Here’s a new setting of mine! Modern fantasy, influenced by Harry Potter, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (the Disney movie), along with other works I’ve surely forgotten. Hopefully the following speech, given by a prominent sorcerer to his potential apprentice, will explain my idea.
There are seven billion human beings on this planet. And of those, maybe only about 200 are sorcerers.
We sorcerers, wizards, mages, witches, whatever you want to call us — we’ve always been around. The only reason you haven’t seen us is because we don’t want you to see us. And it’s not like we stand out. We don’t dress funny, carry wands, wear pointed hats or anything like that. Our magic, our ability to manipulate the arcane forces that normal people can’t sense, comes from within us. It comes from the Skill. With Skill, we can unleash fireballs, summon monsters, twist minds, transform flesh, or bend reality in any one of a million other ways. All it takes is study, training, dedication, creativity, and yes, Skill.
Maybe one in 2,000,000 is born with the Skill. The problem is, most of these people never even realize it. Without training, you can’t hope to produce even the smallest magical effects. All you have is an uncertain sense that there’s something more in the world, something beneath the surface that everyone else can’t see. And without training, that’s all you’ll ever have. But potentials always have a certain aura that a trained sorcerer can recognize. Your aura was hidden at first, but I recognized it for what it was after a few minutes.
There aren’t enough of us to justify any kind of school, so your training will be one-on-one. Every potential starts the path by becoming an apprentice to one particular sorcerer, who becomes their master. You’ll live with your master for many years, traditionally seven, while you learn the ways of magic. This will probably be the hardest part of your life.
You come in not even knowing the simplest cantrip, leaving your whole world behind you. You are expected to learn — quickly. There’s no payment involved, but you are expected to be an assistant, even a servant, to your master. Whatever he says to do, you do. If you have a cruel master — tough. Fully qualified sorcerers are accountable to no one, no one except the 16 Archmages, and they care nothing for the whining of apprentices. You put up with it and you learn, or you go home. When I was an apprentice — well. Maybe later.
After your seven or so years as an apprentice, you will be ready to practice magic on your own. But in order to leave apprenticeship and become a fully qualified wizard, you must pass the Examination. The details of the Examination are kept in magical secrecy, so I can’t give you any hint about what it’s like. Suffice it to say that no one has died taking it recently.
If you fail, you might be lucky enough to try again a year later. If you pass, then you’re a wizard, a licensed sorcerer, able to go out in the world and work your magic as you see fit.
There aren’t enough of us to keep each other busy, so you’ll want to take up a “normal” profession to pass the time, make money, get your own home, you know. A lot of us take important or exciting jobs. We’re lawyers, CEOs, generals, even politicians. It should go without saying, but it’s easy to advance once you can do magic. Most wizards either take well-paying jobs they can use their magic to “cheat” at in order to make money and live comfortably, or they take “fulfilling” that don’t pay well, and use their magic to live comfortably without any money. My best friend… well, anyway.
Once you’ve got a home and a “legitimate” job, then you can do pretty much whatever you want. Magic is mighty strong, and no one knows about us. As long as you keep it that way, you can get away with pretty much anything. There was this one wizard who… oh.
I should point out, there are a few no-nos. Don’t release any demons. Don’t annoy the vampires. Try not to interfere with the fey, they’ve got little enough nature to protect as it is. And dragons are endangered, so if you see one, be polite. And don’t fight with other wizards. It’s the fastest way to get yourself killed, or worse, Imprisoned. (And yet, it’s surprising how often we break that rule… but I digress.)
These rules, such as they are, are enforced by the 16 most powerful sorcerers in the world: the Archmages. They’re scary strong, especially when the work together (which is admittedly rare). Study hard, and maybe someday you’ll count yourself among their number.
One warning about us sorcerers. Once you join us, once you start learning magic, you can’t ever go back. You could go and live a normal life if you leave now, but this is your last chance for it. Become an apprentice, and you leave your family, friends, home, and even your name behind. Most sorcerers take new names, color names. I go by Cyan.
Once you’re in, you’re in for life. And it’ll be a long life. You can keep yourself in peak physical condition with the aid of magic. Some of us live to be 150 or more! You’ve got that, and untold arcane power, waiting for you.
So, are you in?
Following stories in this setting will be about apprentices, their masters, and the conspiracies they both plot and unravel.