Melfia is a land to the south where sorcery and pyromancy thrive, primarily known for the Melfian Magic Academy (or Academies). Melfia’s origins can be traced to Drangleic. A king of Drangleic (before it was known by that name) imprisoned his citizens and cast them out to sea where they eventually made land to the south. It is likely this king was ‘Alvis’, of Olaphis, as there are certain parallels we can draw. The king was said to be wracked with fear and suspicion. Straid will tell you that during Alvis’ reign anybody found undesirable, cursed or no was seized and impounded at the Bastille. They even turned the great Straid to stone! We know that during the king’s reign sorcerers in particular suffered dreadful persecution and that Straid of Olaphis was turned to stone out of fear of his power.
When the Bastille was overflowing with inmates, Flexile Sentries were ordered to cram them onto a rickety ship and cast them out on to the open sea. The majority of them drowned or starved, but a few hardy survivors made land to the south (Melfia) and imparted their knowledge of sorcery to the people there. The Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring description tells us that the founders of the academies were sinful men (or at least considered that way by the unjust king of the time) who came from across the northern seas (which makes sense as Drangleic is north of Melfia). The sorceries they left behind were fragmentary, and barely legible leading to the loss of much of their wisdom. Again this makes sense, for these sorcerers suffered heavy persecution while in Drangleic, and whether they hid, burned or took their sorceries with them, all these actions contributed towards the loss of general knowledge on sorcery in Drangleic to the extent that it was never fully recovered. The basics of sorcery in Drangleic must be taught to us by Carhillion, of the Fold – an ex-member of the Melfian Magic Academy.
It would appear that Olenford, the Sorcerer was the leader of the rag-tag group who survived the harrowing exile by sea to reach land at Melfia’s shores. To this day Olenford is revered as the father of sorcery in Melfia. Legend states that he sought knowledge that surpassed mankind’s ken, and so ventured into the Undead Crypt, and did away with his humanity. What these lines mean is unclear, but the description goes on to say that some hold the theory that Melfian sorceries and pyromancies originated within the boundaries of Drangleic in ages past. This all but confirms the origins of Melfia and the role Olenford played in establishing it and the Academy. Clearly Olenford was a sorcerer who sought to explore the limits of sorcery and is therefore likely to have established the roots of what would one day become the Melfian Magic Academy (or Academies) in his pursuit of new knowledge. But ultimately his vision was twisted and all but destroyed throughout Melfia’s history…
From these humble beginnings the shipwrecked survivors of Olaphis spread their knowledge of sorcery to the people who already lived in the land that was to become Melfia. It may be that the original inhabitants of Melfia were prodigious users of pyromancy already, which would explain Melfia’s dual interest in the arts, or perhaps the survivors of Olaphis brought pyromancy with them, as is suggested in the Olenford’s staff description. As with many other lands, when one (or two in this case) form(s) of magic are focused upon, the others get rejected or even outlawed. So it is in Melfia, where the use of miracles holds no place within the society. Perhaps this disgust with miracles grew out of their disgust with Olaphis whose dominant magic may have been miracles. The correlations between Olaphis’ treatment of bearers of the curse and that of the Way of White are eerily similar… The members of the Melfian Academies went so far as to deny the very existence of Gwynevere, which we can be confident is wrong. The description of the Divine Blessing item further emphasizes the falsehood of Melfia stating: “in any age, there are those who refuse to see reason. It is their meddling that distorts the truth”. Interestingly enough, it is in Melfia that the Lightning Urns originate. Lightning was at the core of Gwyn and his offspring, whose existence the Academy denies. It may be that the lightning urns were created as an attempt at incorporating the power of miracles into Melfia, without acknowledging their origins. Hand in hand with this disregard for miracles found in the Melfian people is the Academy’s dislike of anything vaguely linked to sword-fighting. The purists of the modern Academy view sword-fighting as barbaric in nature, and scoff at those who pursue it. There is some evidence that at one time sword fighting and sorcery were combined within the land of Melfia, perhaps in the time where the new survivors and the old inhabitants were merging into one people. A Sorcerer’s Twinblade originating in Melfia can be found in Eleum Loyce. This weapon doubles as a catalyst for sorcery, and is considered a rare weapon used by very few warriors owing to its dependence on honed skills with both staff and sword. Its existence indicates that once, Melfia may have been more accepting of those interested in developing their physical prowess as well as mental. The origins of Melfia’s disgust with sword-play may again be linked to the treatment the sorcerers received in Olaphis before their expulsion. It would make sense for the warriors of Olaphis to wield weaponry against the sorcerers, especially if they were an order of cleric knights. Alternatively, their attitudes draw strong parallels with those of Vinheim Dragon School and may have their roots in that ancient prejudice which all pure sorcerers seem to share.
