Stormwind Antiquarian Society
The Stormwind Antiquarian Society, S.A.S. for short, formerly the Library of Arindell Society, formerly the Knights of the Pen, is a non-governmental body tasked by Eieber himself with preserving, recording, and updating the records of history. Famous members include many Slayer Dragons, Herbet Patric Galactis, and even such accidental explorers as Jake Omaze. Formally a fraternal organization, the Society is open to both men and women.
The society has its roots during Eieber's Long March, in which he tasked the literate among his lietenants with recording all that they saw and experienced. He asked only that they focus on descriptions of what was seen and heard, and leave out their own feelings on the matter. Called initially "Knights of the Quill" or "Knights of the Foundation", these soldiers were provided with materials and had their writings safeguarded.
Diary keeping was common practice at the time for anyone able to write. However, Eieber requested these men keep their records focused on passive observance of events. Thus, many kept two journals: a personal account complete with their own thoughts and feelings, and a passive account, to be provided to Eieber. Little did Eieber know what importance later scholars would place on the former; so while many accounts survive, very few are paired with the writer's personal journal. These are considered priceless.
At the end of the Mage Wars the society was formally christened the Knights of the Pen. This organization was short-lived, and dissolved during the second collapse of the Alliance in A.Y. 136. The remaining members quickly re-formed as the self-governed Library of Arindell Society, which added new members and carried on the traditions. At the end of the Golden Age, the society moved to a new headquarters in Arindell (having previously met at the library), and formally changed its name to the Stormwind Antiquarian Society; which signified how its mission had changed from not just preserving a record of history, but also re-discovering lost portions and preserving artifacts.
The Stormwind Antiquarian Society operates a museum in Arindell, considered the finest in the Alliance. Most of the society's catalogue, as well as their records, are stored in the Library of Arindell.
Membership, Titles, and Privileges
Originally, membership in the organization was open only to those officially selected by Eieber. As the society grew in wealth and power, the remaining formal members began to hand out "Assistant Memberships" to the various individuals hired on or volunteered to assist them. Following Eieber's death, the numbers of official members began to dwindle. Memberships were at first hereditary, but it quickly became clear, that if reliant only on children following in their parents' footsteps, the order would soon be extinct.
As such, when the original order was dissolved in A.Y. 136, a whole new membership scheme was devised for the newly formed Society. The highest rank was reserved exclusively for those who had been present at the reformation: Charter Member. It was decided early on that Charter Memberships would be eternal, could be passed down by heredity, or willed to any individual the possessor saw fit. If ever a Charter Membership were left unclaimed, it would fall to the other charter members to promote an existing member. There are only 1036 charter memberships available, with most deeply entrenched in family lines.
In addition to Charter Members, the society also maintains Assistant Members, Associate Members, Junior Associate Member, Dues-Paying Members, Junior Members, and Open Enrollment members. The lowest rank is available for free to anyone interested in joining, while all other ranks have annual dues which are used to fund the society. Charter Membership dues are quite expensive, but since most belong to very wealthy families.
Only 1036 Charter Membership seats exist. There are 11,036 Assistant Members; with one assistant membership available to each charter member to be filled as they choose (dues paid by either member). Assistant Memberships can also be willed; though they cannot be sold. When a membership becomes available, tradition is to hold an auction open to Associate Members for the seat. An Assistant Membership is required to even be considered for a Charter position.
Formally, there are only 100,000 Associate Memberships available. However, Junior Associate Membership, which carries all the same rights and privileges, has no cap. Since A.Y. 2731, Junior Associate Members have been allowed to bid on Assistant Memberships. With that change, the gulf between the two has effectively ended, an true Associate Memberships are considered only a formality. Most are held by wealthy, influential families who donate heavily to the organization and "earn" the membership as a way to showcase their charity work.
Any membership level may also add the rank of "In Residence" if the individual lives or spends the majority of their time in Arindell. This special perk adds free admission to all Society functions and facilities within the Alliance capitol, as well as granting access to other privileges, such as the ability to rent an office at a number of Society-owned facilities. A Junior Associate Member In Residence can, pending availability, rent spaces at Valley Gail Keep or even the Library of Arindell.
A highly select number of free memberships at various levels (the most common is Junior Associate) are available to archaeologists and explorers who make great accomplishments. Jake Omaze, for example; despite never having been even a regular junior member, was given a lifetime Junior Associate In Residence membership along with his title of Explorer in Residence.
Since the late Second Age, each Pendragon of Slayer Dragons is granted ten lifetime Junior Associate memberships to pass out as they see fit. The Pendragon is also honored with the title of Grand High Signatory, and is considered to have all the powers of a charter member.
Since its inception, but beginning in the mid Golden Age, the Society began passing out titles to its members; and, increasingly rarely, to non-members who achieve great things. Most titles are also accompanied by a membership, if the recipient does not already have one.
Explorer In Residence
The title of "Explorer" is typically gifted to anyone who goes on a lengthy expedition, especially into remote regions. The Society later began granting it to essentially anyone who traveled a good distance to do research.
Still, being named an Explorer by the society is considered a high honor, as it is a title that cannot be bought (most Society titles are handed out to donors).
As with most things relating to the organization, the addition of "In Residence" indicates that the title-holder lives in Arindell. However, in the case of Explorer, this is considerably more difficult to obtain. An Explorer In Residence must not only formally live in Arindell; but must work for the Society, on research expeditions and digs funded by the organization (of which there are many), and they must also earn the title by discovering something of interest and value.
Grand High Signatory
Since the early Golden Age, every Pendragon has been granted the title of Grand High Signatory In Residence, and given a special free membership equivalent to a Charter Membership in power. The Society is also typically fairly generous about heaping titles on the Pendragon.
New Stormwind Antiquarian Society
Following the fall of the Alliance at the end of the Age of the Dragon, the society was formally disbanded. At the beginning of the Age of the New Day, it was quickly re-established as the New Stormwind Antiquarian Society. Since nearly all of the organizations records survived, they were able to pick up without loosing much.