Life is difficult for mentors. They must teach their protégés how to survive in a harsh and indifferent universe, to struggle against fate, and to keep courage to the end.
They must also die before their task is truly finished.
Or must they? Our scholar has studied the subject and found that, with a little caution and some foresight, it is possible to be a mentor without even dying.
1. First, think very carefully about what kind of person you want to mentor. There is a certain cachet to mentoring The Chosen One, but you can do a lot of good—or evil, depending on your preference—by choosing some lesser students. Someone has to deal with all the things the Prophesied Hero/Villain is too busy to handle.
You may only help create the lesser of two evils (or goods), but your lifespan will be greatly improved.
It still helps to take precautions, however, and even mentors determined to help fulfill the Great Prophecy may benefit from a little care.
2. Do not try stay with your student until he or she has learned everything you want them to know. Wait until they know all but one or two crucial details and take the chance to slip away quietly—or to stage a grand departure/death scene. The choice is up to you, but we recommend the second. Your goal is to make it absolutely clear to everyone that you are no longer a part of this person’s life, are not reachable by any means, and are very definitely not available for consultation or killing.
3. Make sure you know which kind of person you are mentoring: Is this a noble individual who will be heartbroken by your death or an ambitious being who will turn on you as soon as s/he feels powerful enough?
The latter is often easier to deal with as you need only watch for one individual. The former will require more careful attention as it is his/her enemies who will come for you and that may not be for years to come (This is why it is important for absolutely everyone to know of your absence when you leave).
4. Keep track of your student’s loved ones and friends. If you are the austere type who never talks with his or her pupils on any subject other than training, make sure you employ someone more gregarious and sympathetic who will report to you.
Do not even try to forbid emotional attachments. This only means that your student will try to hide the inevitable from you, and you will find yourself blindsided. Also, your enemy will know about it whether or not you do, so it is best to maintain clear lines of communication.
5. When your pupil falls in love, consider training his/her loved one as well. This way, you will have not one but two powerful apprentices. Also, when the loved one inevitably is kidnapped, he or she may be able to escape on his or her own. This will save you much anguish (Yes, it is your student who will be truly upset, but you will have to live with it).
7. Do not be afraid to appear cowardly. Dying with dignity is all very well, but living is a lot more fun. If your worst enemy is defeating you while your student watches—run and pretend to die during the escape. Your student will work just as hard to live down the shame as he or she will to live up to your example, and you will be alive to cheer from afar.
In fact, you may be teaching your student a valuable lesson by fleeing. Think how much more heroes could accomplish if they realized the value of living to fight another day.
6. Have a clear plan for your exit. Make sure you also have a backup plan and a backup backup plan. Be ready to leave and slip into another identity at a moment’s notice.
Happy Mentoring and Good luck to you!
Did these tips work for you? Have you found another way to avoid your seemingly inevitable fate? If so, please write to let me know what you did.
Do make sure the message is anonymous, and send it so that it cannot be traced.