In the beginning, Varian the Celestine asked nothingness a question, and the words of His question were existence itself. Ever since, the people of Sapience have sought answers. Some use philosophy - others use science - and the pious look to the Gods Themselves. Many pose questions, but it is precious few who consider the process of questioning itself.
It is the Ascendril Order alone which devotes itself to this process, hailing from a centuries-long tradition of magic dating from the Ankyrean-age Naldareth, refined by the Magi of old, and continuing into the present day. Rather than employing theology and abstract philsophy as the basis for their thinking, the Ascendril view the world in terms of the process of questioning; answers require deliberation, action, and material transformation.
Central to the question of the universe is the element of Spirit - the driving force of all living creatures. Recognizing that the element of Shadow is a threat to Spirit itself, the Order concerns itself with halting the spread of Shadow, thus opposing the undead, vampires, and particularly their mage nemeses, the Sciomancers. On the question of the Darkness' continued existence, the Ascendril Order answers as one: No.
In pursuit of this aim, the Ascendril wield three skillsets: Elemancy, the art of channeling the power of the planes of Fire, Spirit, Water, and Air; Thaumaturgy, the use of a fulcrum of power; and Arcanism, the manipulation of ambient elements. Employing these skills together, the Order is a powerful force, whether at work upon science or opposing the Light's many foes.
Supporting the ranks of the Ascendril are the Tidesages, researcher-mages whose origins lay on the distant isle of Keltund. Believing themselves to be the world's only survivors following the fall of Kelsys, Tidesages were revealed to Sapience at large in the year 503. Wielding the powers of Wavebreaking, Inundation, and Synthesis, Tidesages draw upon the primal power of the ocean to enhance their martial prowess, while also working to demystify its myriad secrets.