"Welcome Brithan. Please do come in." A woman's voice called from the other side of the door that Brithan was about to knock on.

Brithan opened the door and peered inside. As promised, he'd found a note on his door directing him to meet Maester Houlur's room. He'd only ever seen the Maester in passing.

The Maester's rooms seemed hardly lived in. Rows of neatly ordered books filled shelved that lined the walls of the Maester's Greeting room. The only other furnashing in the room was a low sitting glass table in the middle of a room with a clear bowl sitting upon it. There was a door that Brithan assumed lead into the bedroom.

"Please, take a seat." Maester Houlur was sitting with her feet tucked under her in front of the table. Brithan walked into the room and sat across from Houlur with his legs crossed in front of him.

"Congratulations on your advancement on your quest of becoming a Maester." Houlur's voice was like smooth silk. "Unfortunately we do not have much time before your Trial begins. I am here to help you prepare as best as I can. However," Houlur's voice took a more serious tone, "due to unexplained circumstances, many of my powers have been blocked and I can only describe to you what once I could easily demonstrate for you."

"I had heard rumors..." Brithan was cut off by a raised hand.

"There will be time to discuss that later. What we must first due is determine what your strong and weak points are. The Trials will test you on your Strength of Will, Body and Mind. You must be prepared to keep calm and stay focused in any situation. A mage who loses control of their powers is a danger to everyone."

"I must admit, Maester Houlur, that I am not very powerful when it comes to magic. My previous instructors believed that it was due to lack of focus, but I always thought that I was following their instructions to the best of my ability." Brithan felt heat rise to his cheeks. His lack of magical power was a sore spot for him and saying it out loud always sent feelings of shame racing through him.

"This fact is known to me, however, I beieve that you have more power then you think." Houlur gave Brithan a significant look. "I believe that you may be a special case, that your powers are focused more physically then mentally. More like a fire battle mage then the usual scrying water mage. Which is why they agreed to send you to me."

Brithan was speechless. Just the thought that there could be a chance for him to be able to actually do something with his powers was enough to send his mind reeling.

Houlur stuck one delicate finger in bowl in front of her and swirled it slowly around. "Brithan, you know what this bowl is used for, correct?

"It seems like a standard scrying bowl, full of purified water in a bowl of the finest glass." Brithan looked more carefully to see if he had missed anything on the bowl, but it seemed normal.

"Indeed." Houlur flicked a small amount of water out of the bowl, but instead of splashing to the table, the specks of water stopped and clumped into a slightly bigger orb. Houlur made a small gesture with her hand and the water instantly became frozen.

"I am one of the strongest Water Maesters residing in the Arcanum and I can not even conjur up a picture of my bedroom in a scrying bowl. However," Houlur held up her finger, the orb of ice drifted over and rested on the tip. "I can control large amounts of water to do my bidding." She demonstrated by causing the remainder of the water in the bowl to rise into a floating orb. With small movements of her hands, Houlur created a realistic looking water cast of Brithan, which she then froze and lowered onto the table in front of Brithan.

"How did you learn all of this, Maester? I've never heard of anything like this in my studies." Brithan's voice was full of undisguised awe.

"That's a story for another time. Just know that I came across a Maester while I was on my Journey and he took me under his wing." Houlur stood up gracefully. "As for right now, it is time that we learn some of your other talents outside of magic. The Trials aren't only for magic, but also to see if you can survive on your own without it. Please follow me." Brithan jumped to his feet and followed the Maester as she strode from the room.

Houlur led Brithan down a series of passageways. Brithan had rarely ventured to the Maester's quarters, his brief visits were limited tostrict message routes. The corridors Houlur walked through were completely foriegn to the Journeyman. The walls were completely white, with only a few doors along the walls. The only decorations were mage lamps hanging every few feet to keep the corridor well lit.

Houlur stopped at one of the doors. Brithan couldn't see anything different about this door from any of the others. It was plain with a silver handle, nothing about it marking it something special. But when Houlur opened the door, Brithan saw a wave of magical energy spread out from the door, it's blue tinge marking it as a Water spell. The other side of the door was completely black, the light from the lamps not reaching past the doorway.

"We're almost there. Be careful, we must go down several flights of stairs in complete darkness." Houlur continued on without looking to see if Brithan was following. She disappeared from view instantly as she walked through the threshold. Taking a deep breath at this strange occurance, Brithan controlled his sudden nerves and followed the Maester into the darkness.

"Listen carefully. I want you to create a solid block of air. Once you have done this, you are to sit upon this block and raise it up exactly 6 feet. As you hit each foot, you are to change the color within the block. You are to start clear and shift it to Red followed by blue, yellow, orange, green, purple, and clear again. This is to test your control and precision."

Gabryl just looked at Maester Florian in dismay. He'd arrived at the Maester's room 5 minutes previous to this announcement. Long enough for the Wind mage to introduce himself and briefly explain the Trials.

"Could you repeat the order of colors, Maester?"

Florian sighed which just increased Gabryl's dismay. "They told me that you are the best in your class. I do not like wasting time. I will repeat myself only once. You are to start with the block of air being clear and shift it from red to blue, followed by yellow, orange, green, purple, and finally clear again." Florian said in a mockingly slow tone.

Gabryl winced at the tone but also felt a surge of pride at being considered the best in his class. He cleared his mind and focused on making the block of air. The thought formed quickly and he smiled as he saw the block form in front of him. He climbed onto the block and looked down. He'd made it exactly a foot in size, to better judge the rise in height,

"Good. I will now blind fold you." When Gabryl looked at Florian in surprise, the Maester just chuckled. "Being able to see the rise and colors makes this a Novice test. You must be able to see it in your mind. One can be blinded at any time and must be able to focus with the loss of sight." Florian walked behind Gabryl and placed a black blindfold across his eyes.

Gabryl took a deep breath and focused on his block. He could do this, he had done complex spells for fun the previous year. He felt the block lift him slowly into air. At a foot height, he changed the color quickly to a brilliant red. Without stopping or slowing the block, he continued through the exercise, easily shifting the colors in his mind to match that of the Maester's pattern. Once he was confident that he was at 6 feet high on a clear block again, Gabryl pulled off the blindfold with a big grin on his face.

But when he looked down for further instructions, he saw Florian sprawled on the floor unconscious.

"Maester Florian? Maester? What happened?" Before Gabryl could lower the block, a wave of magical energy swept through the room disapating the block underneath him. He crashed to the ground with a short yell, cut off when his head struck the ground and sent waves of pain through Gabryl before the Journeyman passed out.