ArtOfCode's previous questions about Alynn have defined her movements to Rolhelm. Now there, she faces a new problem: getting a job. Everyone in Rolhelm is expected to have a job. Alynn is no exception and she has to get one.

However, she also wants to spend as much time not working as possible, so she can practice magic. So, her job must be one in which she can use her magic to speed up her work as much as possible and get out of there.

Some conditions:

  • The job must be picked from among those you might find in a 15th century village.
  • Her employer should see as little of her magic as possible.

The same magical system applies as was defined in this answer to the last question:

  • I'm going to assume she can exert force at will, just using her mind. She can't violate impulse conservation, so she'll mostly have to create symmetric opposing forces.
  • She can also create stuff from nothing, paying the energy which the created stuff has (so E=mc^2 for matter and E=hf for Photons).
  • To exert force she needs to know precisely where and in which direction
  • She can also get very precise knowledge about the world around her by concentrating on it. I'm assuming this is what she does when reading minds. So to analyze a head-sized volume of matter very, very thoroughly she needs 5kJ/60s~=85W.
  • I'll assume mind reading is more or less instant because she has so much practice doing it and it's similar structures again and again, but for new things she needs some time. Using mind reading as a reference, she can probably perceive stuff which changes too fast for the eye, probably in the 10ms range to notice something.

She has 4MJ of energy to throw around each day.

What job of a medieval village could be sped up the most using her magic, while keeping as secret as possible?

  • $\begingroup$ She does, of course, have to do the same amount of work in the job as anyone else would $\endgroup$
    – Jenna
    May 28, 2015 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ Just out of curiosity, is Alynn a collaborative writing project? $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    May 28, 2015 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I don't think so $\endgroup$
    – Jenna
    May 28, 2015 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre no it's not, but I couldn't think of any more questions about her and Jenna could. See the chat discussion $\endgroup$
    – ArtOfCode
    May 28, 2015 at 12:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For some reason, I keep thinking back to Hester Prynne. She made clothes; it got her close to the people in power, but also let her spend a lot of time alone (well, with Pearl). Sewing might be a great way to practice telekinesis and other such magics, since it requires such precision. $\endgroup$ May 28, 2015 at 15:18

7 Answers 7


The 15th century saw the introduction and rise of clocks in private households. Before that, timekeeping was the monopoly of the churches and the wealthy, due to the immense cost of setting up and maintaining such a complex mechanism.

In Alynn's age the know-how of creating intricate clocks (even masterpiece models that show the movement of celestial bodies) is certainly present, and she has tremendous advantages when compared to a non-magical clockmaker:

  • She can quickly and non-destructively analyse a given volume, therefore finding the cause of an error in minutes, not in hours or days required for a complete disassembly. This is how she would learn the ropes of this trade, by inconspicuously inspecting clocks in cathedrals, homes and palaces. Maybe sometimes resorting to mind reading, when a master of the trade is nearby.
  • She can also manipulate parts of the mechanism directly, without having to free them or even seeing them.
  • She can even modify the individual parts, like adding or removing teeth to/from a cog.

These abilities allow her to perform repairs in under an hour that would take others days. Considering that for the common folks clockmaking is borderline magic, she wouldn't even be that suspicious.

A client enters her shop with a broken clock. She hears the ringing of the bell over the door and greets him with a cheerful "A moment please!" from the bowels of her workshop, while putting away her magical books, finishing the sentence she was writing or just stretching after that long meditation. After a few seconds she emerges from her workshop and walks up to the client. During this she has already analysed the clock, therefore knows what is wrong with it and how long would it take to fix it.

"My daughter was playing with the cat when she bumped into this clock and it fell from the wall and it won't move since then, could you please fix it for me?"

"Well, let me see it... It looks intact, but I'll take a look at it nonetheless. I have another one back in the workshop, so it'll take longer than usual, please come back next Sunday, I'll try to get it done by then."

