Kyotr was in his Blue Tower. He was feeling good. Feeling strong. The True Name of water was fresh in his mind.
He reflected on his life. He was the scion of a fairly successful family of sorcerers. His uncle. Liolon, was the master of the Blue Tower. His parents had been merchant-sorcerers in Varaliens, in the Etoran Empire, when the capital had been destroyed. They had their son in exile in Irin. As far back as Kyotr could remember, he had lived in his uncle's home, the Blue Tower. Kyotr's father had been melancholy. He never overcame the loss of his home in Varaliens. Eventually, he hurled himself off the tower. Kyotr lost him mother soon after.
Kyotrs uncle had taken the lead in actually raising him. It had been Liolon who had sent Kyotr to the university. Who had trained him. Who had sent him from river to lake, who had shown him rain and puddles, until Kyotr had seen the True Name of water. Eventually, Liolon had passed, leaving the Tower to Kyotr.
Kyotr felt the presence of another. He could hear their water, the blood in their veins. "Terix."
Koteph's lieutenant took a seat near Kyotr. "Our master has need of us."
"What does he want."
"Koteph has power over stone and lightning. Now that he has bent you into service, he has power over water as well. But he still needs control over fire and air if he is to free Ochekol'kan."
"What does this have to do with me."
"It has come to our attention that Amniel came to you, trying to recruit you too join the fight against Koteph."
"And yet you allowed him to leave."
Terix stood up, and took a step closer to the mage. "Amniel is one of three people in the world who can use the True Name of air. Did it even occur to you that we could have used him?"
It hadn't. "Yes?"
"Oh. Well, tell me how you determined that he could better serve Lord Koteph out in the open, recruiting others to fight us."
"He wasn't alone. Dranarius was with him."
"Oh, yes. So it wasn't one boy. It was two."
"It was the heirs of the White and Black Towers."
"And you are a shade! Koteph invested great power in you, and when opportunity literally walks through your door and into your study, you squander it."
Kyotr knew Terix wouldn't kill him. He knew True Name of water, which made him valuable. But he suspected Terix could come up with things even less enjoyable than death.
"This is what will happen," Terix said. "I will recruit Cabilon, the Red Mage. I would ask you to acquire Amniel. But he is most likely with Bashra at this moment. You would die, and for the moment, we need your worthless hide intact. So, instead, you can sidestep the mess you have made. You will hunt down Ar-Alam."
"Ar-Alam is a Master at the University."
"You fool. He is that no longer. He is a hermit, living in the mountains. The Cave of Twelve Winds."
Terix took a step, and disappeared. Kyotr couldn't do thatt. Even with his power as a shade, it would take time for him to arrange a transportation spell and reach the Cave of Twelve Winds.
As Kyotr drew diagrams in the floor of his home, he considered his mission. To battle a master of air, and bring him to Koteph. No. To battle a master of air in his own domain, and defeat him quickly enough not to raise any alarms, and bring him to Koteph. He knew there were risks.
The Red Tower was somewhat different from the others. It acted as the headquarters for all magic within the Commonwealth of Condoran. The Red Mages policed everyone from the humblest street-sorcerer to the most powerful mage. They were also represented in the Chamber of Lawgivers. Specifically, they had three representatives in the Low Chamber, and their delegation was headed by one member of the High Chamber. That member was Cabilon, and was said that he was second only to the Chancellor in terms of power within the commonwealth. And the Chancellor couldn't command balls of fire.
The Mages ensured that there were magical channels to allow constant communication between the Red Tower and the city of Condora. But a certain amount of travel was still necessary. Cabilon was en route to the annual convocation in the Red Tower. He never arrived.
While travelling through open fields, he was accosted by a bandaged monster. "Cabilon of the Red Tower?"
"Who wants to know."
"My name is Terix. I have a proposition for you."
"I am reluctant to accept of proposition from a hissing stranger who won't show me his face." Cabilon kept moving, riding his horse right past this Terix. Terix reached out his hand, and grazed the horse. It collapsed, dead.
"That was a nice horse," Cabilon said, as he called upon the true name of fire.
"Apologies. But we need to talk."
"No. We don't." Terix burst into flames. His bandages provided additional fuel. Cabilon pelted him with fireballs. He was going to have to walk to the nearest town, and he wanted to express his frustration.
But Terix didn't down. He didn't scream in pain. And his flesh didn't seem to be burning. Instead, with deliberate slowness, he peeled off his bandages. And it became clear that he was not remotely human.
"You're a Touchkill."
"I was a Touchkill. Now I am a shade, in the service of Koteph. Soon, you will join me."
Terix raised his hand. Glowing chains shot forth, and wrapped around Cabilon. Cabilon tried to burn through the chains, but found he couldn't. He tried again to burn Terix. The monster shrugged it off. He paralyzed Cabilon. "Koteph will see you now."