As this compilation is intended for human eyes, even the layman should be aware of this species, which is notable for its simultaneous optimism and contentiousness.   Most of note for this particular work is the curious nature of magic-using ability in humans. While the children of trained mages are more likely to exhibit a skill with magic, the ability can arise in any family, and no scholar has been able thus far to identify the pattern of inheritance.   Children of trained mages are fewer, due to the nature of magic and its effects on the human body. While the understanding of magic has advanced to the point that its use is no longer crippling, leaving the traditional image of a wizened mage leaning upon a staff mercifully to history, its effects are still distinctly real. Mages are typically thin, to the point that "skinny as a mage" is a common insult for a woman insufficiently curvy for the speaker's opinion. Female mages also experience amenorrhea while practicing, just as male mages experience a lower seed count. Mages must stop practicing magic for several months to a year to be able to have children. This is inconvenient for grey mages, but especially key for Mages of The Great Circle who are subject to the needs of the state. Thus most mage families are small in comparison to others in society.   Human mages perceive magic through "bleeds" into another, more traditional sense. These vary among all the regular senses; a group of mages may variously experience the same spell as a glittering visual effect, an acrid scent, a feather-touch across the skin, a dissonant buzz. Skilled mages learn to filter these perceptions in practice, but most novices find them distracting, especially as visual or aural interpretations can interfere with instruction or disrupt primary perception of the real world.


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