Sunday, January 25, 2015

News From Abroad

Bashra was badly hurt. He had broken both of his arms and several of his ribs.  I could sense the remains of several invulnerability spells on him. He must have fallen a considerable distance.
I began casting healing spells. His life wasn't in any danger, which was fortunate, because I wasn't much good at healing.
"Allos, go get help," I instructed. "Specifically, go get some sheets. We can carry him inside. Cassinder, anything I should know? What is he doing here?"
"He'll tell you," she said. "Wait for him to wake up." What's the use of having a Seer in the family if you still have to wait for the future to come to you?

The future did come to me. Bashra woke up after about a day. I wasn't in the room at the time, but Ullic said he immediately started making requests.  "I feel like I haven't eaten in days. Fetch me something good. Oh, and find Amniel. I need to talk to him. It's pretty urgent. Possibly even more urgent than the food."
It was so urgent, in fact, that Cassinder came to find me. "He's awake. He wants to talk to you."
Ullic burst into the room. "He's awake. He wants to talk to you."
Sensing that Bashra was awake and wanted to talk to me, I made my way to his room. It wasn't in the White Tower proper. Just a marble addition my grandfather had made.
Bashra was sitting up. Pretty impressive given how many of his ribs he had broken. I congratulated myself. Maybe I was a better healer than I had thought. "Amniel. Did I interrupt you? Were you busy whittling your wood?"
"Yes." Then I realized what he was saying. "No! I mean-" I needed to change the subject. "Why do you have glowing yellow eyes?"
"It's part of a long story. And they are really more of an orange hue. Either way, you might want to sit down before I get started."
I summoned a chair.
"Cassinder, you should take a seat as well." My sister poked her head in, then sat on the floor.
"Now, you last saw me five years ago, at your father's funeral..."

"After that, I traveled around. I joined the crew of a ship. Their resident sorcerer. Saw the world that way. Then, I ran into Koteph."
"Did you kill him?"
"No, but I did try. He overpowered me."
"Why did he let you live?"
"Well, he wanted to work with me."
"You didn't-"
"I did."
"WHAT?" I grabbed Bashra. "You worked with the man who murdered my father?"
"I didn't want him to murder me too. And stop shaking me, I'm recovering from several broken ribs. Anyways, we have a fairly successful partnership. He had all those treatises on opening gates to other worlds."
"How could I forget? He stole them right before he murdered my dad."
"Yeah, those treatises. So we start delving into pocket dimensions. We met a lot of strange and powerful creatures. I'm probably the first person to see a dragon in over a hundred years."
"Is that why you're called Dragoneyes?"
"Well, yes and no. As we know from historical documents, dragons see the true nature of things. And the True Name. After found the dragon, I gouged out its eyes, and replaced my own. Now I have that power." He paused for effect.
"I already knew the True Name of fire. In the past three months, I have learned the Names of water, ice, clay, iron, bronze, gold, stone, and wood."
Suddenly, realization dawned on me. "Oh! You had me fooled for a while there. I really did believe you had worked with Koteph. I hadn't realized this was another of your jokes." I turned to my sister. "Bashra does this a lot."
It was hard to tell, but I think my guest rolled his eyes. He spoke a Name, and droplets of water began to condense from the air. He spoke another Name, and they froze.
"Now do you believe me?"
"No. That was nothing you couldn't have arranged with some charms. It did sound like you were saying True Names, but I wouldn't be surprised if that could be faked. It's a lot of effort to go through, I admit, but the alternative is impossible. Do you seriously expect me to believe that you know, was it eight True Names?"
"Nine." Bashra didn't speak a Name this time. He just concentrated, and the floor began to shake. Cracks appeared in the wall. I realized that Bashra was carving a statue. Before I could react, he had created a likeness of me. The marble man took a step forward. Then another. Then, he turned into dust. Then, the dust returned to the wall.
Bashra wasn't done. I could hear him muttering, and my staff flew out of my hand. A sorcerer's staff has dozens of enchantments to prevent theft or damage. Bashra held the staff, and bent it in half. It didn't break. The staff slithered on the floor, turning into inanimate wood only once it was back in my hand. I was convinced. Nobody who didn't know the True Name of wood could ever have done that. At least not while bedridden.
My mind was racing. If Bashra really did have this power, than he might be the most formidable sorcerer on in the world. In history. Which made me wonder. "What are you doing here?"
"Well, things with Koteph got bad. You see, he wasn't just opening doors to worlds with dragons. He was also visiting spirits. And summoning them. He became a shade."
A shade. A combination of spirit and sorcerer. The last shades had been killed before I was born. For good reason.
"Shouldn't be a problem. I expect the two of us could handle him. Especially given your new powers. Do you know where he is?"
"Yes, but don't interrupt me. He isn't just a shade. He became a double shade." I had no idea what that meant. "He didn't just summon one spirit. He summoned another." Was that even possible? I guess I was hearing about it from someone who knew nine True Names. "And another. He had dozens of spirits chained up inside of him. And that isn't even the bad part."

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