. The pelt of the demiguise is the perfect example. It is well known that the beasts’ hair, when carefully woven, retains its ability to become invisible. The magic is short lived though, and far from perfect…the obfuscating force wears thin within just a few years, and even careful preservation cannot maintain the garment’s powers for long.

Thus, the discovery of those magical creatures’ whose parts and pieces have both the requisite strength and durability to be of use as a wand core is the work of generations, and is comprised of much trial and error. In Europe only three cores have proven to be of high enough quality for use: dragon heartstrings, unicorn hair, and phoenix feathers. Two of these cores, the phoenix feather and dragon heartstring, are also used in Northern Africa and parts of Asia. Other types of core are not unheard of of course, but they generally require fairly consistent replacement over the course of years, and the expense of acquiring such replacements is usually more than most are willing to bear.

In North America, the expense of importing traditional European wand cores had led to the adoption of new types of wand core. There are currently four that are most commonly used: gowrow tusk, pacific sea-serpent spines, and the tail feathers of thunderbirds and firebirds. Every individual mage in the United States seems to have an affiliation with one of these cores, though true masters of wandcraft prefer to say that each wand core has a preference for a particular type of witch or wizard.

The tusk of the mighty Ozark gowrow is harvested carefully on a yearly basis by the caretakers of their vast reserves in the American south-east. The gowrok uses their tusks to shift the soil and stone through which they burrow, and the magic inherent in them retains its affinity with the earth after harvesting and even centuries after the death of the wyrm through which it was gathered. Mages with an affinity for wands with gowrow tusks tend to be practical, even-tempered, and strong willed. Common sense is the keyword of this core.

The pacific sea-serpent is common throughout the world’s largest ocean, and technically comes in variety of breeds and families. The pacific-moon serpent, a gorgeous and musical beast that is most commonly found off the western coast of the Americas, especially off the southern coast of California is the primary source of wand cores, as the creatures are both exceedingly friendly and their spines are very flexible.  The recipients of such wands are likewise generally very pliant people, being willing to adapt and bend as needed. Empathy (though not necessarily sympathy) is the trait most associated with this wand.

Firebirds are distant relatives of the phoenix, native to the American Southwest. Like their Indian cousins, the firebirds are closely associated with fire and the sun. Less intelligent than their Indian cousins, the firebird is larger and tends to remain aloof from all other species, both mundane and magical. When the firebird bursts into flame to restart its life-cycle, it leaves behind its mighty pinions, which are gathered for use in wands in the AWC. Passion highlights the personalities of the wizards and witches chosen by these wands, and a focus on creativity is common.

Similarly related, the thunderbird of the American northeast also contributes its tail feathers to the cause of American wizardry. Thunderbird feathers kept in the Smithsonian Institute of Magical History have been shown to hold electrical charges and be able to predict the weather even after being stored underground in glass jars for over a century. The power of the wind and storms resides within the bodies of these mighty raptors, and carries over even after the plumage is plucked by intrepid caretakers and magizoologists. Wizards who handle these wands tend to favor sharp wits and academic intelligence over other forms of mental cognition. As the proud owner of just such a wand, this witch can certainly testify to natural superiority of thunderbird feather cores…”

Lidia Thrift, Magical Crafts in the AWC - Volume II (Required Reading for the EWE Level enchantment courses at the Blackgate Academy).