So sorry this was not posted earlier. I have completely lost track of what day of the week it is. It feels like perpetual Wednesday at the moment.
That’s all right though. I have reached the end. Next week I begin putting my life back on its normal track. I am so ready for that.
Best of all, I will have a new short story called Alexander’s Den released very soon and I’m hoping that over the weekend I can get audio uploaded for Oxygen, my haunted highway story. And I can get back to painting. I have three new ideas that I’m excited to get to work on — the start of building a whole new body of artwork (it’s time!) So, you’ll have a couple new things too look forward to in the next little bit. Yippee!
For now though, let’s get you to this week’s chapter.
Previously: The novihomidrak, Cirvel, heads through a festival on his way to meet up with an old “friend” who has a map that Cirvel needs. The friend, Sapere Imor, isn’t happy to see Cirvel and tries to persuade Cirvel with other temptations. Irritated with not getting his answers, Cirvel seals Imor into a genie lamp. A ninja steps from the shadows and steals away the lamp containing Imor, leaving Cirvel holding only air. He returns to the shrine to discuss the situation with the Grand Sapere, who demands to take it to the Dragon Council. Cirvel knows the Council will take far too long to come to a decision. Cirvel decides to act on his own. Returning to the market, he hopes to see the woman who had taken his lamp. He finds her and but she’s not quite ready to get down to business. At least not the kind he wants to discuss. When she does give him a chance to explain, he tells her that what he has trapped in the lamp is not a genie and that she won’t be able to use the lamp irregardless because she’s not the rightful owner. She bargains with him: help in exchange for the genie lamp. He asks her why she needs a genie. She replies that she needs a powerful trap. Treshauna then takes him to the meeting house for the ninjas to meet their leader, Drelin. Cirvel pulls Imor out of the lamp to prove that Imor is not genie — just a human. But Drelin learns that Cirvel is the genie. Cirvel “convinces” Imor to reveal to him the location of a place known as Alexander’s Den (If you are reading this and you saw the note about the short story above, yes, this is the same Alexander’s Den as mentioned there – oh what a web I weave!).
by Dawn Blair
Sweat broke out on Imor’s forehead and the space between his mouth and nose. Imor nodded his head in short, vigorous waves as if his head was on a tight spring. “Your point is well made.”
Making sure to keep a tight hold on the hair he’d taken from Imor and enchanted, he released the sapere with a small push. He tossed Imor a sidelong look of disgust as he went around to Treshauna. “I have what I need. I am now in your services.”
Delight flared in her eyes and her mouth opened slightly as if a multitude of possibilities about the services he could render sprung through her head. He knew he must look like the leering wolf now, pleased with how his words made her body heat rise enough for him to feel.
“What about him?” she asked.
Cirvel turned back toward Imor. “Let him go. The sapere needs to return to inform the others that I have taken an assigned mission.” He paused so that Imor could fully comprehend his meaning. “Isn’t that right?”
Imor’s eyes widened, then he agreed as if a fever had overtaken him. “Oh, yes.”
Treshauna appeared unsettled by this decision. She growled incoherent words as she stalked over to Imor. He shrank back as she reached out for him, a move that maddened her even more. Her knife surfaced and she slid it across Imor’s shoulder. Both Cirvel and Imor thought that she’d been aiming for his throat and were surprised when she dabbed her fingers in the blood blossoming from the quick x-shaped slash she’d made in the soft flesh right before the shoulder bone.
Barely able to see her moving, Treshauna seemed to disappear into shadows as she cross the room and reappeared before Cirvel. He dropped his dragon lids over his eyes, giving the room a yellow tint, in order to figure out where she was going. She stood before him, grabbing onto his wrist, and slamming the spike of his wrist-mounted weapon into his shoulder. Before he could react, she slapped her hand against the wound she’d opened. “Bind!”
Rippling power knocked Cirvel back a step.
“You are now his servant,” “Treshauna told Imor. “You are bound to do whatever he requests without betrayal. The shadowside holds your lifeforce. To refuse him means your death.”
“What did you do to get involved with this crazy chick?” Imor shouted.
Cirvel couldn’t stop staring at the blood on the end of his spike. His blood. The wound would take a sapere to heal.
