1. Tricks of investiture
Living things can be invested with birth luck (though this is always to be considered rash) and, in very rare cases, pieces that form a greater whole can be invested with birth luck (though this is always to be considered mad). The folly of investing luck in a living thing should be obvious: The person or pet might flee, or somehow reveal that it is a magician's invested object, or die.
The danger of investing in a divided whole, such as a wooden puzzle or a deck of cards, is compounded by its difficulty, for the process is far more complex than that of common investiture. It requires meticulous preparation of the thing that is to be invested (for example, a deck of cards must be cut from a single sheet and be prepared during an elaborate ritual as a preliminary to the act of investiture). Even if the ritual of investiture is successful. the invested object may only be used when the magician and all of the pieces of the object are within the customary three paces of each other. If one of the pieces is missing, the luck cannot be used, and if one of the pieces is destroyed, the luck will be freed.
Since such investitures are done, and done successfully, investiture may be no more than a test of the magician's ability to perceive and sustain belief in a "unity." This theory is supported by the latest Liavekan understanding of physics, which suggests that all objects are constantly changing on the molecular level. And yet, though many magicians accept this theory, not one has been able to invest luck in a poem, a theorem, a god, or a joke. The student magician is advised to invest luck in simple, durable. physical items.
2. A magician's birthday
Since Liavek's solar year is 365¼ days long, the actual hours of one's birth period will occur at different times each year with respect to the calendar. A magician is always aware of the discrepancy between the calendar year and the solar year. That discrepancy is reconciled only by the extra calendar day given every four years during the Grand Festival.
Since all Liavekans publicly celebrate their birthdays during Festival Week (excepting, of course, the Levar, whose birthday is at midyear). many young magicians are fooled into thinking that their own birthdays are secret. So long as one has family, friends, or neighbors, this is not so. Someone almost always remembers the time of year that a magician's mother secluded herself for a few days or weeks or months, and from the tiniest clues, a rival can deduce a magician's birth hours. A rash magician might try to eliminate family, friends, and neighbors in the hope of being safe from enemies—a course that is likely to create more enemies. The wise magician will always behave an ethical manner, from a sense of self-preservation if not morality.
3. A brief history of magic
In primitive times, inhabitants of the world lived in awe and fear of the effects of birth luck. The practices of early magicians may never be known, but it is certain their skill was less than that of the youngest student of magic today, for until the secret of investiture was learned, magicians only had power during the hours of their births. The name of the magician who discovered that luck can be invested in a vessel and used throughout the year is not remembered, though the oldest college of magic was established in Tichen in 2533, and Tichenese records show the principles of investiture were the first things taught to the would-be magician. It is possible that investiture was known several centuries before that time and kept as a secret handed from magician to apprentice.
4. Of magic and medicine
The student magician is strongly advised to avoid the practice of medicine without completing an extensive course of study in medicine. The casting of a simple spell of healing can be easy; its consequences can be deadly.
(a) If the spell deals only with effects and not with causes, a patient may walk about in apparently perfect health for days or weeks, and then collapse without warning.
(b) Since an ignorant magician's spell is dependent purely on magic, it will fail on the magician's birthday, when all the magician's spells fail. Should the magician's luck be freed or destroyed by an enemy or an accident, or should the magician die, the spell will fail. When this happens, if the original illness or impairment is not the sort cured by the passage of time, it will return, at least as strongly as it was at the time of the spell or, in the case of a degenerative ailment, more strongly.
The magician who knows nothing of medicine is advised to send ailing clients to a doctor of medicine or to an unlettered healer of good repute, regardless of whether that doctor or healer is a magician.
Any student magician will do well to consider acquiring a degree in medicine. Doctor-magicians are rare and very well paid. However, those magicians who wish to keep their birthdays secret should consider other occupations. A doctor who is a magician is honor-bound to reveal when reinvestiture draws near so patients who are dependent on magical treatment may seek another doctor. Some doctor-magicians will form joint practices so they may offer overlapping treatment to each other's patients.