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Awakening is a process of opening one's mind to the collective knowledge of their community. This practice is observed by Keepers, a species living in the caverns around the Heart of Etharai. It occurs after a Keeper finishes their education in magic and has contributed new knowledge the the community, thus proving they are dedicated to the learning and discovery of knowledge.
While the Keepers have had the ability to perform this ritual for a long time, they had experienced a complication in its execution: visitors wishing to learn would promise their good intent, and then once the ritual had been performed, would leave to return to the surface, forcing the Keepers to kill them to prevent dangerous secrets from getting out. After substantial thought, the Keepers decided to create a few countermeasures against this. The first was the language they developed: known as Deepspeech, magic was entangled into the words and phomes so that those listening would only hear the true meaning if they were devoted to knowledge and learning. Otherwise, the language would sound like grunts and grumbles. This was a way for the Keepers to discern intent, but they still did not have a way to ensure ability or drive. To someone who could not handle the information, the Awakening was dangerous. So, in order to ensure that they could deal with learning and storing large amounts of knowledge, they would require that the person wishing to be Awakened would learn about the magic that was present around the area, and that they be able to develop a new form of magic or other magic-related knowledge before they could go through with the Awakening.
The Awakening is performed as a celebration among the community. The actual Awakening is a small part of the ceremonies, as the person being Awakened and joining the collective knowledge is celebrated. Each member of the community will offer a memory or a piece of knowledge that they hold dear, which will then be absorbed by the person being Awakened. Once everyone has offered something, the Bringer of Knowledge will place a hand on the forehead of the person being Awakened, tranferring all knowledge that the Bringer of Knowledge holds to the now Awakened member.
As knowledge is constantly being discovered, the Awakening is not sufficient to occur once in a lifetime. Throughout the year, new memories, experiences, inventions, and discoveries are transfered to the mind of the Bringer of Knowledge. Then, at the end of each year, the Bringer of Knowledge bestows the new collection of knowledge to all who have already become Awakened.
The ability to perform the Awakening is not outside of the grasp of other species on the surface. It is a fairly simple ritual, the transferrence of knowledge and memories to another. The reason it is only practiced among the Keepers, however, is that they are the only people powerful enough to duplicate the knowledge, rather than just transfer it. In addition, they are the only ones with powerful enough minds and memories to not go insane from an overflow of information.