This week, I’m answering an interesting question about Cadaeren that I’ve been asked by several readers. Namely:
What typically happens to a Cadaerian peasant child who’s discovered to be magically aligned (a white-sash)?
Magical alignment typically reveals itself in peasant children between the ages of ten and thirteen. Noble children, who have been raised to know that they will be mages, often begin showing their powers a little earlier. The most common occurrences that identify a child as a mage are:
· Aesh: flare-ups in hearth fires when the child is upset or excited, or touching fire and not being hurt
· Aretz: earth-tremors, uncontrolled plant growth (e.g. seeds suddenly sprouting to full plants), wild animals being tame around the child, or innate knowledge about where to find certain types of rocks or plants that the child couldn’t otherwise know
· Ruahk: gusts of wind around the child on otherwise-still days, control over dust-devils, or the sudden translocation of objects that the child wants (e.g. a bucket of water suddenly disappearing from the well and appearing next to the child when he/she is thirsty)
· Shamai: waves or waterspouts forming in local water sources when the child is upset or excited, floods, unseasonable rain, or the child staying underwater for unnaturally long periods to no ill effect
When a peasant child is identified as being a mage, it is Cadaerian law that he or she must immediately be brought to the castle of his or her noble lord. The child is then assigned to a medrik, a nobleman or noblewoman of the same alignment who will train the child in the use of his/her powers. While a child is often trained locally, either at the castle of his/her lord or in adjoining lands, it occasionally happens that an aligned peasant child is sent to the City of Balance for advanced training.
A period of apprenticeship follows for the peasant mage, in which he/she grows in the mastery of his/her powers. This includes learning to do more complicated and powerful magic, while not letting the dark side of his/her alignment take control. When the apprentice’s medrik judges that he/she is ready, the mage is proclaimed a white-sash and is allowed to work for others without supervision.
Many white-sashes are placed into the service of a Cadaerian noble, where they use their powers to serve their lord and his lands. Every noble has at least one servant from each side of the balance: an aesh to light fires, repair carriages, keep the castle warm in the winter, and do other odd jobs; an aretz to heal injuries and sickness; a ruahk to carry messages or transport people or objects; and a shamai to keep an eye on everyone else, as a spymaster, a steward, or a historian.
Some white-sashes, however, choose not to take a position in a noble household. Most of these choose instead to return to their home village, where they spend their lives helping their neighbors and are venerated for their gifts. A few (more ruahks, fewer shamais) choose to wander throughout Cadaeren as journeymen, offering their services to the villages through which they travel. A few others end up in the City of Balance, where they join small shops run by other, more established white-sashes. And some choose to leave their homeland behind and start a new life in Tonzimmel, where any white-sash can earn wealth and prestige if they work hard enough.
Of course, that means that they have to live in Tonzimmel, which comes with its own set of challenges.
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