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Literature / Mage Errant

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A fantasy series by author John Bierce.

Set in the magic school of Skyhold, the story starts from the perspective of Hugh of Emblin. Despite his ineptitude at magic, he has been chosen as one of three apprentices of an eccentric mage. In fact, all three apprentices have been deemed inept or impossible to train.

The story unfolds as Hugh and his classmates start discovering and training their unusual talents to tackle their year-end final exam - exploration of the first level of the Labyrinth beneath Skyhold.

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There are two books in the series so far:

  • Into the Labyrinth (2018)
  • Jewel of the Endless Erg (2019)


This series provides examples of:

  • Awesome but Impractical: An aversion. All three apprentices end up learning techniques that the majority of the mage population consider impractical because of their special conditions.
  • Mana: All magic is done through absorbing mana from the surrounding area, and channeling it through a caster's body to "attune" it to the caster's element/s. A person usually casts from his reservoir of mana and it refills slowly over time. Certain areas (such as Skyhold) have an enormous amount of mana that can be absorbed. Other areas are virtual mana "deserts".
  • Paper Master: A large number of Skyhold's librarians are paper mages. They are usually deemed to be of not much use on the battlefield. Alustin, who is an exceptionally powerful one, would beg to differ.
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  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Talia is descended from a line of powerful fire mages. Her solution to combat is always "set it on fire".
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