This chapter has a couple of issues. First is a bad transition — I never mentioned that Rivic leaves Gohaldinest to go back to his tribe. I felt as if I couldn’t write the transition scene now because I probably already have something written anyway which just needs a better place. So I’m leaving that.
Second is that this chapter is one that will get split into two later because it’s information heavy.
In the first part, Rivic and Alityka are talking about the workings of the magical markers on the bloodwave and what it means. Later on, after Alityka shows Rivic the absorption stones (little stone pieces of gargaxes which can temporarily take away magic, for those of you who haven’t read the Sacred Knight series), they speak more specifically about how removing a thread from the bloodwave can happen. It contradicts some of what was said earlier. They need some space separating them to invest time for Alityka to have gained more knowledge.
For the moment, I’m leaving the whole chapter as it is – talking heads and all — just because throwing a novel like this out there each week doesn’t allow me to go back and correct things in the timeline as I discover them. You really don’t want me messing around with your memories in the way that would take. Trust me. This way is much better.
Well, now I’ve forewarned you about this chapter. Let’s get to it.
Onesong is an epic fantasy story filled with action, adventure, and sword and sorcery. Chapter 43 is available for 1 week only! Then it will turn back into a pumpkin and a new chapter will appear! Previously in Onesong: As a child, Rivic destroys not only his parents’ village, but also the village of his aunt and uncle, leaving only him and his twin sister, Nyree, alive. Alone, hungry, and wandering through the woods, the twins are found by a beast that swallows them whole. Ten years later (or so), the twins are hatched from a dragon egg. With each of them receiving special dragon powers, they are charged with saving the world from a terrible evil rising. Unsure of this new world, Nyree quickly becomes ill. Rivic finds help from a nearby tribe who takes them in. The healer, Ellonia, has been seeing Rivic in her dreams for years and knows that he is the one destined to save her people. Until Necroathelings from Gohaldinest arrive and kidnap his sister. Rivic leaves Ellonia behind in order to go to Gohaldinest and rescue his sister. Along the way, he meets a cahaster, a small, kittenish dragon, named Dragzel. Rivic meets Cirvel, the Lord of Gohaldinest, and makes a bargain to stay as an acolyte and continue the study of magic. Rivic conspires with two friends, Alityka and Lihn (Cirvel’s mistress), against Cirvel. Cirvel announces his intentions to promote Rivic to the status of dominus. After Rivic spends some time as a dominus, Alityka gets promoted to dominus as well and they believe they will have more time together to figure out how to bring about Cirvel’s downfall. But that time is short-lived when Cirvel announces his intention to make Rivic stand with him as second in command for Gohaldinest. Worse yet, Cirvel takes Ellonia and imprisons her within a genie lamp to insure that Rivic will do as Cirvel wishes. If things couldn’t get much worse, Alityka leaves Gohaldinest. When some Necroathelings invite Rivic to their games on an alternate dimension called, The Playground, Rivic discovers that Lihn has been held prisoner there and that Cirvel has been creating an army of undead Necroathelings, but Rivic can’t figure out why. When Cirvel suggests that Rivic take some time to figure things out, Rivic goes to see the fortune-teller at the tea shop. She urges him to go speak to the Guardian beneath Gohaldinest. But the Guardian has no good news for him, only a warning that there might be a greater danger.
Onto the next chapter:
by Dawn Blair
Rivic strode through Krithstand’s village, realizing in a simple glance that only women, children, and old crippled men remained. They seemed shocked to see him. A few wanted to approach but didn’t, even tentatively. Everyone seemed to quickly go back to the task they had been at before realizing someone walked among them. They recognized him, but barely acknowledged that he wasn’t a stranger to them.
He walked on, feeling out for Alityka’s magic. She was inside a nearby lodging, the most stationary he’d found her magic in days. He didn’t have to call out as he approached for she appeared in the doorway and motioned him inside. Had he been waiting for him?
