Leif's mind raced endlessly, wondering what sort of initiation there would be. High Wizard Yaga had said that the initiation would determine which School of Magic they belonged to, but deprived them of further details. Would it be some kind of physical performance test? A test of knowledge? Maybe something like an aptitude test, and your School is based on your personality? Could it be a physical fight? The latter worried Leif greatly, but he tried not to think too much about it. Yaga had remained completely quiet as the group of 16 people followed him to the left side of the entrance building, away from the Archmage statue.
Now that Leif had a closer look at the walls and doorways, he noticed that while they still had the blue-ish color the exterior of the buildings in the main part of the city had, the surfaces were also reflective. You could see a distorted image of your surroundings as you gazed into the shiny walls, and they looked quite smooth to the touch. The archway was quite high in the center where the Archmage statue was, feeding up into the spires far above them, and then cascading downwards on both sides to form corridors and rooms to travel through. Leif remembered Yaga saying it took the Archmage only 6 months to build the entire city; just this building alone would take several dozen workers quite a few years. Leif had little to no knowledge of magic and its workings, but he was no doubt impressed. The amount of detail poured into the building, from the shiny surfaces, to the ornately carved doorways, was simply astounding. He also noticed that the crystal or metal the structures were made from seemed to absorb light, and then disperse it to darker areas, eliminating the need for torches in the buildings.
After what seemed like forever, High Wizard Yaga finally led the group into a rather empty looking room. In the center of the far end of the room was a table, with a bowl centered in the middle. Closer to the entrance were some benches, made from the same material as the rest of the building. "Please, take a seat anywhere you like on these benches." High Wizard Yaga stated plainly, motioning toward the seats.
Yaga walked to the table in the front of the room, and beckoned to a mage Leif hadn't seen. The magician came forward and filled the bowl on the table with some water from a pitcher they were carrying, then left promptly.
"As I mentioned previously, we will be performing a sort of test that determines which School of Magic you belong to, if any. If you fail the test, it means that you don't have the potential for magic, unfortunately. You will then be escorted from here and join the small group that left us earlier to be brought home. However, before we begin the initiation, there are some things you must understand." The words coming from High Wizard Yaga sounded a bit rehearsed to Leif, he'd probably said them at least a dozen times before.
Nonetheless, Leif's excitement was unbearable. He had sat down next to Eirik, and his lifelong friend looked more scared than anything. Perhaps Eirik was afraid of failing the test and being sent home, away from Leif. Leif was Eirik's only friend, and the closest thing he had to family, after both of his parents passed away a couple years ago. If Leif passed and Eirik didn't, or the opposite happened, they wouldn't be able to see each other for a very long time. The opposite was even more unpleasant to Eirik, because he'd only come to Alfheim to stay with Leif, not necessarily to learn magic.
"Firstly, you must understand the basic principles surrounding the function of magic. Your magical power comes from two sources; your life energy, also referred to as your life force or aura, and your willpower. Your aura is what serves as an energy source for your magic, and your willpower is what allows you to command that energy at will. When you first begin your training, you will have very little base aura to use, since you've never used it before, which means even small magical tasks will be heavily physically draining. Using up your aura through magic results in physical exhaustion; the severity depending on how much of your aura you've used. The only way to increase the base amount of life energy you have is by expending what you currently have and training. It's not a fast or simple task, it takes a lot of time and effort to see significant results. Through intense focus and willpower, you can harness the energy of your life force to create magic, in all its forms. Which brings me to my next point." High Wizard Yaga paused, taking a breath and surveying the room full of participants.
Every person in the room had their eyes focused on Yaga, intently listening to his explanations. Clearly they were all eager to begin the initiation, but none quite as earnest as Leif. Eirik's face displayed a small amount of excitement now, after hearing about how magic is created, but the cloud of worry still draped over his face, giving him a rather sullen look. Leif lightly tapped Eirik's leg with the back of his hand to get his attention, "Don't worry about, Eirik, we got this." Leif smiled and whispered, in an attempt to comfort his friend. Eirik gave him a weak smile in return, evidently lacking improvement in mood.
