Sunday, April 3, 2016

Blood and Empire

Dragoneyes entered the Green Tower. He didn't speak to the other sorcerers. Not to the admirers, not to the countless hundreds who only wished to know what had happened. He walked past them, exhausted. He entered his chambers. He rested for most of the day. And then, he paid me a visit.
He handed me a sword. A full-length sword. "Do what you need to do," he said. "So that Cassinder can live again."

I didn't want to stab my Dragoneyes. He was my friend. But, more than that, he was the most important man in the world. He had the power to stop wars, to end famines, and to push the boundaries of magic. I couldn't stab that power in the heart. I couldn't stab all those possibilities in the heart.
I had another option. I had spent the day investigating it. I didn't think it would work. It probably wouldn't work. But there was a chance that I would save my friend's life, and the lives of all the other's he would save. So I took the sword, and did what I needed to do for my sister.

It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. The pain wasn't all that bad. No, the worst part about being stabbed in the chest is the fear. The fear that comes from knowing that your probably made a mistake, and that you'll bleed to death, and it will all be for nothing.
I had only the vaguest sense of what was happening around me. I barely understood as Dragoneyes caused the sword to dissolve to nothingness. I could barely understand his cries of anger and frustration. His rage that he had allowed me to do this to myself.
The world began to turn red, and my mouth began to taste like blood. Not an enjoyable experience.

Emperor Dranarius Caesorium sat in his throne-room, alone except for a single messenger. "And after Dragoneyes defeated Koteph, he returned the Green Tower." The man's voice echoed through the vast hall. Bat Dran had no fear of eavesdroppers. He had put spells in place to prevent such things. And he expected that, for the time being, he was the most powerful sorcerer in New Etor.
"He met with the sorcerer Amniel- Amniel is the Master of the White Tower. He is a-"
"I know him," Dran said. "Continue."
"And Amniel stabbed himself in the heart."
Dran felt a brief jolt of surprise. "Was Dragoneyes able to save him?"
"Yes. It seems that the experience allowed Dragoneyes to learn the True Name of flesh."
"And what happened next?"
"Dragoneyes healed his lover Cassinder. The two of them went off, to wander the world."
"I see. So this great new magical power is loose in the world. The Etoran Empire will need magical strength to match."
"But the Empire has no sorcerers, majesty."
"Oh, really? Has the my family been systematically eliminating all traces of magic in the Empire for half a century? I had no idea." Dran laughed at the messenger's lack of vision. "Well I shall simply need to undo their efforts. We shall found a new school of magic. The Black Tower will become the Empire's greatest center of learning. Go back to the University. Get as many of the old Etoran sorcerers as you can. Offer them riches, prestige, whatever will convince them."
"Yes, Majesty."
"And be sure to get two of them in particular. Marius and Lencius. Two of their brightest potioners."
"Yes, Majesty."