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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.

I swear I’ll get to the post about the two islands soon. But just before I do, I think I should do a quick explanation about this event: the Cataclysm. I’ve mentioned it a few times, and from the name it definitely suggests a terrible event with dire consequences. But just what was the Cataclysm?

Around 2000 years after creation (remember, the people were created with knowledge and culture ready to advance) the people began to advance their technology. Prior to this, the world went through a few different cultural awakenings – from what would be the equivalent of classic Greek and Roman periods, to the early Medieval, to the Renaissance and Exploratory phase of the world, and up to about the early Technological Revolution. Science, industry, and technology began to boom, and the people advanced far beyond their previous cultures. It was a technological goldmine. Though Cathemega – due to the influence of the magic around it – retained a lot of the Renaissance-like atmosphere, it still had some technological awakenings of its own.

All throughout the vast majority of the world, people were using tech to a greater level than they ever used to. They became advanced in science to know the genome, to know about methods to exploit the land for all it was worth. Though they never developed much past electric engines, they were manipulating genetics to actually create new beings. They were on the cusp of developing internal combustion engines when all went wrong.

Magic, as I’ve mentioned, is an energy source. It’s able to be tapped into, able to be used. When one doesn’t use energy, it backs up – it has nowhere to go. While people were enjoying a technological revolution the likes of which had never been seen before, magic was not being used (except very sparingly in Cathemega and places around it.) One morning in the capital of the Freeworld, there was a loud crack, and the earth split apart along the ley line of life.

All along its length, people were hit by terrifying magical effects – icy storms, electrical explosions, bursts of light, and unnatural darkness. Other effects manifested throughout the entirety of the rest of the world (except Cathemega, which remained safe.) Cities began to crumble, destroyed by the effects of the magics around them. Many hundreds of thousands of people died, and even more were stranded with nowhere to go. The earth itself began to split and pull apart, fracturing the Freeworld into many large islands rather than the cohesive continent of its past.

Then, the plumes appeared. When all quieted down, the populous thought they were safe. Rebuilding efforts began as scientists tried to determine what had gone wrong. The missing were being counted, people were trying to get back to their homes, others were trying to get to the port cities to escape. Late in the evening on the third day after the beginning of the terror, the earth began to rumble again. The central capital shook and quivered like never before, and as people fled from their homes and the towers, the earth ripped open and a great hole opened in the ground. Gouts of magical energy pulsed out of the ground, filling the air with the thickest, blackest night they’d ever seen. A few minutes later – and a few hundred miles north – a similar energy pulsed, covering the earth with light that blinded and burned. This continued along every major trunk, at every single point where the magical energies ceased.

With that last burst, that last shudder, the planet calmed. The few survivors of the Cataclysm tried to leave, to go to Cathemega to make a new home, but they were stopped by a great wall of rocky reefs. They ran out of food on these ships, and eventually storms, waves, or the reefs claimed their lives. The ones who didn’t flee found a similar fate, as their food stores ran out and riots began. Farming was impossible, as the world had changed dramatically. Outside of Cathemega, there were only a few tiny settlements that popped up again, but soon died out.

The world had ripped itself apart, sparing only the heart of magic.

I’ll get to the post about Cathemega next. But for now I have to explain this, otherwise you may be a little confused.

Grab a globe, or load Google Earth on your computer. I’ll wait.

Got it? Good. Now, find… oh, I dunno… Fiji will do (it’s north of New Zealand.) From this island, draw – in your mind if you don’t want to wreck your globe – a line extending to the east ending in Brazil, a line extending to the west ending in Angola, a line extending to the north ending in Russia, and a line extending to the south looping over Antarctica and ending about the south Atlantic somewhere. Congratulations, you’ve just drawn an approximation of the major ley line trunks.

Each of these trunks contain the energies of five of the major elements. The north trunk contains Life, Darkness, Light, Summer, and Winter. The west contains Holy, Moon, Sun, Earth, and Wind. The south contains Death, the Void, Stars, Desolation, and Nature. The east contains Infernal, Fate, Dreams, Fire, and Water. Along these long trunks, each of these elements has a point at which its energies stop. These termination points end in the order mentioned. From the trunks themselves, extending towards Fiji, are spider webs of thinner tunnels of energy. They criss-cross underneath the surface of the planet, the energy itself expanding upwards and outwards as they go.

As you go along each of these trunks, magic becomes weaker. The elements a master wizard can cast become limited. Going west, for example, a wizard could cast earth spells up and until the end of that energy, at which point they’d only be able to cast wind, winter, water, and nature spells. Even more, the elements are weaker in their opposite directions naturally – so a water spell would be stronger cast east of Fiji than it would if it were cast west of Fiji.

The important thing is that there is one place in the world – one grouping of large islands – that is suffused with every elemental energy type. Every other continent on the planet exists with the lack of some elements or with weak magical natures. This one continent is the melting pot of magic, a place where even the lowliest mage can perform stunning magical feats.

That continent is Cathemega.