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Kordera, as I mentioned many times before is a school of learning dedicated to teaching those with magic talent how to properly and safely apply their magical abilities to their lives. Magic is a very, very dangerous force. An untrained magic-user could hurt or kill themselves or others with a badly applied spell. Beyond that, the ability to use magic also requires talent and needs a lot of training and practice to be any good at it.

All races (except gnollen) have the capacity to use magic – orcs and tallis rarely use elemental magic, rather focusing on the use of spiritual and draconic magics, but there are a few elemental mages in these races. While Kordera isn’t a necessity in the life of a mage, most parents upon realizing their child has talent, will try to reach out to the university (or one of its satellite colleges) for assistance.

Upon enrollment at Kordera, a student is given a dorm room in either the west or east building. Each room is for one student, and the dorms themselves aren’t segregated by age or sex. The east building can hold 200 students and the west can hold 240 students. Each floor of the dorms has two rooms reserved for one of the university’s instructors, and the other instructors stay in the upper floor of the main building. Students remain in the university for most of the year, with allowance to visit family on holidays and over a month vacation every three months. The lowest floor of each dorm holds a dining hall and several study halls.

The main building is a four-story tall building shaped like an E. The lowest floor holds the majority of the classes, while the upper floors have libraries, administrative offices, and a few other classrooms. The highest floor is reserved for the instructors to sleep in, with a dining hall in one wing of the main building.

Classes at Kordera range from simple practical applications of magic – how to use magic, how to control spells, learning spells themselves – as well as history of magic, theories of magic, and various magical cultural information – such as the draconic, spiritual, or summoning magics of the tallis, orcs, and sem respectively. These different classes also fulfill the other educational requirements – such as mathematics, science, history, grammar, and humanities – that other colleges give their students. Students are expected to take four classes a semester, and depending on the level and age of the student upon enrollment at the university can spend as little as three years or as much as ten years at the school. Students younger than 10 are rarely admitted.

After completing the entire curriculum – everything from simple cantrips to high-level magical applications – the students are graduated and given the title of Practicing Mage. This title gives them certain privileges, and an identification as having graduated a very rigorous magical study program. Most graduates will find one of the mages’ guilds in the city and continue their training and skills while making some money from tasks given by the guildmaster. Some will return to the university as instructors.

While study and learning are the major goal of the university, students are also encouraged to make friends and play. Between the two dorm buildings is a large field where sports are played – often between the dorms as a friendly rivalry. While magic is encouraged as a form of practice, students are asked to refrain from any spells that might damage the facilities. The nearby town of Kordera has several taverns, shops, and theatres – places that older and younger students can go to get away from the hard work of training at the college. The proximity to the river also offers some respite – simply to walk along its shores or engage in swimming, fishing, or other fun.

Most importantly, Kordera does not accept money for its training. A student need only show a desire to learn and competence as a mage, and the university will accept the student to their ranks. All facilities and food and monetary requirements are provided by extremely generous donations from the mages’ guilds, the church of Creation, and nobles in the various cities.

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The Nature of Balance

I’m gonna take a quick break from the Nation description to explain a very important thing to my stories. Let me grab a lengthy quote from one of my commentators, Stevarious:

As far as the (sort of) dualistic major deities, I really like what you’ve done here. So much of reality is, on the surface, binary – day and night, light and dark, ignorance and knowledge, war and peace – shoot, proton and electrons, matter and energy. Why would there be only one major deity responsible for all these opposites?

Except, if you look deeper, things aren’t really binary – and thus the third godhead. Day, night – twilight. Ignorance, knowledge – the student or the apprentice. War, peace – cold war. Protons, electrons – neutrons.

The third major god is subtle, hard to find, easy to deny even it’s existence as a third option. So many see it as just a halfway measure – but as the atom shows, neutrality is a position all it’s own, with it’s own weight and purpose.

This description is exactly right. The World of Dramoth Gilead is one of balance. Everything has its opposite. The opposite of the city-building, orderly humans are the nomadic, chaotic orcs. The opposite of the down-to-earth, communion with nature elves are the cloud cuckoolander, binding of nature tallis. But for every opposite there is a third thing, a pivot or a fulcrum as you would. The human-orc opposition has the mesan – who are both nomadic and dwell in permanent homes. The elf-tallis opposition has the gnollen – industrious, yet honoring nature.

That’s what’s so intersting about my world. If you look at all my stories it’ll be very difficult to notice, but there’s always a third power engaged there. Something that doesn’t truly help either side, but serving a great importance to the story as a whole. I’ll try to spoiler out the plot of the first novel to show:

So the bad guy is doing bad things while the good guys are trying to stop him from doing these bad things. While good and bad things are happening, there are several minor subplots that shape the story, that certain good guys would not be in the story at all if they didn’t happen, and that if these good guys weren’t in the story, the bad guy would have a different path which may have been unseen.

Those subplots are the agents of Unity. Some of them are really sad, some of them are merely business as usual. If not for these – the story would be missing key individuals who help the story as a whole finish.

That’s balance, that’s the nature of Dramoth Gilead. It’s interweaved throughout the entire lifeblood of the world. Stories, legends, and peoples would be vastly different if not for the third element.