Three for the Twelve
At the conclusion of the War of the Mark, Lord Hadran d’Cannith suggested that the houses formally cement their alliance by creating a citadel—a center for research and study of both arcane magic and the potential of the dragonmarked. Though there were only ten dragonmarked houses at the time, the architect and artifi cer Alder d’Cannith convinced the committee to name the institute the Twelve, based on his belief that there were twelve true dragonmarks in addition to the shattered Mark of Death. Alder was a brilliant man whose works had played a critical role in the War of the Mark, and the members of the committee humored him—though few expected the remaining two marks to appear. (The remaining two marks, Warding and Finding, were not “discovered” until after the creation of the Kingdom of Galifar.)
In the beginning, the Twelve played a critical role in shaping the dragonmarked houses, but as the houses have grown in power and spread across the land, its influence has diminished. Nonetheless, the institute remains one of the premier centers for magical research in Khorvaire. By combining the skills and mystical talents of the different marks, the wizards and artificers of the Twelve have created remarkable items. It took the combined skills of House Orien, House Cannith, and House Kundarak to create the safe-deposit vaults that allow Kundarak customers to deposit goods at one bank and withdraw them across the continent. Airships, the lightning rail, even the warforged—these marvels could not have been accomplished without the spirit of cooperation and discovery found among the Twelve.
Those who rise high in the favor of a dragonmarked house can sometimes to call on the resources of the Twelve. This institute possesses impressive mystical workshops, vast arcane libraries, and the talents of some of the most gifted artificers and wizards in Khorvaire—all of which could prove quite useful to an adventurer, or a house.
In theory, the Twelve is a neutral foundation: a resource serving all houses equally. However, some speak of a secret cabal at the heart of the Twelve that seeks a return to the days when the institute shaped the future of Khorvaire. Such a group might hope to overturn the Korth Edicts and see the dragonmarked houses rival Khorvaire’s nations in strength.
Conspiracy theories and rumors aside, the Council of Twelve – the ruling entity of the organization – does maintain a group of house members for various jobs and duties unique to the Twelve and its needs. These members, almost all marked heirs, are chosen by each house for extended service to the Twelve, and often serve for many years, existing on the periphery of mainstream house politics and affairs. Organized into small teams, these operatives most often work behind the scenes across the continent and world, seeking out artifacts, investigating events and mysteries of interest to their leaders, and protecting the greater interests of – and perceived threats to – the Twelve.
Operatives are organized under the Directorate of Archives, and are based out of the Marstan Library, part of a complex of buildings used by the Twelve, and located in Korth.