School of Will, The
This training center began on Zarathustra during its many years of isolation, and is still one of the oddest and most iconoclastic institutions in a society of odd iconoclasts. The purpose of the School of Will is to produce Adepts of Will, sophonts who have been highly trained to find myriad ways to make eir will manifest in the universe. Though owing much to the Nietzschean society of Zarathustra in which it developed, it has diverged considerably.
The location of the School of Will is kept secret. Those who would train there must attempt to find it emselves. It is uncertain whether they must actually succeed in finding it emselves or are given aid, but it would appear those who satisfy the Instructors in eir efforts are granted entry. Once there, the physical and mental capacities of the individual are honed to be precise tools of the sophont's will. It is hinted that back-up copies are kept of every acolyte, and that they die many times in the early portions of eir training, as they are faced with increasingly impossible situations to overcome. And more darkly hinted is that those whose efforts are not adequate are simply erased.
At what point the training is considered concluded is unknown. There have been rumors of some finishing eir time at the School of Will within years, others centuries. The School of Will, other than honing the Art of Will, seems to have no other agenda. The Instructors give no guidance as to what an acolyte should want, take sophonts from all backgrounds, and have never been known, as an institution, to take any side in any conflict. There have been some rumors suggesting that the School of Will has the capacity to train, and even ascend, numerous toposophic levels of sophont.
There is a legend of one persistent dog that followed an Instructor home to the School of Will. This subsapient was used as an example to acolytes that even without advanced intellect the will can function. The Instructors were so taken with the dog's willfulness, in fact, that instead of simply eliminating the "untrainable" mutt, they provolved em to sapience and began training em as an acolyte. The provolved dog completed eir training and became an Adept, and went on to have several adventures in Terragen Space and ascend many levels. E is said to have "settled down" since, and is now the Headmaster of the School of Will.
An Adept of Will is indistinguishable from any other sophont on inspection, and often do not bother to reveal emselves as such. The one mark suggestive of an Adept is how effortlessly e appears to travel through life, as if everything were unfolding as expected. Many of the greatest and most successful of sophonts have been rumored to be graduates of the School of Will, but of course none of these stories have ever been verified (though there are some interesting unaccounted periods of time in the biographies of some of these).
Several sophonts who are believed to have falsely proclaimed themselves Adepts have died (down to the last copy) soon thereafter. Whether this is because real Adepts or Instructors take umbrage and act, or because these false Adepts tend not to survive the attempts to "test" their claims by the curious, or some combination thereof, is unknown.
An interesting legend is that Adepts who have undergone ascension appear no different in their personalities. Enthusiastic followers of School of Will rumor say this is because the well honed will can survive the tortuous changes in mental architecture involved in breaching singularities. Some other commentators claim that the Adept has already had most of the humanity (or its species appropriate equivalent) taken out of em to begin with.
Text by Glen Finney
Initially published on 25 July 2005.