The Veil of Secrecy

The existence of the supernatural in general, and the true nature of Starlight Academy in particular, is a well-kept secret from most of the outside world. Today, much of this secrecy is maintained by the Veil of Secrecy, a set of laws and rules of conduct that protect the island's supernatural inhabitants from discovery. The government of the Manta Carlos Islands both enforces the Veil and enables its citizens to do so for themselves.

It is worth noting that “The Veil of Secrecy” is a proper noun, also known simply as “The Veil.” Citizens of Manta Carlos can refer to it as shorthand for the notion that the supernatural must be kept secret from what is traditionally called “The Narrow Reality,” or the world of the non-supernatural humans.

Tenets of the Veil

At its core, the Veil of Secrecy is a simple set of rules. They are traditionally presented as follows, as decided upon by Starlight Academy's founding faculty:

  1. Every supernatural being has the responsibility to defend knowledge of its true Nature from those of the Narrow Reality.
  2. No supernatural being can be allowed to reveal its Nature to the Narrow Reality.
  3. Those who see too far beyond the veil shall be liberated from their Reality.

The first two rules are straightforward and universally understood, if a little redundant: the Veil of Secrecy is to be understood as a responsibility both to oneself and one's own kind as well as to the supernatural community as a whole.

The third rule, however, is purposefully ambiguous. To be 'liberated from their Reality' could mean to be liberated from the Narrow Reality, as in, to be inducted into the supernatural world, given a taste of its secrets, and introduced to the responsibilities that come with them. However, this has also been interpreted as “Kill people who pierce the veil from without;” this school of thought considers “liberation from their Reality” to be a euphemism. Within the last few decades, teachers at Starlight Academy have begun stressing that murder tends to cause more problems than it solves, to say nothing of the morality of that decision, and the official stance of Starlight Academy towards Rule Three is “please don't murder.”

More nuanced interpretations account for more nuanced approaches: for example, you could liberate someone from their 'new reality' by leading them further away from the truth and back to Narrow Reality. This can mean anything from a convenient lie to magical memory-wiping. The only universally agreed-upon aspect of Rule Three is that normies finding out about the supernatural is a problem, and you need to deal with this problem swiftly if you see it come up.

Government Enforcement

The Government of Manta Carlos invests a sizeable percentage of its manpower and resources into maintaining the Veil of Secrecy; believe that it must be as high as 60% of their budget, while government officials often insist that it's a much smaller portion. As the Government of Manta Carlos has no legal obligation to disclose how it uses its resources, the exact amount that it spends will remain a mystery.

There is little mystery, however, in what the government does to protect the Veil. Primarily, it funds an internationally-based task force that works with Starlight Academy's recruitment program and cleans up after occasional threats to the veil. Because most supernatural communities are already self-policing in this regard and threats to the veil are rare, the task force can afford to be spread thin in every corner of the world. On the domestic end, most of the government's activities revolve around managing the island's online presence and providing documentation to those who wish to leave the island.

Bending the Rules

One will notice the presence of various international franchises on the island. Because the island's true nature is supposed to be kept a secret from Narrow Reality, and most corporations are based in Narrow Reality, people have often wondered: doesn't the presence of these businesses threaten the Veil?

The answer to that question depends entirely upon who you ask. The government of Manta Carlos has, in the last few decades, begun engaging with corporate interests abroad, inducting a few of their executives into the secrets of the supernatural so that they could do business with the residents of Manta Carlos. Corporate presence on the island has been beneficial to the economy, and secret deals struck with the likes of Facebook and Twitter mean that the government did not have to enact draconian laws governing the use of those services (see below). Many of the island's citizens approve of what has been accomplished thanks to these deals, but the more conservative, old-school camp on the island would have you believe that all of this is a mistake. These groups argue that dealing with outside businesses is a slippery slope to wide tears in the Veil, and that we should return to the isolationism of the previous century. Only time can tell whether or not Manta Carlos will pay for bending its own rules in this way.

The Internet

The advent of the internet, and especially social media, brought new and difficult challenges to the maintenance of the Veil. The island was late to provide internet service to its citizens, and once it did it was severely limited at first. Starlight Academy was late to having an online presence, and most sites discussing current events online needed to masquerade as message boards for some kind of fantasy roleplaying game or another. Access to social media sites was categorically banned.

Today, thanks to the kind of rule-bending mentioned above, as well as improved technology, the island has become far more integrated into online life. Social media posts made on the island are filtered using a complex algorithm developed through a combination of both magic and programming; posts which reveal too much about the supernatural can only be seen by individuals who are also accessing the internet from the island or have done so in the past. Manta Carlos's local news has a website whose articles can only be accessed while on the island, or via mailing list. Starlight Academy has a website, but it looks very different depending on whether you view it from on or off the island, with the off-island website having every hint of the supernatural expunged. Applications can be made to the school from this website; these include the question “what makes you special?” or some variant thereof. Anyone who fails to mention a supernatural disposition or awareness of some sort is summarily rejected, while the vast majority of those who do mention such things are accepted. Applications from normies to attend Starlight Academy are not horribly uncommon; the school has attained a very good reputation from its students who moved abroad to work.

