Ask Luna #15

From: Nepene

I’ve really enjoyed reading your answers, so for whenever you do it I have a few more questions. I’d appreciate any answers. 

1. Would you say most Dark mages are murderous psychopaths? I know that being a Light mage doesn’t make you good and many are corrupted by power at the top, but it seems to me from the tales that most Dark mages seem to be socialized with torture and mental control to view murder and thievery as acceptable, with the only exceptions being those who escape like Verus.

Umm.  Tricky one.  

Honestly, I’d say the answer’s no.  Some are, yes, but not all.  I’ve met Dark mages who don’t come across as murderous or crazy at all – sometimes they even get put in the apprentice program (makes the class a lot more exciting, I can tell you).  And I’ve had chats with Dark apprentices that have gone well enough.  Not all Dark mages are total psychos – it’s just that the ones that are total psychos are really noticeable.

They’re definitely more violent than Light mages or independents, and you have to be careful when you’re dealing with them, but in a weird way they’re actually more up-front about things than Light mages are.  I get lied to by Light mages a lot more than I do by Dark ones.

2. Magic depends on your personality, your inner character. If you change, does your magic change? I’d imagine the torture and abuse common with Dark mages would shift people’s personalities and values a lot, hence the question.

Kind of, but not that much.  Your magic can develop in different ways, and you can push into one aspect of it at the expense of the others, but I’ve never heard of someone’s magic type changing completely.  We’re getting into psychological stuff here, but the way I understand it there’s only so much your personality can change.  By the time you get to the point where you can use your magic effectively you’re probably 20+ years old and your core personality’s more or less set.  You just learn to apply it in different ways.  

3. Any idea where the magical energy for magic comes from? Can people run out of magic, if only temporarily?

Thank you, it’s been fun.

First question:  no clue.  I think there’s some metaphysics class in the apprentice program that’s supposed to cover that sort of thing, but I skipped it.  

As for running out, I don’t think so.  That’d be like a fire refusing to light because someone was burning too much stuff next door – mages can’t run out of magic any more than the world can run out of fire.  (They can get too tired to keep using it, though.)

From: Dan

Hey Luna are there any types of Mages that can make heads explode?

What.

From: Flummox

Hi!

I have a few questions, if you don’t mind! Hopefully you haven’t heard them before; I’ve been through previous Q&As to check for repeats, but I should have gone to bed hours ago and am not especially attentive when sleep deprived! 

1) To what extent have you heard of mages engage in non-magical professions, yet use their magic covertly on the job? For example, a police inspector who has proper qualifications and surreptitiously uses magic to obtain leads, or a doctor who “just somehow” saves patients who should have died by modern medical standards.  

It’s actually more common for adepts than for mages, because it takes mages years to get good with their powers, and it’s kind of hard to do that and the student thing at the same time.  I also get the feeling that by the time a mage hits journeyman level and has all the wealth and power and contacts that go with it, they don’t have much motivation to go into an entry-level job and take orders from normals.  

Adepts do it more often, because of the whole “halfway house” thing – they’re not quite in the magical world or the normal one.

2) Are apprentices encouraged to share details of their abilities with their families, and if not, is consent for training minors ever an issue in the magical community? 

I’ve heard of it going both ways.  Usually the parents find out one way or another (if they’re normals, that conversation gets interesting really fast) but some keep it secret.  There’s one girl I know from apprentice classes whose parents think she’s doing her A-levels at a private school in Cheltenham.  Wouldn’t want to be her when they find out . . .

3)Are there any careers in magical propaganda? Perhaps facilitating publication of works like Harry Potter to divert public attention toward misconceptions and away from real magic?  

That’s hilarious.  No, I don’t think J. K. Rowling is secretly being employed by the Council (though I’d laugh my head off if she was).  There are mages from the Council and the Order of the Cloak who do that kind of cover-up stuff, but I think they deal with blatant stuff rather than doing propaganda.  Then again, I guess if they were doing subtle propaganda, they wouldn’t tell us, would they?

4) Is there a noticeable geographical distribution of mage types, with, say, more ice mages being born in Canada and more heat mages in Bali? Or is it completely random? I guess this question comes down to whether or not environmental factors play a role in determining mage types. 

Interesting one.  Yes, mage distribution does vary, or at least that was what I was told in class.  Not sure if it’s based on climate, but it’s definitely not the same everywhere.

5) Finally, how are apprentice mages graded in class? Are there pass-fail, move-ahead-when-you-attain- mastery-of-a-skill levels of classes or does one tend to graduate with the same peer group with which they began? 

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some or all of my questions!

Apprentices start out on a year-group system – by default you’re placed into the same class as students who’ve been in the apprentice program for roughly the same amount of time that you have, give or take a few months.  In theory there’s supposed to be a “tree” that you move up, but if you’re good enough (or if your master’s got enough pull) you can skip a few classes.  Over time the faster learners get promoted ahead and the slower ones get held back, so there’s a sort of gradual cycle effect.  I’ve been in the apprentice program for coming up on two years now and only a few of my classmates are the same ones that I joined with.  

 Got a bunch more questions queued up, so I’ll post another lot next week.

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