It is unclear if Melfia, original name Melvia, (メルヴィア) existed as its own country before the introduction of its Magic Academy, much like its thematic predecessor Vinehim. And like the Dragon School of Dark Souls, (DS1) this is largely because the magic school has completely consumed its cultural identity since its inception, which in this case dates back pretty far in Melfia’s history. This by all accounts very old learning institution was founded by sorcerers like Olenford, or Olanford, (オランフォード) who arrived to this land by sea. According to various item descriptions, these were the same sorcerers who were imprisoned at the Lost Bastille and later crammed into ships before being sent out to sea. Most the criminals died when their crude vessels fell apart and sank as they drifted through the open ocean, but a small number survived and made landfall in the south. Unperturbed by Vendrick’s paranoia, these survivors not only hung onto their sorcery but did their best to restore what was lost.
The region’s knowledge about sorcery is already very limited. While stories of Seath inventing sorcery in ancient times have survived, his name and even his race haven’t been passed down, likely in part because Heide culture made him ineffable. Accounts of a great white being behind the power of sorcery are considered dubious, as are tales of the Witch of Izalith inventing flame sorcery before going on to create pyromancy. Even the creator of sorceries that were not lost like those of Logan have been forgotten by history, though records apparently preserved Big Hat’s expertise if not his name. Add in all the various civilizations which have risen and fallen in Drangleic over the centuries, and it is amazing that so much is still recorded at all. But there is only so much knowledge an independent sorcerer can know, and countless died during the voyage from Drangleic to Melfia. What remained were mere fragments of the collective wisdom shipped out of the northern kingdom, leaving little to pass down in Melfia. However, this seems to have been the reason for creating a magic school to begin with.
Like Vinheim in DS1, the sorcerers of Melfia benefited from creating an institution for assembling the remaining wisdom, disseminating it among the populace, and collecting new pieces of knowledge as they are discovered. It was an effective system to recover and preserve the rich magic culture Drangleic had once cultivated. We know this preeminent learning institution as the Magic Academy or “Magic School”, (魔法院) but Rosabeth, originally Rosabena, (ロザベナ) states that her country is home to several magic “colleges” or “universities”. (大学) Felkin also references attending such colleges in the south, but we never learn about schools other than the famed Magic Academy, and it is explicitly the one that imparted sorcery to Melfia. Moreover, Rosabeth only vaguely references Carhillion teaching at the colleges without specifying a particular one in the Japanese script. This leads me to conclude that these various colleges are all divisions of the one Magic School, similar to the nature of multiple colleges at a single university.
I-I went to a famous college… in the south. Neither sorcery nor pyromancy… satisfied m-me. T-There was nothing… I-I acquired from there. Except for noticing the existence of this Dark.
My master and I came from the southern country, Melvia. It is a land where sorcery and pyromancy flourish. There are several magic colleges, and my master Callion refined sorceries there.
There are certainly enough fields of study to justify a subdivision. The school is chiefly known as the place where the study and refining of sorcery and pyromancy flourishes, but that alone demonstrates a wider breadth than the pure focus on sorcery at the Vinheim Dragon School. Among just pyromancies, Rosabeth can teach us Poison Mist, the description of which acknowledges it to be heretical for what are primarily fire arts. And yet, this student of the academy has learned the spell. Contrary to the religious orthodoxy present in the Great Swamp, Melfia is open to all kinds of developments in the art of conjuration. This extends to sorcery too. Astrologists are Melfian sorcerers who study the stars’ movements under the presumption that there are rules behind their alignment from which they can derive magic power. These heavenly bodies include the sun and moon based on the design of their robes. Considering their relevance to the various schools of magic, it is surprising that no one had considered acquiring the power of these heavenly bodies directly before them.
