When a sorcery student matures and they have spent at least at year abroad, they may be approached by a master of their college to serve them with the rank of apprentice. They will only be approached if their skill is great in their college of focus, if their exploits are notable, if they have not brought shame on their element, and if a master is willing to take them on.If they are approached by a master, they will be summoned to the great city of Eman on the isle of Emancia to take the challenge of the Journeyman Conundrum. The Journeymen left a number of these magical labyrinths in Shadora and one sits below the city of Eman near the Vaults of Knowledge…
Arghmon and Prospero step from the arch and find yourself in the receiving hall on the University grounds. You look out the window and see the vast cluster of buildings where you know the world’s greatest minds are at work. Your masters step forward to greet you.
Yarela Flamedreamer, the tall, wiry, bald wizard of fire that has agreed to train Arghmon steps forward and greet you with a firm handshake. You notice that his long black beard and mustache have been singed and burnt in few new spots since he appeared to you in the adventurer’s guild. His piercing brown eyes and dark smooth skin remain unblemished and he still carries his black obsidian staff that bears a large glowing fire ruby on its top.
“Come Arghmon, we have much to prepare and precious little time. Good day master Balardus.”
“Good day Master Yarela. And good day to you Prospero! It is such a pleasure to meet you in the flesh.”
Master Abu-Balardus wraps you in a great bear hug and you notice that he smells of fresh dirt. He is short and strong of build with short, straight blond hair, light brown skin, and sharp green eyes. His throat bears the scar of what appears to have been a terrible animal bite. His warm smile is missing a few teeth and when he raised his left hand you noticed that he is missing 3 fingers. In his right hand he still bears a gnarled wooden staff with the likeness of a hummingbird carved on the top that bears emeralds for eyes. The large black raven, Olohad, is perched on his shoulder.
“Come we must make ready for your test! This way.”
Traveling the conundrum is an intricate walking ritual which casts both the Create Familiar and the Apprentice Bonding Spells. The Spells are cast once the student emerges safely from the dark maze. Within the maze the Apprentice Candidate will encounter their Familiar and must prove themselves worthy via a series of tests that the Conundrum chooses. The tests are unique for each student and are considered a deeply personal journey. The candidate may only take their staff and attuned magic into the maze. The challenges will test the candidate’s power, knowledge and skill within their element. Many take the test, most fail and some die. Those that survive sacrifice find themselves bound to both their Familiar and their new Master.
At the entrance of the Eman Conundrum stands a small statue of Eman Zelen, the First wizard after which all the Eman are named. The statue’s face appears to smirk at the viewer. The statues inscription is written in the Journeyman tongue as. “Behold! The perpetual learner approaches.” Most believe that this message is a subtle reminder of the sorcerer’s paradox of discipline and humility: The discipline to study constantly and continue learning, and the humility to realize that their learning will never be complete.
All these thoughts enter your head as you think back to your early day as a student under the local master Hemdon in your home city of Oldmere. You remember he used to say it was his greatest memory, the day he emerged from the Conundrum. Hemdon was the one that suggested a tour of duty as a battle caster in the army of Velu in their war against the accursed Lazuri.
Over 100 students line up outside the great cave mouth that is the start of the conundrum. Their expressions range from anxious to confident to terrified. You all enter the conundrum together and immediately find yourself in separate chambers. Your master is with you. “Conserve your power, you will need every last bit. If you fail and live, you may take the test again next year. If you pass, you will be a full apprentice. If you fail and die, you will not be resurrected.” You master casts a light spell on your staff, bids you farewell and disappears around a corner. You are left standing alone in the gloom far below the earth…