"What do you mean you can't tell me?"
"I can't tell you."
It was frustrating. And completely unexpected. My sister was refusing to tell me the future.
"You've had your gift for years. I've never known you to keep prophecies to yourself. Why can't you tell me the outcome of this battle."
"I can't tell you."
This had been going on for some time. I was out of ideas. I had tried everything from coaxing to pleading. My sister didn't want to tell me the future. I had tried every sort of indirect question. Everything I could think of, at least. I wondered if Dran might be more use in that regard. Or Dragoneyes, with his power to see into the minds of others.
Dran and Dragoneyes were busy, at that particular moment. They were addressing the Masters of the University.
"So you expect us to believe that a shade has gained unprecedented power, and now wants to release Ochekol'kan." This was Molano, a Master of Enchantment.
"Both Dran and I have seen heard him say it."
Dragoneyes could tell that Molano was doubtful.
"Of course," Dran said, "we will need to prepare the entire University for the defense, as well as calling in as many other sorcerers as possible."
"I will erect defenses. I already have plans for metal walls encircling the building. I can also use my power to create pools of fire and ice in front of the Green Stone Doors. More obstacles for Koteph to cross."
Dran looked the crowd over. He could still see a great deal of skepticism. "Let us talk specifics," he said. "Should we tell the students today or tomorrow?"
Molano laughed. "We will need for more time than that to mull this over, young man. You have yet to provide firm evidence for Koteph's existance."
"Dragoneyes and Dran and Amniel and Cassinder have all seen him," Taerin said. "They all attested to his formidable power."
"A collection of four less trustworthy people would be hard to find. Two who were expelled from the University, the disgruntled son of an exiled prince, and a girl more mad than sane."
"What are you suggesting," Dran asked. "Do you think the four of us got together and decided to fabricate some strange story in order to prepare you for a threat that does not exist?"
"You can forgive us for finding your story hard to believe. Nothing like Koteph has existed in all of recorded history."
The Archmage laughed. "Nothing like Dragoneyes has existed in all of recorded history. But part of the beauty of recorded history is that there is more of it every day."
"Why would anyone want to free Ochekol'kan," asked a different Master. There was a chorus of agreement.
"I have never known a sorcerer to harm anyone. But even if there were a cruel sorcerer, why would he wish for total destruction?"
"He would have nothing to gain."
"It just seems hard to believe."
Dran agreed with them. It did seem strange. It seemed unlikely that Koteph was merely mad. He wondered if the shade had some ulterior motive. It seemed unlikely that Koteph simply lying about his end goals. But at the end of the day, Dran didn't care. The truth didn't matter. Because Dran wanted this fight to happen. Dran wanted this battle. Because Dran wanted Koteph to die.
"It might be hard to believe. But he has already captured Kyotr. He tried to capture Ar-Alam. Cabilon seems to have gone missing. All of them know Names necessary to open the doors and free Ochekol'kan. What else could Koteph be doing?" He killed my mother and my father. Let him die.
"Just because you claim Kyotr was by his side doesn't make it so," Molano said. "As for Cabilon... infighting is not unheard of among the Red Mages."
''And what of the movements of monsters. Even you must have noticed the lack of terrors preying on the Little Lands. You must have realized that Sassiles have all but disappeared from the Commonwealth, almost overnight. What else could explain that?" He used me. Controlled my mind. Let him die.
"This school is a beacon of knowledge throughout the known world. We can't suspend teaching every time monsters act strangely."
"Really. When was the last time monsters acted this strangely. When was the last time there was this much evidence that a great evil was on the horizon?" He destroyed my entire world. Let him die.
A bolt of realization. "Is it the Destroyer," I asked my sister. "Is Koteph the Destroyer?"
She seemed to stare past me. I could tell she wanted to say something. Her entire body tensed, then relaxed. After a moment more of hesitation, she opened her mouth. "Yes."