"She's my sister!"
Dran seemed unperturbed. "Lot's of people are somebody's sister."
"But she's my sister. I'm his closest friend. At least, I thought I was. How could he do this to me?"
"Would you be equally angry if someone else were doing it?"
I hadn't really gotten that far. "No. I'd still be angry, but the fact that this is Dragoneyes makes it so much worse. I love my sister, but she isn't entirely... well. She isn't complete. I don't know that I trust anyone with her but-"
"If anyone in the world can complete her, it is Dragoneyes."
"No. He can't complete her. Nobody can do that. All he can do is use his power, his terrifying, unlimited power, to force the world to conform to his wishes."
"I don't think Cassinder is being forced into anything."
"Not today. But what about tomorrow? A partnership needs balance-"
"And who could serve as a counterbalance to Dragoneyes? Do you know any sorceress who could match him. Unless he starts pining after the Shapers of the world and makes love to Ouuli, Cassinder is probably the closest he could ever come to balance. There are concerns to be had, of course. He should not have this distraction at this critical juncture during his fight with Koteph. But your resentment and misplaced sense of brotherly duty would only serve to complicate that matter. If you really think that this will provide too much of a distraction for you friend, then I might have a word with him on your behalf. But do not make this harder than it needs to be, do not get personally involved, and do not make this about you. Now, do you want me to speak with him about this, or not?"
"No, no, that won't be necessary."
I should have followed Dran's levelheaded advice. I do not know how much of what followed hinged upon my poor decision, but I imagine things would have gone better if I had congratulated my sister and friend. Instead, I did something obscenely foolish.
"Traitor," I screamed at the most powerful mage in the world.
Dragoneyes looked at me, and saw why I was angry. "I should have told you-"
"No, you shouldn't have done it!"
"We see things, she and I. It separates us from you. It draws us together."
"Well, draw yourself towards someone else. Don't conduct a secret affair with someone who even you can't think is entirely capable of making a well-formed decision."
"I admit her mind can wander far afield, but that is only because her field of view is so large."
"Does this mean you are going to stop?"
"No. But I should have informed you. Should I tell you everything from the beginning?"
"Tell me it has reached its end."
"Do it." There was some force in my voice.
I stole the words from his lips. Drained him of his air. He tried to invoke the same Name, and combat me, but he did not yet have the power to fully use it without speaking it. And even if he had, I suspected he still would not have been a match for me on that front.
He fell to his knees. He began to move his fingers across the green floor, leaving a metallic residue behind. I don't want to fight you, he wrote in Irinian.
"I will fight you, if need be."
But I will if I have to, he finished. He used the True Name of stone, and a block materialized and flew towards me. A gust of air deflected it, and it shattered against the green wall. But I couldn't do two things at once. Dragoneyes was on his feet again. "Would you like to continue?" he asked.
I knew I would lose. I would die. That wouldn't do Cassinder any good. Dragoneyes could take what he wanted, even my sister. "Does she love you?"
"Yes, and I her."
"Will that ever change?"
"Not as far as I can see."
"I... hope the two of you are happy."
"I hope we are as well," he said. We walked away, leaving words written in iron on the green stone floor.