Every day we were assaulted by a spherier trying to take control of our minds. To say it was drastic is an understatement. It could happen at any time, especially when we would lower our guard. If the spherier succeeded, he would tell us to kill ourselves by diving into The Expanse with our bare bodies. And they would not stop. If you were not able to resist this kind of suggestion, then you were not fit to be a Hollene and the lineage had no use for burdens. We were three dozen when we started the training. By the time we interacted with a skip for the first time, only five of us were left.
The details, duration and roughness of the training differ from Spheres and schools, but the basics are ancestral and never changed. Mind resistance is the most important principle. Since it is way harder to dictate one's action than to ignore such orders, even a novice should be able to shield themselves from the mind attacks of a master of the trade before even trying to communicate with other beings. More than a mere guideline, this requirement is absolute. No one wants to see the birth of another Krkklia.
Once the trainees' minds are robust enough, they enter the mind of a skip with an instructor. Skips have juvenile and light minds that make intrusion easy even for inexperienced students. Nonetheless, the structure of their mind is very much like an undeveloped Sphere's one. The trainees are to familiarize themselves with the environment and the inquisitive thoughts of the skip. Then, they have to work together to take control of the creature. A skipper is more than enough to have full control over the skip used for training and it is relatively harmless, but the idea behind the group work is to train the esprit de corps of the future spheriers, who will need it more than anything.
The last part of the training is usually the hardest one. Only the elite is allowed to penetrate the mind of a Sphere, and this is for a reason. It is nothing like a skip's, much darker and complex. So complex in fact those who try to take the full measure of it end up maddened by the implication of what they come to understand. At this point, so many resources have been invested in the spheriers in the making that failsafe procedures are recommended. The first time, they should only observe and try to resist the pressure they are under. Then they would approach the Sphere's mind in itself, slowly getting used to it until they are confident enough to stand on their own.
Us five were an especially good breed according to our trainers. Only a quarter of our lives has passed and we were ready to be fully-fledged spheriers. I never mentioned how I helped my fellow trainees, afraid that it would put them in a delicate situation. But the mind, you see, was something I always have been familiar to. By twisting the right notch, it was possible to unlock one's hidden potential that would take cycles to develop. Looking back, I discovered a technique to produce skilled spheriers in a breath. But at the time I did not think much of it. I did not want to stand out so much and elevated my classmates to this egoistic idea. And even then, I disliked intruding their mind and altering their thoughts.
At the end of their training, spheriers are often already halfway through their life. This could be considered a waste of time, especially considering the time they spent without even doing spherier work, but security comes at this price. Their security, but first and foremost the safety of the people who depends on them. Spheriers have no room for failure, and the slightest mistake could end the lives of thousands. Hence most Spheres have way more than enough spheriers to control the Spheres, in order to avoid the grim consequences of one failure.
Core of the trade
As strange as it may sound, spheriers are not actively controlling their Spheres most of the time. Doing so requires an enormous amount of energy and awareness, especially on the greatest ones. If spheriers were applying full control over the Sphere at all times, they would exhaust themselves and burn out in a tenth of a cycle. Furthermore, Spheres themselves are not active for the greater part of their lives and let the currents carry them. Thus, spheriers merely refrain their vehicle from going somewhere on its own.
When the time commands it, they set the Sphere in motion at the cost of a terrible effort. The biggest and most complex ones require the joint effort of dozens of spheriers who will unite their minds to bend the majestuous critter's will. In this case, each one play a separate role, who diving deep into the Sphere's conscience, who tightening the links between the minds, who weakening their target's resistance. To succeed, they all have to be perfectly coordinated and share the same goal, so as to not tear the Sphere with two contradictory orders. One of them has to shoot the calls.
I passed the last test with flying colours. It seemed I had an innate talent for mind connections. Maybe they were right, none of my classmates managed to reach my level. I began to shut myself in the mind ducts and tried to be the best spherier I could to make my lineage proud. After a while, I learned that I was next in line to the position of the master spherier of the Hollene.
On the edge
Spheriers play a dangerous game, treading with a mind far greater than them. Even when they don't fall prey to the dark thoughts of the Sphere, simply reaching its psyche is enough to corrode them insidiously. The longer they stay on the tight edge of the beast's spirit, the more they slip on the slope of madness. It is not a rare event for a spherier to completely give in and abandon themselves to the Sphere's dementia.
Skill forged through hardships
The most talented spheriers come without a doubt from the Sphere of Vnloohvk. Although the Sphere itself is rather small, its mind is so intricate that ordinary spheriers might get lost instantly the moment they approach it. This Sphere is an anomaly that forced its inhabitants to adapt to the harsh mental environment. Even its offspring are mentally challenging, making the training of spherier an almost impossible feat. As a result, the few that survive the trials are the most skilled in the whole Expanse, making even the best Hollene paling in comparison.