I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.
I feel like the White Rabbit bouncing along. It was Friday afternoon before I once again had the realization that it was FRIDAY!
And, of course I was out at Salt Lake Gaming Con with no Internet access on my laptop to post this, so it’s had to wait until I had some wi-fi.
I do swear that someday I will get my groove back. Not going to lie; that has been hard, but I will get back up on the horse soon and get everything flowing once more.
Anyway, let’s get you to your next part of the story.
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. Now that Cirvel has what he wants, the ninjas are ready to go on their mission. Before traveling the Wells of the Onesong, Cirvel needs to make one stop at the shrine first. Cirvel gets the coordinates for where they are traveling and he heads out. Meeting up with the ninjas, they take to hiding within his shadow. They go through the Wells, but as soon as they come out on the other side, they discover something is waiting for them. Blindsided, Cirvel gets severely injured. He withdraws and takes Treshauna back through the Wells, but is unable to pull Drelin along. Once back, the saperes realize how wounded he is. His world blurs as he’s taken back to be healed. Waking up, Cirvel realizes three things: Treshauna has stayed with him, he’s lost the book about Alexander on a doomed world, and he is still not fully healed. He returns to his lamp where he knows he can take care of himself. After taking to the sands to heal, Cirvel returns with the strange feeling that he has fallen in love with Treshauna and she with him. He knows they must put their feelings aside, hard as it may be, to deal with the Shniktaur. Treshauna begins to ask him questions and he reveals how he had been an experiment which turned him into a unique novihomidrak. They then begin to make plans to find which dimension Drelin is in and to rescue him. For that, Cirvel needs supplies. Then go to the workshop of a gnome named T’kiel, who grudgingly allows the genie inside and gives them a clean space to work. T’kiel sets Cirvel and Treshauna up with everything they need to complete the spell to find Drelin, but outside forces work against Cirvel.
by Dawn Blair
Gold to pink.
“That really needs a diving line,” T’kiel noted, pointing at the sigil Cirvel had just finished.
“You’re right,” he said, adding the line as indicated. He probably didn’t have the mental fortitude needed now to work this spell. The Humline confirmed that he really should be leaving now. Nothing good was coming out of this.
Why wasn’t he listening then?
Because what waited for him on the other side of the dimensional walls, was much worse than a transition from pink to gold. But why couldn’t he remember the flash he’d seen in the symbol on the rectangle just moments before he’d destroyed it? Why had that been wiped from his mind?
What trauma had the Humline of this world endured?
Enough to cause a surge of agony reflecting the blood spilled so very long ago. Pink. Blood and the cleansing of time.
“I’m sorry I looked,” he whispered in the dragon language, hoping that the Humline understood his deep apology.
He felt the magic raising across his hand. Then footsteps.
“No!” T’kiel shouted. His foot kicked at that chalk lines, breaking them up so the ring wasn’t complete. “You’re not paying attention to what you’ve done.”
The magic fizzled, draining into the floor of the clean room instead of the chalk.
“Why did you do that?” Cirvel growled.
“Because it was wrong.” T’kiel pointed a stodgy finger at one of the symbols. “What do you call this?”
The gnome was right. The spiral drawn on the floor went counterclockwise. With the other symbols, it would have undone all the other magics. Worse, it would have made a few of the other spells explosive.
Cirvel bowed his head. “You are most correct. I apologize for my sloppiness. It will not happen again.”
T’kiel settled back somewhat and looked at Treshauna. She nodded in the affirmative, but Cirvel wasn’t certain why. The gnome took what appeared to be a cautious step forward, but the shuffle of his foot caused another break in the lines. “Honorable novihomidrak, I need you to step out of the circle.”
Cirvel found his way to his feet, but he remained in the drawing. “Why?”
The gnome stepped back out of arm’s reach. “Please…”
Treshauna moved closer, but stopped at a small wave from T’kiel which he performed with a hand down near his thigh as if trying to keep Cirvel from seeing the motion. “Cirvel, please, this is important.”
Had it just been T’kiel asking, he might have demanded more of an answer, but with Treshauna also making the request, he decided to comply. He left the circle.
“Chalk,” T’kiel demanded.
Cirvel passed him the bag.
T’kiel took out one piece, which he tossed to Treshauna, then with another he began to draw a circle around Cirvel.
“What is going on?” Cirvel turned to watch the gnome, aware that Treshauna had moved up behind him and was also now placing lines on the floor. While T’kiel worked on a circle, she drew a square outside of the circle.
“Please wait patiently,” Treshauna said. “Trust me.”
A shiver ran through Cirvel’s chest. She hadn’t said to trust T’kiel, only her.
After T’kiel finished his circle, he began a second just beyond the square. When they had both finished, Treshauna handed the chalk back to T’kiel.
