Jude’s Sorcerous Academy

22 Dec

Jude’s Sorcerous Academy – more commonly called simply Jude’s – is the largest school of magic within the Kingdom of Tintagel and one of the largest on the continent of Maxima.

Jude’s was founded as a basic school of magic shortly after Shallot was incorporated as a city within the Thousand-Year Empire, a place designed to train magicians and identify students who might benefit from a scholarship to the Eternal City. It was considerably smaller in those days, although the school purchased vast tracts lands around the original building (accounting for its presence within South Shallot). It wasn’t until the civil war that put an end to the Thousand-Year Empire that Jude’s started to take on the character we know today; one of the premier magic schools within the continent.

The original building was relatively small. However, as the school grew, more and more wings and buildings were added to the mix, giving the school a somewhat chaotic appearance. Other buildings were swallowed up by the expanding school or pressed down and used as the base for other buildings. The interior of the school is a maze, an absolute headache for new students who find it hard to navigate. Now, vast swathes of the school are disused and, technically, sealed off. However, bright students can and do find ways to explore the disused sections of the building.

Technically, the school is run by the Triad; three magicians, appointed by Magus Court, who make up the school board. Practically, the school is administered by the Castellan, who generally has the final say in everything from class timetables to discipline. Below him, each subject has two to four teachers, who sort out their own pecking order.

Students generally enter Jude’s at twelve, after they pay the admission fees (or win a scholarship). Upon arrival, they are sorted into single-sex dorms – roughly ten students to a dorm – which will be their home for the next year. (Jude’s does not admit day pupils.) The students will be resorted every year, ensuring that each student will know nearly everyone of consequence within his or her year. Most students will remain friends with their dormmates even after they are separated by the resort.

Socially, students are divided into lowerclassmen (12-16) and upperclassmen (17-19). The upperclassmen are expected to keep an eye on the lowerclassmen, teach them how to be students and maintain discipline, although some upperclassmen take the duties more seriously than others. Fifth Years are often assigned to supervise First Year dorms, at least for the first five months. After that, the students are expected to elect their own dorm supervisors (although the elected student can be stripped of position by the staff, if they prove to be a bad choice). Upperclassmen have authority to order the younger students about (sending them to fetch or carry, for example) or administer punishments – writing lines, detentions, etc – at will, though it must be noted that abuse of this power draws serious consequences. It’s generally agreed that drawing the attention of the teachers – particularly the Castellan – is a bad idea.

Most social groups congregate around the children of the aristocracy, mimicking the patron-client relationships that shape the city outside the walls. Aristocratic children often trade help and support to common-born children in exchange for their service, although such patterns don’t always continue once the students have graduated. It’s rare for a patronage network to include older or younger students, which can be a shock to the leader when he/she graduates and discovers that he/she is back at the bottom (although someone with the right birth is already quite high up the ladder.)

Friendships between the years are rare and friendships between upperclassmen and lowerclassmen are almost unknown. Even older siblings will generally ignore their younger siblings at school.

The typical weekday starts with breakfast, which is held between 0700 and 0830. Classes start at 0900, each one normally an hour or two long. Lowerclassmen take their lunch at 1200; upperclassmen have theirs at 1300. Classes end for the day at 1630, followed by homework, private study and afterschool detentions. Students generally take their dinner between 1700 and 1900; Lights Out is at 2100, whereupon all lowerclassmen are expected to be in their dorms. Sneaking out after Lights Out is an old tradition, but so is unpleasant detentions if caught.

Lowerclassmen generally study a number of subjects, including Charms, Potions, Forging, Protective and Defensive Magic and Ethics of Magic. Each student is required to show both an understanding of the theory and practical skills before they pass the class. Assuming they pass their end-of-year exams, they will be allowed to go on to the next level. Upperclassmen have more focused studies, depending on what they want to do with their lives. A prospective Potions Master, for example, will limit his studies to useful classes.

Lowerclassmen have relatively little freedom. They are not allowed to leave the school during term time, save in emergencies. They do attend dances and suchlike, but such events are designed more to teach the social graces than have fun. Upperclassmen have considerably more freedom – they can leave the school to attend social events, for example – yet they are almost always chaperoned within the school. Student romance is not precisely discouraged, but it can be scandalous if it gets out of hand (particularly as very few student romances last once the students graduate).

Students are generally expected to uphold the ethos and traditions of the school at all times. On an open level, this includes practicing magic and pushing the limits of the possible; on a more covert level, this includes upholding traditions and practices that seem a little odd to the outside eye. Students are expected to solve problems themselves, instead of sneaking to the staff; students push and pull at each other all the time, testing what they can and cannot do (or get allowed to do.) Some of these traditions are weird, but harmless; students often discover a rival in their dorms they can match themselves against. Others can be dangerous, if – when – such a relationship gets out of hand.

A student is expected to be honourable and keep his/her word at all times. There may be no contracts or oaths worked into patronage relationships running through the school, but a reputation for dishonourable behaviour – not repaying favours, for example – can haunt a student long after leaving school. An upperclassman who makes use of a particular lowerclassman for errands is expected to repay the lowerclassman, perhaps in scholarly assistance or education in the social graces. Most consequences for exploitive behaviour are unofficial, but non-the-less real.

Despite its location, Jude’s is meant to be politically neutral. The Great Houses do vie for power over the school, as it gives them the chance to identify promising newcomers and recruit them, yet it is generally agreed that such power will not be exploited too far. Family feuds do sometimes cast a long shadow over Jude’s, but the Castellan normally keeps them from getting too far out of hand. Hexing one’s family’s enemies is traditional and allowed, actually trying to kill them is not.

4 Responses to “Jude’s Sorcerous Academy”

  1. Ann December 23, 2017 at 4:14 am #

    It seems strange that elder family members (or elder patronage families) don’t help their younger peers or aid hindering their opponents actively or passively even if secretly. And it does happen – Cat got forging gear brought in by an elder patronage linked upperclass member. A highly socially seeking upperclass student would consider their future in their interactions with the juniors as they will eventually be his/her superiors..

    • Phil December 23, 2017 at 11:11 pm #

      It seems to stem at least partly from a concept of “letting them stand on their own” kind of like in the Schooled in Magic series where authority figures (even one’s parents) are not expected to step in and pull their child out of trouble. The expectation is that the students will settle their own conflicts and this prevents a wider conflict from breaking out between the powerful families/patron-client networks. Of course, there are probably subtle plays being made and perhaps an older sibling might make sure that the fight is as equal as it can be (for example, giving their younger sibling some critical advice/training so they don’t ‘shame the family name’) but overt action would suggest that the younger person is incapable of fighting their own battles.

      As for Cat getting help, she is a very unique case. There is no reason for an upperclassman to really befriend a underclassman in most circumstances. The underclassman are years away from having anything resembling real power so they have effectively nothing to offer. Sure their parents might appreciate you helping their kid pass Potions, but that isn’t going to get you much credit with them. Cat is in the unique position of being (to current date) the only one of her kind. Her ability to craft true Objects of Power and repair existing ones puts her in a league of her own when it comes to generating value. Even the wealthiest and most powerful patronage networks desperately want her services.

      • chrishanger December 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

        That is true, pretty much. There’s little that Alana can do – now – for upperclassmen (certainly nothing that would be worth the social costs of trying to forge an allience) but Cat is a different story.

        Chris

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Which School of Magic Is For You? — Jude’s Academy - SuperversiveSF - February 24, 2018

    […] In seeking out more about this august institution, we find this on Mr. Nuttall’s blog: […]

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