I was more nervous than I had ever been in my whole life. Handing in my first paper, giving my first speech, holding my first junior lecture, reciting the Scriptures of Yilik before the Grand Abbot, nothing compared to this day. The first day of my Graduation Feddey...
I still remember it so clearly: Stepping through the archway to the Candle-lit Hall at the heart of the monastery, all of my fellow students and teachers sitting there, waiting for my performance, master Vidrâel standing there in the center, calm as ever, her five-colored robes neatly ironed and crisp, her face an emotionless mask, almost looking bored. I stepped up in front of her, bowing my head deep.
She lifted her hand: "That is quite enough. Are you ready to begin your Feddey, acolyte Samson?"
I straightened up like a shoot of bamboo snapping back into place. "Yes, master Vidrâel!"
From behind her back, she pulled a plain earthenware cup and held it up in front of her. Then she pointed at a bowl of water standing by her feet: "I am thirsty, my student. Would you mind pouring some water into my cup?"
I remember how I started sweating then. This had to be a test of patience and diligence, like so many before. I very carefully knelt down and picked up the bowl with the utmost care not to spill a drop. Then, with great effort, I managed to pour water into the cup in her outstretched hand without wasting much on the wooden floor boards.
Her face remained unchanged until I was done and carefully placed the bowl back on the ground. There was some murmuring behind me, perhaps even a muffled snicker. My ears were burning. I had made a fool of myself somehow; but how?
"Well, acolyte Samson," she said, her voice still calm and measured, "I do apologize for offering such a trivial task to test your skill in water magic; clearly you have seen it as so far below your skill that you did not wish to waste the energy. I commend your admirable spirit." She put the cup to her lips and took a tiny sip as my dumbfounded eyes widened in horror. What had I done! This was my Feddey, of course I was meant to use water magic, how could I have been this stupid?
When she had swallowed, she held the cup out again: "Now, if it is not beneath you, my student, would you be so kind as to evaporate the contents of this cup and then condense the water back into the bowl? Surely that will be challenging enough for one of your exalted ability?"
I swallowed, then focused my mind. No more slip-ups...
Graduation Feddey is a sort of festive occasion and milestone in the life of student of the Monastery of the Five Paths. In their final term, the students usually have become so apt at attuning to the ur-souls of the elements that they can change their attunement to a different element within just one day of intense meditation. When their teachers believe them ready, they set a date for their Graduation Feddey, five days during each of which they are to present their prowess with one of the five elements. All other members of the Monastery of the Five Paths attend this ceremony, and there is a great celebration at the end. If the student succeeds, he attains the lowest "Dan", which means degree, and indicates his achievement of the first step towards mastery. He may now be employed as an assistant lecturer and mentor for the first two to three terms of new students.
Academic Graduation Ceremony
Monastery of Five Paths
Whenever a student is deemed ready by his or her instructors. It usually happens one to five times within a two-year span.
Students at the Monastery of Five Paths that have mastered elemental attunement.
The Monastery of the Five Paths was founded in 98 AA and the first master officially declared in 102 AA. After five more years in 107 AA, the tradition of the Graduation Feddey was established and has been a regular occurrence ever since.
During the Ceremony, the other students of the same term and/or the examinee's instructors that are not currently testing him play singing bowls to create a soothing background. It has happened once or twice before that instructors with a grudge struck their bowls instead of playing them, creating distracting tings during the test. While frowned upon, this practice is not forbidden.
A feddey is simply a time span of five days. It is one of several time-span intervals common in the vernacular:
Feddey Five Days
Tenday Ten Days
Fortnight Sixteen Days