The Roke Wind

Light was seeping from the streets of Thwil like rainwater sluiced on the cobbles. Heavy clouds hung from the mountainsides, threatening to unleash their fury for another night. For three days the storm had pounded the shores of Roke. Sailors paced the docks like caged animals, their ships huddled in the lea of the breakwater. Flotsam bobbing gently on the darkening water betrayed countless ships wrecked and lost. Only those already sheltered by the harbour had survived, save one—a slave ship, driven before the storm into port. Its master, Methion, was a slave himself, to the ale and wine he traded souls to pay for.
There was an unreal feel to the weather, the intangible sense of magic that betrayed its origins. The Roke Wind had been conjured long ago to protect the wizard's isle, to keep people away; it had never been known to wash them up without cause. For that reason alone, the people of Thwil distrusted Methion's presence in the port. For his part, the Slave Master cursed the storm, the island, and his cargo gone to spoil in equal measure, and turned to his one comfort to wait out the weather.
And as the lighting of lamps in the harbour began, his frustrations went in search of an outlet. The young man Chase was his favourite sport, the would-be wizard that was nothing of the sort—that couldn't even escape a cheap Finder with little skill and less brain. There were moments, though, like the cast of an unexpected shadow across the quarterdeck, that unnerved Methion. There was something in the boy's talk, like a calm before the storm, but the Master had always laughed it away. Chase had no skill at working the winds, his mastery was like hesitant sunshine on a day of patchworks clouds—a flicker here and there, sometimes the promise of more, but always gone too soon, unreachable. Unteachable, Methion's Bagman had declared in frustration, but it was nothing to the torment it caused the boy; and that was what Methion found so entertaining.
"The men of Roke will laugh at you as I do." He toasted the boy as another brought cask of ale was brought to his cabin.

Close to dawn a murderous rage came over Methion, and Chase fled for his life into the maze of Thwil's dark alleyways. He stumbled into a dead-end courtyard, his Master's cursing too close behind for him to turn back; the door in the corner was his only hope. He hammered desperately on the solid oak, calling for the occupant to wake. It opened a crack, revealing the face of an old man. Wizard knows wizard, and Chase knew he had come to the School on Roke, where true wizards are made.
"Let me in." He begged, but the Doorkeeper would not be moved. "He means to kill me!"
"Do you trust me, lad?" The Doorkeeper asked, and Chase's heart sank. There could be no hope for him, then.
"Elyn." He spoke the old man's true name in the calm voice of one already dead in his own mind. "I would give you my name but I have none. I am giving you my life—Methion will kill me if you do not let me in." The shock of being named so easily played across the warden's face, the desire to help fighting with the responsibility he owed to the School. Chase knew he hadn't done enough.
But the old man stepped out from the door, closing it behind him, a broom in his hand that had come from nowhere, and as Methion staggered drunkenly into the courtyard, he stepped in front of Chase. The seeming of far greater age had come upon him, and beguiled by the magic, the boy wondered bitterly if the weight of his nineteen summers had settled on Elyn's shoulders by choosing not to shelter him.
Methion stumbled in the dim light spilled from the alleyway behind him, a leering grin on his face and murder in his eyes. "Old man." He slurred. Chase backed against the closed door behind him, fear in his heart. "Where did the boy go?"
The Doorkeeper paused in his sweeping of storm-blown leaves to look up and frown politely, "Which boy?" Methion's face changed in an instant to ugly hate, the flash of a blade by his side in the darkness. "Don't play with me old man. Tell me or I'll kill you when I'm finished killing him."
"I'm sorry, my Lord, I mean no to trouble you. I have seen no boy, or I would return him to his Master at once, of course." He bowed, leaning heavily on his broom, but didn't return to his sweeping. "Perhaps he went over the wall to the old quarter? A skulking runaway is sure to seek his own kind." The Slave Master scowled, narrowing his eyes as he considered the information, before shambling back the way he came, shouting filthy curses after the runaway.
Chase was frozen in his terror of the certain death that had somehow slipped away before his eyes. Elyn stood before him, broom and age alike gone so that Chase was hardly sure he had seen them at all. Finally he understood how Methion could have overlooked him.
"Who gave you my name." Elyn asked sharply.
"No-one." His fear of his Master shook his voice, but it was a fear of the Doorkeeper that compelled him to search for the words to explain himself. "You...you—I can't explain it—I...when you stood in your doorway you looked to me to be as strong and as sure as rock, with the patience of a mountain—unforgiving as the cliffs and crags." Elyn meant mountain in the old speech, the true speech of naming. Chase could never explain how he knew; the words seemed to come to him with need. He could sense doubtful eyes watching him, and offered quietly, "It is the truth, sir, your spell holds me true."
Elyn's face broke into a smile. "You have the power to pull a man's name from the air, but run and hide like a sewer rat from your drunken Master?" He laughed. "How can the Mage suffer this to happen—a sorcerer? He has a sorcerer on board?"
"No—" Chase yelped, dear spirits, no, but looked away, ashamed. "No, sir. A Finder of some skill, that is all."
"Then I don't understand." But Chase could offer no explanation, and the old man shook his head with regret in answer to the unspoken question. "I saved your life." He stepped through the oak door. "But I cannot let you in."

