|photo by Geoffrey Dunn|
Some stories say some natural disaster (an act of God) destroyed the school, while others say a group of righteous adventurers razed it, and a few hold it just disappeared, as if hell reclaimed it. No one really knows for certain.
What is known is that the place where the Black School once stood was eventually engulfed by the growing City and became the area called Scholo. Whatever industries that have tried to take hold there--from farms, to brothels, to sweatshops--never seem to last for long. The area seems strangely prone to fires, and strange accidents.
The only thing that lasts in Scholo is magic. As other enterprises have dwindled, magic book shops, alchemical supply stores, and the offices of cut-rate thaumaturgist-for-hire have thrived and grown to crowd Scholo’s streets. Thaumaturgists live here, too--mostly young would-be up-and-comers, and old has-beens and never-wases. They practice their arts in small, threadbare apartments, and congregate to trade secrets (and lies) in a few small cafes and bars.
On almost any night, if you sit in one of the bars long enough you’ll hear mages talk about the Black School. They’ll say it appears some nights of the new moon, in that old park where nothing has ever been built and nothing but twisted and blighted tress grow. Some brave souls have gone in, the story goes, and found it bigger on the inside--and growing larger all the time with creaks and groans. Amid its many rooms are libraries full of occult and sorcerous lore.
It’s a tempting destination for those young up-and-comers, but the old timers remind them that most who go in never come out again, and those that do have emerged haunted, shattered men, prone to suicide, and unable to remember any but barest details of what they experienced there. What fragments can be gleaned from them suggest malign ever-shifting architecture, sadistic traps, strange hauntings, and halls stalked by a half-real creature--never fully manifest on this plane--that pursues intruders.