Friday, January 30, 2015

The Village

Dragoneyes and I were going to embark upon a journey. That was decided. Now, we had to handle all the tedious details of travel. For instance, I didn't actually own any horses.
"Why don't we just use a transportation spell," Dragoneyes whined.
"What happened the last time you used one?"
"It worked perfectly. Except I ended up underground."
"I have only attempted such a spell once. It was very fortunate that I had power over the winds. And that the Forest of Irium is uninhabited."
"That was you? All those reports about giants encroaching further south, and it was really just Amniel of the White Tower?"
"It was." We shared a brief laugh. So many of the stranger things in the world are the result of sorcerers making a mistake.
"So a transportation spell is out. I don't suppose you could summon up a whirlwind and carry us to the University."
I sighed. "I'm afraid not. And it wouldn't be that much faster than horseback anyways."
"Very well. We will go on horseback. Under one condition. I pick out the horses."
"Because if I know you, which I do, you'll try to bargain for horses using knowledge you picked up in a book written a century ago. Which is approximately the time you last rode a horse."
"This will be your first time out in public."
Dragoneyes flashed his most charming smile. "I think I can handle myself."
"I'm not worried about your social skills. I'm worried about the fact that you have glowing eyes that shift from red to orange to yellow depending on your mood."
"I sure do."
"Aren't you worried that you might be a bit conspicuous?"
"Amniel, it took an incredible amount of luck and cunning for me to get these eyes. Are you seriously saying that I need to conceal them?"
"Well, I agree with you. But I'm not happy about it."
"So you'll get the horses. I'll go to the library and pack every map I can find. We can leave by noon."

Dragoneyes ambled along, in a path between two fields. In the distance, he saw a falcon. And then, he knew the history of that falcon. It had been born in the far North, and was engaging in its yearly migration. It had a mate and... two children. Dragoneyes also got a decent idea of what it was like to be a falcon.
Interesting... his Sight was getting better. The sorcerer tried his luck divining the history of a tree... no success. A blade of grass... he got the impression of a lot of dew, and some cows. A fly... nothing.
He heard rustling behind him. What was that? Dragoneyes prepared to battle, summoning a flame in his right hand, and creating an iron sword in the other. He looked around. His powers allowed him to discern a path of trampled wheat. At the end of that path was... Cassinder.
"What are you doing there?"
"I followed a dragonfly."
"That is a perfectly legitimate explanation for why you are standing in a field ten minutes walk from your house. I assume Amniel has no idea you're here."
"I needed to tell the dragonfly something."
"Hold on. Am I the dragonfly?"
Cassinder laughed. "I wanted to tell the dragonfly to get a third horse."
"Sounds like I'm the dragonfly. Otherwise, that advice would almost certainly go unheeded. Why do I need a third horse? Is one of the horses going to die?"
Cassinder decided that the conversation was over, and began making her way back to the White Tower. "There is something unusual about that girl," Dragoneyes said to himself. "It's almost as if she is a mentally unstable sorceress who can see the future."

Dragoneyes made his way to the local stablehouse. He looked over the horses. Immediately, he saw which ones were strong, which were weak. Which were calm, which were ill-tempered. "I'll take that one and that one," he said. He considered Cassinder's advice. The world was dangerous. Especially for sorcerers.  Most of all for the animals standing near sorcerers. There was a good chance a horse would die on the way there. Best buy another one. "And that one. How much?"
"For the lot of 'em? Five gold, two silver."
Dragoneyes didn't know the True Name of silver. "How about six gold?"
The stablehand looked surprised. He had spent plenty of time haggling with customers, but this one seemed to have a fundamental misapprehension as to how bargaining worked. "Six gold? I don't see why not?"
The True Name of gold was still new to Dragoneyes. It was still difficult to recall. The mage filled his mind with thoughts of the yellow metal. He recalled his deep and profound understanding of its material properties. And there it was, on the edge of his consciousness. The True Name of gold. Six large coins materialized in his hand. "Here you go."
"Was that magic?"
"You from the White Tower?"
"No, but I've spent time there."
"You met Amniel?"
"Is he as as powerful as they say?"
"I don't know what they say, but probably not."
"He ever kill anyone by magic?"
"I seriously doubt it."
"You ever kill anyone by magic?"
"None of your business."
The vendor eyed Dragoneyes suspiciously. "Is this gold going to disappear?"
"Not unless you keep bothering me."

Dragoneyes looked at the sky. He saw the paths the sun would take for the next ten thousand years. He also saw that he still had two hours before Amniel expected him back.
He needed to practice his Names. It had taken him seconds to remember the True Name of gold. In battle, that would be unacceptable. And the penalty would be death.
Dragoneyes looked at the town, and determined which house contained a blacksmith. "I will give you four gold coins for use of your forge."
"You that sorcerer? Amniel?"
"Amniel is short and bookish. I am a tall, dark foreigner. But I am a sorcerer."
"What does a sorcerer know of ironworking."
Dragoneyes strained himself. The True Name of iron took form in his mind. "Don't worry. I know everything there is to know about iron."
The smith left. Dragoneyes scanned the room. He invoked the True Name of fire, that power which was old and familiar to him. The forge grew hot. Dragoneyes knew everything about iron, and he knew how long it would take to melt. Too long. He invoked the True Name of iron, and it melted.
He shaped it into a sword. He invoked the True Name of water, and quenched the blade. It cooled perfectly. Dragoneyes knew that it would.
Another sword. This one quenched in ice.
A third. Dragoneyes created his own iron this time. It was purer that way. And he decided to go for a slower quench.
The fire was dying down. Not that Dragoneyes was using it, but this was an exercise in magery, so he called upon the True Name of Wood. He repeated the process. More swords.
After an hour of this, he looked at the pile of swords he had made. Enough for a small army. He didn't have a small army. So, with a thought, he consigned the blades to oblivion.

"What prompted you to buy three horses," I asked.
Dragoneyes brushed me off. "A little birdie told me." Was it Cassinder? My mother? Did his own eyes somehow allow him to see into the future?
"Well, Cassinder is coming with us. My mother insists. Apparently, Cassinder is growing too powerful to remain untrained. My mother, expert in sorcery that she is, deems it necessary that she refine her powers at the University."
"I take it you disagree."
"I do. Koteph will find out about what we are doing, and this could be a dangerous journey. And, while I love Cassinder, she will absolutely be a liability."
"She was the little birdie. I saw her out in he fields."
"My tracking spells didn't show her leaving the Tower."
"My eyes can pierce all modes of illusion. Well, if there is a mode that can't be pierced, I don't know about it." A pause. "Your mother doesn't know anything about sorcery. You know more than anyone I know. Don't let her make this decision."
I muttered something. The plain truth of the matter was that I knew my mother, and she was much more stubborn than me. This wasn't a fight worth having.
Dragoneyes, with all his powers of observation, sensed this. "So, we'll fetch our things, fetch Cassinder, and be off?"
"If by our things, you are referring to my things, and the things that are mine that I'm lending to you, then yes."

1 comment:

  1. You must have a lot of imagination and love to keep a story going until the end. :,) I only started reading today so I'm not that far into the story, but I like it so far. :D It reminds me of this story idea I want to finally get on paper. Maybe we can talk about writing sometime and swap ideas. I like talking to other writers, especially those more on the low-low. :)