Master of the Four Schools of Magic
A Conversation with Master MAGE ELDEN
What was your childhood like?
My parents were farmers; I don’t suppose there was anything special about them. Mama was a wonderful cook. She could make the vegetables papa grew remarkably tasty with the addition of an egg or two from our hens. Me? I watched my little sister quite a lot. She loved letting the hens out of the coop, then chasing them. I loved watching her try to pick them up in her baby arms when she was three.
Everything changed for us when a man came to the house while I was putting the chickens back in the coop the way I always did. I didn’t need to touch them; I just looked at the red hen and made her go behind the fence. Then the white hen. Then the man – I remember looking up at him, thinking he had such a kind face – he asked me to put the speckled hen in next, so I did, then the brown hen. I did that too. He thanked me and went in to talk to my parents.
When I went into the kitchen, my parents told me I was going away to a special school. They were really happy about it. I thought I was going to a school for chasing chickens, (chuckles) but it turned out I was going to study Mage Magic at the Brotherhood and everything changed.
What makes you special?
I’m not sure I’m special as much as I’m different somehow. The Brotherhood schools don’t usually accept students unless they are seven, yet they took me at five all because I could “think” the chickens into the coop. Perhaps even then they knew I was unusual–until me, no Mage had ever been certified in four types of magic, with Firsts in three. But its things I survived that changed me. Sometimes I wish I had never listened to my friend Halloren and gone to war. I really don’t want to talk about that right now. Perhaps some other time.
What does it mean to be certified in Mage Magic?
Lots of apprentices can do some magic, a trick or two, or even access the Light, but to be certified means you have full control of your powers, and can perform all aspects of Item Magic or Creature Magic, let’s say. Once you are certified, you become a Mage. The Brotherhood curriculum trains Mages in three areas: Item Magic, Creature Magic and War Magic. I’m also certified in Life Magic. Brillar also has Life Magic, but she’s an even better Healer than me–maybe because the Sisterhood trained her and I had to learn it on my own. Someday I want to tell Brillar about how and why I decided to do that.
Tell us about your reputation and how that impacts your relationships.
My reputation? I live in the Light, so I’ve been told. Even in the madness of war and my escape to the Wild, I never lost the Light. Not even when . . . No, that’s too much. Relationships? Students rely on me, and I love teaching just what it takes to be a Mage–and it does go beyond magic. I want to marry, have children of my own, but finding the right woman? That’s hard. When I met Brillar I wasn’t thinking about anything but repaying her for her help when I offered her an apprenticeship. A Master must never begin an intimate relationship with an apprentice.
If the law of the Brotherhood was otherwise, I could tell her. . . But the law is what it is.