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Academic magic is a form of magic in the Emelan Universe. It is very similar to the Gift, a type of magic in the Tortallan Universe, as it is directly linked to the power vested in the user and not in the surrounding world, as opposed to ambient magic. It usually requires incantations and physical catalysts in order to perform it, but is far more limited by these parameters than the Gift. The three signs of an academic mage are telekinesis (moving objects with one's mind), creating images in fire, and causing objects to glow. Most academic mages display at least one of these talents at a young age.

Discovering Mages

Finding academic magic in others is easier than finding ambient magic as the magic is within them and can be visible to people who can see magic. Ambient magic is more difficult to detect, yet talented magic seers have been able to sight it, such as Niklaren Goldeye.

Sometimes, families bring their children to what are called "magic sniffers" so they can look at the child and see if they have magic. The Chandler family of Capchen did this with Trisana Chandler, but the mage sniffers were unable to find her academic magic, as her extremely powerful ambient magic blocked it. And, since they were unable to detect ambient magic, being academic mages, she was deemed to not have magic.


Acadmic magic can be learned at the University of Lightsbridge in Karang, the Swanswing University in Hatar, or Winding Circle temple in Emelan. There are probably other schools and universities that also specialize in the teaching of academic magic. Prospective mages much possess magic of some kind, be it academic or ambient magic. To determine whether or not a student is eligible, the student is tested by experiences mages skilled at seeing spells, called "Magic Sniffers".

It's important to note that academic magic can be taught at Winding Circle Temple in Emelan. It is a common misconception that all academic mages go to Lightsbridge, and all ambient mages go to Winding Circle. It is just a different sort of life, as Winding Circle is mostly temple life, while Lightsbridge is university life.

Known Academic Mages

  • Niklaren Goldeye is an academic great mage, and a main character. His specialty is vision magic.
  • Ishabal Ladyhammer is considered a academic great mage. Her specialty is curse-weaving.
  • Quenaill Shieldsman - protective magics, great mage
  • Glakisa Irakory - academic mage, young, unknown specialty
  • Dedicate Skyfire - academic fire mage (possibly a great mage)
  • Jangbu Dokyi - academic stone mage, likely a great mage as First Dedicate of the Living Circle religion
  • Heluda Salt - academic lawkeeper mage, perhaps a great-mage
  • Yarrun Firetamer - a second-generation academic fire mage
  • Wulfric Snaptrap — academic harrier-mage
  • Trisana Chandler — an ambient weather mage who taught herself academic magic. She is capable of performing both by the time she is eighteen. While almost certainly a great-mage in ambient weather magic, it is unknown how skilled she is in academic magic.

The mages of Yanjing and Gyongxe are almost exclusively academic, although the shamanistic forms of magic are common among the tribal peoples and temple folk of Gyongxe. The Yanjingyi mages doubt that ambient magic even exists, and have little to no way of detecting or defending themselves from it.

It is possible to possess both the academic and ambient forms of magic. However, while ambient mages can learn academic magic and often apply its principles to their work, academic mages do not possess the inherent ability to learn ambient magic. Ambient magic is known to block academic magic when it is not controlled. It is likely that since Tris is capable of performing academic magic, her foster-siblings are as well.

Types of Academic Magic

Numerous specialties in academic magic are mentioned throughout the Circle of Magic Books, including fire magic, vision magic and harrier magic.

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