he process of learning magic is long, requires hard work and for those that do not know magic can be a complete mystery. Thanks to one of our readers (and member of the Adamant Scholars), Lord James Griswold, I came to know that a group of magic students was recently formed in Dalaran, the Adamant Scholars, and I had the chance to talk with their founder, Miss Auxélie Meyer.

Adama... who?

Gaedryel Ravenbreath: What exactly is the Adamant Scholars? Auxélie Meyer: The Adamant Scholars is an association providing knowledge about arcane, through lectures, lessons, and study group sessions, and it does so for free. It is based upon mutual aid. Our teachers are volunteering. In exchange, we try to help them how we can. Be that with research, for instance, or transcription. Though most of them are not asking for anything and are just happy to help. Light bless them. We also have partnerships with some local shops, here in Dalaran, like the Know Lodge which provides books for the students. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: That's very nice indeed, and it's great to see so many people involved, and if you don't mind me asking, if all is free, was this office already yours or...? Auxélie Meyer: The location has been lent to us by Archmage Moonblaze. He is one of our guest teachers. We do not own this place. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: Very kind of him. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: So, what is the requirement and how is the process for joining the Scholars? Auxélie Meyer: Anyone who wishes to start studying arcane is more than welcomed to join us. We will to our best to provide the guidance needed and help them find their path. Those interested can come by the office or write us. We usually have a meeting in order to ask the applicant a few questions, make sure the association is best suited for them. (…) We are just trying to offer a safe space with decent guidance to those who are just starting out. When I asked Miss Meyer about why she started this project she explained to me how she struggled finding the right mentor, that she went through some hard situations and that once the Academy of Magical Arts closed, she wanted to help her fellow students. Auxélie Meyer: (…) I asked two of our teachers, Professor Hawk and Professor Cobblepot, if they could help us sometimes. Give us lessons, so that we will not just be... On our own. And they agreed. Although I tried to- I wanted to try to do more. I started writing letters, without any hope it would lead anywhere. But everyone I wrote answered back positively. What started as three friends and two awfully nice teachers, ended up with an association with a team of a dozen teachers, members of the Kirin Tor and archmages among them, and a wonderful group of amazing and talented scholars! After that I gave her the opportunity to speak directly to our readers. Auxélie Meyer: Not really ... I'd just I'd like to add that this would not have been possible without the help of a few people. They deserve to be known for what they did. First of all, there is the secretary of the association, and my best friend, Adrienne Autumnsky. She has been with me since the beginning and the Scholars would not exist if it was not for her unconditionnal support. She is amazing. And perfect. The city of Dalaran has been son very helpful, and I can't even find the words to describe how grateful we are to all the teachers, shopkeepers and citizens who have helped us get where we are today. We intend to give something back to them, on the 8th of September, with our first public event. Hoping that we will bring a smile on the faces of people who have reached out to us in the most kind and selfless way.

A class of illusions

Miss Meyer allowed me to attend one of the lectures where Timothy Osrick gave a magnificent class about illusions, explaining their complexity, which factors to keep in mind when using them and proposed the students to do some practical exercises. They also have some group study session, since they not always have a teacher available: Lord James Griswold: The study groups are quite informal. Usually, a student will have some subject that is strugglin' with or is curious on explorin' about and the other try to show up with their experiences in that matter, if not a full-blown answer. This will translate after in some research between everybody to try to go as deep as possible on the subject in question. I also asked Miss Meyer about this, to have her opinion as founder, about this groups and their use, to which she added: Auxélie Meyer: It is also a good way for the students to literally speak up. And acknowledge that even if they are just starting out, they are able and have knowledge to share with their fellow aspirants. I asked the students for their reasons to join the Adamant Scholars and their experience and progress so far. Some as Duni Wirepatch, were already familiar with magic, but wished to have people around to progress with them. Here are other experiences: Willhelm Forson: Well, I joined the scholars to both further my studies and help my better half in helping her friend. Though I'm no writer I can fix a few things here and there! (…) Ehh... Well my magical knowledge is scattered at best. I know a few things in some schools of magic and in others I know plenty more. Like Abjuration or Conjuration. Now that's my cup of tea! Lord James Griswold: As you know I have been close to magic for some time without partakin' on this studies myself. But... I decided it was time to change that and, when lookin' for an institution for such, I found the Scholars. It's an interestin' group and with much potential. (…) I have been quite pleased with my quick development in here and with the work that the Scholars have made. Like Will referred, we have been makin' contacts even outside Dalaran. I also had the chance to speak with Adrienne Autumnsky, secretary of the Adamant Scholars, who told me how when she joined she was “looking for her own path” and how “the idea of opening a shelter for students to study at their own pace and share information with one another appealed to her”. In her experience: Adrienne Autumnsky: I did have a chance to look into the Illusion school of magic, which before than I had very little knowledge about. I won't say I'm a master illusionist, far from, but I was able to delve into an art form I was always curious about. The path to being a proper mage is still long, but I'm with close friends and we walk it together, I think it helps a lot, to everyone involved.

