Kathryn L Ramage

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Excerpt from “Mage Vows”:

In all the civilized world, only four universities boasted having a College of Magic: Wittenberg, Edinburgh, Padua, and Maryesfont. In truth, these were sufficient for the needs of those who studied the craft, and any more would be ridiculous. There weren’t many independent students of magic. The few, great wizards took the most talented youth as their apprentices, and the rest sought lesser magicians—the aged, long past their zenith, or the young and not-yet established—to teach them. The universities accepted those who could find no more prestigious education, as well as scholars of magical lore who were not magicians themselves.

Mikha was the only magician at Maryesfont. Though still in his early twenties, he showed some remarkable powers and was considered a most promising talent, even if he was the son of a town merchant and had never found a mentor to train him.

The university at Maryesfont had begun as a convent school for the benefit of women in the dark days when such higher education was not available for females, but in these modern times, male students were also admitted provisionally if they were of good reputation and impeccable moral character. The rules of conduct within the university were exacting: Students could be expelled for sexual impropriety, for drunkenness, blasphemy, obscenity, impudence, or irregular attendance of chapel, lectures, or tutorials—all evils that the Sisters of St. Mary, Font of Wisdom, were inclined to believe young men more vulnerable to.

Mikha, however, was just the sort of student they welcomed. In addition to being a serious scholar and a true magician, he had already begun in the third purification phase of his mage’s training before he’d entered the university. This phase was a seven-year period during which a young magician lived under strict vows of abstinence: he lived chaste, drank no wine and ate no blooded meats, fasted and kept sleepless on certain days of the year, and performed rituals on certain nights. A mage might as well be a priest, and there were several of those among the university faculty.

He had been given rooms to himself above the College of Magic’s library. This arrangement gave him privacy and ready access to all the magical resources the university possessed so that he could concentrate on his studies at any hour. In return, he occasionally aided the university’s other students of magic, who knew the collection less well, in finding books, and helped the librarian keep the collection in good order.

In this cloistered and monkish life, Mikha passed the first four years of his education with relative ease. His mage vows weighed lightly upon him, for he rarely felt tempted to break them.

End of Excerpt

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