In The River Country
Becoming a master of the sorcerous arts is a heavy undertaking, and a heavier burden. While it is possible for anyone to learn the language of magic, it is impossible to force those magical sources of power to obey your will unless you are one of the Gifted: those select few marked at birth with a glowing hieroglyph, indicating their elevated status.
Children marked as one of the Gifted are often allowed to be raised among their natural family until they are old enough to be away from home, at which point they are often sent away to learn of their magical heritage and trained in the arcane arts. It is considered an honor to have family with an aptitude for magic, though sometimes it’s a rather dubious one. Learning to become a mage takes years of study, generally around a decade or so, and most of that time is spent as an apprentice to an established mage with a reputation.
There are no established colleges or councils of magic to adjucate or mediate between mages; neither are there any real measures in place to keep an errant mage from straying into unfortunate territory. There are some loose coalitions supported by friendships, compromises, oaths of fealty, and other various understandings and associations. Many mages know each other by reputation, if not by name.