Reblogged from Tallis Steelyard:
I remember chatting to old Varsung Baldwig. Given he was, in some way, a mage; I asked why there were so few mages. He was puffing away at that old pipe of his at the time, mainly because it gave him time to gather his thoughts.
“Well Tallis my boy it’s like this. You raise an interesting philosophical point. Anybody planning to go into usury no doubt sees the risks, but for a young apprentice clerk what are the chances of ending as a man of wealth and station, and what happens if you don’t? Does one individual in a hundred make the grade? One in a thousand? But those who fail to achieve wealth will still live decent enough lives, achieve modest prosperity and die in old age surrounded by their grieving families.”
“For mages, I remember talking to an old friend of mine who studied at the Magistrorum in Meor. They reckon that pretty well everybody who enters the Magistorum in the hope of a good degree sees themselves as mage material. Take a thousand of these and perhaps nine-hundred and fifty will leave the Magistorum with a blue gown having gained a decent degree. No more than a hundred of these will be accepted as suitable for further study, and of those, fifty will live through the first year, twenty-five will survive the second and no more than ten will live through the third. Yet at this point they will still be young, few of them more than twenty-five years old. The ten will have the power to live a life of ease, yet very, very few chose to stop at that stage. They will experiment more and push their boundaries, testing their art. So that of the ten perhaps five will see their fiftieth year. Then comes the great test, having the strength to accept potentially eternal life and the skill to achieve it. Of the five, one will succeed, if that, which means that of a thousand would-be mages only one is likely to see his, or her, seventy-fifth year. I suggest that usurers take a safer path.”
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