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Author Topic: The Virtue of Surrender  (Read 6218 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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The Virtue of Surrender
« on: October 13, 2015, 04:48:29 PM »
The Sistarra Academy Graduate program's Apprentice Orientation of 1524 PE
Day One

Thousands of excited young mages fresh out of the academy sit in the stands of the arena, chattering excitedly amongst themselves. They have come a long way, and are ready to take the next step in their education, and their lives.

Magus Bellerax, professor of war magic, strategy and martial training at Sistarra Academy stands alone in the center of the arena. His voice booms all around, and the chatter stops as the apprentices all listen attentively.

"Welcome to the Arena. Here you will learn how to duel at a whole new level, for higher stakes, and higher rewards. Over the next few weeks I will be giving lectures to you here. You are not required to take notes, but it is...strongly encouraged. You will be tested on what is said here, in writing as well as in combat."

There is a pause as the Warlord lets his words sink in, before he continues.

"Today's lesson is one of the most important lessons you will learn in this class: the virtue of surrender. One does not become a powerful mage warrior by never losing a duel. If you have never lost, then you have never truly been challenged. If you have never lost, then you will never learn from your mistakes and grow stronger. There are causes worth dying for, and pride is not one of them. There is no shame in surrendering a truly unwinnable battle. Surrender today leads to victory tomorrow.

Furthermore, doing so saves time and money for everyone. Arena maintenance and healthcare services for participants comes out of public investment of the nations who sponsor the duel, and if there are no sponsors, the host nation must pay all expenses. That means that continuing to fight a duel that you cannot win wastes the time and money of your fellow Etherians, and when enough Mage Warriors are doing that, it can be very detrimental to the public good."

Bellerax's voice grows stronger and takes on a bitter, pained tone.

"In addition, when Mage Warriors continue to fight when they cannot win, it increases the death toll of the Mage Wars, which is terrible for international relations because it lends credibility to those who oppose the Mage Wars institution, and reflects poorly on the nations of the participants and of the arena itself. If the Mage Wars accords are ever overturned, global catastrophe will follow. The scale of magical warfare will dramatically increase and billions of innocent civilians will be caught in the crossfire.

When you represent your nation in the arena, your life is worth far more than you realize. Don't waste it.

Now you will be learning how to invoke the Rite of Surrender. It is very easy to use, so there should be no excuse not to have learned it by the end of this lesson. The instructions are on page 3. Begin."

Most people mastered the Rite in about five minutes. After fifteen minutes, pretty much all the students were proficient.

The bell tower sounded.

"That's it for today's lesson! For homework, read your entire textbook from cover to cover and write a summary of what you learned, to be handed in next time. Class dismissed!"

The textbook is a humongous thing of many pages and small print, titled "Encyclopedia of Dueling version IV".

Very few of the apprentice mages will be able to read through the whole book in a day, and even fewer will be able to retain enough to write a coherent summary. Of those, almost no one will understand enough to write a summary in their own words. The textbook largely contains the kind of information that is generally learned more from experience than books.

Magus Bellerax swiftly leaves the arena as the shocked silence gives way to uproar, hoping that the tiny minority of ridiculous geniuses who do understand it all, if there will even be any, will be smart enough to realize the point of this assignment.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2016, 01:57:45 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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