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TS16: Introductions 1

“They didn’t ask the entire weekend?” Tan’s question was clearly one of disbelief. The jaguar flicked his tail annoyed.

Jove shrugged. “I even offered to tell them what the suspicions were. My dad said that he didn’t care what others thought, he cared what I knew. So, I told him I’m still able to stop magic, and that’s not supposed to happen, and it’s freaking people out.” The fox shifted a little. Chris followed silently as Jove and Tan walked towards Jove’s first class Monday morning.

Tan was fighting the urge to stare. “Can they adopt me?”

“They couldn’t afford your tuition.” Jove sighed, “They can’t afford mine. Or my dad’s.”

“Lots of people work their way through college. My parent’s aren’t paying for any class that’s for Praeda.” He opened his grimoire and showed Jove a listing of classes. “They actually went through the course catalog and sent me an annotated version.”

Jove had no response to that. He silently thanked life for his parents, and made a mental note to thank them in his first letter home. He changed the subject, “So, what’s your first class?”

“Freshman Orientation. Something about making sure that all the self-taught mages are on the same page and using the same terms.” He sighed, “It’s not a full class. I think it’s as much a social icebreaker as an actual class.”

“It’s a shame it’s scheduled at the same time as my class. That sounds interesting.”

“They do that on purpose,” Tan said. “In a month or so, they’re going to have the two classes together. That way the students who don’t know anything about magic won’t feel uncomfortable.”

Jove nodded. They turned down one of the many internal corridors in the school. Jove read the wooden sign on the wall. “Classroom 102, this is me.” The sign flashed a now familiar glow when its name was said. “I’ll catch you for lunch after class?”

Tan smiled. “See you there.” He headed past the room leaving Jove by himself.

Jove clutched his grimoire and pushed the door open.

Aside from the stone walls and floor, the room resembled the classrooms Jove was familiar with. Four rows of four chairs and desks were set up, with a desk in front for the teacher and a large chalkboard at the front of the room. Only a few students had arrived this early, and one of them waved.

“Jove, how good to see you.” The stoat smiled, a more predatory grin than Jove felt comfortable with.

Jove grumbled, “Why are you here Mark?”

“I’m from the other world. I’m in this class.” He gestured behind Jove. “Why is he here?”

Jove looked behind him and saw Chris standing there. “Uh.. Chris, shouldn’t you be in the other class?”

There was no response, Chris simply sat at one of the empty desks. Jove turned back to Mark, “I’m not sure. Maybe…” Jove paused, and looked at the stoat. “Why do you care?”

Mark shrugged. “I guess I don’t. I’m just curious, you seem to have unusual friends.” His smile faded, “I find you interesting. I’m not sure why, unless you have a possible explanation to offer.”

Jove swallowed. He remembered the power description: Desire 1. Passive, always on. All nearby mages find the Revoker interesting and of note. The mages can pick him out of a crowd if needed and feel a pull to converse with the Revoker. This desire seems wholly natural, and each mage will come up with a different but benign reason for this desire. The revoker can turn this power off with a silent act of will.

Jove cleared his throat. “I’m not that interesting.” He mentally imagined turning that ability off, just in case. “I’m sure whatever you think I am has a normal explanation.”

“We’ll see.”

More students had arrived during the conversation. Feeling self-conscious, Jove took a desk near to Chris. Less than a minute later, Hypatia, the female gryphon from the bookstore, entered and walked to the front of the room. A few of the students shifted nervously.

“Hello everyone. My name is Hypatia and I’ll be your instructor for Elements of Magic Theory.” Her wings ruffled slightly, and the chalkboard came to life. Her full name and the course information appeared as chalk dust swirled and coalesced on the black surface. “If you check your grimoires, you’ll find the syllabus has already appeared under the class heading. I never like reading them in class, so the short of it…”

“This class is three hours a week of lecture, with a one hour lab once a week. While it is the equivalent of a normal class, you will not get credit towards graduation. This class is required for all the other magic classes, so do your work. While grades will be given out, what we really care about is if you have learned the material. The class ends in a competency test that you must pass to move on. Beyond that, I’m here to help you. Magic is fun, and unlike other classes, you get the immediate reward of new spells and powers as you learn.”

She flexed her wings and looked around the class. “I’m sure you’ve all had a first class where you’ve gotten in a circle and introduced yourselves. We’ll be doing that in a bit. What I’d like to cover first is how mages introduce themselves.” She gestured at herself. “I am Magister Hypatia, Air Praeda.”

“You’ve all been here a few days. So, who knows what that means? What is a Magister?”

The students all sat quietly, perhaps a little nervous about talking back to a gryphon. Slowly, a male rabbit raised his hand. Hypatia pointed at him, “Yes, Aden.”

Aden spoke in a soft voice that rapidly gained strength. “Magister is a four year degree, similar to a Bachelor’s. It means that you know all of the basic forms of magic.”

Hypatia nodded, “That’s good. Magister is a very common title. If you’re not interested in pushing the envelope of magic, but just want to learn to use it well and focus on another job, you’ll likely end up with this title. Do you know the others?”

Aden shook his head no.

Hypatia laughed, “Well, it’s okay. They are Apprentice, Magister, Arcanist, Magus, Animus, and Mysterium. Of special importance is Apprentice. The title of Apprentice is similar, but not quite like a two year degree. There’s an examination you will have to undergo in your second year to earn that title. It’s not difficult, some students who grow up in Atlantis challenge the exam their first year. I mention it because you are not supposed to use it, and some of your Atlantis born classmates may have the title.”

“The next part of my title is my element. As you probably know, there are four elements. Each governs a different type of magic. Now, all of you should have had a thaumascan, so you might have more than one element listed. Traditionally, you only say the element of the last line. That’s the element it is predicted you will be strongest in.”

Jove raised his hand. Hypatia nodded at him.

Curious, he asked, “What if the prediction is wrong?”

“It’s rare, but it does happen.” She walked over to Joves desk. “Every mage has the ability to use all types of magic. Even if it’s not as intuitive, once that initial inertia is overcome, a mage can effectively change what element they are strongest in. The thaumascan attempts to take that into account, but it’s not perfect.”

Mark interrupted, not raising his hand, “How can a prophecy be wrong?”

“We’ll go into that later, but the short of it is that the prophecy is not wrong, per se.” Hypatia walked back to the front of the room. “It’s that the interpretation of the prophecy hinges on the skill of the mage. Small differences in wording, for example, can make a huge difference in what a prophecy means. The statement of the prophecy can also interact with the prophecy itself. And that causes a number of false prophecies a seer would have to weed through to find the real one. The thaumascan, being automated, is particularly vulnerable to someone reading it and deciding they want to be something else.”

“The last thing is called a facing. Venator or Praeda. I’m sure you’ve heard those terms. Because of their history from before the Oath of Habitat, they’re used as a note of pride or as an insult. Who knows what they mean?”

Aden raised his hand. “Predator and Prey. Or they used to.”

Hypatia nodded. “That was their original meaning. In modern times, you can thing of them as sword and shield, or offense and defense. In the past, Venator used to be the nobles of Atlantis, with Praeda emerging as a revolutionary force. To many mages, they still carry this meaning. We’ll talk more about that this week.” She walked over to one of the desks, “For now, let’s get into a circle and introduce ourselves.”

Fear gripped Jove for a moment. He had no idea what he would say when it was his turn to say something. Perhaps someone else would have trouble first. As the students finished moving the chairs, Jove tried to swallow the lump in his throat. This was going to be a long class.

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