I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks, editing my work-in-progress, traveling from coast to coast, and getting into the summer academic swing of things, so I decided to let Alaric, Laeshana, and Naruahn guest-post for me today. They’re answering two questions that readers have submitted recently to their tumblr page. (Do you have questions? Feel free to submit them!)
Question 1: Are there ever cases where a noble is born with magic that doesn’t match his parents? Like if Nahruahn had been Naeshan instead?
Naruahn: Ew! That’s a horrible thought! Then I wouldn’t be able to pop anywhere or fly and I’d burn things when I tried to cook – well, more than I do already –
Laeshana: *ahem* Great question! From what I’ve read of your world’s science, it appears that magical abilities are passed down a line in an individual’s genetics. If both parents are a shamai, for instance, then their child will always be a shamai. If one parent is a shamai and one is a ruahk, on the other hand, then a child has a 50% likelihood of being one or the other.
Naruahn: Then how come all three of my brothers are shamais and I’m the only ruahk? That isn’t fair!
Laeshana: That’s statistics for you.
Naruahn: I don’t like statistics.
Alaric: You and me both.
Laeshana: *AHEM* As I was saying, however, the genes for magical inheritance appear to be recessive rather than dominant, so having one parent who is magically gifted is no guarantee that his or her child will also be gifted. Often, actually, they aren’t. But that’s the only case in which you could have a child being born a different alignment than his or her parents: if a mother was an aesh, for instance, and a father’s mother had been an aretz but he didn’t have magic, his children could potentially be aeshes, aretzes, or not gifted at all, depending on which genes he passed along to each one.
Naruahn: What if his mother was a shamai, and he had kids that were shamais, but his wife was an aesh? That would be horrible! They’d end up killing each other!
Alaric: *ahem* Moving on!
Question 2: Laeshana, you mentioned aeshes, aretzes, and “others with special talents” being called to Ruahkini’s “I found the prince, I’m awesome” meeting. So, if there are ruahks and shamais (probably not many unaligned) in Tonzimmel, do the words refer to specializations there (certified _____)? Do the mages tend to go into certain fields, even if there isn’t one with their name on it? The question’s also open to Alaric, if he knows.
Laeshana: That was a fun night, all right. You’re right – Ruahkini called all of the aligned of Tonzimmel together to boast about how he found Alaric, no matter what our official job titles were. There aren’t that many of us in the city, so the meeting wasn’t too large. Most are aeshes and aretzes, with a few ruahks scattered here and there and one or two shamais. Just a hint – if you’re ever in Tonzimmel, stay away from anyone claiming to be a shamai. They’re a strange group, even by Tonzimmelian standards.
Alaric: But there are few enough of them there, you probably wouldn’t run into one. In fact, Tonzimmelians use the word “shamai” just to mean someone who has strong persuasive abilities. It’s a bit pejorative, actually. Same with the word “ruahk” – usually it just means someone who’s an airhead. Not that surprising, though, given that both the words were introduced into the language by aeshes.
Laeshana: True. Anyway, as you’ve probably already seen from the chronicles of our adventures in The Quest of the Unaligned, “aesh” in Tonzimmel means “certified engineer,” and “aretz” means “certified healer.” Some aeshes and aretzes do choose to go into other fields, which causes no end to confusion when we’re talking with each other. You can’t give up being an aesh, in the Cadaerian sense, even if you’re a teacher or a politician or a glass-blower. But if you haven’t passed the certification exams in Tonzimmel, you can’t claim to be one there.
To actually answer your question, though, most aeshes and most aretzes do go into their “named fields” in Tonzimmel. It pays better than most of the other jobs we’d be qualified for, just given the supply and demand for our skills. Ruahks, however, typically tend not to get permanent jobs in Tonzimmel. They come to town, entertain people for a while with magic tricks and tall tales, then leave in a week or so when they get bored. And shamais? Who knows what Tonzimmelian shamais do. Sit and mope about how much better things were when they were children, probably.
Alaric: Actually, there’s an old story that goes around the TFSF about a shamai in league with the underworld. According to the story, he persuades rich passers-by to give him their purses, and they don’t realize until he’s long gone that they’ve been robbed. Huh. I hadn’t thought about that in a long time. I wonder if there’s any truth to it.
Laeshana: Probably. I hope not. That’s a scary thought, actually – a shamai as king of the Tonzimmelian underworld. Who knows how much damage one person with that power could cause?
That’s a good question, actually. How much damage WOULD a shamai cause if such an unscrupulous individual managed to get to Tonzimmel and gain a position of authority in the world of organized crime? Hmm. It sounds like a story might be in the making…