“I wasn’t certain you would be here,” he told her without greeting.
“I had to try to talk sense into my father. He’s still going toward Gohaldinest. But I had told Cirvel I would be here, so I thought I should stay for a day or two. I doubt I can hide my father’s approach from Cirvel, but I hope the other course of my actions remain unseen. I hope you are not here to tell me I have failed. Have you come to collect me?”
Rivic shook his head. “Nay. I needed a moment away myself. I have no where else to go.”
Alityka nodded, then walked further into the lodging.
Rivic followed. “Where else have you been?” he asked. “Your magic has been scattered, and sometimes non-existent.”
“You were following my magic then?”
“I suspect that is as close to an apology as I’m going to get from you.” She glanced over her shoulder at him before sitting crosslegged on a blanket. “I went to Plenelia.”
“Plenelia? Are you insane?”
“I had questions and I had to seek answers. Aye, I know I risked my life, but there was someone there I really needed to talk to. Plus, I got to test the absorption stones.”
“Aye, that’s what I’m calling them. I took down the gargax on my way to Plenelia. I hacked a piece off of it before I killed the beast. When I got close to Plenelia, I began to actually carry it with me. It seemed as if all my magic disappeared. The pieces of the gargax do take away your magic.”
Rivic shook his head. “Ali, that was still dangerous.”
“I know, but I really needed to talk to one of their healers there. While they haven’t been doing magic per se, they have been doing blood work. I needed to talk to one of them in order to find out what they know.”
“What did you find out?”
“Well, I found out a few things. First, Cirvel has been to Plenelia for the same reasons I was there. They weren’t surprised I was from Gohaldinest. Apparently, Cirvel wanted to send some acolytes there to learn what the Plenelians were doing, but they refused him. They were afraid that Cirvel had misunderstood them and I was there to train. I had to convince them I wasn’t. Second, I confirmed that Cirvel has been working with separating the different types of magic.”
“Separating the magic from the bloodwave?”
“Nay, he can already do that by looking for markers. He wants to pull whole magical strands from the bloodwave, not just the markers. This would be like separating your human magic from your novihomidrak magic.”
“But if he knows the location of every acolyte who has ever come to Gohaldinest, not to mention your markers and mine, why does he not yet understand enough to do this?”
“Because it is constantly flowing. You cannot take a drop of water from a river, put it back in, and catch the same drop again.”
“So how can he think he will ever be successful?”
“Because he hopes to divert the stream and channel off what he needs. He needs a successive chain with the right markers.”
“How can Lihn’s baby do this for him?”
“Because,” she said excitedly, holding up her index finger, “he has come to realize only recently that markers of a family are generally close together on the bloodwave. He cannot predict where they will be yet. He has only been at this a couple generations. He hopes that with Lihn’s child, since he himself if not on the bloodwave, will yield him some interesting answers.”
“But he won’t find them.”
“Exactly.” Alityka’s face lit up again. “Lihn’s child cannot give Cirvel the answer that he needs. That is what I learned from the Plenelians. Since her child doesn’t exist on this human bloodwave, he won’t be able to find the missing piece.”
“She’ll be relieved to know that.”
“We’re not going to tell her.”
“What? Why not? I think she needs to know. ‘Twill ease some of her anxiety.”
“Aye, that might bring her peace of mind, but we have to use her as a diversion for a little while longer.”
“A diversion,” Rivic said, the word flat and distasteful in his mouth. “How does he not know that she is a transformed unicorn? He knew about you and about me, so why doesn’t he know about her? Certainly he already knows that her child won’t give him the answer.” He almost told Alityka where he’d found Lihn, and certainly if Cirvel could put her there, he already knew that she and her child were worthless to him or else he wouldn’t risk harming the baby. “I still think Lihn needs to know.”
Alityka leaned forward and put her hand on Rivic’s. “She needs to remain the diversion for a bit longer. ‘Tis you which yields the answer he needs.”
