"You are at this University because you believe in magic. Because you know that it can be a force for good, and that it is a force for good."
"You are at this University for the good of the world. Yes, the sorcerer's staff comes with a great deal of power and wealth, but you could have had that be inheriting the lands of your fathers. You are here not for the benefit of yourselves, but for the benefit of magic, and of the world."
"But, magic can do great harm. The destruction of Old Etor was perhaps the greatest catastrophe in five hundred years. And many in this room have been persecuted because of it."
As the assembled students and Masters all stared at the nearest Etoran refugee, Taerin drew in a breath.
"Today, we face a much greater threat. A cataclysm of far greater proportions. And it the result, not of an accidental foray to to the frontiers of magic, but a single sorcerer's active malice."
"The mage Koteph is now the greatest threat in the world. A shade of unprecedented power. He commands an army of monsters, the largest ever seen. He has already killed or tortured several of our former colleagues. Ar-Alam, Kyotr, and Cabilon. All to one terrible purpose: Koteph wishes to seize the Green Tower, and free Ochekol'kan from her eternal prison."
Taerin paused once more for the surprised gasps. He allowed his students a moment of confused chatter, as they reminded each other that, yes, Ochekol'kan did exist, they read in a book that there was some sort of special door.
"Ochekol'kan. The creature out of myth and legend. The Shaper of the World. The Mother of all the Monsters. It is still unclear what benefit- if any- Koteph intends to derive from this. But it is extremely likely that none of us would live to find out."
"In all of our tests, Ochekol'kan's malignance is matched only by that of Takenor himself. Her power is far beyond anything that exists in the world of men. Our entire race would be eradicated."
Taerin gauged his audience's reaction. "This leaved us with a choice. We might run away, and cower at the edges of the world. I hear that the Norgad Archipelago is nice this time of year." This drew a laugh. The Norgad Archipelago was not nice any time of year. "Or we could stay, and we could fight Koteph. We could attempt to stop him, and, in our attempt, prove that we do in fact believe that believe in magic. That we want to use sorcery to improve the world, not only when it brings us wealth and power, but when it may require some sacrifice."
Taerin paused, and allowed his speech to switch focus. "Classes will proceed as normal for at least the next two days. There is a great deal of discussion to be had, and a great many roles to be assigned. We will likely mount a defense of the Tower, as well as our two neighboring cities of Allus and Pire. You may now erupt into frantic conversation." The University obliged.
The Chamber of Communications was one of the most innovative parts of the University, rivaled only by the School of Talismans. Over the past forty years, they had developed several new forms of magical long-distance communication.
As it turned out, the entity most interested in this new magic was the Commonwealth of Condoran. The Commonwealth had many centers of power, spread out over a great distance. As a result, the University and the Red Tower had worked together to implement a series of magically entangled rocks, so that a dedicated operator could tap his stone in Tyral to send critical information to Bos or Condora.
The two Towers were also testing several more sophisticated means of communication, including a pair of polished glass surfaces that allowed two sorcerers to see each other no matter the distance. Hearing was still not possible.
There were also several sets of connected pens for transmitting written messages. Some of the Masters were working too remove the pens entirely, and use magically reactive paper. Needless to say, all of these inventions required a great deal of magical maintenance, which prevented more widespread deployment.
For the most part, these channels were used simply to provide technical assistance, as both Towers struggled to maintain the connection. The sorcerers on both sides would describe whatever bizarre behaviors they were experiencing, in case their counterparts had encountered something similar. At the moment I walked in, every person in the room was talking about Ochekol'kan. "They want to know why we are so confident."
"Tell them that we don't see why Dragoneyes, Dran, Amniel and Cassinder would all lie."
"They say they still haven't found Cabilon."
"Then you owe me four coppers."
"What's the name of the book that talks about the Shapers."
''They want a complete list of every Name Dragoneyes knows."
"They say they're considering sending someone."
"Tell them to do more than consider, the fate of the world is on the line."
"I know, I have trouble believing it too, but can we risk it."
"Is this thing on?"
Nearly every person in the room was talking about Ochekol'kan.