Koteph and Terix materialized some distance from us. They were an odd pair. Koteph had once been a man of medium build. But his body was now twisted. His limbs were long and skeletal. His once bronze skin was now pale. His eyes were slits. He wore billowing black robes. He also seemed to be wearing several ivory rings on one of his fingers.
Terix, on the other hand, was shorter than the average man. His body was wrapped in brownish cloth, save for his eyes, mouth and fingertips.
I helped Ar-Alam to his feet. Dran and Dragoneyes created swords of ice and fire, respectively. Cassinder picked up a stick. I wasn't sure how she planned to use that.
Koteph approached us with incredible speed. He must have crossed a hundred paces in a heartbeat. But Dragoneyes was waiting for him. He created a great ball of fire, trapping Koteph. A rainbow of flames. Red, blue. The core was blinding to look at. Raised his arms, and the fires were no more.
Dragoneyes looked at Koteph's rings, and saw their purpose. He wished he knew the True Name of ivory. He used the blistering heat of fire and the cold of ice, but he couldn't destroy them. Then, Koteph seared him with a beam of enchanted light.
Meanwhile, Ar-Alam flew into the air, ready to meet Terix. He landed in front of the monster, and tried to raise a storm, but Terix was unaffected. He advanced towards the old mage. Ar-Alam tried to blow Terix back, but was forced to retreat. I added my strength to his, shouting the True Name of air as I ran towards my former teacher.
By this point, Koteph was throwing Dragoneyes around. The shade was slamming him into stones, earth, and what few trees there were at this altitude. Since Dragoneyes knew the True Names of all those things, he was largely unscathed. Dragoneyes threw a tree at Koteph, but Koteph vaporized it with a blast of lightning. Dran threw blades of ice at his parents' murderer.. Koteph deflected them with a wave of his hand.
Opting for a new approach, Koteph drew his prey closer in. Still disoriented, Dragoneyes hovered before his enemy. Dran tried to encase Koteph in a block of ice, but was thrown aside. Koteph spoke the True Name of lightning. A powerful bolt arced towards Dragoneyes..
But the mage was already encased in armor. Dragoneyes had invoked the True Name of iron, creating a metal suit. The lightning traveled through the plates, leaving the man inside unaffected.
Ar-Alam stood behind a shield of hardened air, as Terix beat him back with beams of burning light and impossibly strong blows from his two unbandaged hands.
Only then did I realize I should be doing something. It came as a bit of a shock. I had never been in a fight more serious than a barroom brawl. The idea that there were people around me fighting for their lives... it didn't seem right.
I robbed Terix of his air. I wasn't so optimistic as to think I could suffocate him. But I watched as his body struggled not to burst and boil when exposed to the pure nothingness I left behind. The nothingness failed as I dodged a boulder thrown by Koteph. It seems he and Dragoneyes were having a rather uncivil conversation whose only word was the True Name of stone.
Dran used the True Name of ice. Crystal clear spars burst forth from the ground, forming a cage for Terix. Terix melted his way through. He advanced towards me. I was terrified. A monster whose touch could kill was marching towards me. He was going to kill me!
I tried to blow him back. It didn't work. Dran slowed him down with more barriers of ice, but Terix smashed them into small jagged bits. This, it seemed, only worked towards Dran's advantage. He stabbed Terix, again and again and again, with the ice, until the meltwater and Terix's yellow blood were running together.
Terix seemed to draw upon his reserves of power. His bandages hardened, becoming thick, like the enchanted armors of the great Etoran heroes. I had an idea, but it would take time. And it would take Dran. "I will keep Terix still," I said, bending the sound so only my allies could hear it. "Dran, try to create enough ice to crush him."
And so we began.
Meanwhile, Dragoneyes and Koteph were tearing up the mountain.
Dragoneyes used the True Name of stone, and heaved boulders at his enemy. Vast stones larger than a man thundered through the air. Koteph would use the same Name to deflect them.
Dragoneyes used the True Name of soil. The ground beneath Koteph gave way. No matter. Koteph levitated in the empty space, and launched a concussive blast at Dragoneyes. The mage deflected it with a wall of ice.
Koteph had an idea. He unleashed his reserve weapon. The three rings on his hand. Each was in the shape of a serpent swallowing its tail. He threw them to the ground, and deactivated the rings' enchantments. They rings grew to tremendous size, transforming into real snakes, each as tall as a horse and as long as my Tower was tall. They soon devoted themselves to activities less innocent than swallowing their own tail.
They approach Dragoneyes. As he wrangled with one of the snakes, Koteph thought of something better. He directed the other two snakes to attack Cassinder. Dragoneyes tried to slow them down, moving the ground beneath them. But Cassinder seemed to be walking towards the danger.
Dragoneyes could see into Cassinder's thoughts. He knew that she thought the had the matter in hand. But he didn't want to risk it. He encased her in a sphere of iron.
Dragoneyes had destroyed one of the mighty serpents, cooking it alive. He focused on another. As he drove a copper spire through the snake's eye, he noticed Koteph. The sorcerer had revived Kyotr, and returned his minion to full power.
Dran brained Terix with a block of ice. The ball shattered, but the young mage reformed it, and smashed the Touchkill again. Terix tried to take a step towards Dran, as he held out his fatal hand. Ar-Alam and I were at the limits of our power, just trying to hold the bloodied figure in place. Suddenly, Dran was washed away by what seemed like a tidal wave.
He stood, and faced Kyotr, Kyotr sent another wave at Dran. Dran spoke the True Name of ice, and the wave was so much snow. As Dran stood, shocked by his own handiwork, Kyotr let loose another torrent. Dran dove out of the way, and found himself lying on the ground. Thinking quickly, he threw the snow at Kyotr. But Dran was exhausted, and most of the snow missed the Lord of the Blue Tower. And snow was never much of a projectile in the first place.
Kyotr attempted to drown his enemy, trapping him in his own miniature lake. Dran struggled, trying to swim to safety, trying to freeze the water into ice he could shatter. It was to no avail. Dran needed to think. He was exhausted, and he knew he was less powerful than Kyotr. He needed to out-think the shade.
Outside his lake, he created a hollow globe of ice. He exhaled, as he dragged the ice towards himself, through Kyotr's water. He broke it. Bubbles of precious air. He gulped them in.
Kyotr looked on in surprise. Dran exploited that brief moment of shock, and hit Kyotr in the head with the same ball he had used to batter Terix. The True Name of water left Kyotr's mind. Within a second, Dragoneyes was using the Name to move that same water for his fight against Koteph.
Dran went on the offensive. He pelted Kyotr with as much ice as he could create, and everything lying around from his previous efforts. He knew that given a moment to collect his thoughts, Kyotr would regain the advantage. Kyotr dodged and jumped as Dran tried to spear his heart through with a blade of ice.
And so the battle raged on.