Mages are those characters gifted with True Magic. There are four ranks of mages, the higher a level of complexity and the more power a spell requires, the higher a mage must be ranked in order to cast it. The four ranks are:
An apprentice mage studies at a school or under the supervision of an individual Master- or Adept-class mage. After this round of study is complete and the apprentice has demonstrated mastery, they become a Journeyman.
Not every mage is born with a strong enough Mage-Gift to advance farther. In fact, hedge-witches and wizards don't have a strong enough Gift to reach Journeyman and be considered true mages by most other magic practitioners. However, villages are considered fortunate if they have a hedge-witch, mage or wizard to provide assistive magic depending on the individual's various but limited abilities. These might include protections, charms, spells, healing, foresight, etc.
While some schools, such as the White Winds School, teach that only Adept-class mages can draw power from outside themselves for a spell, the Tayledras teach that Master-class mages can do so as well. External power exists in two forms, in ley-lines and in nodes. Only Adepts can access and utilize node energy without burning themselves out. However, Master-class mages can access the less powerful ley-lines, with proper instruction. This ability to draw on all external sources to power their spells is much of what makes Adept-class mages so dangerous.
The mages of the Eastern Empire parse out the four basic rankings into a sophisticated hierarchy. The Master class is divided into First and Second Rank, and them further subdivided by color, starting with Blue, Purple and Red. Tremane was classed as a 'First-Rank Red' Master mage.