"You seem troubled, Master Doorkeeper." The Archmage interrupted his thought, and saved the old man from searching the school for him.
"A young man came to the door in the night," He said, looking into the distance of the memory. "He spoke my name—my true name, picked it from the air like...like a child catching dandelion clocks."
"He is in the Fountain Court?"
"No," Elyn frowned. "No, I could not let him in. He spoke my name, but not his own. He said...he said he had no name, and I was wary to invite him in as a guest without speaking to you first—I hope I did nothing wrong, Archmage?" Hawk smiled, a reassuring hand on the old door warden's shoulder, asking where he might find the boy. "With the Slave Ship. Methion is the Master's name."
"I shall speak with him, and then with the Masters of Roke, if you would call them."
"Aye." Elyn nodded. "Archmage—" He called out, catching Hawk in the doorway, and spoke the misgivings in his heart. "He has the look of Shan about him. He would be the right age—" But there was no need to finish, Hawk understood, and swept out the door into the leaf-strewn courtyard beyond.
The morning was dawning bright and clear, the storm finally beginning to lift. The streets leading down to the harbour were filled with sailors enjoying last freedoms before the tide turned in their favour with the afternoon. When he asked after the Slave Ship, a toothless fisherman grinned through his nets, "Come back with the tide and she'll be the only one here, Archmage, the Master still sleeping off the night." And there was truth in his words, Hawk finding the likeness of Lord Shan in a young man sat amongst the only idling crew in the harbour.
"Kal Shan." The Archmage said—for that had been his name, once—and Chase turned, startled, squinting against sunlight.
"S-shan?" Wizard knows wizard, and that too caught him aback before he mastered himself, asking warily, "Who are you?"
"I would have taken you to be a staff-won wizard by now, not an indentured Bagman to a Galley Master."
"Who are you?" There was force in the repetition.
"I knew your father, Lord Shan; Falcor." That Hawk spoke his true name and it went unchallenged confirmed the Lord to be dead, as Hawk had believed for many years. But he had thought Kal drowned in the same shipwreck.
"What do you want."
"To know why you cow to a Galley Master."
"Because he is my Master." Chase looked away as he spoke. "I'm no Bagman."
"There are no chains."
"He knows I won't go far. His Finder—" But he broke off, anger flaring in his eyes. "What do you want? Who are you?"
"I am Sparrowhawk. I was to name you at Arkenfeld, before the Long Dance six years ago, but...your ship was lost with all hands." Silence stretched between them. I was to take you as my apprentice, that had been part of Lord Shan's request—name my firstborn, Ged, I would be honoured. He has the gift.
"Who I was...eludes me." Chase confessed, and Hawk understood. All the while they were speaking, he had been searching for a sense of the young man, for his true name, and had found none.
"Join us for dinner tonight, my Lord." And the Archmage bowed slightly, before returning to meet with the Masters of Roke.

It was dusk with the scent of rain heavy in the air by the time Hawk emerged from the Immanent Grove. Chase was waiting on the Knoll, as he had been waiting since his enslavement, to hear the answers that Methion's Galley had not rescued from drowning with him. "It is a question of the Equilibrium." The nine concluded. "A man with no name cannot be commanded—can give no sign of trust. It breeds discord, a distrust, in the balance of things. This is why your gift, and the wizard you were to become, eludes you."
"Can't you name me now?"
Hawk shook his head. "I can give names to things that have always been named, only forgotten." It was then that Chase knew truly, he had no name. "But the Master Namer is more skilled at this than I. He has promised to think on this, to find a way if one exists." For all the talk of mastery on the Wizard's Isle, it felt to Chase as though they knew no more than he did; Mages and the less wise alike, no more than rose petals floating on the darkening sea.
"I'll name myself if I have to, Ged." It was the Lord Shan, and not Chase, that spoke the challenge, hardly aware he had named the Archmage truly.
"I'll be waiting." Hawk smiled, knowing it to be true in his heart.