Ask Luna #174

From: Celia

I’m sorry my previous questions had already been asked! I should have read all your previous Ask Luna’s and encyclopedia articles before asking stuff. My bad! Please don’t hesitate to skip my prior redundant questions – your time is valuable, and I really appreciate the time you devote to answering our questions.

I am caught up now, so pretty sure this question hasn’t been asked. In the entry on Masters and Apprentices, you mention that the “most common” way a Light apprentice becomes a mage is by passing their journeyman tests, but that it can also be done in several ways. But do these tests require the approval of their master? I am wondering what are the other ways for an apprentice to become a Light Mage? Obviously appointment as a councilor’s liaison like the trick Morden pulled is one, but I doubt that’s common for a random apprentice.

I ask because you also note it is “far from unknown” for Masters to be abusive to their apprentice. So suppose you have a master who is physically, emotionally, or sexually abusive. (I shudder to think of Undaaris with a young apprentice!)

So the apprentice wants to become a journeyman to get away from their abusive master. But the master can simply claim the apprentice isn’t ready and deny their request to take the journeyman test so he can continue abusing them – for years. Or if the apprentice can take the test without their masters consent, after the age of 18, couldn’t their master ensure they fail either by calling in favors or intentionally agreeing on tests he knows the apprentice won’t pass?

So the apprentice can run away – leaving them vulnerable to their master catching them, or perhaps other mages capturing them – is a runaway apprentice still covered by the protection of the concords? (For whatever that’s worth.)

Or the apprentice could seek dissolution instead of running away. But what grounds are considered adequate for dissolving the master/apprenticeship contract? Would abuse count? I know you said the master usually doesn’t contest dissolution so as to avoid his dirty laundry being aired publically – but what if he does contest it? It becomes his word versus apprentice’s. And then he likely treats the apprentice even worse afterwards.

Assuming the dissolution DOES work, the former apprentice now is not a light mage, no master will probably want them since they were “disobedient and disloyal”, and they are not protected by the concords, right…? So their former master could legally kill them right in the War Rooms if he wanted to, right…? (Under mage law, anyway.)

So that is why I am wondering how else an apprentice might become a Light Mage other than going through their journeyman tests. No one seemed to acknowledge that fellow “Wolf” as a light Mage after he dropped out, and that would really be awful for an apprentice to be in that position just because their master was abusive.

Thanks so much! And sorry this is so long.

No, that’s fine, it’s a good question.

So there are two main ways you can become a Light mage. The standard way is that your master negotiates with the Council and agrees on a set of tests for your journeyman exam. This is how 90% of Light mages do it. It’s safe, but it’s slow (months and months), and as you’ve noticed, it does kind of require your master to cooperate.

The second way is that you approach the Council directly and demand a journeyman test. As long as you’ve been in the apprentice programme for at least 15 months and aren’t wanted for any crimes, the Council’s legally required to give you one. This was what I did. It raises a few eyebrows, and yes, you do get people assuming that it means you’ve had a falling-out, given that that’s the most common reason for an apprentice to do it. But it does mean that if an apprentice has a master who’s totally blocking them, they have an out.

Alternate option is to “branch-swing” and find a different master. Probably the hardest one to pull off unless you get lucky or you’re good at networking. It’s not easy to find a new teacher, and a lot of mages won’t take an apprentice who left their old master on bad terms (they don’t want to make enemies). And if your current master finds out you’re looking . . . well, that’s probably going to be an unpleasant conversation.

From: Michael

Why don’t mages seem to learn new spells after completing apprenticeships? Alex mentioned that Helkion has forgotten more about divination than he will learn in the next ~20 years, but I’ve not heard of Alex using any new spells. Similarly, Rachel still uses the same disintegration spell. It works for her against weaker mages, but she and her partners were completely outclassed by Morden during the fate weaver incident.

Lots of reasons. Sometimes it’s habit – they get set in their ways, especially if the way they already do things seems to work. Sometimes they’re just not very imaginative and it never occurs to them to try. And sometimes there legitimately isn’t much point. Like, with Rachel, her disintegrate spell kills anyone it hits. What kind of spell is she going to learn that’s MORE deadly than that? Something that kills them twice? If she wanted to get better at magical combat, she’d be better off working on speed and accuracy and shield-breaking, and those are more a matter of lots of little improvements rather than learning something totally new.

Alex is much better in a fight nowadays then he used to be, but that’s because his movements are more efficient and he’s got better weapons and tools armour. I don’t think there are any new divination spells he could learn that would make a big difference.

From: Carrie

Hi Luna,

I know you’re confidant that Alex won’t become Richard, but his limits have constantly pushed and his most recent dealings with Rachel and Shireen seemed to have pushed him to max. How much more can he bend that line without breaking, especially in light of Shireen calling Alex Richard’s Chosen?

Well, Richard had his apprentices kill each other, while Alex has done pretty much everything he can to protect me and keep me alive (including risking his life more times than I like to think about).

So, from my point of view, that seems like a pretty important difference.

From: Robert

Has Harry Dresden ever contacted Alex about buying any ingredients or tools for his lab?


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One Response to Ask Luna #174

  1. Celia says:

    I love your Ask Luna’s. Thanks again! 🙂
    This was one of the best parts of my rough week,
    right up there with the inauguration.

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