“Me? I don’t understand.”
“You are on the human bloodwave of this world and you are a novihomidrak. All he has to do is sort out the novihomidrak magic, which he can compare to his own. You are his family whether you like it or not. If he realizes this, he will have the piece that he needs.”
“He’s already took a sample of my blood. Why didn’t he figure it out then?”
“Because he didn’t yet know you were novihomidrak and he wasn’t looking for it. It was the last thing he expected. The blood will have to be fresh for him to use it. Whatever sample he has will be ruined by now.”
“But after Lihn’s child is born and he puts the clues together, he’ll come for me. Everything I’ve done has to get closer to Cirvel for our strike has also bound me to him. He will have me right where he wants me,” Rivic stated flatly. “Is there nothing we can do then to keep this from Cirvel?”
Alityka gave him a huge grin. “He’s already working against himself and doesn’t know it.”
“What do you mean?”
“When he makes a Necroatheling, he takes their markers off the human bloodwave. He attaches them to his own in order to embue the Necroatheling with his power.”
“So when he makes me a Necroatheling, he destroys his own chance at getting the answer he needs?”
“I am not sure I understand, but if it makes him unable to use me further, then I am in. We must make sure that all avenues to him making a successful discovery are blocked.” Rivic paused, then held out his hand. “I want to see your absorption stone.”
Alityka nodded as she rose and crossed the lodging. She lifted the blankets and the corner of the mat, then slid a thin stone slab aside. Reaching down into the hole, she pulled out a wooden box. “I found that if you keep the stone in cloth or leather, it still will take your magic. But a wooden box seems to negate its powers.” She returned and set the box down before him.
Rivic retrieved the stone from inside the box and held it in his hand. He waited, but he didn’t feel any different. After a moment, he shook his head. “Nothing is happening.”
“You still feel your magic?”
Alityka shook her head. “Try casting a spell, something small.”
“All right.” He held up his other hand. “Lazator.” A small ball of light began floating next to him.
“Nay,” Alityka said in disbelief. She reached forward and plucked the stone from Rivic’s palm. “Lazator,” she said. Nothing happened. She held out her hands and closed her eyes as she shouted, “Lazatorian dydactica highmulktien!”
“Woah,” Rivic hollered, throwing his arm over his face. As he realized that there hadn’t been any explosion around him, he slowly relaxed his arm and looked at Alityka standing there staring at the stone.
“Why doesn’t it work on you?” she asked. “Could it be because you are a novihomidrak?”
“I don’t know,” he answered. “But if it doesn’t work on me, then it won’t work on Cirvel either.”
“Unless it doesn’t work because of your markers on this world’s bloodwave. Maybe being a novihomidrak specifically from this world makes you immune to it.”
“Ali, I know that you want to believe that’s possible, but I just don’t know if human magic can be separated from novihomidrak magic. I think it’s a stretch.”
She dropped back down onto the floor and placed the stone back in the box. She seemed a bit more relieved after she closed the lid. “I know that you’re not going to like this, but I bargained for a dagger.”
“Why wouldn’t I like it?”
“I got it from the Plenelians. ‘Tis what they’ve been using to test their own people for magic, or to remove it.” She spat out the last part of the sentence so fast that Rivic realized that she had more to say but was abbreviating what she was going to tell him.
“Remove it?” he asked, letting his thoughts stretch out to follow her words. He sensed it come back to him. “You mean to remove someone’s markers from the bloodwave so that they no longer possess magic.”
“Aye,” she answered slowly. “Or to put them onto another.”
She rolled her eyes. “Markers just don’t disappear. They have to go somewhere. New lines can be started.”
“So what you’re telling me is that if Cirvel can cut humanity from the bloodwave, the markers would all just make a new line, like a self-healing thread? Does that mean that he can’t do it?”
“He needs this knife to fulfill his plans. He can’t do it without this.”