The Archmage they call Moonblaze

Finally, I interviewed Archmage Moonblaze, Director of the Kirin Tor, not just about his contribution to this project but, giving his experience, reputation and amount of open lectures, about the process of learning magic. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: Miss Meyer, founder of the Adamant Scholars, told me you lent the office they are using, what did you see in them to decide to support them? Director Moonblaze: Ah! Dear miss Auxélie, she’s an absolute peach, that one. Well, to put it quite simply, and to paraphrase what I told her when she more or less asked me the same question, there is a dash of selfish projection in that cocktail of generosity: youngsters often mistake me for a Highborne, you see, yet I am little more than an upstart peasant whose whole career is owed to the sheer benevolence of Lord Telluvian Whitevale, a long gone azsharian arcanist. Now that I reaped the prestige and privilege he sowed for me, the very least I can do is try to replicate such a virtuous cycle whenever I can. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: How is the process of learning magic? How does one start and progress? Director Moonblaze: The process itself is unfathomably inglorious and dull. If your intellectual curiosity and your love of reading do not match the task, you would have more fun filing eons of dusty, indecipherable archives, or learning advanced trigonometry on your own, sitting on a hard wooden stool in a gloomy and humid study. But, if you possess this little treasure called ‘vision’, the ability to project yourself through and beyond hardship towards your goal, then learning the arcane will be the happiest time of your existence. A good start, for me, is the joint study of runes and of the history of magic - to give you simultaneously a decent understanding of how it works, and what it can do. Once you are able to decipher, reproduce and combine your runes, the fun begins; and this is the most dangerous step, the one where apprentices, who yet lack focus, usually lose a hand or set their pants on fire. I did both, and frankly, like the younglings say, “worth it”. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: What Schools would you recommend, and for what reasons, to those not interested in all of them - or just as a start? Director Moonblaze: Transmutation being notoriously the most difficult, and Evocation being the most likely to set ablaze the aforementioned pants, I would personally recommend Abjuration and Enchantment to a beginner. The first one, because despite being drastically overlooked and deemed less exciting than a more offensive school, it will save your life where the others can hardly do anything for you. And the second one, because once you have mastered your runes, there is nothing more entertaining than enchanting your whole outfit, your house, your pets and your brooms - and it would give any eager student the excitement and sense of reward necessary to progress. Once those two ‘starting’ schools have been tapped into, I would move on to Illusion and Conjuration, before gradually working my way up to Evocation and Transmutation. You will notice that I left out Divination, and it was very much purposeful: contrary to popular belief, it’s an extremely volatile and dangerous school, that I think should only be poked at once you have become a fairly confident mage. Finally, a humble reminder that very few of us master all of these schools flawlessly, and that most arcanists will specialise over the years in one, maybe two of them at the expense of the rest. Yet, one must not sink into contemptuous and potentially lethal disregard for the basics of defensive schools, nor become obsessed in controlling everything; there is practicality in being a Jack-of-All-Trades, but little in being a master of none. In the study of arcane, just like in any other field of study -and maybe even more so-, there is a balance to be found between how long you think your wand is, and how long it -actually- is. Yes, that was a pun. You really don’t have to print it. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: What security measures should one take, either an individual or an academy, to make learning safe? Director Moonblaze: Learning cannot be safe. Even if we wrapped our students in thick cocoons of wards and silk paper, even if we focused solely on making a few snowflakes in a storm spin the other way, even if we built our academies behind the tallest walls and had them watched by the grumpiest spellbreakers, the art of weaving the arcane is nothing but that of twisting reality. It extracts a heavy toll of yourself, on the very fabric of the universe, and has the potential to wipe us all out - as it nearly did, several times over. Take it from a living fossil, who saw the high towers of Zin-Azshari sink and the most powerful mages of his time being obliterated by swarms of demons: arcane is the opposite of safe. Finally, with power always comes the threat of corruption and addiction - and such dangers can only be fought within ourselves. But I suppose learning a few warding runes can prevent setting a training ground or a colleague on fire, if that’s what you meant. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: Do you think it's possible for a person to learn magic on their own? Director Moonblaze: Most definitely some magic, as I did before I was taken into the azsharian Academy, but it would very likely hit a frustrating limit sooner than later. Books can do a lot for you, yet emulation, travels and good tutors are, in my opinion, all necessary steps in the making of a great mage. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: What books would you recommend for starting? Director Moonblaze: There are a few titles available here, in the Citadel’s Grand Library, which every student should have on their list or into their bag. “The Old Wizard’s Almanac”, “One the Virtues of Magic”, and the complete collection of “The Schools of Magic” are classics; “Beginner’s Guide to Dimensional Rifting”, by Metithus Leytracker, and "Thinking with Portals: A Memorandum on Proper Portal Usage”, for adept telemancers; “Polymorphic Rules and Regulations”, for little transmuting pests; so on and so forth. But I would recommend spicing up those relatively boring textbooks with some history, which is the specialty of the Curators. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: Which books of your own works do you think are easier? Director Moonblaze: WELL. This is a funny question to me, because most of my entry-level works were eaten, stabbed, flooded, crushed, stolen or dissolved in acid during the War of the Ancients, and thanks to the demons, we now appear to be stuck with what I visibly wrote in an arcane dust-induced extravaganza. Let me tell you, those days in the Academy were wild as fel…- Am I getting off-track? I feel like I am getting off-track. Ahem. "How Not to Accelerate Yourself Into Oblivion”, a textbook I wrote for adept chronomancers, did survive this whole apocalypse kerfuffle. My more recent works, alas, such as "Fluctuation, Distortion, Synchronization", are mainly aimed at experienced transmuters and amateurs of theoretical physics. But! I did start lecturing again this year, and most of my seminars were designed to keep my audience awake and sane, which includes beginners; I would recommend the one on dimensional travel and that on the two basic theories of time, the rest being pure bonuses if one is interested in ancient history or more advanced magics. You can get them at the Know-Lodge, here in Dalaran, to satisfy my publisher and keep that steady flow of royalties flooding my way. There is a whole budget and a half involved in maintaining my reputation as a drunk.