“Can you see it?” T’kiel asked, his eyes remaining on Cirvel while he turning his tilting head slightly to speak to Treshauna.
“See what?” Considering that Cirvel felt nothing around him, he began to worry about what he didn’t see.
“Stay still.” Treshauna glided her feet apart on the floor and bent one knee while letting the other slide out to the side. She placed her hand on the tilt before her. Her hand began to glow dark purple. He barely noticed her other hand where she made slow circles with her index finger.
The chalk turned the color of near midnight and a violet curtain rose up around Cirvel. Flashes of yellow, red, and green went through it.
Then he felt Treshauna right beside him even though he was still looking at her. It nearly made him jump. He refused to react, but it sent ripples of unused energy through him as if he were shivering.
“No!” he heard another voice shriek, low, deep, and masculine.
The purple curtain of magic collapsed from around Cirvel.
“Come here.” Treshauna dragged someone from the shadow beneath her. Due to the weight, she had to shift her stance now, but the muscled in her legs proved to be her biggest asset in pulling the man along the floor.
She tried to toss him out along the floor, but didn’t have the strength. Cirvel rushed forward, snatching the man’s black clothes and doing what Treshauna couldn’t. Once he stopped sliding, he flipped over onto his back and glared at him and Treshauna.
“Veniq?” she shouted at seeing who it was. “What are you doing here?”
It took Cirvel a minute to realize that this was the apprentice they’d seen when Treshauna had taken him to meet Drelin.
His eyes narrowed. “What happened to Drelin?”
“He got trapped. We’re trying to rescue him.”
Veniq’s glint remained hard on Cirvel. “Likely story. Drelin told me that if he didn’t make it back, it was probably the novihomidrak’s doing.”
“Woah!” T’kiel came to stand between Treshauna and Veniq, holding his hands out to each side. “I said you could use my clean room. I didn’t say you could have a feud in here. Magic, not bloodshed. Got it?”
Treshauna ignored the gnome. “Oh, because nothing ever goes wrong on a mission.” She dumped a flood of sarcasm on Veniq. “Why would he even tell you something like that?”
“Because he didn’t trust the beast.” Veniq swung his harsh look to Treshauna. “And since you trotted him into our fold, Drelin wasn’t about to trust you either.”
Treshauna rushed forward and seized Veniq’s black shirt in her fisted hands. She yanked him close. “Trotted?”
Cirvel pulled her away from Veniq. “Ignore the words coming from your jealous ex-lover and repeated by this puny man. Some dogs never forget the training of their first master.”
At first, Treshauna looked horrified, then she realized the taunt underlying Cirvel’s words and she smiled. “You’re right.”
He leaned down to kiss her cheek, but as he did so, he thrust his hand out to snatch Veniq much in the same way that Treshauna had. It only took him one hand to jerk the apprentice close to him though. Cirvel turned and growled into Veniq’s face. “Besides, the real question is why you wanted to disrupt my magic. Why did you try to harm us? You didn’t yet have any answers about Drelin. For all you knew, he was running an errand.”
“I’ve been watching you since the street.”
“So you should have known that we were trying to rescue Drelin,” Treshauna said.
“We can’t trust a novihomidrak!” Veniq pointed at Cirvel. “You should damn well know that. Just the fact that you refuse to acknowledge that tells me you can’t keep your own oath as a Black Night.”
Her dagger came quickly to her hand and she rushed for Veniq. “How dare you?” Spit flew into his face.
“No blood!” T’kiel shouted. “One drop and you all are buying me a new place. One drop with taint this room forever. Don’t even think about it.”
Cirvel felt his dragon power roll through him. First in his head, then dropping down to his chest, then back up as violent magic that threatened to make his eyes roll back. “Everyone stop.” The command came out robustly and knocked each of them back a step. Once he had their attention, he shifted his gaze between the three. “I will not put up with bickering. Veniq, if you wish to help save Drelin, you are welcome to stay. However, if you dare to sabotage me again, I will slice you open from throat to groin.” As if to prove his point, he showed Veniq the long black claw on his index finger.
He next looked to Treshauna. “Are you fine with that?”
He handed the book to T’kiel. “Will you draw the enchantment circles for me? It will take me a moment to shake off the dragon magic enough for me to continue.”
T’kiel nodded. Piece of chalk in hand, he went to a clear section of floor, dropped down to his knees, and set to work. He did glance back over his shoulder as if he not convinced they wouldn’t start fighting again.
Veniq motioned Treshauna, wordlessly giving her, what Cirvel presumed, a signal that he wanted to talk alone. Rolling her eyes, she followed him out into the hall.
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Palladium – copyright © 2019 Dawn Blair Published by Morning Sky Studios
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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.