Whew it's getting hot in here.
(ok I think I've stated this a few times, but the language there is not translatable, it's just me choosing random letters)
As promised, the text in its entirety!
If you're struggling with the basics, focus on something tangible, like a pebble or a blade of grass, something you can roll around in your hands as you concentrate on solving the problem before you. Much easier to build something with something, than with nothing at all. Do not feel ashamed, it is the rare Witch who can create from entirely within themselves, and even they will come up with shortcuts.
Most Witches will practice this way into their adulthood, exercising their minds and abilities to solve problems with their chose focus. The most common are articles from nature, but whatever you feel the most comfortable with is suitable. I've known stitch witches, moss witches, witches who built everything with brick-- I do not recommend using living creatures-- but do not be afraid to think outside the box. My preferred recommendation is crystal, as the properties and nature of crystal work very well as a conduit for complex problem solving.
The most important thing is to be able to think on your feet, as the Academists cannot draw their complex circles as fast as you can think, but if you are depending solely on your imagination, it is easy for the mind to be put in a stupor and not have any idea how to fix a situation. Much better to think, "how can my crystal solve this" than to ask "how can I solve this". Use your focus as your building material.
Of course, destruction is always simpler to learn than creation, but always remember that the toll is higher on a body and a Witch can run out of their personal store of magic easily with a single use of destructive force. In the past, some Witches seemed to be able to tap into powers not their own, and were a much stronger force, but that knowledge has been destroyed by the Academists.
Remember to keep this record hidden, even a single misstep could spell disaster for you and your family. I know I have said this so many times, but hopefully the constant reminder will keep whoever reads this safe.
If you do not need a focus, if you have time to reinforce your magic, do so. Shields made on the fly are prone to breaking on the fly, and even taking just a moment more would still keep you faster than an Academist. Think, "strong shield that can keep me from harm". Be even more specific, if you can recognize the spell the Academist casts. Your best bet is to attack first, counter later-- do not let the Academic get the first move on you, if you find yourself in a dubious situation, as our speed is our only advantage these days. We lack numbers and the old powers, so our only course of action is protection and escape.
If you run into Gravers, do everything in your power to escape, DO NOT STAND AND FIGHT. A horrible mix of Orphic power twisted into Academic teachings, they are incredibly powerful and dangerous. If you hear rumours of them in an area, do not go to that area, do not allow yourself to be disfigured like they have been. They are poor creatures deserving of our pity but they should be feared more than anything else. Too quick, too powerful, make a spell that allows you to hide or flee and practice it, practice it hard, and be ready to use it at a moments notice.