The client is of course very grateful, when on the next Sunday he receives a flawlessly working clock, while Alynn managed to spend all this time as she wished (minus the fifteen or so minutes required for the actual repair). The townsfolk would suspect nothing, since it is quite normal for a clockmaker to spend days in her workshop without letting anyone in.

At least until a curious young kid starts asking her for lessons on clockmaking or even an apprenticeship, and Alynn has to realise she doesn't even know where her screwdrivers are.

Her talents at analyzing matter and making small but delicate changes could also be employed as a doctor (finding constricted veins and cleaning them with magic, seeing and setting broken bones, extracting splinters, etc) or as an alchemist.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This one might not make the most money, but it will generate a high standard of living with a low level of work. Most importantly, it is the least likely to reveal Alynn's magic. The speed that magic allows the fixes can be hidden more easily from the public eye. $\endgroup$
    – PCSgtL
    May 28, 2015 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ This is brilliant. It also allows for a significant amount of anonymity, as she could easily hire someone to run the front and would never have to be seen by the public at all. If she's a little dishonest she could also shave off and secretly replace a good chunk of the precious metals used to craft the more ornate clocks. $\endgroup$
    – Samuel
    May 28, 2015 at 16:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Samuel While she could do that, I could hardly imagine her actually doing that (except for emergencies). A clock that has sufficient amount of precious metals that it would be worth the hassle to extract certainly belongs to a wealthy and powerful individual or organization. However small would be the chance of anyone discovering the fraud, the perpetrator would be clearly known to everyone, obviously punished and very likely ostracized, losing all credibility even in the eyes of commoners. $\endgroup$
    – zovits
    May 28, 2015 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ @zovits I would think her ability to do this on the microscopic level (in macroscopic quantities) would hide the fact so well that if it ever were discovered, it would be assumed that it was manufactured that way. $\endgroup$
    – Samuel
    May 28, 2015 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ A great idea, though I think that you significantly downplay the difficulty of learning the trade, which has many difficult learned cognitive aspects that cannot easily be supplanted by magic. It is very likely that someone trying to jump start this with magic will have numerous episodes of disassembled clocks that they cannot then correctly re-assemble. That would tend to be very bad for business. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2015 at 13:11

A Scrivener/Scribe

Copying books was a very labor intensive process before the printing press. But it should be relatively trivial for her to copy a book with magic, in terms of both time and energy. I'm assuming here that she will have the raw materials available, and simply use her magic to replicate and copy over the contents. Copying books is generally a private activity, so people would expect her to spend most of her time alone doing that. This would let her do several days of normal work in only a few hours with magic, and allow her the rest of the time to her other pursuits.

As another bonuses, a scribe will be assumed to be well-read and knowledgeable on wide range of subjects. This gives Alynn a plausible reason to know things that she might otherwise find difficult to explain, helping her preserve her cover. She can also have books on various topics, like chemistry or physics, that she would find useful as a mage but would otherwise be hard to explain.

She could also use it to help cover her mind-reading - as an example, let's say that she finds out from her telepathy that someone is a con artist, and needs to expose them. She could use "a book I once read about your homeland" and engage him in conversation to expose that he's lying about his background.

  • $\begingroup$ This seems very reasonable, though it still does have some "man's-work" problems. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2015 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ @RBarryYoung: I find it interesting that it didn't even occur to me that that could be a problem. I did find some references to female scribes in the middle ages, and they were generally older widows (or cloistered nuns). Maybe she could make herself look older? $\endgroup$ May 29, 2015 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ That is interesting. I would appreciate knowing more about these cases if you have anything. My general impression has been that a woman of wealth or nobility could sometimes get away with pursuits of an intellectual nature. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2015 at 23:58

So, an occupation available in a Medieval-style location that won't arouse undo suspicion and provides time to practice her magical arts. There are several options, and I'll pull freely from this list of Medieval jobs to answer the question.

