Martin left the train station and let down his bag. He looked up at the sunny sky and stretched his muscles. This would be his home for the coming years while he studied to become a registered mage. His training had already started: it was expected of a new trainee to get to his master's office without using magic, which was why Martin had travelled by train.
To any passer-by, Martin looked just like any other new student at the University: eighteen years old, casual clothing, large duffel bag. But Martin would not be attending classes at the University: Martin was a mage and he would study under his master for as long as it would take to receive his license as a registered mage.
In 1987, magic made its re-entry in the world. Magic had ceased to be something from old fairy-tales: it was here, now, and could affect many lives in very real ways. Perhaps 'magic' was the wrong term to describe what mages did. Not the cumbersome spells of legends, the endless quests for the right formula for a certain effect. Rather, a mage could change reality by wanting it changed.
The revelation that such things existed caused quite an uproar. The population at large wasn't prepared to accept the fact that some individuals could succeed at anything, if they wanted to succeed bad enough. Everybody who had been successful in business or arts was regarded with suspicion: perhaps they were mages too and perhaps they had manipulated those around them to gain that success.
In order to quell the rising civil unrest, the governments of the world petitioned the UN to codify what mages could and could not do. A year later, this resulted in the Declaration of Mage Rights, which most countries ratified. Martin knew the Declaration by heart: even though he was only eighteen, many times he had explained what it meant to be able to use magic. His citizen's rights were guaranteed by the Declaration, but it also set firm limits to what a mage could or could not do.
Most mages were content to just go about their daily business, but a few mages tried to pass the registration exam. With a registration, it was possible to set up a practice to help other people using magic. Martin would be studying hard to become a registered mage: the most visible of mages and the best PR for all mages.
Martin smiled: his new life had begun. Actually, it had already begun before, when he had decided to pursue a career as mage. He had been here in this city before, with his parents, to search for a place to live. He also had met his instructor, master Overwater. Had he been born five years earlier, he would have gone to university like most other students. The study of magic was a booming
field of research and it was thought that mages who studied the nature of magic would make good registered mages.
But magic was no science: instead of using prescribed formula or incantations, a mage needed strong emotions above all. As such, magic was an art and art can't be taught by merely analysing it. While the study of magic continued unabated, registered mages were now educated by older, more experienced mages. It was a bit like the medieval guilds: masters took on trainees who learned the trade from them. In the end, the trainee would cast a difficult spell, literally his masterpiece. If the trainee demonstrated finesse when casting the spell and performed according to his master's wishes, he was then entered in the
register and allowed to set up his own practice.
I'm a bit concerned it's a bit too heavy on the 'info-dumping'. Comments?