"The initiation we perform here is actually quite simple." High Wizard Yaga fumbled around in his robes before pulling out several small leaves as he spoke. "We determine your School by a process called water divination. Each of you will be called up, one at a time. I will place a leaf in this bowl of water, and you will place your hands to the sides of the bowl without touching it, and attempt to will some of your aura toward the leaf." Leif sighed as Yaga paused, extremely relieved that he didn't have to engage in some kind of physical battle with someone else. He wasn't sure why he'd considered that as a possibility at a giant school of magic, but he wasn't fond of the idea of hurting someone else.
"The reaction the leaf displays will determine your School. If no reaction occurs, it means you lack magical potential. Please listen closely, as I will break down the Schools of Magic for you and their purposes. If the leaf glows, it means you're attuned with Light magic; focused on healing and protection spells, advanced users can even communicate with animals. If the leaf turns black, your expertise is Dark magic; centered around poisons, curses, damaging spells, and temporary necromancy if trained properly. If the surface of the leaf becomes scorched, you embody Fire magic; giving you the ability to create and manipulate flames and smoke. If a a drop of water forms on the leaf, you belong in the Water School, with an affinity for the creation and manipulation of ice and water. If the leaf floats above the water, you specialize in Psych magic; levitation of objects, telekineses, barrier generation, and high-level users can even read minds. Lastly, if the leaf sinks to the bottom of the bowl, Earth magic is your strength, its core revolving around the manipulation of naturally ocurring elements like dirt, stone, and minerals, and defensive magic using those elements to create armors, barriers, and shields. Experts in this field can also communicate with plant life." High Wizard Yaga finished his description, and several members of the crowd looked rather bored. It was long-winded, but Leif could see how the explanation was necessary. Eirik and Leif weren't bored by any means; in fact they were quite fascinated.
"The actual powers that you can create with magic completely depend on your skill, base aura amount, and your willpower, so the generalized powers I listed for each class are not exclusive. Talented magicians can peform magics from other Schools, with proper training, and develope their own, unique magical techniques. Without further ado, let us begin. Our first participant will be Eirik. Once your hands are placed around the bowl's edges, try your best to focus your life energy towards the leaf. Don't focus on making the leaf peform the reaction you want, no matter how hard you try, it will react according to which School you have the highest affinity for. Please come forward, Eirik." High Wizard Yaga gave him a warm smile, and waved him up.
Eirik's approach to the table was shaky and obviously nervous. Failing this initiation meant spending years without Leif, completely alone. Eirik kneeled at the table, and placed his hands around the bowl's edges, closing his eyes. Leif couldn't really see what was happening, but from behind intently as Yaga gazed downwards at the bowl. Several seconds passed. Eirik's hands grew shaky as he realized this, end began to think of how lonely he'd be without Leif. He'd made no other friends, he had no family, if he had to return home, the only thing waiting for him there was fishing. He enjoyed it, but he'd much rather be in Leif's company.
Several more seconds passed, and Leif could see Eirik's shoulders begin to soften and shake lightly. Would he really cry, in front of all these people? Eirik was a sentimental kind of guy, but he didn't like to display his emotons publicly.
"You've done it! Your leaf has a water droplet in the middle, which means you belong to the Water School of Magic." High Wizard Yaga's voice pierced the silence, and Eirik's eyes flew open, spotting a small drop of water that had formed on the leaf. He let out a huge sigh, and thanked Yaga, then headed back to his seat next to Leif, a half-smile on his face. "Now you just need to pass, so we can both stay here." He said to Leif, his voice still shaky from nervousness.
High Wizard Yaga called up many other names, but Leif was too excited for Eirik and nervous for himself to pay attention. Many of the participants failed, and were escorted out by some magicians that were standing by. The numbers in the room dwindled down slowly, as time ticked by at a snail's pace. Leif was wondering if he'd ever get called.
After waiting patiently for a lengthy amount of time, Leif looked around the room and saw four people sitting on the benches with Eirik and Leif. That means if Leif passed, there'd be a total of six new magicians, out of the nineteen people that originally came to Alfheim. The odds weren't exactly in his favor, but it didn't bear down on his spirit. He was determined to start a new life here, and learn the ways of magic. He had to succeed. The last thing he wasnted was to return to his normal, boring life in the fishing village.
"Ah, lastly, it's your turn, Leif. Come on up." High Wizard Yaga stated, giving another warm smile.