Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Storm

Kyotr appeared about a mile from Ar-Alam's home. That was deliberate. He didn't want Ar-Alam to know what had happened to him. How Koteph had expanded his sorcerous powers.
As he approached on foot, he considered his strategy. Ar-Alam was old, and physically frail. But the last time anyone had seen him, his magic had been as strong as ever.
Kyotr knew he wasn't the mage Ar-Alam was. Ar-Alam had devoted his life to the wind and the sky. He knew air as much as anyone knew anything. It was said that he first uttered the True Name of air at age twelve. That Ar-Alam could summon vortices and storms.
Kyotr would have to rely on the tools Koteph had given him. The gift of powerful sorcery. So he began to enchant himself. He always carried magical safeguards, but it was time to improve them. He enchanted his lungs to go without air if necessary. He hardened his skin, preparing himself for great gusts of wind, powerful enough to shear trees from the ground. He enchanted himself so he couldn't be blown off course, so he couldn't be frozen by chilling wind. All he had to do was defeat Ar-Alam before his enchantments were worn out. He could do that. He was the Lord of the Blue Tower, after all.

It had been some time since Ar-Alam had spoken to another human being. But he still remembered how. "Hoo arr yooo?" No. That didn't sound quite right.
Kyotr examined his surroundings. A fairly substantial cave, with a complicated network of stalactites hanging from the ceiling. The Cave of the Twelve Winds was legendary for the intricate air currents that circulated among those stony teeth. It attracted only the higher caliber mages, seeking to deeply understand the True Name of air. "I am Kyotr of the Blue Tower."
"Wie arr yoo heerr?" The right sounds. But Ar-Alam couldn't make them sound like words!
"I was sent to pay you a visit."
"Yoo no hoo I am?" Better. Ar-Alam's tongue was being persuaded to actually speak.
"I do. You are Ar-Alam. You taught me Advanced Pneumatic Sorcery."
"Hoo- Who sent you?"
"A fellow named Koteph."
Ar-Alam searched his memory. "He was also a student of mine."
"He was." Kyotr was reaching into the ground, and pulling water. He could make more if necessary, but it was nice to tap into his surroundings as well. The ground became muddy as Kyotr drew in more and more of the fluid.
Without warning, he pulled the water from the ground, and flooded the cave. Ar-Alam watched with some interest as all of his possessions were ruined. It wasn't something one saw every day.
Ar-Alam began to exhale. He breathed out more air than was possible for a man his size. Ar-Alam and his bubble floated upwards, bursting onto dry land. Kyotr emerged from the cave, standing on a plume of water. His hands were fountains, shooting jets of water at Ar-Alam, knocking the older mage over. Ar-Alam created a wind and blew the water to the side. "Stand down Kyotr, or I will draw the air from your lungs."
"That wouldn't hurt me."
"Very well." Kyotr was surprised to feel air forced into his body. His nose, his mouth. He felt the pressure building his lungs. He felt his body beginning to burst. He hadn't prepared for this! Kyotr felt the True Name of water receding, as his body entered a state of agony. He began to fall. He needed to distract Ar-Alam- and do it fast. As his entire body screamed, Kyotr focused, and found the True Name of water. A ball of water hit Ar-Alam in the back of the head.
"Did you think that would distract me?"
Kyotr was lying in the mud, body in pain, as his lungs were torn apart from the inside. Even a shade couldn't survive much more.
With a power that came from desperation, he knocked Ar-Alam off his feet once more.
For a moment, the two sorcerers lay there, bleeding. Then, Kyotr got to his feet. He coughed up some blood. And he remembered the True Name of water. Ar-Alam took a different strategy. He used the True Name of air before he got up.
Kyotr found himself lifted into the air. He was blown about, almost like a leaf, then slammed back into the ground.
Kyotr's body had nearly recovered. The benefits of Koteph's tampering. He used the True Name of Water again, this time, to the full extent of his power. A blue titan rose from the ground. He reached for Ar-Alam, but the old man was already somewhere else. Ar-Alam danced on the wind, avoiding Kyotr's grasp. The Blue Mage tried again and again to grab his former teacher. "Like trying to hold the wind in your hand," Kyotr muttered.
A gale lifted up trees and branches. The water titan began to lose mass. Ar-Alam dodged the debris without missing a step. Kyotr didn't have as much luck. He tried to maintain a wall of water. A tree crashed into the wall, reducing it to droplets. Kyotr barely managed to duck in time.
But the water was flying everywhere now, carried by Ar-Alam's storm. Kyotr used the True Name of water, and the droplets became daggers. Too many to dodge- they cut against Ar-Alam's skin. The hermit was forced to let his wind die down.
"Had enough," Kyotr asked.
"No."

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