I'll admit it. I was flustered. I couldn't walk up to Taerin of the Valley, the Archmage, and tell him that a mad shade was going to attack his University in an attempt to destroy the world. Fortunately, I didn't need to.
"Taerin of the Valley," Dragoneyes said. "The Archmage. A mad shade is going to attack your University in an attempt to destroy the world."
"Excuse me. Who are you."
"I am Bashra Dragoneyes. I studied at this very University. After I was..."
"That's a word for it. After that, I fell in with my former classmate, Koteph. He had become a shade."
"A shade. A fusion of a man and a spirit. You'll forgive me if I remain incredulous."
"Well, then you're about to get even more incredulous. He was not a union of a man and a spirit. He had imprisoned dozens, maybe hundreds of spirits within himself. He had incredible power at his disposal. He could bind other men to his will, and cross the continent in an instant. He-"
"Do you have any evidence? And how did you escape this all-powerful menace," Taerin's voice sounded like a bottle of sarcasm potion had started speaking. "Or did he send you here to warn us?"
"No, no, I escaped. Due to a complicated sequence of events that I will explain later, I know about a dozen True Names."
Taerin opened his mouth to express disbelief.
"Yes. I know you don't believe me." In quick succession, Dragoneyes spoke a variety of strange syllables, creating a bolt of fire, a shaft of ice, a staff of wood, a stone wall, a rainstorm, a gold crown, an iron sword, some cloth, and a lightning bolt. "I could go on."
Taerin was still for a moment. In a moment of conversation, Dragoneyes had turned his world upside down.
He had spoken True Names. No doubt Taerin was thinking that, yes, he had heard those True Names. He was wondering if he somehow been fooled. Whether there was some sort of spell that could falsely convey the impressions of the True Name of water.
Taering was also probably thinking about Koteph. This was likely the greater shock. Like every other person educated at the University, Taerin though of magic as a force of good. As a boon to society, and a beacon of progress.
"You have my attention," the Archmage said. "Now, the four of you had better explain yourselves in much greater detail."
Dragoneyes did all the talking. He explained who we were, how he had acquired his powers. He had explained that Koteph was trying to free Ochekol'kan, and that he had raised an army of monsters.
He spoke of the five doors guarding the evil Shaper, and how Koteph could already open two of them. He explained how Koteph had already acquired Kyotr's aid, and would likely force more people into his service. He told Taerin about his own fight with Koteph, and explained how powerful both combatants had become.
Taerin took it all in. "I hate to suggest this, but, the True Name of air. It happens that everyone who knows it is currently at the University. If we kill them..."
"Excuse me," I said.
"I've considered the idea," Dran said. "But I don't think it would have much effect. Koteph isn't going to give up. He will do his best to storm the University and kill us all. So we might buy the world some time, but he is a brilliant mage on his own, and will eventually learn whatever True Names he needs on his own."
"You've considered killing me?"
"I decided against it."
"I know but just the act of-"
Dran rolled his eyes. "I decided against it. Why are you still whining about this?"
Taerin didn't let our argument progress any further. "Back to the matter at hand. I want more information on Koteph. I want Dragoneyes to build us some defenses. Iron walls enclosing the entire town, not just the Tower, understood? I will alert the University staff. We formulate a plan to tell the students. If Koteph really is coming, I want everyone to stand and fight, not panic and run. Amniel, ask you sister if she knows anything about what Koteph will do. Dran, start reading up on Ochekol'kan. I want to know as much about that threat as possible. More specifically, I want to make sure there is nothing Koteph knows that we don't. Does everyone know what they should be doing?"