For an array of different specializations in the fields of reason, a few colleges dedicated to each of these schools of thought are a natural fit. This seems to be in large part thanks to Drangleic’s diverse studies of magic, especially under Aldia. Navlaan sells the astrologist set despite having been imprisoned at Aldia’s manor since before the kingdom’s destruction. The Rat King awards the Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring to members of his covenant despite said ring having been passed down at Melfia’s Magic Academy for ages by this point. These varied schools thus seem to have been a consequence of their varied practitioners who survived the voyage. They taught what they knew, and collectively their knowledge was wide if not deep, which was what their system of learning was supposed to compensate for. And by all indications, the many years have paid dividends on their investment.
Carhillion, originally Callion, (カリオン) teaches us Soul Spear Barrage improving upon Logan’s spell. This variant was invented at the Magic Academy and may very well be one of the sorceries the former teacher refined during his tenure there. The school has also learned to crystallize the power of souls, fire, lightning, and the Dark into gemstones which they hand out to students who complete their standard training at the academy as parts of rings. The school body has also experimented with stuffing magic power into small clay pots to create a kind of magical explosive. The Magic School has even tried and ultimately failed to imbue magic power into titanite, though the various stones we find around Drangleic proves that the idea behind their experiments is possible. And while Melfian astrologists have yet to acquire any sorceries from the sky, they have developed new magic tools in the course of their stargazing. Much has been tried and accomplished at Melfia, in many ways surpassing Vinheim in its collection and proliferation of knowledge.
Hat of the astrologists of Melvia. They think that there are rules to the stars’ movements and that magic power can be acquired from their alignment.
No one has acquired sorcery from the sky yet even with the wisdom of Melvia’s Magic School. But new magic tools were created from their process.
Of course, Melfia isn’t perfectly tolerant when it comes to magical studies. Because swordplay and sorcery are fundamentally different techniques, magical enchantments for swords and shields are considered heresy at the Magic Academy. And one faction of conservative sorcerers known as purists despise swordplay in its entirety, deeming it to be uncivilized. Nonetheless, there are still a few who study both physical and magical arts at the school, the most proficient of which use weapons like the Sorcerer’s Twinblade that doubles as a sorcery catalyst. That such a sword originates from Melfia at all is a testament to the southern country’s openness to sorcery in spite of the groups of detractors at the Magic School. The same cannot be said for students of miracles and the Dark arts. Neither are pursued in Melfia, which might be partially influenced by countries like Lindelt providing them in abundance. But this hasn’t stopped certain clerics from privately practicing sorcery, so Melfia’s blind spot seems to be at least in part due to atheistic sentiments among the researchers.
The Magic Academy denies the very existence of Gwynevere despite her vials of blessed water still being circulated around the region. With the medials’ absence from the setting and their names often lost to history, it is easier than ever to reject their divinity, and the magic crafters of Melfia have readily denied the possibility that such magic power was endowed by a goddess. While there is merit in arguing the true nature of the gods, the description of Divine Blessing alludes to their stubbornness warping reality to suit themselves. Most scholars of reason thus refuse to study faith-based magic even as a secular subject, which is likely why hexes have also been ignored despite no religious grounds to stigmatize them. Most probably wouldn’t care if the Dark arts were practiced as sorcery, same as the gods’ light magic, but none of the academy’s founders or their successors have apparently delved into these fields. This isn’t the only area where the Magic School’s wisdom is lacking either.
When it comes to its own past, Melfia has forgotten much. The fact that sorcery and pyromancy were introduced to the land by Drangleic has been reduced to mere theory in the present era, suggesting that the school’s founders didn’t widely disseminate their origins. This makes sense considering that their focus was studying and teaching magic, so anything they did share would be limited and fragmentary at best. This would only be compounded with time. The original description for the Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring noted that the details to the Magic School’s founding have become hazy due to the many who have gathered and gone their separate ways over the course of its long history. One such individual was Olenford, who returned to Drangleic in search of wisdom from the Undead Crypt. School faculties and student bodies change over the centuries for countless reasons, so what second or third-hand accounts of hearsay were passed on to later generations would inevitably be even sketchier if not lost entirely. It’s impressive that there is any accurate records left for modern historians.
Ring handed down in Melvia’s Magic School since long ago. Depicts the sign of a dragon quietly sleeping. Erases the sound the equipper makes.
