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Entry Three: Religion and/or Magic

Rule one: Don't try learning on your own. Firstly you can't unlock your magic without assistance so don't bother trying. Yes it might be possible that there's some super special kid out there who is capable of unlocking his own powers, but I'm not holding my breath for him to turn up, and trust me, it ain't going to be you. And now secondly for when your power has been unlocked, you are considerably more likely to blow your own head off than accomplish anything useful or impressive if you try and practice without supervision.

Rule two: This ties in pretty closely with the second part of rule one but magic is dangerous. Seriously. And not just because you might fuck up someone else if you're not careful. It is ridiculously easy to get killed if you don't know what you're doing. And trust me at the stage you're at? You don't know what your doing. I don't care how many books you've read, how much theoretical knowledge you've got, it absolutely does not prepare you for the realities of actually casting magic. I'm not going to commit it to paper because the words just don't do it justice. But back to the magic being dangerous: spell backlash and mana burn are serious risks to your health and life expectancy. They are the leading causes of mage death and disability and, unless you're a military mage or in a job that requires high stress magic use, the vast majority of those incidents occur amongst trainees. And I don't want any of my students becoming fucking statistics so burn this rule into your skulls now before the magic does it in a much nastier fashion.

Rule three: Power isn't everything. Being able to throw out the biggest bang isn't the mark of a top notch mage. You're not going to come into your full power for a good few years yet, but this is always a good one to get out the way. Especially with human students. I don't know why but you lot always seem to have a bigger issue wrapping your heads round this than us elves. Beats me as to why. But anyway, power is not what is going to make you great. Control is. With fine tuned enough control, even a relatively weak mage can work marvels. A finely woven barrier with a razor's edge aimed at someone's neck will have someone just as dead as making their head explode. Not that I'm advising you to do either of those things on a regular basis, it was just the first example that popped into my head. For further examples that contain far less gruesome images, but also have a lot less relevance to anything you'll actually be doing, go do some research on Elemental Casters. They'll definitely agree with me on this point.

Rule four: Learn your Blueprint. I know it's dull as dishwater but it really is the only way you're going to progress. In time you will learn how the mana resonates as you shape it and what those resonances mean for your spell, but until then you're going to have to stick to the Blueprints. Magic isn't some fluffy thing that's open to interpretation how the spell works, it is exact. Spells with the same shape will always behave in the same way. You aren't going to somehow hit upon a new way of doing a light spell or a fireball or even a new and creative method of picking up your tea. Mages have been doing this for hundreds of years and we all know the most efficient, least dangerous way of doing all of the above. Learn the Blueprints, stick to the classics, and then when you've learnt all that you can start doing crazy experimental shit. When you're no longer in my house and about to break my things.

Rule five: God have I only got to five? How long was this thing supposed to be again. The Buffer Pool is your friend. Embrace it. This is what saves most mages from mana burn. It absorbs the worst of the shock from a backlash, it burns up instead of you me we keep it in good order for a reason. Dipping into it rather than drawing from the air is okay for the little everyday things, but if you want to try something flashy make sure this is in place first.

Rule six: Hold onto your mana shape for dear life. Once you've built you Blueprint out of actual mana the worst thing you can do is let it collapse before the spell discharges. An uncontrolled mana shape is liable to collapse and mutate. They never just dissipate back into the harmless inert form in the air. Exploding is the most likely outcome, and it's never quite predictable how big or violent the explosion is going to be.

Rule seven: Fuck I'm bored of this. Who's stupid idea was it anyway? Why do I have to play teacher? Wipe the noses of a bunch of snot nosed brats. Magic is not going to end all of your troubles. It cannot get you out of every fight, it won't win you every battle, it won't make your household chores any less annoying. Well...perhaps marginally less but not by a huge amount. For one thing it is more tiring than attempting to clean your house the normal way. Magic takes its toll on the body and mind. Do magic all day and you'll go to bed feeling like you've been running all damn day with a headache to boot. And as for fighting...I strong advise that you carry a back up weapon. Trying to maintain a mana shape and not blowing yourself up in the middle of a stressful fight is quite tricky. Much easier to have a pistol in your pocket or carry a large club around with you.

Rule eight: If you want to be a mage, don't make Kalin Lightfoot teach you. He will belittle you and call you names until you go away. Especially if you haven't read this first. Now piss off I'm busy.

Lesson ends.

I'd planned to include something about religion too, but my thumb is absolutely killing me and I can't type properly. So that might get added tomorrow instead.
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June 2015

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