Punishment of Willful Veil Transgressions

In the rare event that someone tries to intentionally reveal the supernatural to Narrow Reality in an uncontrolled way, the Manta Carlos government can hand out harsh punishments. By means unknown, the government will always identify these attempts. Punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis. When the perpetrator is an idiot kid doing an idiot kid thing by trying to blow open the Veil or some uninformed new citizen doing something they didn't know was wrong, the typical punishment is mandatory weekend classes about the importance of the veil for the next month. When someone who should know better tries to pull back the veil for political or economic gains, punishments often include brainwashing and rehabilitation or exile and memory wiping.

Hardline organizations have called for the exile of government officials responsible for opening the island up to corporate business, but the influential headmistress Cordelia Moor's endorsement of certain fast food establishments has taken the political advantage away from these groups.

Hiding the Island

To prevent accidental discovery of the island and its supernatural residents, the wizards among the founding faculty of Starlight Academy created the foundation for an increasingly complex set of enchantments that keeps normies out. These are powerful spells that bend space, time, and light, and fool the most complex of instruments for detecting one's location on the planet. A normie could fly a plane directly over the island and never see it, perhaps even being redirected my magic into a path that never passes over the island at all. In order for a vehicle to reach the island, at least one of the following must be true:

  • Someone in the vehicle must have been invited to Starlight Academy; the invitation process includes magic rituals that allow them to pass through the wards.
  • Someone in the vehicle must have lived on the island for a period exceeding six consecutive months, and not had their citizenship revoked.
  • Someone in the vehicle must be under the effects of a special enchantment that allows them to pass through the wards.

The island is typically accessible by boat or plane. The official airline of Manta Carlos is “Central Pacific Airlines.” Tickets can only be purchased via phone call, to prevent normies from buying tickets with them. From outside the island, the airline claims to take people to all kinds of places in or around the pacific, but rest assured, every flight that doesn't start in Manta Carlos leads directly to there.

The Academy offers free airline tickets to invitees who cannot otherwise reach the school. Travel by ship or yacht can also be arranged.

Starlight Academy and Narrow Reality

Official History

Starlight Academy has a small but respectable presence off of Manta Carlos Island, providing solid cover for those who frequently intermingle with denizens of the Narrow Reality. To the outside world, the academy is an international network of private schools founded by Cordelia Marion Moor in the early 1900's, with the first school based in Florida and a sister school based in the Caribbeans. The school supposedly was the brainchild of an immensely wealthy woman, born to a shipping magnate and his wife who tragically died in a maritime accident. As an orphan herself, it was assumed that Headmistress Moor aimed to give orphaned children a chance to make a life for themselves. Quickly enough, Moor's charity extended to the impoverished as well. It is said that the first Headmistress Moor died peacefully in the 1930's, turning over her life's work to her daughter Sylvia who subsequently adopted the name Cordelia Marion Moor II.

By the 1950's, the Florida school had made something of a name for itself. As the result of drafts passed during the World Wars, a number of Starlight Academy alumnae had gone to war and distinguished themselves there, steadily improving the school's reputation in the Narrow Reality. Headmistress Moor II had even less of a public presence than her mother, a fact that was first explained away by grief and then by internal problems that the academy faced. As the Florida school had expanded beyond a manageable capacity, more and more students were sent to the Caribbean sister school while administration scrambled to find capable, new educators and reorganize the system to fit a greater number of students.

During the Allied occupation of Japan, a third school was set up in Nara, while the Florida school was moved to Wyoming. By the 1960's, administration had changed hands yet again to the Headmistress's niece Cordelia Marion Moor III. Headmistress Moor III is remembered for having a very short career in comparison to her grandmother and aunt, remaining in power for only ten years. From that point on, it seemed that the Moor bloodline was afflicted by some sort of genetic disease, which accounted for the elusiveness of any Moor in public eye. Headmistress Moor IV served until the mid 1980's and Headmistresses Moor V and Moor VI served just five years between them from 1995 to 2000, long enough to establish a fourth school in Finland. The current headmistress is Cordelia Marian Moor VII, who is believed to be the cousin of the sister of the adopted daughter of the daughter of the niece of the daughter of the original Cordelia Marion Moore.

Today, Starlight Academy has a total of six schools around the world due to the hard work of Cordelia Marion Moore VII. Found in the Caribbeans, Wyoming, Japan, Finland, Italy, and Canada, the academy maintains its reputation as a prestigious yet selective institution aiming for not just academic achievement but also for improving the welfare of its students.

Reality of Starlight Academy

While the six schools outside of Manta Carlos are convenient decoys, they do serve as a double purpose for students who would like to study away. Portals are a common method of transport from one school to another and all are connected back to the main campus as well. Those who are allowed to study off of the island are typically put through a mild screening to assure that they will be able to deal with the pressures of being privy to the secrets of the Veil while in the Narrow Reality.

