Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Blue Tower

The Blue Tower was slightly smaller than the White one, slightly larger than the Black one. But it looked a lot bigger than either. It was surrounded by trees, and it dwarfed them. Kyotr, the resident sorcerer, had an interest in plants.
I didn't knock. I had the wind howl.  I made it bite against the door. This was how sorcerers did things. Powerful mages let inanimate objects announce their presence.
Kyotr opened the door. "Amniel of the White Tower?"
"Yes. And this is Dranarius, Phorius' son."
"Oh. How's the old man doing?"
"And that's what we came to talk to you about," I added. "The man who killed Phorius, and the danger he represents."
Kyotr stared at me for a second. "Perhaps we should take this conversation into my study."

Although slightly smaller than my own tower, the Blue Tower was still large. Frankly, it was too big for a single sorcerer living alone. The rooms were filled with trinkets, old furniture that existed only so that Kyoter could lie to himself. So that he could convince himself he used half the rooms of his estate.
Kyotr's study took the theme of eccentric decorating to an extreme. It was filled with water. The mage opened the door, and the liquid didn't splash out. It stayed in place. He walked in, the water parting around him. Dran and I looked at each other. "Neither of us knows the True Name of water."
"Oh," Kyotr said. "Sorry. I don't get visitors often."
"That's a surprise," Dran said. "And here I thought you just had some trouble with flooding." I rolled my eyes.
"What was it the two of you wanted to tell me about," Kyotr asked.
We told him about Koteph, and how he had pushed the boundaries of magic to become the most terrifying and powerful shade in history. Dran spoke of Koteph's growing armies. His palemen. Also Giants, Horned Ones, and monsters so dangerous nobody had survived to name them.
Kyotr listened through all of this. He nodded along as we told him about Koteph's plan to release Ochekol'kan.
"So," I asked. "Can we count on your help?"
"Yes," Kyotr said. "Yes, of course. I imagine that you'll need me to help defend the University. I will be there."
"Excellent," I responded. "I assume that you will travel with us."
"Unfortunately not. I do have some business to attend to here. But I will be close behind."
"What business," I asked.
"Some spells I need to complete. I wouldn't want to slow you down. It seems like you have important information to carry."
"Well, we will see you soon."
"We had better," Dran added. We walked out.

Meanwhile, Cass and Dragoneyes were riding to the Lake of Loria. "I assume you know all about the lake," he said. More to make conversation than anything else.
"It was made out of water. Then, spirits came."
"Yes. The occult kind, not the alcoholic kind. Nobody really knows why, but the lake has a very strong connection to the world of Spirits. It is a border between realms. And, as such, it has a rather large immigrant population."
"It has forty-eight spirits," Cassinder said.
"Forty-eight. I hadn't appreciated that it was that many."
"It is forty-eight." Cassinder looked ahead. "You want them to be warriors. You want to persuade them to fight a shade."
"Talk to the gray one."
That was a pretty cryptic statement. Spirits don't have colors anymore than bubbles do. But Dragoneyes didn't look for clarification. He could see how much that would frustrate Cassinder, explaining what was so clear to her. "The gray one. I'll know him when I see him."
They reached the lake. To the unaided eye, it looked like... a lot of water. But neither Bashra nor Cassinder saw the world through unaided eyes. "Over there," Dragoneyes said.
"What are they doing," Cassinder asked.
"Celebrating," Dragoneyes said. "The start of spring."
"It will still be cold here."
Dragoneyes looked at the sky. He looked at the lake. He saw how the water effected the region's climate and weather. "You're right."
They approached the gamboling spirits. "I am Bashra Dragoneyes," the man shouted. Let the spirits be cryptic. He wouldn't be.
The spirits appeared. To a normal human, they would have been shifting masses of color. But Dragoneyes could see their histories, their abilities. He could see their personalities. And he could see which one was 'the gray one'.
The spirit in question was old. How old, exactly, would be difficult to say. The world of spirits was different from the material one. Some sorcerers speculated that it was like a second moon, moving around the world for its own mysterious reasons, creating its own strange tides. But nearly everyone agreed that things like time were different there. Dragoneyes was able to determine, however, that this spirit had crossed over about eighty years previously. From what Dragoneyes could tell, that seemed fairly typical.
"Bashra Dragoneyes," another spirit said, in a strange and ethereal voice. Amazing that it had even learned to speak a human tongue. "Why do you here?" It hadn't learned to speak well.
"I am here to talk about a shade named Koteph." Dragoneyes explained the situation, using simple worlds and giving this speaker time to translate.
"Why do bother us with story of angry human?"
"Because if Ochekol'kan is freed, she threatens you as much as she threatens us."
"She no can harm spirits."
"That is not true. The Shapers have as much power over the spirit world as they do over the material one."
At this point, the spirits seemed to start arguing among themselves. And while Dragoneyes couldn't follow the words of the conversation (because spirits didn't use words when communicating with each other), he could still get the general outlines. The grey spirit did seem to agree with him. Most of the others didn't. Eventually, the grey spirit left in disgust. The only one who spoke a human tongue.
Dragoneyes looked at Cassinder. "What now? Do we pantomime the rest?"
"No. Talk to the gray one."
Dragoneyes looked at the spirits. They were afraid. Afraid of what Koteph might do to them. Dragoneyes looked into the heart of the gray one. He had once seen a shade. This shade hadn't been very powerful, but he had invoked the True Name of wood. The gray spirit had been so impressed that he still entertained his companions with tales of that day. Dragoneyes spoke the True Name of wood. Posts shot forth from the ground. A spear materialized in his hand. He spoke another Name, and the the spear burned to ash. The spirits seemed impressed.
Dragoneyes continued to show off. He made a great spout of water. He froze one half, and turned the other to steam. He ached from the strain of using three Names at once. He wondered if anyone else had ever done that before. He continued. He forged a hail of iron sword. He made large piles of gold. Then, he melted them.
Once he was satisfied that he had the spirits' respect and support he left. "I am going to need to sleep for several days," he muttered, as he staggered off.

No comments:

Post a Comment