|The Battle Magi Trials of Ascension By Alex V.A.
Battle Magi are the elite champions of the city of Dweomer. This secret order of warriors are perhaps the greatest warriors in North America. Those who know of their existence do not speak likely of them even in boast. They call home the hell that is Alistair Dunscon’s Magic Zone, the most dangerous place in North America. Battle Magi are unlike any warrior that dwells on Rifts Earth. The path they walk while noble, is a path that ultimately lies in shadow. Their deeds go largely unsung, for few even know of their existence. They will never enjoy the adoration that a Cyber Knight knows, and can never truly escape the stigma of the Magic Zone, or the legacy of the Federation, yet they are champions of the Light and must be able to endure and triumph despite any adversity.
The Visions of Coran
It is said that the notion of a Battle Magus came to Coran in a vision. It is also said that visions of the three Brotherhoods of Dweomer is what brought the Lords of Magic to Rifts Earth. It is these same visions of the have created the Brotherhoods one Battle Magus, one High Magus, one Lord Magus at a time. The face of every initiate that pass through the gates of the Great Training hall, Coran has seen in his mind. It is these visions that forms basis of the selection potentials for the Brotherhood.
When Coran receives a vision the Brotherhood immediately starts watching the individual that appeared to Coran very closely. Months and years are spent watching and waiting. These possible candidates are referred to as “potentials” and this name exists for more than one reason. While the individual may be a potential candidate, they must also be allowed to realize a certain degree of their potential unguided by the Brotherhood to be considered for initiation. So while an individual may under the right circumstances have the potential to become one of the greats of the Brotherhood they will be passed by. A drive to be greater than oneself is perhaps the most important quality in a Battle Magus, and if a potential cannot achieve what little he can without guidance than he does not have what is necessary to become a Battle Magus.
When a potential has brought himself to a level of excellence (be it physical, or meta-physical) worthy of the Brotherhood he will be issued a summons to the palace of the Three and he will be offered initiation. Many have turned their backs on this offer, and with no shame. Those who live in Dweomer or know of the Battle Magi do not envy their lives or their duty to the city. While the citizenry adores them, it is for saving the populace from what the Battle Magi must face day in and day out for their entire lives. However if they choose to join they are bestowed the rank of initiate and the training begins.
Master and Apprentice
As long as the Brotherhood of Battle has existed, the relationship between initiates and their trainers has been master and apprentice. When Coran D’zir first came to Rifts Earth he had but one apprentice; Battle Magus Master Zagrius. Following Coran’s litany Zagrius took on 3 apprentices of his own, and when they achieved full rank they took on apprentices of their own, and so on and so fourth till present day. Every Battle Magus can trace the lineage of his Master back to Zagrius, and ultimately, Lord Coran.
A Battle Magus Master can train up to 3 apprentices at a time, and no more. Each Master has a distinctive style of teaching, with a unique emphasis on the different aspects of combat. For instance Master Zagrius prefers to train his apprentices as masters of melee combat, in which is magic secondary and primarily used for augmentation (fist of fury, adrenaline rush), defense and long ranged attacks. However battle Magus Masters such as Master Unias instruct their pupils to use magic as they’re primary resource for both offense and defense. They engage their enemies indirectly preferring to stay hidden (shadow meld, invisibility) and then crippling their opponents (magic net, carpet of adhesion) and finally destroying them with a salvo of magical attacks (barrage, meteor, desiccate the supernatural).
Over time as the principals of combat have been taught and handed down from master to apprentice and it became a tradition for masters to train apprentices in the manner in which they were taught and so the Battle Magus clans were born. As the clans grew they developed their own heraldry, history, distinctive fighting styles, and tactics. While there is little rivalry between clans, there is a stiff competition between initiates to be inducted into some of the more illustrious clans, such as Clan Siad; headed by Master Zagrius. All clans hold dear the precepts of Battle codified by Lord Coran, however all the clans have a unique perspective on how those precepts should be approached in life, and in actual combat conditions.
The Trials of Ascension
The final test of an initiate’s merit is the Trials of Ascension. Anyone with enough experience can be considered a warrior. However it is specifically the quality of character and command over one's faculties that separate a Battle Magus from any other warrior, and any other mage.
Each test is specifically tailored to the individual initiate and no test between initiates is ever the same. As described by Battle Magus Master Zagrius: "A Battle Magus must be able to hold all three of these aspects of himself in harmonious union and then, and only then will you be ready for the responsibility of a Battle Magus.” The Test of the Mind The Test of the Mind focuses on a initiate’s ability to reason, react and formulate solutions to any host of circumstances. This can range from (illusory) convoluted diplomatic relations, to complex puzzle solving, or something as cerebral as deciphering differing philosophical viewpoints, and then reconciling them. The Test of the Mind is often the most black and white of all the tests with few shades of grey for the initiate to hide in.
The Test of the Body The Test of the Body is the most grueling and physically challenging event an initiate will encounter in all of his training. Typically the initiate is faced by an opponent many times more experienced then himself and is literally in a life or death situation. Battle Magi who have survived this part of the test have reported fighting any assortment of opponents ranging from a Coalition ace power armor pilot, another Battle Magus, Deevil Wraiths or simply hordes of zombies. The opponents are typically physical but Battle Magi have told tales of fighting incorporeal enemies who could be defeated only by magic. In a straight combat situation a Battle Magus is beholden to no one. Cyber-Knights, Mystic Knights, and War-Born alike who have faced a Battle Magus can attest to their skill in battle. As a resident of the Magic Zone a Battle Magus is expected to be able to handle monstrous threats far out of their league if need be and the Test of the Body proves just that. If an initiate cannot complete this part of the training he will die failing.
The Test of the Soul The Test of the Soul is designed to determine the quality of the individual initiate. While not fatal this test has effectively ended the lives of many initiates. This test puts the very soul of the Battle Magus Initiate on trial, and tests the quality of the moral fiber. Many have walked away from this test broken and defeated, a pale shadow of what they were before this test. However many have walked away from this test reborn, their souls reforged in the crucible of whatever they faced during this dread trial.
Little is known about this test for most Battle Magi will never speak of it and some will openly admit to not understanding it at all. This is the final test a Battle Magus Initiate must pass before ascending to his full stature, and none who take this trial walk away unchanged.