I'm not sure I have enough information to truly make finding this book possible, but I thought I'd try!

I read this fantasy novel when I was probably 12 years old or so - so 1995 ish. So I'm sure it is a Young Adult novel, and it was published at least 20 years ago...

There is a young male protagonist (probably about 12 years old) and lives with/is apprenticing under a group of magicians/wizards - as I recall they lived in an old castle or something like this. They all have familiars, and I think the boys was a stoat/ermine though I'm not 100% on that. The older magicians have orbs in their staffs and I think this might feature somewhat importantly in the plot...

Any thoughts or leads are appreciated!

PS after much review of the first book I'm quite sure it wasn't Ursula le Guin's EarthSea books!

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