Home > Meta > Transitional Studies > TS26: Same Coin

TS26: Same Coin

“Before we begin today, I would like to congratulate Paula on bursting during the lab class.” Hypatia clapped her gryphon hands together. “It was a big step, and for a noble purpose.” She let out a small chirp, “I would like to add that the investigation into what happened showed that what occurred was not Aden’s fault, nor was it a result of his magic. We have not found the person responsible yet, but I assure you that we will.”

Mug raised her hand, “How can we still have class if someone tried to get Aden killed?”

Hypatia chirped and sighed heavily. “Our world isn’t perfectly safe, but neither was yours. When you learn to control your magic, you will learn to defend yourself. We’re having class so that Aden and all of you are better able to defend yourselves.”

Mark scoffed, “How does this help us?”

Aden’s response was as close to a growl as a rabbit could make. “For one, it will give us the words to describe what happened.”

Hypatia spoke up, “Understanding is strength. The more you learn about how magic works and what it is, the better you will be able to use it. We will be learning some basic defenses in this class, and by the end of it, you should be able to use a handful of spells reliably. So, back to today’s topic, Aden, do you want to hazard a guess as to why you were targeted?”

Aden dipped his head, and spoke barely above a whisper, “Because I shouldn’t be a Venator.”

Hypatia shook her head, “Because you’re uncomfortable being a Venator. The spell likely used your shame at that against you. Do you think you’ll be as uncomfortable once you learn what a Venator is and what being one means?”

“Probably.” Aden tried to pull back into his chair.

“I doubt that. Still, Praeda and Venator are complicated concepts. Ones that we don’t fully understand.” She gestured, and the chalk on the chalkboard formed a timeline. “Let’s start at the beginning. The first concept of Venator came when magic first appeared. The predators that burst assumed that magic was synonymous with being a predator. It wasn’t until prey animals started to awaken that the distinction was made. That leads us to Venator and Praeda as predator and prey.”

Mark laughed, “You couldn’t control your predator instinct, could you Aden?”

This time is was Mug who reacted, “And you can’t control your jerk instinct. So, shut up.”

Hypatia cleared her throat, “Students, please. This isn’t high school. You’re adults now.”

Mark objected, “I don’t turn 18 until August.”

“That doesn’t matter silly,” Kate said, “You became a legal adult when you burst.”

Mark flattened his ears. He looked at Mug, then Aden, “I’m sorry.”

Jenna gave Mug a gentle jostle. The rottweiler said, “Me too Mark. I overreacted.”

Hypatia continued, “Originally, when prey burst as Venator, it was seen as a sign they were destined for great things. In some areas, the new Venator was immediately given title and land to rule. In others, the local predator mages hobbled the new mage. Still, after the Vorax were exiled, until the time the first predator Praeda burst, Venator and Prey were known as nobles and commoners.”

She stretched slightly, pointing at the dark ages. “When the first predator Praeda burst, there was little time to debate such things. The Vorax swore that only the predator and prey definition was valid, and sought to kill those who disproved them. When things settled down, the current concept of Venator as offense and Praeda as defense arose. Some of you may have heard the terms white magic and black magic. They are similar, and are not a bad approximation of what Venator and Praeda mean. The problem comes from a very rare event.”

Jove raised his hand and offered, “Someone could be both Venator and Praeda.”

“Actually, no.” Hypatia pulled her wings around her shoulders, “In cases where someone registers as both, it was believed they simply had not settled into their true facing.” Hypatia sighed, “And before you ask, there are no recorded cases of someone not settling into one or the other.”

Kate asked, “Then what?”

Chris said, “Jenna,” without further explanation.

“You don’t have to explain,” Hypatia said to Jenna.

The frog shook her head. “It’s okay.” She took a breath, and let out a quiet ribbit. She explained, “I was Venator when I burst. When I found that I had killed the mugger, I swore I would never take another life. I guess my magic heard me. After a week, I had shifted to Praeda.”

Mark gasped, “What?”

“I decided that one death was one too many.” She looked at the ground, “He did try to kill me, but it wasn’t right.”

Elsa put a hand on Jenna’s shoulder, “It’s okay Jenna. You were defending yourself.”

“As I mentioned on Monday, a mage can change their primary element through study of another. It doesn’t happen that much, but all it takes is sufficient study.” Hypatia nodded at Jenna, “Changing your facing is not as simple. Most changes in facing are a result of personal trauma. The first time a mage is forced to take a life. Being hobbled, or taking an oath never to use magic a certain way again. Other, darker things which I will not talk about here. There were not many recorded cases. Those who it happened to kept quiet, sometimes making elaborate lies to cover the change.”

Paula raised her hand, “Why is being Praeda such a stigma if it can be changed?”

“The ones who are hurling insults believe that if you are a predator and you’re Praeda, you have chosen to be weak.” Hypatia puffed out her wing feathers. “Yet, you wouldn’t call Magus Southey weak.”

“Wait,” Mark objected, “South is Praeda? That’s hard to believe.”

“It’s true.” Hypatia chirped and continued, “and Magus Azarias is Venator.”

Jove blinked. His mental image of Azarias did not include the offensive magic that a Venator should have. “But, South said that Azarias was unmatched defensively.”

“That’s true,” Hypatia explained. “Azarias uses a lot of offensive shields. Things that absorb or redirect the spell energy used against them.”

Elsa asked, “If South can be an aggressive Praeda and Azarias is a passive Venator, and you can change from one to the other… Why even clarify facing at all?”

Hypatia said, “Well, about ten years ago, there was a motion to eliminate the classification of facing in new mages. It almost passed the Animus Council. However, a small group of Mysterium appeared and said that facing was required. I don’t know the reason they gave, but the issue was dropped immediately and has not been brought up since.”

Paula sighed. “What does this all mean then?”

Aden smiled for the first time all day, “It means you decide who you are.”

<< TS25: School Leadership || TS27: Hidden Anger >>