  • Apothecary -- The apothecary works with herbs and roots to produce cures for minor ailments. Alynn would be the small-town equivalent of a physician.
  • Astrologer -- The astrologer studies the stars and planets, which are typically only available at night, and is already considered a mystical person. Alynn would have ample time to practice magic during the day without arousing suspicion.
  • Gardener -- The gardener is responsible for the castle grounds, such as ensuring ivy doesn't weaken castles. Alynn would have an inconspicuous position typically overlooked; of course, this position isn't available in a country village.
  • Herbalist -- The herbalist is a counterpart to the apothecary, responsible for planting and growing herbs. Alynn would have time while the plants grow to practice her magic, maybe explore ways to accelerate plant growth.
  • Janitor/porter -- The janitor was responsible for the primary entrance area of the castle, such as ensuring people didn't leave who weren't supposed to. Alynn's ability to read minds comes in handy here; of course, this position isn't available in a country village.
  • Physician -- The physician had a lot of respect in the Medieval period, but they were also expensive. Alynn could find this an ideal occupation should she be in a larger town.


She could take Education into a career, leaving her to work just what is strictly necessary. The downside to this is that she can't really be helping herself with magic.


Her magical prowess would certainly be an asset when healing others. Seeying this as a noble, respected and profitable career, she'd have plenty of time for her own, if she's in a smaller town without having to leave her home (Physicians often would travel to other towns)

Cook in a Tavern

Men like wine. Men like food. She can speed up the process of cooking and fermentation (to make wine) so she can literally be a fast food joint. Pumping porridge and wine in seconds so she can be left alone for her witchcraft.


Madame's only job is to collect rent and protect her girls (for those who don't know that's the equivalent of a Pimp). She can use her magic to secretly hurt those who try to sabotage her business, while simply being a money collector.


Nice question. I like this Alynn-chain stories, make my mind work better :)
Ok. So after short consideration I decided to propose these:

  1. Sheriff/City guard master assistant - a work similiar to our times' detective or interrogator; with her magic skills she can work quietly and, sometimes, alone, while very succesfully, at finding lost people/items, catching thieves (and so on).
  2. Medieval games' host - right now we have Hold'em and Puzzle SE, but in medieval Europe (I assume that Alynn's world may look like one) there were some games of wits and other ones - if someone loses, he lose his bet. To stay 'under cover' she may just manipulate and choose whether lose or win (to let players' get impression that they CAN win) and make a profit. The 'job' is dependant on size of the city and possible impact on other cities around (fame!).
  3. Herbalist/doctor/priestess - she may use simple herb potions, but, as everyone knows that they work in some way, she may be greatly succesfull taking her magic skills into account. She may state (and people would probably believe) that the cause of reviving from illness is mere medical impact of these herbs or religious influence (whatever she like).

All of these above will be chosen/played like to avoid deconspiracy of magic skills, of course.



With her mind reading skills she would prove to be an excellent sales person to any merchant trying to sell any sort of goods in the market. She will be able to identify potential customers in a crowd and concentrate her efforts on such people , thereby saving time. Also this way she gets the satisfaction of using magic and remain subtle as well.


I'm going to say barrister/magistrate/judge or an assistant to one. The mind reading is going to be the easiest to cover up under the pretext of being an expert at understanding people.

The villagers are trying to solve a murder? She makes a song and dance of being given the chance to question all the suspects, makes up fake explanations about how she's spotting facial ticks or twitches and then walks with the murderer holding their arm after explaining quietly to an authority figure that she's feeling movements in their arm for twitches to lead her: then walk the crowd straight to where the body is buried. So basically pull a Derren Brown, explain how it's not magic and teach people little non-magical tricks while actually doing magic to read minds.

Ditto she's be well suited to any job where being able to spot secrets and lies or knowing just how much your opposite is willing to spend is a big advantage: trader, money lender, tax collector.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .