The Hermetic Wild West
There is one Tribunal governing the United States and Canada: The Atlantic Coast Tribunal. The covenants of Mexico are all extensions of the Iberian Tribunal, and have not yet broken away from Europe’s politics. This was proving unwieldy as mundanes and magi moved west into the Louisiana Purchase territories.
There was an active movement to split the Tribunal prior to the Civil War for simple administrative and political ease, but no decision was reached on whether to split it on a north-south divide or an east-west divide. The outbreak of the Civil War made the decision for the Order, with most of the covenants in Confederate states, led by a few politically powerful ideological covenants, seceding to form their own “Dixieland Tribunal,” the first act of which was to invalidate the Treaty of Mercury and align their magical resources with the Confederacy. Those covenants that did not willingly join the Dixieland Tribunal were declared invalid. Their property was seized, and a number of magi had to flee north to avoid even greater consequences. It was the formation of a rival Tribunal acting in direct opposition to the Atlantic Coast’s peripheral code that most galled the quaesitors and caused their unequivocal antipathy.
All the Houses fought on both sides to greater or lesser degrees except for Houses Guernicus, Bonisagus, and Tremere, who had long held themselves somewhat aloof from the growing social integration of Order and Nation. These three Houses looked upon the conflict and saw clear violations of Hermetic law in the violent formation of a rival Tribunal, the attacks on other magi and their holdings outside Wizard’s War, and the arming of mundanes to the detriment of northern magi. The quaesitors refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Dixieland Tribunal, House Bonisagus used its significant political clout in America and abroad, and House Tremere called in extensive European support for the Atlantic Coast Tribunal and their northern allies.
The conclusion of the war was just as devastating to southern covenants as it was to the south in general. The forceful reintegration of the Atlantic Coast Tribunal in 1866, and the sequence of trials and Wizards Marches that immediately followed made it unquestioningly clear that the war-battered Order would not countenance another schism of this sort.
In the aftermath of the war, Hermetic politics has become a bitter thing. War refugees sue before the quesitors for recompense from southern covenants, already bankrupted by the war, not to mention official fines and reparations. Hermetic war criminals flee in droves into the west to escape justice, permitted by a war-battered Tribunal that lacks the resources to hunt them all down. Hermetic opportunists (carpetbaggers) seek to form new covenants on the ruins of the old over the claims of whatever survivors there may be.
The untamed west has never looked better.
Those magi already in the west look to the troubles of the east and wonder aloud whether or not to revisit the question of a second American Tribunal. So soon after the wounds of secession, however, the proposal has yet to gain ground.