Claude went to the jetty that day after school. The small fishing boat was getting its final coat of paint. It would finally be ready to sail after drying for just five more days. Claude, Welikro, and Borkal went there to help Eriksson paint his beloved ship.
Eriksson went home and brought quite a lot of ingredients for the barbecue they had to celebrate its completion. They spent most of the night talking and eating before going home.
Claude got home late. His mother was already complaining by the time he closed the front door behind him.
"Why are you home so late? You hungry? There's something in the kitchen if you are."
Claude gave her a curt response before heading to the bathroom. He was just about to head to him room when the pup started calling for him from his sister's room, but a quick scolding silenced it.
He lit up his oil lamp, flipped open the diary impatiently, and started reading. He had to admit that reading the diary was a far more interesting read than the biographies of other famous people. One wouldn't see the famous people bring up their experience of being bullied in school, for one.
But after he read through only two pages, he jumped from his bed, far too surprised to process what he had just discovered. Landes had noted his meditation technique in detail!
He hadn't dreamt he would get his big break in a diary. If he had discovered it earlier, he would've already been meditating every night! He'd thought the diaries would be a mildly interesting read at best. He didn't think they would hold his key into the world of magic! That was twice now that a diary had answered his prayer!
Then again, if he was willing to waste pages on his bullies, why wouldn't he also record the details of his training?
Claude suppressed his excitement and forced his wide eyes back to the pages.
Landes wasn't above bragging, especially not in his diary. He was quite happy to write about how he was now leagues ahead of his bullies when it came to mastering magic. He'd graduated to becoming a first-ranked rune magus well ahead of them, and for a time they had to call him 'teacher' whenever they saw him.
As expected of a genius, Claude thought.
Nevertheless, Landes didn't fail to be thankful to Tawari, who had patiently taught him every step of the way. Without the older man's guidance, he would've never become a first-ranked rune magus so quickly.
An apprentice with elemental affinity of seven or eight would usually take a year or a year and a half to become a first-rank, and that was given the apprentice received their instructors' full guidance. It could take them three years otherwise, unless they managed to figure out the key to meditation themselves.
Becoming a battlemagus was more troublesome and took at least two years more. They had to train in other magic hand sigils and techniques alongside meditation and undergo extensive physical training.
Battlemagi candidates didn't have complicated relationships with their instructors, however. Battlemagi candidates were only students, but they would eventually become the comrades-in-arms of their instructors, and nobody wanted to breed bad relations with future comrades.
The female apprentice magus, for example, the one that had stayed in the tower for five whole years, didn't have a good talent for magic according to Landes. She only had an elemental affinity of six and should've been disqualified. But her rich family paid her evaluator off and she was brought to the tower when she was fourteen.
They continued to send money to the tower for the first three years, but somehow offended the tower in the fourth year. Loenk didn't bail them out, instead watching from the sidelines as they fell to ruin. The girl was stranded at the tower without any support as a result.
Now she no longer had her family's support, she suddenly struggled to learn due to her lack of talent. She was eventually forced to sell her body to the alchemy lab's supervisor to get his backing and protect her position in the tower. Despite his support from the shadows, she still failed to become a first-rank, and Loenk eventually said that if she couldn't pass the test by the time the turned twenty, he would chase her out of the tower.
She had only two choices if she failed: either become a tower slave, or go home.
Landes didn't understand why there was such a huge difference between people with different affinity scores. Had Tawari not strictly forbade him from sharing his knowledge of the meditation technique, he might've done so out of pity.
With nobody to brag to and with whom to share his, Landes could only write his feelings down. He had already become a third-rank when he penned his diary, but he still put those feelings to paper.
To mortals, magi were scary and mysterious figures who wielded supernatural powers and could control everything. They could easily use magic to kill the savage and ferocious magic beasts and construct structures and buildings commoners didn't even dare to imagine. They were the greatest beings in the world and were worshipped by mortals even more than the gods.
Landes described clearly and simply the source of a magus' power. Through training in meditation and absorbing the unseen, but present, elemental essences in the world, the magi converted and stored it as mana they could control. The key was to imagine one's body as a vessel. The more mana a magus could store, the greater their rank.
He noted a few mysteries Tawari had told him about the world of magic.
Magi from the first to fifth ring were considered low-order magi. The division between the fifth and sixth ring was also the divider between the low and middle order. Both meditation and the effects of spells changed after crossing that divide. The knowledge required to break through was entirely monopolised by the white sterling magi. In Faslan, the fifth ring was the limit for common-born magi.
Magi of the sixth to eighth ring were mid-order magi. Loenk, a seven-ring magus, was one of them, and he was one of the elite and a member of the magic government. Nine-ring to twelve-ring magi were high order. There were currently only seven nine-ring magi in Faslan and the Council of Nines was the highest authority in the entire world. No magus dared to disregard their orders.
According to legend, magi above twelve rings had set their first foot in godhood. There hadn't been any that made it to that level in the last two millennia. Grand Archmagi were nothing but legends by Landes' time.
The key to becoming a proper magus was mastering meditation. With the shortage of magic resources getting worse, every effort had been exerted to weed out inefficient techniques.
Only three mediation techniques were made available to low-order magi and were chosen specifically because they didn't use any materials. Training alone, and some luck, was all one needed to get five rings.
Landes had drawn a complete hexagrammic diagram of the meditation formations in his diary. It and its corresponding meditation technique were collectively known as hexagram meditation.
When an apprentice began training, he had to relax his body and empty his mind of all thoughts while remaining conscious. Once he could do that, he should be able to feel the void and visualise the hexagram. His most affinite element's energy would be gathered by the hexagram. He then had to direct the energy to the hexagram's tips then gather it in his body as mana.
Once the apprentice could use the mana he stored in his body to affect the world around him -- excluding his own body -- he was considered a one-ringer.