"During your initiation here I mentioned how magic is created and controlled, and before you begin your training today I must elaborate a little further." High Wizard Yaga stated plainly, pacing in front of the three tables Leif, Eirik, and Tanya were stationed at. His shoes clapped softly on the stone flooring as he paced back and forth, hidden from sight under his clean white robe.
"Roughly one-fourth of the population has the potential to use magic, and even smaller numbers wish to pursue it. You witnessed some semblance of that statistic when you came here; I believe there were originally nineteen of you, now there are only six. Granted, the numbers aren't exact, but you get the idea. My point is that a very small percentage of the general population actually strive to become magicians, in part because of fear due to the losses in the Wizard War, and because a lot of people simply lack the ability." Yaga paused for a moment, taking a breath.
"Everyone is born with a small amount of life force, life energy, or aura, whichever you'd like to call it. However, only magicians have a strong connection between that life force and their willpower. The life energy serves as a power source for your magic; your willpower is how you control that power source to manipulate magic. When you use magic, it consumes your life force temporarily. Consume enough of it, and you will feel physical exhaustion. However, this life energy regenerates over time through rest and sleep, just like your body does after feeling tired or worn out from running or lifting heavy objects. The difference between the two is that every time you expend some of your life energy, you're building up the base amount you were born with, resulting in more energy to use the next time you practice magic." Yaga explained, eyeing the students before him. Tanya's brows were furrowed, indicating she was thinking, and both Leif and Eirik were happily and intently listening.
"So, if the amount of life energy or force or whatever increases every time you use it, does that mean there's a sort of..." Her soft voice trailed off as she tried to think of the word, "Limit? Is there a limit to how much of this life force stuff you can have?" She looked perplexed.
"No, not as far as we've seen. It takes a lot of practice and patience to build up your energy reserves, which is part of why your training here takes so long. Myself and the other High Wizards have spent roughly two decades devoted to this art, and even now we pale in comparison to the power the Archmage had before his passing. Not much is known about the Archmage before the construction of Alfheim, but when he began building I want to say he was at least in his sixties. That's why he looks older than the statue of him." Yaga chuckled at his own joke, and the others smirked.
"So, to put it simiply; you are born with a small amount of life force that you can then expand by using magic, the more you use it, the more you have, over time. Using too much can tire you or even make you sick, it can even cause your death, which is what happened to the Archmage during the Wizard War. During your training here you will never be pushed beyond the point of physical exhaustion by any of your superiors. Any of your superiors reported or caught breaking this rule will be swiftly reprimanded. We do not want to cause harm to any of you. If you are feeling exhaustion from your training, you need to let your trainer know so they can halt your training for the day. I highly advise that when you're training on your own you stop at this point as well. Continuing the use of magic beyond the point of tiring can be very dangerous." The High Wizard's tone suddenly got very serious, and each student mentally noted his words. Leif was a little shocked, he didn't realize how serious that aspect of his training was.
High Wizard Yaga took a breath and continued, the tones of his voice returning to normal, "Willpower is how you control that life energy within you, and in a way, tell it what to do. Your natural affinity determines what kind of elements your aura works best with, and then you use willpower to control those elements. What you actually do with those elements, is only limited by your life energy and your imagination. You'll learn more about that later. For now, you've got some training to do. And if we don't start soon, it will take you longer than the other three just joining us."
The three students turned to face the back of the room, watching Krissa, Allen, Baxter, and some of the other High Wizards file into the room. The magicians knew Leif and his friends were already there, but the other three looked unpleasantly surprised that they had been beaten to the training. Leif hadn't noticed how quickly time passed while they spoke. It didn't really matter too much, at least now they could all start their training at the same time.
"Each of the High Wizards from your appropriate School will explain how you will conduct your training. Your tasks are all somewhat similar, but equally challenging and defined by your magical affinity. We have High Wizard Zenzin, our Psych magic master, monitoring you. If you even think of cheating, we'll know about it. You will have one week to complete this training, and during that time you may enter and leave this building as you wish, and nobody aside from yourselves and the High Wizards may enter this building during the next week." High Wizard Yaga announced to the students. Just as he finished, Brutus, the Earth magic instructor was looming over Leif's desk, and called over Baxter.
"Good mornin' to ya, fellas!" He smiled warmly at both the students. "I'm Brutus, and I'll be the one handling your training this week. There's two of you lads, so I figured explainin' once'd be a lot simpler than going over it twice." He motioned to a High Mage that had been standing by the door, and the young man rushed over with four bowls. Two of the bowls were empty, two filled with pebbles and stones of varying sizes. Brutus set one of each on Leif's desk, and handed the remaining two to Baxter.
"Now boys, this training ain't horribly excitin', I'll tell you that much, but its good for beginners to help you build up your life force an' get better at usin' magic. Basically, all you have to do is move all the rocks from one bowl to the other, using nothin' but your magic." Brutus explained. Leif looked down at the bowl filled with pebbles. There had to be at least a few dozen rocks in there, if not over a hundred. He didn't really understand how he was supposed to 'pick up' the rocks and move them, but he figured that was part of the training; learning how to manipulate objects differently using your willpower as the guide and your life energy as the source. It made sense.
"You fellas got any questions for me before you start?" High Wizard Brutus looked to Leif and Baxter, both of them shaking their heads. Leif was eager to start. "Alrighty then boys, you can start. Baxter go back to your desk and put the filled bowl on your right and the empty on your left and you can start."
Leif looked around the room, first to Eirik, where he'd been quietly listening to High Wizard Karyn's instructions, and as Leif had predicted, Eirik's face was bright red. Karyn was obviously smart enough to know her beauty intimidated Eirik, but she pressed on with the training material. Leif saw her set down an empty bowl and a bowl of water, pointing between the two. Evidently Eirik had the same task but with water instead of stones, which seemed a lot harder to Leif. He looked to Tanya, who's desk now had a small pile of wilted and dying leaves, but that was it. Nothing else was on the desk. He wondered what her task was. Ignoring the other two students behind him, he faced forward and studied the bowls before him.
Leif dove right in to the task at hand. He held his right hand over the rock-filled bowl, a fair distance above it. He picked out one of the smaller pebbles on the top. It was a dull grey color, one side more shiny than the rest of its surface, as if it had been sheared from its original form. Leif focused his attention, ignoring the sound of people around him. He imagined the pebble lifting from its position, floating in the air towards his hand.
He felt the sensation of strain in his body as if he was lifting something heavy, and the little stone wiggled. He concentrated his focus, empowering the physical strain, mentally telling his muscles and bones to try harder, to endure.
The stone lifted several inches, floating.
Leif sighed in relief, and the stone plummeted back to the bowl as he gasped for breath. He felt like he'd just run halfway across Alfheim and back. In his state of intense focus, he guessed he'd forgotten to breathe. Sweat dripped from his forehead, and he looked around the room again, the other students staring at him while he heaved for air. Eirik chuckled lightly and shattered the silence, the noise returning to the room. Leif glanced towards his trainer Brutus, and caught the tail-end of a raised eyebrow before his face was normal again. Leif looked back down towards the two bowls in front of him, mentally preparing himself for another round. He had only one thought:
This was fun!