“Hey man, I haven’t seen you around before. What’s your name?”
The lecture hall at Altiorem wasn’t small, and it took Zanzir by surprise that so many would notice the entry of a new student. He was hoping he could sit at the back and observe for the most part, but the curious stares wouldn’t let him become merely a bystander.
The young man that had addressed him was tall and lanky, but his eyes were bright. With any Insight at all, one could see that he hosted a large supply of magical power. A man surely destined to be a formidable mage, but by the playfulness on his face and the crowd around his seat, Zanzir got the feeling the boy was more interested in enjoying the social aspects of a school life rather than studying.
“Zelfer Areir. And yours?”
“Meike Rafus.” He mimicked Zanzir’s smile as he spoke. “These are my buddies. The one on the right with the red hair and freckles is Samitht Yuloi - we call him Sam. And the younger, severe looking one there is Ithun Reuryn.”
Zanzir’s eyes gazed over them in turn. The latter of the two truly did look younger by at least two or three years compared to many of those in the class. “Ithun, did you earn a lot of credits in Preparatory?” Unlike the standard, non-magical education system, those who showed exceptional promise in magical talent and theory could advance to the next grade by earning merits given by teachers at certain benchmarks in the curriculum. It was not uncommon to have students five years apart in the same class.
“In Intermediate,” Ithun answered.
Zanzir gave a low whistle. “That’s even more impressive.”
“He looks a little scruffy and scrawny, but our little Ithun is a real genius!”
“Get your arm off of me Meike!” Ithun shoved his friend sideways, but because of the weight difference in the two boys, Meike didn’t budge at all.
“So Zelfer, where did you transfer up from? It’s pretty unusual to get people in the early spring. I think a lot of schools have their benchmarks in the middle of winter and summer.” Meike spoke while finally releasing Ithun.
“I didn’t transfer up, but transferred in. I was interning outside of the capital.”
All three boys gaped, but it was Sam who responded, “How did you get permission for that?”
Zanzir flashed a devilish smile. “I guess I got lucky.”
The three started the question drills, but before Zanzir could hear any of them, his eyes had fastened onto a woman who had just entered the room. The class was arranged in an auditorium style, easily able to see a hundred people or so. Zanzir was closer to the top; thus, the angle that he observed her from was far different than when he was looking up at her face, but he had no doubt in his mind that it was Lyla Lei.
“That’s Lyla,” Meike said, moving over to prop his elbow on the desk next to Zanzir. “She’s cute in a doll-ish kinda way, but she seems to have a nasty temper. She bites the head off of just about anyone that gets close to her, so I don’t think she has any friends.”
“Mmmm,” Zanzir hummed lightly. As if sensing the group staring at her, Lyla looked up. The moment her eyes locked onto them, she narrowed them, huffed and pointedly turned away.
“Like I said, it’s no use getting googly eyes for that one. There are a lot nicer girls who’d go for someone as strong as you, especially since you’ve been out of the capital. Everyone will want to hear about it.”
I tried to constrain it as much as possible, but I guess for those with sensitive Insight’s, I can’t completely hide my power. Zanzir turned his attention from Meike back to the girl who was settling down at the lower level of the classroom.
It was only a short while later that the class began.
The older man stood before them with a book held open in one hand and a piece of chalk that matched his white hair in the other. “Our study today cover’s Zanzir’s third breakdown of concepts. As we’ve previously discussed, medium, or matter of effect - solid, liquid or gas - is the easiest of the coordinates to define. Intensity, or the strength of the magic is similarly easy to define and merely depends on the strength of your energy infused into the rune. It is less of a coordinate and more of a finishing touch on the concept to form the construct.
“Today, we will be exploring spatial location coordinates. This is oftentimes direct - the location may be tied directly to medium. For example, if I were to light this candle on the table,” he began to draw the rune as he spoke, “the location is parallel with the medium. The solid wick is my target and my location is similarly the wick.” The candle blazed to life as he finished the last stroke of the rune. “However, there are many instances where this is not the case. Let's say for example that we would like to cut off the air flow to the flame. The medium is the air of course but the location is now a sphere in space. It is now something conceptual that the mage must define on their own.” The teacher was drawing a multitude of runes around the area of the candle and it was at this point that Zanzir couldn’t contain himself any longer.
It was painful enough to be lectured about his own designs - he was the last one that needed these kinds of basics spelled out - but for the information to be wrong regarding his works. He couldn’t just sit by. “Wait a minute.” He stood up as he spoke, raising his hand in the air. “That’s far too taxing on energy, not to mention it’s unsustainable.”
The old man’s eyes flickered up to him. “You’re the new student? I realize that this is your first class but you cannot -.”
However, Zanzir had already hopped off of his chair and was marching down to the front. He flicked his wrist and the piece of chalk that had been laid on the desk flew into his fingers. “Now listen and listen close,” he addressed them all as a whole.
“He just summoned that chalk right into his hand.” “Did you see it?” “It was so fast.” “But did he even cast a rune?” “I didn’t see one.” Above the teacher’s cry, the students were growing louder.
“I said listen didn’t I?” his voice rang out, so authoritative that the class instantly fell under his control. Whether it was from simple astonishment or from a brief respect from the magic they’d seen, one couldn’t be sure.
“Zanzir’s magical concepts are about ‘lesser is more’. The less energy, you, as the mage can put in to create a construct, the better. It’s true that you can cast about five separate runes in order to create an area of effect, but in doing so, you’re actually breaking it down to an absurd degree. Looking at what the professor here just cast, we have about five function runes crushed into the messy compound structure. These marks define eight points on a cube. These crossing through there define the sides of a cube, and that one the size of the faces… and then there’s a binding that attempts to unite all of them together. It may work for containing something solid, but if we’re going as far down as air molecules, then things will certainly slip through the gaps.” As he spoke, he enforced everything he’d said with scribbles on the board.
“The best way to go about handling an area of effect is unifying everything as a whole unit and then write the concept on the unit itself. In most cases, it’s particularly useful to draw your location if it’s small enough to do so.” Zanzir circled his finger both latitudinally and then longitudinally around the flame, leaving a faint glow. “Eh, a lot of people like structured runes, but magic is a part of us regardless of the fancy lines we make. Runes are merely a way of helping focus it for expression. Very useful for practicing magic, and learning, but it doesn’t have to be absolute. Even something like this can help bind a spatial definition.” He taped on the two places where his drawn circles intersected and the red formation glowed more strongly.
“So with that, this area is now a unit. You can define it and bind it with a gyiut rune, and then cast the fun stuff.” His hand passed lazily through the air, and with a gentle breeze, the air in the classroom was pulled toward the formation. The candle light exploded in a blaze as the extra oxygen fueled it’s fire.
“That’s enough! The professor finally snapped out of his own stupor and with a few ugly yellow marks, dispelled the runes that Zanzir had drawn. “What’s your name young man?”
“Perhaps they do not teach proper manners in education where you are from Zelfer, but this behavior is unacceptable.”
“Are you really content with teaching them incorrect constructs?!” he finally turned on the man with blazing eyes.
“If you are the expert, would you like to teach the class yourself?”
“I would be delighted.”
The professor’s pale cheeks reddened in his anger. “Return to your seat immediately! If you disrupt my class again I will expel you from the school on the spot!”
Zanzir’s jaw worked as he forced back his own growing indignation. Folding his arms behind his head, he moved back to the seat he’d come from.