Dying of the Light
The World is a cage of invisible bars. You cannot see them but you feel them everyday. Breaking the bars is easy. Bending yourself to fit through is harder. But there are always more cages. You will not truly be free until you build your own cage around the world. Only then can you smile and throw away the Key.
The Cage is a mystery to many. The youngest fully-fledged mage school and far from the usual trade routes, atop the Evangliaea mesa far in the Southeast the Cage has neither the prestige of the Covenant nor the size and reputation of the Tower of Flame. It teaches no philosophies, advances no religions and does not aim to increase apprentice numbers or fill its coffers. The motives of the Cage mages are mysterious and unknown. They live simple ascetic lives in their well-kept glade at the heart of the most populous, overcrowded city in the east.
The White mages rarely venture forth but when they do they are likely to be found at one of their many hidden refuges, isolated from the world. Sometimes, rarely, recent graduates take a few years away from the academy, usually using their advanced knowledge of geometries and arcana to design and build better structures in isolated communities. Their goals, if any are as always inscrutable.
The white mages begin training at an early age. Children from Evengliaea and surrounding pour once a year into the high-city for the rite of selection. Most do not possess the Gift yet they still hope to impress the white mages with their grasp of arts and (more rarely) sciences, for the most impressive gift-less candidates receive a scholarly stipend from the Cage to further their studies. The few lucky enough to be selected enter a rigorous training program that has very little to do with the actual practice of magic. The children are instructed in Martial arts and Geometry for years before they get taught the basics of magic.
The resulting mages are strange creatures indeed. Silent to the point of being considered mutes by many, incredibly agile and above all with a superhuman understanding of force magic. Any hedge mage can learn to manifest force shards or lift an object with their mind but White Mages can use their manifested vectors as well as their own limbs, if not better. They can lift a single blade of grass or a boulder the size of a house. They can delicately peel an aranga fruit or slice through ten armoured men. They can manifest a wall of force or morph said wall into any shape that they desire.
There is very little that a graduate of the Cage cannot do with magic in general and force magic in particular. The true question it seems is why don’t they? What do these silent recluses train for so adamantly and why don’t they spread their magic and discipline all over Tramath?