Feb 27, 2020 9:34 PM
Graysons in Quintessence
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Meghan is honored to accept.

(This is great.)

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More importantly: Afternoon classes?

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Afternoon classes commence. Katherine heads off reluctantly to a group session with other first-year Fire mages, mostly girls but with a couple of boys who started late like she did. 

Meanwhile, Temperance and Meghan have the first in a series of classes dedicated to the study of a particular element: all students have to study the uses and workings of every element, even the ones they don't have an affinity for and might never be able to use effectively. Today's class is on Air magic, which Temperance might be able to use and Meghan, whose Nature affinity is at the other end of the spectrum, probably won't. 

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Temperance is predictably excited!

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Meghan is neutral amounts of curious-but-not-hopeful over the possibility of using Air magic.

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Well, none of them will be using any magic today. Their first lesson is an introduction to the subject, starting with the same overview that came up in Magical Theory.

Air magic, they are told, is divided into three strands: illusion, telepathy, and aerokinesis. Generally, only mages with an affinity for a particular element can get much of anywhere with direct manipulation of the physical element itself, so they should not expect to be able to use aerokinesis for anything beyond simple tricks to demonstrate the ability, and even that will take a lot of practice for anyone more than one step away on the elemental scale and will probably be impossible for Stone and Nature mages. However, they still need to know about it so that they can work effectively with - or against - Air mages. 

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Temperance finds this very interesting!

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Telepathy is also known as "mind magic", a catchall term for anything to do with reading or affecting thoughts. There is an important distinction here between thoughts and emotions, with the latter coming under Fire magic, although many Air and Fire mages can be skilled at both since they're only one step apart on the spectrum.

The teacher explains that, as well as using communicative telepathy - speaking mind to mind, sometimes across great distances - Air mages can also alter people's thoughts and memories, if they know how.

Several students are alarmed by this! 

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Temperance finds this confusing, is not like other kinds of magic can't cause a lot of harm in the wrong hands.

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For some reason this does not seem to be reassuring. They're only first-years, it's not like they can do very much with magic that's dangerous. 

The teacher reassures everyone that one of the first skills they are taught will be how to protect themselves against hostile magic, and that it is very very illegal anyway, especially when used against children. 

While he waits for the gaggle of girls at the back to calm down, does anyone have any questions so far?

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How does the protection against hostile magic works with affinity? Would an Air mage be better to protect against Air mages?

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"Mental defences can be learned by anyone, even non-mages, although it's harder for them, of course," their teacher explains.

"Rather than a direct use of magic, it's more of a...habit of thought, you might say. One learns to distinguish one's own thoughts from those externally imposed. There's a similar trick to discerning illusions...but we're getting off topic," he finishes lamely, remembering that he is talking to a class of nine- and ten-year-olds. 

"Does anyone else have a question?"

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Not in the moment no.

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In that case, the teacher will resume his lecture, explaining aerokinesis next. 

Air mages, and skilled Fire and Water mages as well, can manipulate the air around them through the direct use of magic. This starts off very uncontrolled and difficult to do anything with, but more advanced aerokinesis can make air into blades sharp enough to cut through diamonds, and cause big enough effects that they can change the weather. Weather magic is very slow and imprecise, though. 

The teacher starts talking about how air magic can be broader, and more dangerous than people think. He reminds the class that all of them have air inside their bodies right now, running all through their blood. 

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Why is weather magic so slow and imprecise?

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"Because one is working at such large scales," the teacher explains.

"It's simply impossible to focus in sufficient detail on every gust and ripple of air over an area the size of a storm, so one sacrifices a certain amount of precision in the process."

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"What if they used mind magic to let them focus on more things?"

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He splutters at her for a moment or two.

"That - um - you can't use magic to make yourself better at magic!" 

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"Why not?"

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"Well, because - " 

He stops, thinks, and re-calibrates his explanation for nine-year-olds. 

"Doing more than one type of magic at once is difficult, and so is doing magic to yourself, so it would make the weather magic easier but but it would balance out to be harder overall."

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Temperance finds this explanation satisfactory and interesting.

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Oh good. (This teacher has pegged Temperance as a difficult pupil, and is relieved that she seems to have exhausted her curiosity for now.)

Moving on, the third type of air magic is illusion. This is classified as a separate type, rather than lumped in with mind magic or aerokinesis, because it can be achieved using both, or more commonly a combination of the two.

Illusions, the teacher explains, are when you either make something look or sound like something it isn't, or make people think it looks or sounds different to reality. The first uses aerokinesis, and the second uses mind magic. But the easiest way is to use aerokinesis to get close to what you want, and mind magic so people don't notice the difference.

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She does not have any more questions, but she does pay attention.

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The teachers at this school seem very keen to emphasize the ways magic can be useful to people in everyday life. This one is now asking the class to suggest ways they might use air magic if they could. 

"I'd use illusions to look prettier," says one girl, to snickering from the boys' side of the room. 

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Temperance would want to fly (obviously), but until she learned that, she would use the wind to propel a ship and travel around the world and use magic to communicate with people and see all sorts of things.

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