So your story is like Harry Potter then with magic and houses and stuff?
Ok, I’ll turn this into a bit of an info-dump post, so I hope you don’t mind, and thank you for asking about my story, Weaver of Threads.
The Black Citadel is more like a university than a school like Harry Potter, and the staircases definitely stay in the same place… The ‘cloisters’ more like individual colleges within the wider umbrella of the institution (think Oxbridge or Durham or other similarly-structured universities), where Magisters teach students in their own houses in small tutor groups, with larger and broader lectures taking place elsewhere. When mages arrive as novices, they have usually had a well-rounded education already, and novices are usually between the ages of 14-16.
Novice mages learn the basics of runic theory, which includes a lot of what might be comparable to our maths and physics, as they have to calculate the energy of a system, and the decay rate of the magic around the runic circuit, and that kind of thing. After their first year, they take their exams and those that pass go on to begin more practical study.
Apprentices are usually between 16-18yrs old, and High Accepted are kind of like post-docs or grad students, studying one specialism in preparation for becoming a full Black Sister or Brother.
Apprentices are those who have been raised to the colour-trimmed grey cloak, and they have chosen a cloister. Cloisters are like little microcosms within the larger institution, and they allow for more specialised study. Once a cloister has been chosen, they acquire a coloured hem to the cloak, and when they attain full black robes, they wear the colour of their cloister on the hem. Students pick an area of interest which is most closely aligned with a cloister:
Ankar - Yellow hem to black robe. Historians and
philosophers, they study the history of magic use, and tend to argue the ethics
of runic practice much more than using the runes themselves.
Meakon - Purple hem to black robe. Black Brothers and Sisters from this Cloister often end up in the highest circles of politics. They know the history of the Three Kingdoms like none other, and have a very good grounding in the politics and customs of other nations, and they study mathematics and economics too. Not much (rune) magic used. Mostly scholars and diplomats with average rune-magic training.
Furlocke - Orange hem to black robe. They are the drivers of industry and invention. They create all sorts of machines and systems including lighting etc. for mages and nobles, safes, heating systems, etc. Heavy use of rune magic and mathematics/physics.
Clearlan - Green hem to black robe. Healers, botanists, agriculture, husbandry, all things to do with nature, healing etc. Includes working on crops to produce better harvest, splicing, genetics, disease study etc. Relatively heavy use of rune magic, mostly passive ambient runes than active circuitry.
Berrion - White hem to black robe. Closely related to Furlocke, and the two used to be one cloister, but as Astronomy developed and a study of the universe became more involved, they split and formed their own. They study the stars, the motions of the planets. Working closely with those in Furlocke, they are currently working towards producing the largest telescope the world has seen.
The cloisters are quite fluid and open, but students must declare for
one when they become apprentices. They can study any class from any cloister,
as long as the classes of their own cloister are passed. Students failing their
classes are not allowed to progress, and can only repeat a year/course of study
once before being asked to leave the citadel altogether.
Apprentices who do not gain the black robe often set up shop
as minor rune merchants. They require a license from the Citadel to do so, and
are only allowed to sell runes which do not require active channelling (like the illuminators sticks that basically function as lightbulbs). Anyone
caught selling runes without a license, or using/selling runes which require
channelling can be thrown in prison, have their livelihood removed, or even
their hands cut off. The Citadel takes this very seriously, as runes are
dangerous, and misuse will bring the Citadel into disrepute.
The Citadel also trains Greycloak warriors (which is what Tomas came to the citadel to do), who do not use magic or learn runecraft, but are there to study combat and strategy, and become elite warriors. When they earn the prestigious Greycloak, they acquire significant social standing and respect, and certain privileges in the Central Kingdoms/Three Kingdoms, of
, Varden and Ahir. They are also respected abroad as well. Greycloaks often go on to take positions in royal courts right across the continent, and if they form a soul-contract with a mage, the two of them frequently find themselves in the employ of a noble or royal family as adviser or court mage, and master at arms, or even personal bodyguard.
Hope that makes sense, and thank you for asking about it. I’ll post some more snippets soon I think, and maybe a map and some geo-political stuff if anyone’s interested.