Treshauna bent slightly at the waist to lower her face into the sapere’s. “Shall I bind you to me as well?”
Imor sputtered something in dragon, but it was too much under his trembling breath for Cirvel to understand. From what he could catch, he thought it was a ward. Even in his own confusion, Cirvel figured that Treshauna could walk right through Imor’s invocation. Sidling around Treshauna, leaning back as if he were doing a limbo, Imor rushed over to Cirvel. “Can I heal that for you?”
Cirvel’s hand lashed out to grab the sapere’s robes again. “No. I will seek another sapere. You go back to the shrine and inform the Grand Sapere as I have requested.”
When Imor was released, the sapere backed away, bowing as he went until he bolted from the room.
A moment later, Drelin entered. “I presume that you had success in getting the information you needed from the sapere?”
Treshauna responded, “We did. We may be on our way now.”
Drelin looked at Cirvel, who felt like it was the first time that the ninja might be truly seeing him. “How possible would it be for you to get us a ride through the Wells? It would make our journey much easier.”
“You want to travel through the Wells?” Cirvel laughed. “Do you realize how fragile you are?”
Treshauna exchanged a sly look with Drelin, both of the ninjas giving the other a subtle smile and making Cirvel wonder what he’d missed. “He did say, ‘a ride.’”
“You would be the one making the journey, carrying both of us within your shadow. We would, essentially, not be there. Not enough for anyone, even you, to notice.” Drelin matched Cirvel’s level look.
“Where are we going?”
Cirvel’s instant reaction at hearing the planet name was to reach out and touch the Humline. He had to know if this were some sort of joke. Or was it a strange synchronicity that took them to the planet that he needed to start from in order to find the imagination dragon. His fingers, curled deeply into his palm, felt Imor’s cylindrical hairs rolling against his skin.
Treshauna looked concerned. “It is there already?”
Drelin shifted toward her. “Nearly. It’s getting stronger as it moves. It’s already sent El’onse and Senrab to their deaths.”
“What is this thing you are after?” Cirvel asked, recognizing the two planets Drelin spoke about. He’d been on Senrab two years earlier. What could have devastated it so quickly? Why hadn’t he felt something, considering he’d touched the Humline of that world? Could he pick up the trail for his search if Segin was lost?
Treshauna must have seen the worry cross his face, for she stepped closer to him and put her hand on his wrist. She remained silent however, letting Drelin explain.
“The beast is called a Shniktaur. They are rare, so it does not surprise me that you have not heard of them. It is… something the Black Nights generally deal with.”
“That sounds suspiciously like a statement that you take care of your own, people and problems both.”
Drelin gave a slow blink. “How very astute.”
“How does it destroy a planet?”
“It goes to the heart, very nearly to the core of a planet and opens up a vortex of chaos. A planet already in trouble, the kind a novihomidrak would normally be sent in to vanquish, falls quickly to the vortex. Mass destruction can take only moments on a planet with any technological sophistication.”
A blink of an eye. No wonder he’d not felt any dangers coming through the Onesong. It had merely stopped existing, swallowed by chaos.
Treshauna gave him a little squeeze and he couldn’t help looking down at her. “I had some very good friends on Senrab.”
“If we wish to get to Segin ahead of the Shniktaur, time is of the essence. Will you give us transport there?”
Realizing that his wound, given to him by his own novihomidrak weapon at Treshauna’s hand, wouldn’t heal until he’d seen a sapere about it, he nodded. “I will go to the shrine to have it arranged. Please tell me that in light of the urgency that we leave immediately rather than tomorrow morning.”
Drelin chuckled, a genuine sound. “I think I see why you like him. Let us make haste.”
Only as Cirvel made to leave with the two ninjas did he realize that the lamp he’d had Imor trapped within was now gone and he didn’t know which one of them possessed it, still inappropriately.
Rule of 3 here. I’ve already mentioned it twice.
If you have enjoyed my work, please tell a friend about my stories. Thank you!
Palladium – copyright © 2019 Dawn Blair Published by Morning Sky Studios
Cover and layout copyright © 2019 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art copyright © Rodjulian | Dreamstime.com, ©
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.