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Chrestomanci is a position held by a nine-lifed enchanter in the Chrestomanci series. Chrestomanci's job is to ensure the fair use of magic and to prevent trade in illicit magical goods. Although the job is officially a government post maintained by the British government on World 12A, Chrestomanci works for the benefit of all nations on all worlds.

Because the job, for a number of reasons, can only be performed by a nine-lifed enchanter - the rarest and most powerful type of enchanter there is - the holders of the position tend be very special people. They also tend to spend a lot of time trying to locate a qualified successor.

Office-bearers mentioned or appearing in the series include:

The word Chrestomanci is a powerful charm that can be used to call Chrestomanci to the location of the caller. This happens in Charmed Life and Witch Week. This is a deliberately-left loophole so that people can call on him for assistance; he is otherwise carefully shielded against name-magic (for instance, there is a charm built into his signature to stop people using it against him).

More than one Chrestomanci has had an eventful life even before taking up the job, and it is sometimes supposed that there is a tendency for Chrestomancis to lose their lives far more easily than normal people. This is not necessarily the case, however: Gabriel de Witt, for instance, still had almost all his lives when he retired.

Although this is not mentioned in any of the stories, the word "Chrestomanci" appears to be derived from the Greek word khrestos, meaning "useful".

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Edited November 3, 2005 2:51 am by Paul A (diff)
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