“What makes the dagger so special?”
“It detects markers and can remove the energy of the whole thread. It was created by energy workers.”
“What makes me think that the Plenelians didn’t just give this dagger to you?”
She smiled. “I did say that I had to bargain for it.”
“What kind of bargain?”
“The kind where they don’t know that I didn’t take the dagger and you don’t have to sweep in bringing dragon vengeance upon them in order to get it. Do me a favor: reach out and see if you can sense the dagger?”
“Is it at least in your lodging?”
Not sure this was a good idea, Rivic closed his eyes and started feeling for the dagger. He couldn’t feel anything. He opened his eyes, lowering his dragon lids, and glanced around. Again, nothing. He shook his head.
Alityka crawled toward him. “What have you done to your eyes?”
Rivic blinked the dragon lids away. “What do you mean?” He shut his eyes once more to bring them back. “What, these?”
“They are dragon lids and they allow me to enhance my vison. I can see some magicks with them, or see in the dark, or other things.”
“Does Ellonia know?”
He wondered why that would matter. “Nay. Nor does she know about these,” he said, bringing out the talons from his fingertips.
“That’s disturbing. Probably best that you didn’t show her.”
A deep fear that Ellonia would reject him ran through him.
“Rivic?” Alityka asked.
“Ali…” He wanted to ask if Ellonia would forfeit what her visions had shown her if she knew about his dragon aspects, but the words were nearly as painful to speak as the thoughts and he couldn’t bring himself to express them.
“Nay, Rivic,” Alityka smiled as she brightened, “she has loved you for as long as she has had the visions. She probably already knows. Besides, she understands how important you are and wouldn’t have you any different.”
“If I could just give up everything to be normal, I would for her sake.” He felt himself on the verge of tears. “She shouldn’t have to live with a monster.”
“You’re not a monster.”
“I am no different than Cirvel. You’re right, you shouldn’t trust me. I can’t promise you that I’m on your side.”
“Why are you trying to be impossible? You are far different than Cirvel. I don’t know where this has come from, but stop it.”
Her chiding tone seemed to break through a segment of his thoughts that wanted to wallow in pity and he snapped back. “I’m sorry, Ali. I’m not sure what came over me.”
Alityka sat back down, her eyes still sharp and distrustful. “Maybe we should chalk it up to insecurity. Don’t do it again.”
Insecurity was a good way of putting it. One thought of Ellonia and he got all nervous about being away. He hoped he hadn’t put her in jeopardy while he was gone. He knew he’d already stayed too long. Certainly Cirvel was keeping track of Rivic’s magic. “I have probably stayed too long. I should return.”
He got up, but before he moved away, Alityka reached up and grabbed his hand.
“Rivic,” she said, her eyes pleading, “promise me that you will protect my sister. I do not see a way of getting her out of Cirvel’s reach before battle comes. She has faith in you, but I have always wondered if she is the one who will save you.”
He thought on her words for a moment, wondering how he could make such a promise, yet knowing he needed to make it more to himself than to her. “When battle comes, I will send her through to Galault. He will keep her out of Cirvel’s reach.”
Alityka smiled. “We are lucky to have discovered him, aren’t we?”
“I suspect he feels the same way.”
His skin felt cold after she released him. He gave her one final nod, then moved to the door and outside.
Several people around camp watched him. He recognized them, but they remained standoffish. Many averted their gazes as he tried to meet their eyes. He didn’t belong here now that he was a citizen of Gohaldinest. They probably wondered what spells he would cast on them if they gave him the chance.
Rivic swirled his fingers in the air and a funnel of dust rose into the air. He stepped into it. As he stepped out, he was back in Gohaldinest.
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Onesong – copyright © 2017/2018 Dawn Blair
Published by Morning Sky Studios
Cover and layout copyright © 2017 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art “Looking Toward Yesterday” copyright © Dawn Blair
This excerpt is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.