Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Night of Four Stories: Part III

It was Cassinder's turn to tell a story. I admit, I was more than a little curious to hear what she would say.
She stood, and spoke in short sentences. "Once there was a seer. His name was Teres. He lived in a little house near a big ocean. He liked to stare at the ocean, watching the waves. One day, another man came to join him. His name was Aculion. Aculion used to be a student at the University, but he left. He was a mage. He knew about water."
I had never heard this story before. And I had done extensive research into seers. This could mean that Cassinder was using her power to tell stories from the distant future or past. Or it could mean that she was making stuff up.
"Aculion didn't like the people at the University. He thought they didn't do anything-"
"How could anyone possibly think that," Dran exclaimed. He bent over laughing.
"Aculion wanted to become king of the ocean. He thought if he looked at the ocean enough, he would learn things. He would learn the True Name of the sea. So he joined Teres. Every day, they would look at the ocean."
Cassinder's voice began to crack. "They lived together for a long time. They did some things together. They stopped some pirates. Aculion became more powerful. He made it easier for ships to move. He asked for money in return. He became very rich. But he still lived by the sea. One time, a war started. He liked the king of one country. He didn't like the other king. So he sank all the other king's ships. He flooded the other king's city. He stopped the other king's rivers."
I saw that Dragoneyes looked concerned. More concerned than when he heard the story of Ochekol'kan.
"One day, Teres had a vision about Aculion. He saw that Aculion would be bad. He would become king of the world. He would kill anyone who disagreed with him. He would kill a lot of people."
This story was beginning to seem very unlikely. A mage who could end wars and threaten the world, who I had never heard of?
"Teres didn't know what to do. His only friend was a monster." Cassinder began to cry. "He thought about killing Aculion. He wanted to stick a dagger in between Aculion's ribs while he slept. But he didn't want to lose his only friend."
"So he told Aculion. He asked Aculion to never do this."
Cassinder went silent.
"What did Aculion do," Dragoneyes asked.
"He killed Teres. He didn't want anyone to try to stop him."

"Well," Dran said, "I guess it's time for Dragoneyes to tell his story. Time to find out how exactly he acquired his namesake trait."
But Dragoneyes had already gotten up. He opened the door, and left our makeshift home. I ran after him. I caught up with him about ten paces outside. I'm not a very fast runner.
"You have power of sound, correct?"
"Yes," I said. "Sound is carried by air. Many who know the True Name of air actually develop superior hearing, or the ability to change their voice."
"Interesting. Make it so nobody can overhear us."
I used the True Name of air.
"What did you think of Cassinder's story," he asked.
"It seemed pretty unlikely. It made a reference to the University, so it must be comparatively recent. But there is no record of anyone like Aculion."
"I'm worried," he said. "I'm worried... that I am Aculion."
Sudsdenly, the story made a lot more sense. The seer. The stranger hungry to expand his power. It also shed new light on the amount of time those two had been spending together. Did that mean... It wasn't important. What was important was that my powerful mage friend thought he might someday threaten the world. I considered my options.
"No, you can't kill me."
That was one option.
"You couldn't kill me even if you asked Dran for help."
That was another option.
"Even if you did rally a dozen or so sorcerers to kill me, that would leave Koteph unopposed."
That option had never been viable anyways.
"Maybe it was just a coincidence," I said. "No reason to think what she was saying had any bearing on reality."
"Maybe," he said, looking hopeful.
"Anyways, why would she do this. Why would she tell you this, when it works out so badly in the story."
"With my power, she couldn't have kept it secret long anyway." He paced around angrily. "I would never do that. I wouldn't kill her."
"You also wouldn't try to take over the world."
Dragoneyes seemed to ignore me. "I'll explain things to her. Make them right. I'll explain everything. To all of you."

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