Sunday, January 3, 2016

To See the Light

"It is very frustrating," Dragoneyes said, "trying to see light. What does that even mean?"
"You don't need it," Cassinder said.
"Of course I do. I need to know the True Name of light. Think of all the power it will give me. I will be able to cast illusions. I'll be able to cut down my enemies with focused beams. But, most importantly of all, I will be able to more effective use my enchanted eyes."
"You are powerful enough."
"No, I am not. There is an army outside these walls. Two armies, really. They threaten the lives of every person in the world. If I were strong enough to stop them, I would."
"You are strong enough to stop them. It just takes time."
"But... why would I want to wait? Why shouldn't I try to become stronger now, so I can save the world now."
I was the only other person in the room. I did't know what to say. But I did realize something about Dragoneyes.
He sat in a cloak of bright red, wearing eldritch rings he controlled by knowing True Names, He saw the world through eerie eyes stolen from an ancient creature. And he was perhaps the mightiest man ever to walk the world. But he was also young.
The gap in our age had never seemed to matter in the past. Sure I was three years his senior, but I had spent my life secluded in a Tower while he had witnessed court intrigue and wandered the countryside. But now, as I looked at someone who hadn't had a twentieth birthday, I realized that some part of him was still a child. He was impatient. He he hadn't put in the decades of study to become a Master at the Green Tower. He had never studied to gain wisdom to go with his knowledge. He wasn't ready to wield the power he had. He wasn't ready to carry the weight of the world. In fact, nobody is.

Dragoneyes used the True Name of glass, and summoned a prism. He created lenses, and watched as light was bend and focus. "I'm beginning to understand," he said.
He was impressive. Amazing. He polished his glass into mirrors and bounced the light around the room, bending and focusing it, and spreading out the different colors. It reminded me why I had been so fascinated with the clever young foreigner I had met on my third day at the Tower.
I visited other parts of the Tower. I was confined to the building by order of the Physikers. It seemed I had hit my head during my fight with Terix, and that meant I was not at the height of my powers. I didn't feel any different, but they said that the effects of such an injury could easily last for several days.
So I whiled away my time. I read the history of the War of the White. When my ancestor Illiel had nearly brought down the Etoran Empire. I read about the Yellow Tower, and I read about the theory of color-changing potions. When I returned to Dragoneyes and Cassinder, the mage was writing on the walls, his hands leaving a white trail on the black stone of the chamber. He seemed to be making a diagram. "-so the focus would be..." Dragoneyes traced the path the light would take. "Aha! Here." The mage said a world, and the diagram became an array of perfectly aligned lenses and mirrors, focusing a ray of light directly into a mystical eye that had once belonged to a dragon.
The mage spoke a word. It was strange, and I had never heard it before, but I knew what it meant. He spoke it again with more force, and there was a brief flash. Soon, Dragoneyes' hand was glowing. "I think I've got it," he beamed. Pun intended.
"Not many could do that," my sister commented.
"Don't be ridiculous. No other person in the history of the world could have done that. I've learned the True Name of Light, and I still have time to get a nice dinner."
"And modest too," I commented.
"Well," Dragoneyes said, speaking to my sibling, "I think I did an excellent job."
"As I said. Not many could do that."
Dragoneyes and my sister whispered a few more lines of conversation.

Dragoneyes was knowledgeable, but not wise. He knew the True Name of air, and the powers it could bring, but he had not yet internalized those facts. He didn't appreciate that with enough practice, one could use the ability to pick up snatches of conversations. And as I eavesdropped upon the man I thought was my closest friend, as he spoke to my younger sister, I felt a rage building up inside me.

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