Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Last Chance

It was Taerin and Molano who retrieved Dragoneyes. As Molano fended off waves of monsters, Taerin shifted the rubble, using the Names of stone and clay to locate Dragoneyes' body.
The two Masters transported the fallen mage, and he was brought to the heart of the Green Tower. The best physikers devoted all their time to him. They gave him the best and strongest of their medications. I hesitate to inquire as to how many others must have died to that Dragoneyes may live.

That evening, I went to visit my old friend. He was covered in physiker's cloths. I wondered how much of our store had been depleted. The room was bustling with people who were supposed to be there, of course. But I also saw my sister, sitting silently in a corner. I sat next to her. "So seem to have been here for some time. Any news? How has he been doing?"
"The damage he did to himself is not enough to kill him."
That was good to hear. Especially from a Seer.
I watched them work for a brief while. But, frankly, it wasn't interesting, I had other things to do, and my sister had said that his wounds wouldn't kill him.
I visited Dran. He didn't seem surprised when he heard of Dragoneyes' condition. "What I'm thinking about," he explained, "is Koteph. It is possible he will recover before Dragoneyes."
"We will survive," I said.
"I suspect you're right. We have other great mages, Koteph's army is finite. It will take a great deal of power to kill him, but I expect it can be arranged. Someone other than Dragoneyes will simply have to do it."
That is when I first realized what Dran wanted. "You think you can do it!"
"No, Amniel. I know that I cannot. I know I am no match for Koteph. He killed my father and mother in front of me. He brainwashed me and bent me to his will. Some part of me even fears him, but most of me is simply aware of the fact that he is more powerful, more formidable than I can ever be. I know I will never avenge my father, just as you will never avenge yours. But I think that the combined power of all of the mages... it ought to be enough."
"I hope you're right."
"You should hope we don't have to find out."

Dran's words moved me to check again upon my injured friend. I didn't share the Etoran's confidence. I feared for what would happen if he should fall. And despite my sister's assurances... well, it couldn't hurt to check.
I entered the infirmary once again. It was nearly empty this time. Only the mage and the blonde-haired Seer. And me.
"He isn't strong right now," my sister said.
"I know. He isn't conscious."
"He is weak. This is the last time he will be weak."
Interesting. A part of me began to worry. That meant he would never grow old. It meant he would die quickly and suddenly. Could it be that even with Dragoneyes standing against him, Koteph would be triumphant? Or was I overthinking my sister's predictions?
"This would be the last chance..." My sister looked at me. "I can't choose."
I was taken aback. "Are you considering-"
"You don't know. You don't see. You don't know all that he will do!"
"He is my friend," I said. "He's your friend. You know he would never harm anyone. And, even in your scenario where he goes bad, he still couldn't be as bad as Koteph."
"He could be much worse that Koteph."
"Koteph will see every man, woman, and child dead to achieve his goals. How could Dragoneyes possibly be worse than him?"
"Koteph can be stopped."
I began to see Dragoneyes's potential. I knew he was a good man. A great man. But... he was powerful. Incredibly so. If we won the war... if he won the war... would anyone dare challenge him? Would anyone correct him? "No. That's ridiculous. He has always done his best to protect those he cares about. He is a hero."
"He will protect those he cares about."
I couldn't imagine what my sister was talking about. "Explain yourself. What will he do?" I wasn't yelling, but there was a certain amount of frustration in my voice.
"He will Destroy."
The Destroyer. The bogeyman, monster in the darkness who had haunted my sister's visions for years. "Is he... the Destroyer. You said Koteph-"
"You couldn't know."
"What will he do," I asked.
Dragoneyes stirred.
Dragoneyes began to breath heavily.
"What will he do," I asked softly.
Dragoneyes sat up. "Amniel. Cassinder. What is troubling you. You're afraid that some powerful terror is coming. Don't worry. I am ready to fight Koteph."
My sister hugged him. "I know."

I didn't understand. Thoughts swirled through my head that night, as I tried to sleep. My friend might become the greatest terror the world has known. My sister has been keeping this secret, even though she's been terrified of him for years. And, right or wrong, it's now too late to do anything about it. Dragoneyes is back to full strength.
For the first time in years, I had nightmares.    

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