In the beginning, there were the First, and from them Essence.
The Archaic School of Sorcery was a sorcerous school seen during the First Age, practiced by sorcerers who saw the original source of essence (and thus not only of the world, but of power itself) amongst the Creators of the World, the Primordials. To the Archaic sorcerer, the manipulations of essence practiced by mortals, spirits, demons, and Exalts alike were but pale reflections of original power, and through seeking to understand and emulate those vast beings a sorcerer could reach the greatest heights.
Unlike the sorcerers of the Silurian School (though the two oft had amicable relations), the Archaic School did not hold that it was the will of the Primordials which shaped the energies of the Wyld. Rather, they saw the power of the Primordials in their forms, the complex interactions of their souls and internal structures the source of Essence, Creation’s physical geography and Celestial Bureaucracy forged in their image. Their obsession with the state of the beings and energies at the very end of the Timeless Before and beginning of the Prehistoric Age gave them their name, the Sorcery of First Principle, the Archaic School.
Naturally, this focus upon the Primordials was considered by some to be entirely inappropriate, and few veterans of the Primordial War or priests of Sol Invictus or the other Incarnae were members of the school. Some even accused the School of falling under Infernal]] influence, and though at least one member fell as Akuma, their fellows condemned them as readily as the rest of the Exalted Host: the Yozi were broken, lessened things, perhaps useful for study but not the great Creators that were the focus of the Archaics. Still, their position was ever contentious in the debates of the Solar Deliberative. The school was never large, even at its height, having little appeal amongst the Dragonblooded and the Sidereal Exalted. Several Lunar Exalted pursued it for its studies of internal transformation, and amongst its Solar Exalted proponents some noted that, unlike many of the advanced sorcerous schools, there were as many Night and Eclipse Castes as Twilights.
The study of soul and divinity systems undertaken by adherents of the Archaic School served as the root of the Esoteric Crafting discipline known as Microtheurgy, though certainly there were many microtheurges who did not align themselves with the School. Indeed, a significant debate emerged between them and their microtheurgy rivals of the Indigenous School, with the Indigenists seeing in the form of Creation the perfection of craftsmanship, its replication in artifice the key, while the Archaics held that microtheurgy sought to replicate the arrangement of souls seen in the Primordials, whose power was only reflected not fully expressed in Creation. Both Schools termed their ideal structure, the base from which Essence came, as the ‘God Machine’. By the time of the Golden Age, the Indigenists dominated the microtheurgic discipline, and the Archaics were more likely found pursuing strange and terrible explorations of their own beings than hammering out Nanogods in Creation’s Manufactory Cathedrals.
In these pursuits, tales (nearly all now lost) speak that some of the Archaics managed to achieve transformation to something no longer of Creation, something closer to the Primordial structure they sought to emulate. The potent Solar sorceress K’tula is said to have rebuilt her body and her soul in increasingly bizarre ways, and her mastery of the Primordial Principle Emulation Charm shows a measure of her success.
The spells favoured by the Archaic School transform as they advance through the three Circles of Sorcery. At first, Archaic spells tend to focus on transformation of the sorcerer’s body, shifting its essence into new forms and paths through spells such as Blood Lash, Spirit Sword, and Invulnerable Skin of Bronze, through more advanced spells transforming the sorcerer’s immediate surroundings according to their own vision, such as Ivory Orchid Pavilion and Outside Worlds Within, culminating in understanding of souls and their interconnection through spells such as Soul Seal and Unity of the Closed Fist. Though many Archaic School sorcerers were considered masters of the principles behind the spell Unconquerable Self, few are known to have employed it.
Though they tend to know a great deal about the nature of demons, Archaic sorcerers are not all demon summoners. In the First Age, some sought to perfect their own Essence and emulate the Primordials through the summoning of demonic servants within shaped pockets of the Wyld, simulating hierarchy and world-body centered upon themselves, others believed that the demons and the Yozi were too tainted, too lessened, to be of use in replicating the First Principle, and refrained from any demon-summoning at all.
School Minimums: Occult (Ability) 4.
An Archaic Sorcerer must believe that sorcery is rooted in systems made up of world and spirits, Creation and the Celestial Bureaucracy, the world-body and soul hierarchies of the Primordials. Through replicating this pattern in the world, or through transforming themselves towards it, they can shape sorcery and access the heights of its power.
Hellish Counterspell: An Archaic sorcerer sees the powers of the Primordials and their souls as the workings of the God Machine, much as are their sorceries. An Archaic sorcerer can use Emerald Countermagic against any Charm or power used by a demon or Yozi backed by Essence no higher than her own (round up).
Knowing the Soular Circles: The Archaic Sorcerer has engaged in significant research into demonology (even if they choose not to summon them). For the purposes of Demonology, the Archaic sorcerer checks Obscurity against her unmodified Occult score, and the requirement for Accurate information is treated as identical to the demon’s base Obscurity.
World Within: The Archaic sorcerer knows that their power, in the end, comes from the world and soul within themselves, and though they might not have the landscapes and multitudes of the Primordials even at its simplest this is a source of strength. When the character’s Shape Sorcery action is disrupted, she may substitute her Willpower for her (Wits + Occult) on the roll to carry on with spellcasting.