So the survivors of Olaphis and inhabitants of Melfia established themselves in the land, entrenching themselves with all their prejudices and skills. Throughout the long history of the land the Magic Academy and its faculty have been dissolved and re-established at least a dozen times. We know of a number of teachers and students at the modern academy. The first is Carhillion of the Fold. Carhillion is a member of the old faculty (perhaps called ‘the Fold’), but he is very atypical of the general culture found there. Pyromancer Glocken is another teacher at the Academies. His achievements are indicative of the state the Academy is in, and the reason for Carhillion’s departure. Rosabeth of Melfia is a student of Pyromancer Glocken. She is a prodigious pyromancer but does not have the intelligence to learn sorcery, despite her interest in it. These are the confirmed members of the Academy that we know about. However, it is likely that Felkin, the Outcast was once a member of the Academy too. He left because neither pyromancy nor sorcery appealed. It was within the academy that he discovered the Dark, and this discovery led him to Drangleic where Dark runs deeper than anywhere else. Finally there is ‘Royal Sorcerer Navlaan’. Navlaan is also perhaps originally from Melfia, as is speculated on the page about Navlaan in this website, he may have been a fellow student of Felkin’s. Carhillion will tell us that the “fools” of the Academy had “no interest in truth. Their ambitions were paltry, and their smiles cloying. I was sick to the back teeth of their petty squabbles.” The widespread availability of Pyromancer Glocken’s quartz rings also give us a hint at the condition that Melfia and especially its Academy is in now. Glocken’s rings are bestowed upon students of a certain standard at the Melfian Magic Academy. Glocken crafted so many of these replicas that they became widespread. For this he received much criticism and harsh scolding from his fellow magicians (the conservative old-guard faculty), for undermining lessons gained from harsh training. So why, despite all this criticism, did Glocken continue to make the quartz rings? There are rumors that Pyromancer Glocken has made a hefty profit selling these replicas. Rosabeth will tell us about Carhillion and Glocken’s reaction to his teaching stating Carhillion “argued that the academies were terrible places to learn magic… This quite angered Master Glocken, my previous teacher…” all but confirming to be true the words Felkin spoke to us about his experiences in Melfia.
From all of this we can form some conclusions about the Melfian Magic Academy. A strong tension between the Old, purist, conservative faculty and teacher’s like Pyromancer Glocken is tearing the institution apart, causing many (“petty”) squabbles. In its present state the Academy simply stands to make a profit and has no real interest in pursuing the depths of sorcery or discovering things hitherto unknown. Students at the Academy are not taught through harsh lessons the things that they need to know, but are instead offered trinkets and shortcuts to mastery. This approach almost directly contradicts the principles the Academy was originally founded on and seems to have caused many of the students there to abandon their learning (examples being Felkin and Rosabeth). Perhaps this explains the origins of the Astrologist’s in Melfia. These Astrologists believe that magical powers can be obtained at moments of special heavenly alignment. It could be construed that these scholars believe what they do out of ignorance due to the poor quality of teaching found at Melfia. Alternatively, this could be the Academy’s attempt at finding new forms of sorcery and magic, though it has not led to any success despite best intentions. The current state of Melfia is dismal from the perspective of someone truly seeking knowledge, and it is therefore no wonder Carhillion regards Melfia as a “forsaken land”.