Welcome to the Scholia Arcana. You, like so many others before you, have assumed the monumental task of exploring the many facets of magic. This examination is normally given to initiates upon the first year of their studies. It is intended to serve as an introduction to our practices and methods concerning magic. The information contained within the Omnibus Arcana is sealed against unofficial usage, so rest assured that reading this will not result in your unofficial demise.
In the pages of this tome, you will embark upon an adventure of knowledge. Your quest is perhaps the greatest of all callings, the study of magic itself. The mages of our order have always been those ready to endure the rigors of research. This test will introduce the foundation of magical inquiry, a process which you will find integral to your studies during your time in the Scholia Arcana.
Now, to begin this examination, you must go to the Rathir Chapterhouse courtyard. There, you will find a statue of a woman. Go and observe the statue.
Eleanor Brea was one of the founders of our order. Sorceress Brea was born some 800 years ago into a life of bondage. She was blind, and Ljosalfar far from Glen Suthain. She suffered under rule of the dictator Ciara Sydanus, yet she, like you, possessed a natural talent for magic. Eleanor Brea harnessed this gift to not only escape slavery, but to ultimately free Erathell of Sydanus' rule. She did this through discipline, through a determined commitment to learning the ways of the arcane. Eleanor Brea represents hope to our students.
The first lesson to learn from Eleanor is one for all of our order. Eleanor Brea was but one of the founders. Because she was the only one gifted with the use of magic, some consider her the true progenitor of the Scholia Arcana, but were it not for her allies, she would never have succeeded. The other statues in the courtyard represent the other two founders of the Scholia Arcana. Remember them well, for if it is your quest to become as great as Sorceress Brea herself, you will undoubtedly need the help of others.
The second lesson to learn from Eleanor Brea is at the heart of magical study. Eleanor Brea was among the first sorceress' to standardize the use of elements in her spell-casting. Before her, magic was a mysterious and imperfect practice. Even the ancient Order of Ash, one of the oldest societies of magic users in all of Amalur, were as wild and ungoverned then as we are orderly and precise today.
The third and final lesson to learn here is that of discipline. Eleanor Brea was not born a usurper. She did not become one of the most powerful mages in all of the Faelands in the course of a day. It did not happen accidentally, but through years and years of intense practice. If it is your wish to become similarly proficient, you must devote yourself to learning as she did. This will require hours of reading each day. It will involve dangerous and sometimes terrifying experiences. It will test your will and patience as no other obstacle can. And should you be able to continue this regimen, you will undoubtedly become as great as Eleanor Brea herself.
Indeed, most applicants of the Scholia Arcana cannot face their potential; those that can rarely achieve it. Until now, none have been able to surpass their potential, but this may change with you.
For the next part of this lesson, you must go to the Rathir Bridge. Stand there and contemplate the bridge.
In the courtyard you learned the first three principles of method: unity, harmony, and discipline. These three tenants are at the foundation of every student's education as much as the bridge is at the foundation of Rathir. The bridge is a legacy of permanence and dedication. Originally, the Alfar who settled the Tywili Coast would take a skiff or rowboat to reach the spire rock. This was a treacherous voyage that ended with as many boats smashed upon the rocks as there were safely harbored. This bridge was built very early on in Rathir's construction through the combined effort of Dokkalfar settlers.
There are two lessons to be learned at the Rathir bridge. The first is an extenuation of the principle of unity, for here you can bear witness to what is possible when you work with others. The Rathir bridge is a symbol for the Dokkalfar people; one of perseverance and loyalty. The grandeur of Rathir is visible from afar, but once on the bridge you can truly see its magnificence. The construction of Rathir took many people working together in difficult conditions, and they were able to build one of the most elegant and elaborate cities known to Alfar. This is why the lesson of the Rathir bridge embodies the principle of proof. In all knowledge there is always proof of that knowledge. Look at the Rathir bridge and witness proof of Eleanor Brea's Unity.