The Magic School has a long history. But the details of its establishment are unclear due to the many repeated gatherings and scatterings in the past.
However, a lack of self-awareness isn’t Melfia’s only failing. As noted before, biases and school politics have interfered with the wholesale pursuit of magic, something Carhillion was especially critical of during his time at the Magic Academy. Among his complaints was the false drive to seek the deepest secrets about sorcery, smiling all the while. This seems to have been a pointed reference to Rosabeth’s former pyromancy instructor Glocken specifically. The man has been creating copies of the various rings given to graduates of the basic course and selling them to the general public, resulting in them becoming widespread throughout the region. Many travelers have benefited from these rings, but Glocken appears to only be selling them to make an enormous profit for himself. This has opened him up to criticism by the institute’s conservatives, who value authority and thus consider it an insult to the training students undergo to earn them from their instructors. Carhillion though isn’t a conservative and seems to loathe Glocken for far more fundamental reasons than his former colleagues.
The old sorcerer is famed as “Carhillion of the Fold” in English, though this title is more accurately of “Darkness”. (晦冥) This foreboding name seems to be referencing the idea of enlightenment, that he is in darkness and seeks the light of knowledge. It is rather befitting then that Carhillion’s sole concern is solving the most profound mysteries of sorcery while recognizing that he is far from being enlightened. As a result, he shares the conservatives’ stance on taking shortcuts in training but at the same time sees no issue with learning the “impure” spells like Magic Weapon in his research. To him, sorcery is sorcery, and the fact that he can help us upgrade our pyromancy flames shows that he’s even willing to look outside of it for knowledge. This is why he gets in a “big fight” with Glocken rattling off on the severe shortcomings of this supposed learning environment. Whether it be the pyromancer’s enormous greed or the conservatives’ obsession with gatekeeping tradition and order, all of the faculty were beholden to their own petty wants and not the grander pursuit of truth.
But he said, “This is a vulgar place for mastering the arts’ profound mysteries”… in a big fight with Glocken, who was my original master…
These inadequacies at the Magic Academy convinced Carhillion to leave for Drangleic due to the powerful souls and fragments of Manus’ Abyss he senses there. During his journey to further his study of soul sorcery, Carhillion is tailed by Rosabeth. The woman has longed to learn sorcery and apparently decided to become his student after witnessing the man fight with her old master. The two occasionally crossed paths along the way north and spoke a few times, but she seems to have avoided broaching the subject of her apprenticeship as he considers her a total stranger. Indeed, Rosabeth is incredibly clumsy and absentminded, having somehow gotten herself separated from Carhillion and going through many near death experiences crossing the mountains to Drangleic before ultimately being petrified near Majula. This makes her incredibly demeaning and critical of herself, but it might say more about her last magic instructor and the state of schooling in Melfia at large. The Magic Academy failed her.
Apparently my master sensed something special in this land. He said that he sensed vestiges of strong… strong power and an abyss enveloping it… I myself don’t see it… He didn’t mention anything beyond that… [sigh]… I knew it, someone like me…
By contrast, Carhillion not only realizes the incredible potential for new sorceries in Drangleic, but also grasps their source. The sorcerer can be summoned to help us battle the Fume Knight protecting Nadalia’s true body where his white spirit will cast Dark Greatsword and Dark Hail. This implies that the old man has learned Dark arts in the course of his studies of soul sorcery, which makes sense. Carhillion had noticed the close nature between the Abyss enveloping the land and his sorcery, so pursuing it would inevitably lead him to investigate Dark souls and their relation with the darkness of Manus. And once he made the connection, there was no way he wouldn’t apply those principles discovered all those years ago. Like Manus, the old sorcerer is now truly of Darkness. Carhillion likely only came to Brume Tower after hearing rumors about the child of Dark lurking there, hoping to further his studies of the Dark arts. He had done in weeks or months what Melfia had never accomplished in its entire history. What better proof of the Magic Academy’s stagnation as a place of higher learning than one of its teachers uncovering the secrets behind ancient sorcery only after leaving the system?