Your first lesson is relatively simple – the students must open a door from across the room. You work with each child individually until they achieve it. But the youngest, Talia, is having trouble completing the task. How do you help her and provide the support she needs?
The mechanism appears in your hand. You hold it in front of her and say, “Remember. You are not trying to move the big, strong door. All you need to do is move this latch."
You depress the latch with your finger and place the mechanism in Talia’s hand. She repeats your gesture and turns the mechanism over, observing every facet of its operation. She raises her hand in the direction of the door and concentrates. The latch finally gives way and the door opens. She smiles at you in gratitude, hands you the mechanism, and runs off to join her fellow students.
“Try again Talia,” you say.
She raises her hand and her nose crinkles in determination. The door holds fast.
“I can’t do it,” she says, her head dropping.
“Yes, you can,” you reply. “Focus on what you want to happen and make it so in the world. Magic is not about knowing spells or memorizing formulas. It’s about the strength of your will. I can have the most powerful artifact in the world in my possession and it can be no more effective than a stone in my pocket if I don’t have the strength to guide its forces for my benefit. You must guide your energies into the lock, and WILL it to MOVE!”
Talia raises her head with renewed vigor and stares at the door with frustration evident in her eyes. The door begins shaking. You grab Talia and take cover as the wood explodes, sending shrapnel across the room. Talia looks up at you with childish glee.
“Well,” you say, “that’s one way to take care of the lock.”
Your lessons slowly get more complex – the children are learning to control the power of the elements. Swirling nimbuses of fire, water, lightning, and air are cavorting around the training chamber. The excitement in the room slowly turns to chaos as vortices of energy move around faster and faster.
An orb of fire slams into an orb of water, and they explode into a cloud of steam. You shout for everyone to halt and end their spells. When the steam clears, you see two children grappling on the floor. Their shouts tell you they blame one another for the orb collision. You pull them apart and stand them up. How do you calm the situation and turn this into a valuable teaching moment?
“Students, why are you turning your ingenious moment into an opportunity for vengeance? Do you know what you’ve done?” you ask.
“No sir,” they respond sheepishly in unison.
“You’ve combined your powers to do more with magic than either of you can do alone,” you say. “The steam you made together could be used to obscure your movement, blind an enemy, and change circumstances in your favor. Remember as you grow, your fellow students will become powerful allies. And if an opponent is scared of one magician, they will be absolutely terrified of two working in unison.”
You end the lesson and send the children on their way. Later that day, you see them practicing with one another. They are learning how their different elements can combine to produce a different kind of magic – teamwork.
You request that all of the children sit before you, and lower yourself to the floor. Taking a deep breath, you exhale slowly and project a natural calm that falls over your small congregation.
“What is a spellcaster’s primary duty?” you ask.
Several children call out the answer you have drilled into their studies: “To quest for knowledge, protect the weak, and defend our realm.”
“That’s correct,” you say, “but what’s a spellcaster’s primary duty to themselves?”
The children remain silent. Confusion creeps across several of their faces.
“In order to protect the weak and defend the realm,” you continue, “we must first be mindful of ourselves. How we act, and how we react, alters others’ perception of you. And when you are capable of changing reality to your whim, how people perceive you is of vital importance. Do you want to be known as a benevolent magician? Or as a volatile sorcerer, just as easily capable of destroying a town instead of saving it? I am teaching you abilities far beyond the reach of a normal person. You must have the discipline to use them correctly.”
You stand and leave the room, leaving a silence in your students’ midst as they slowly realize what it means to be a real wizard.
You’ve taught your pupils basic spells of levitation, control over the elements, and rudimentary conjuring. It’s time to test their skills. What sort of test do you devise to see how much they have grown?
Your obstacle course is placed on three acres of land outside the city and is made to test the student’s magic and their physicality. The first obstacle is a simple door that must be unlocked, similar to their very first magical trial. But when the door unlocks, it transfigures into a wooden automaton that must be defeated – the students can use the elemental powers of their choice to vanquish the creature.
After running to the next section, they must scale a wall via levitation and control their descent to avoid spinning blades dotted around the landing area. Lastly, they enter an arena where they must conjure a variety of household objects on pedestals while battling a dozen imps you summoned. When the last object is conjured and placed correctly, the spell holding the imps to this reality is broken and they transport back to their home dimension.
The obstacle course instills a sense of competition within each student, and they earnestly try to outdo each other with each run of the course. Even as they compete, they also share knowledge and pointers in the spirit of teamwork. By the end of the day, you declare that everyone has successfully passed the test.
The students are thrilled to finally test their mettle against their teacher. You are in the center of a small arena and call challengers down one at a time. With each match, you allow your opponent to strike first, blocking when needed as they run through the most complex and ingenious attacks they can think of. You shout out pointers and compliments on their style as you mitigate their spells.
Though you are warded from permanent damage, each time a student lands a strike the other children squeal with delight at seeing their classmate succeed.
At the end of each session you respectfully acknowledge your student and call upon the next challenger. By the end of the day, you are sore from the exertion you’ve placed upon yourself but confident that these lessons will serve your students well into the future.