The Veil and Life Abroad

Many of those who live on Manta Carlos would like to travel elsewhere in the world, but, for one reason or another, would be barred from doing this normally. Some look clearly nonhuman and cannot function in Narrow society without some kind of magical assistance, while others lack any sort of documentation for international travel. Frequently, Manta Carlos citizens experience both at the same time. Luckily for them, there are resources on the island to help its citizens overcome any or all of these issues.

Documentation

Manta Carlos's existence is not a secret to Narrow Reality, but it is a little-known fact, and the government likes to keep it that way. Instead of issuing its own passports, the government has a deal with Finland to allow them to issue Finnish passports to Manta Carlos Citizens. Finnish passports are particularly useful because they allow travel to 173 countries without a visa, which is more than all but two other countries' passports can boast. If one wishes to achieve citizenship in another country, the government can readily arrange this as well.

With respect to job placement in other countries, every organization on Manta Carlos is careful to doctor any records it may need to pass on to someone in Narrow Reality. For example, Starlight Academy has two transcripts for every student: their true transcript and a second, Normie-proofed transcript with every mention of supernatural-related courses either removed or replaced with analogous classes one could find in another school.

Human Shape Charms

By far the most common method of blending in appearance-wise in the narrow reality is the human shape charm. These simple charms twist the form of the creature wearing it into one that is acceptably human, allowing them to pass comfortably. Some species opt instead for more simple illusion magic, but the Manta Carlos government has made it very clear that illusions are an inferior option, due to the risk of an occupant of hte narrow reality accidentall bumping into an offending horn or appendage.

Some human shape charms are sold explicitly for use off-island, and come bundled with an SEP enchantment. SEP, short for “Somebody else's problem” (one of the inventors was a big Douglas Adams fan) describes a type of mind-affecting magic that renders certain things “psychically invisible.” Someone affected by an object's SEP field will see the thing, recognize that it's there, and completely fail to remember it for more than a minute or think about it ever again – interesting though it may be, it's “somebody else's problem” at that point. The field attached to off-island versions of human shape charms will encapsulate anything nearby which doesn't fit within a normie's conception of reality, and will only affect those unaware of the supernatural. This prevents any accidental mistakes should the charm slip off, and allow easier hiding of any magical items the wearer might posses.

Manta Carlos's government subsidizes the production and purchase of human shape charms for anyone intending to travel beyond the island; anyone who wants to buy a human shape charm can do so for much less money than such a useful magic item would normally call for.

Getting a Human Body

Glamours don't always cut it. Some people are too inhuman or too unusually-sized to blend into Narrow Reality with a simple glamour. For these, the mages of Manta Carlos can provide people with the ability to use a human body. This frequently means shapeshifting via potions or spells, but in some extreme cases one can apply to the government (or pay a third party an exorbitant fee) for access to a remotely-pilotable human body. Once one has filled out the requisite paperwork and been approved for the procedure, a combination of magic and technology will be used to grow a human body for the client and establish a telepathic link between the human body and the client. It is rare for one to be able to pilot both the human body and their own body at the same time, but quite common for one body to be pilotable while the other is sleeping. The effective range of the telepathic connection between the bodies extends across the whole planet.

Questioning the Veil

For many supernatural beings, there isn't a clear connection between remaining a secret from the Narrow Reality and the protection of their own interests. In fact, many of them believe that the world would be a much better place if the supernatural community integrated with the narrow reality. Arguments for this often include the benefits for all of mankind which could be achieved by sharing magic and alien technology with the wider world - currently incurable diseases could soon be eradicated, and Manta Carlos's farming techniques could even end world hunger.

Furthermore, many off-planet organizations desire access to more parts of the market on Earth, as well as the ability to form diplomatic ties with some or all of the nations on the planet. A few alien governments hope to “help” the planet by helping one government gain control of the entire world, thereby allowing easier integration into some interstellar government or another. Of course, most inhabitants of the planet Earth reject alien plans to establish a 'new world order,' as one alien diplomat once described his vision for Earth.

"The Insurmountable Obstacle"

Advocates of the veil frequently point back to one argument, which in Manta Carlos's political climate tends to shut out all others. The argument was first put forth by an early 1900s Manta Carlos politician, and has come up so often that it has gained a proper name: the Insurmountable Obstacle. Secrecy continues for the sake of those species whose interest appear to be aligned against humanity's. These include beings such as vampires and demons, as well as those creatures whose diets require human flesh. Advocates for these species argue that they would experience mass displacement, and possibly even genocide, should their existence be revealed to the Narrow Reality. The extremely high risk of these morally unacceptable consequences is often referred to as The Insurmountable Obstacle to removing the veil. Many solutions to the Obstacle have been proposed, and so far, all appear to be either only partial solutions, too impractical for serious consideration, or otherwise morally unacceptable in their own right. For the forseeable future, the Obstacle seems like it will remain insurmountable.

Print/export
QR Code
QR Code the_veil_of_secrecy (generated for current page)