The second lesson is the principle of duality. This bridge is an exit and an entrance, both to Rathir and to the Tywili Coast. You decide which, and in your decision, you illuminate the other aspect of this lesson, choice. Your studies at the Scholia Arcana will be exacting. Your teachers will be austere in their technique. At times you will feel as if you have no autonomy to pursue your own interests, but this bridge represents that dichotomy. In one direction lies a historic city of knowledge, beauty and the arts. In the other direction lies the Tywili Coast, a blood-soaked, war-torn battlefield that was once a stretch of idyllic farms and fishing villages. Both paths lead to exploring the greater world beyond the Rathir gates. You are singular amongst our order, in that you have the ability to determine your own Fate. Take full advantage of your unique freedom by recognizing duality in all things.
When you are done meditating upon these lessons, proceed to the village of Mel Aglir, in Kandrian.
Mel Aglir sits at the heart of Kandrian, the land named after the family who has ruled for generations. The village is well defended from Tuatha raiders, bandits, and the wild Fae that roam the Plains of Erathell. There are many threats to Kandrian, and the kings and lords who rule here must always be ready for conflict.
The lesson to be learned in Mel Aglir is the principle of preparation. For centuries, Kandrian Keep has been a bastion of strength for the Alfar people Jocuri. The early Kings of Kandrian protected all of Erathell from the threats of Durek or Jottun invasion. Kandrian Keep was the only fortress to withstand Ciara Sydanus' might. In times of crisis, the Kings of Kandrian would house the villagers within the walls of the keep. A Kandrian guard as well as a militia kept the peace throughout the villages and countryside. The people of Kandrian were always prepared, and thus able to survive.
The survival of Mel Aglir is a testament to the importance of preparation. Whereas the previous lessons facilitate success in the Scholia Arcana, this lesson will help you survive. Students of the Scholia Arcana are frequently and woefully unprepared to deal with magic. It is a volatile and hazardous force, and there is no room for imprudent experimentation in our order. Those who do not heed this lesson are liable to suffer, and unwittingly cause others to harm. Mel Aglir stands as a warning to any who would delve into the secrets of magic. Prepare appropriately, or suffer the consequences.
When you are ready, proceed to the Kandrian countryside.
You have arrived at the final lesson forming the foundation of magical inquiry. Of everything that you will learn at Scholia Arcana, the most valuable lesson will be the principle of observation. The mastery of the elements, or the ability to invoke powerful sorcery is useless without an understanding of one's surroundings. An environment is a complex system of interrelated attributes, and in order to function within one, you must be aware of the boundaries and rules of the system. Many of our order become myopic, closeted academicians, too concerned with their own learning to apply it to the world. Others haphazardly conduct their research in the hostile and unpredictable world. Both of these avenues end in a failure to face your potential, or to successfully achieve it.
All of the previous principles are useless without observation. Learn to regard your surrounding in many ways as possible. Explore, and consider the people around you. Mel Aglir is an example of preparation, but it also a lesson in observation. The village has dwindled since the beginning of the war. The young were enlisted, and many others moved to safer locales. The once serene farmland of Kandrian is now rife with bandits and monsters because Lord Kandrian hides in his keep like so many of our reclusive sages.
Similarly, the principle of duality inheres in observation. You have the freedom to control your Fate and your every decision is informed by your surroundings. Lord Kandrian refuses to fight the Tuatha, and he cannot make a wise judgement from behind stone walls. The battle you just faced is a direct result of Lord Kandrian's poor understanding of the principle of duality, because of ignorance of the existing conditions.
Observation is the main tool with which we discover proof. It requires discipline in order to be effective. You may not be the most dutiful student of the principle of observation, but if you hadn't been prepared for that battle, you would have perished. In order to be prepared, you must first have immersed yourself into your surroundings, and become aware of the dangers posed in this land.
To conclude this examination, return to Savant Idris Theonen. Your future may lay outside of the purview of the Scholia Arcana, however you will benefit from adhering to the methods of our order when you are tested.