Friday, April 17, 2015

The Single Slave

It began to drizzle. It began to rain. It began to pour. Dragoneyes didn't let a little thing like that stop him. The True Name of cloth made his clothes impervious. The True Name of water kept him dry altogether. "Is that the best you've got," he screamed into the sky.
Dragoneyes wasn't sure if it was just a coincidence, or if the sky was responding to his challenge. The words of mages have power, and Dragoneyes was a mage like no other.
Regardless, the sky crackled. Lighting arced, and obliterated a tree.
Dragoneyes thought for a moment. He had no defense against lightning. The True Name of fire wouldn't block it. Neither would his spells of protection. Those just weren't powerful enough.
Dragoneyes considered the danger. He considered heading back to see if maybe Amniel and Dran had sorted things out. But that would be cowardice. Cassinder's life might be in danger, and Dragoneyes was afraid of a little lightning?

Meanwhile, Cassinder was fine. Dragoneyes was wasting his time. All that he wanted had already been accomplished by an apothecary's slave. If he had known that, he wouldn't be risking his life in the pouring rain. Rather unfortunate for him.
The apothecary's slave in question, whose name was Quadi, by the way, was filled with fear. He hadn't realized that he had fallen in with powerful sorcerers. Although he had lived in Salous for decades, he had been born in Old Etor. Quadi had been fortunate enough to leave before the city's destruction. But he knew that it was a plot by evil sorcerers to bring down the empire.
He heard then discussing the ingredients of their latest potion. Were they going to destroy Salous as well?
Quadi didn't know what to do. He didn't want them to destroy his adopted city.
He tried to be reasonable. He knew that there were a lot of cities, and a lot of sorcerers, and the sorcerers had only destroyed their city once. But Quadi still felt compelled to act. And, since every moment he spent away from the apothecary increased his chance of a beating, he should act sooner rather than later.
He gave some thought to which sorcerer to confront. He decided on the Irinian. He seemed to be the gentler of the two.
Quadi walked up yo the white robed sorcerer. He seemed to be crouched very a diagram of some sort. It didn't look nefarious.
"My name is Amniel. You're... Quadi, right? I really should know, seeing as you saved my sister."
"Are you going to destroy this city?"
I stiffled laughter. "No. For a great many reasons. First of all, even the original destruction of Old Etor was purely unintentional. A group of sorcerers trying to forge stronger connections between our world and the world of spirits. Second, I don't have anything close to the raw power needed to accomplish such a thing.  It took all the great sorcerers of the most important city in the world to bring about that catastrophe. Regardless, that sort of innovation has never appealed to me. I prefer a more incremental type of magical research."
Quadi didn't seem entirely satisfied. "What are you doing?"
I was writing a letter to Dragoneyes. I was pumping it with energy. Once it reached a certain critical threshold, Dragoneyes would see it. It had to do with the fact that we had just recently spoken, and also his geographic proximity. It was often called the Etoran letter spell, after the sorcerers of Old Etor who used it to transfer lengthy memos across the city. "Trying to contact a friend of mine. Tell him that you saved a Cassinder."
"Which friend?"
"A mage named Bashra Dragoneyes."
"Will he destroy the city?"
I realized he might actually have the power to raze a place like Salous. And he was not the incremental research type. I decided not to answer.
Quadi, judging he had done his part, decided to leave. "I must return now. I have stayed away from my master for too long as it is."
I stared at him. "No you don't. I'll pay for your freedom."
"I sort of feel obligated to, seeing how you helped Cassinder."
"What will I do?"
I hadn't really thought about it. "You seem to be very skilled in the art of medicine. I imagine that could become a career."
It was at this moment that Dragoneyes burst through the door, dripping wet. For someone who knew the True Name of water, he seemed to be very wet. "I got your message."
"I didn't send it yet."
"I know. But I felt you writing it. Cassinder is alright?"
Dragoneyes collapsed.

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