A couple nights ago, I was absent-mindedly watching my son play a video game and suddenly an idea blasted its way into my head. I swear its not a new concept, but a couple Google searches didn’t turn up anything, so I started to write. I’m still certain that I’ve seen something like this before and that it’s nothing new in the cloud-mind, but oh well, I’ll stick with the vision.
Last night as I was working on the story, I started thinking that it would be so great if I had another story that wasn’t going to be connected to my Sacred Knight series, or to my novihomidraks in any way. Woo hoo, go me!
Then, this morning as I was setting this up, I was briefly reading through the chapter and suddenly realized that I might actually have another of my Ninja origin stories. I still have to go back and look at my initial concept notes, but I’m wondering if the idea has percolated in my brain long enough to actually start streaming out. I think the story would be perfect for a Ninja story, thought it would be a little strange because of some key differences. Well, once I look at the notes, I’ll have a better idea.
It’s just strange that one day I think I have a new storyline and the next day I’m excited about the possibility of it being another in the series. Yeah, it’s weird.
Onto 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. T’kiel takes over helping the novihomidrak when Cirvel proves to be too distracted.
by Dawn Blair
“How’d you get messed up with the ninjas?” T’kiel asked. “Not like novihomidraks to work with others, especially Black Nights. Or vice versa.”
“They stole something from me.” It was out of Cirvel’s mouth before he had a chance to contemplate the repercussions.
“And you didn’t just take it back? Come on, you think any of them could stand against an angry novihomidrak taking back what’s his? Surely you don’t expect me to believe that one. What’s the female ninja got on you?”
Cirvel couldn’t answer. He ended up shaking his head instead.
“That bad, huh? She’s got your heart.”
“No, eh? Don’t think so, do you?
“No, she doesn’t.” Fear hid behind his protest. He heard it in his own tone and wondered how perceptive T’kiel was at spotting emotions in other people’s voices.
“Want to know something? I don’t like the Black Nights very much. Only help them out because Drelin is a good customer. But if it were up to me, I wouldn’t be helping any of the ninjas out. Let’s face it, most of them started out collecting souls of the dead. That’s just about creepy enough. Sorry, but that’s a whole heck of a lot spookier than being incubated in a dragon. Not sure why you’d want to put yourself in that mix.”
“It wasn’t one I had a whole lot of control over.”
T’kiel stood up and pointed at the completed spell structure. He then palmed the chalk and walked across the room toward one of the cupboards. “I think I have something you might be interested in.”
Cirvel stopped heading for the circles on the floor and turned instead toward T’kiel, who busily shoved things in the cupboard out of his way while he searched through the myriad of magical objects: dishes, wooden boxes, jewelry, daggers, pens, brushes, jars, cylinders, and glass bobbles. The sight of it made Cirvel envious, and that wasn’t an emotion he felt very often. But he could feel the remnant enchantments coming off each of the old items. What must it feel like to open the doors, grasp the essence of all those things, and realize ownership of all of it?
He’d amassed an amazing library and comprehended the emotion on that level, but this was different. This had more than the power of knowledge associated with it. This assimilated the energy of sorcery with it.
Knowing it was the dragon’s need to horde rising from him, Cirvel shook his head as if he could shake off the emotion. Magic he had, and it wasn’t like he needed more.
But those items, structures ready to channel and focus his power, mesmerized him. He wanted to listen to their lulling call, to wrap his fingers around them and feel the magic seeping from them. He wanted to know that these things were his.
T’kiel found what he sought and backed out of the cupboard, closing the door behind him. Feeling the flare of anger move through him at having been blocked, Cirvel breathed his irritation out and waited for T’kiel.
“I believe that every item has someone that they need to belong to. This, I believe, is yours.” T’kiel held out his hand and waited for Cirvel to reach out before dropping an oval shaped bone into the novihomidrak’s palm.
Cirvel brought it closer to examine. The white, cut and polished bone felt shiny and cold though its surface was porous. It had a metal eyelet affixed to the end, like it had once been attached to a chain that was no longer there. “What is it and what is its purpose?”
“It’s a unicorn bone. I didn’t ask which one. But if you wear it, it will negate poisonous magic cast against you. That stunt that Black Night wannabe pulled on you, wouldn’t have happened if you’d been wearing this. It might even save your soul.”
T’kiel winked at him, pivoting back toward the circle with a smile. “For you, a gift. Don’t worry, I’m adding it to the ninja’s bill. Serves them right for nearly shedding blood in my clean room. But I like you.”
Cirvel wasn’t sure he liked having the unicorn bone added to what Treshauna would pay for the use of this room, but then again, the Black Nights still had Imor’s lamp. While that assured he’d complete the mission with them, it didn’t give him any guarantee that he’d receive the lamp when they finished. They could double cross him. But with this, then he had at least some safeguard that he wouldn’t be trapped and made to work for them. If he got the lamp when this were done, then he could always gift the unicorn bone to Treshauna, never revealing how he’d come to possess it. “Thank you.”
T’kiel once again pointed at the circles on the floor. “That look about right to you?”
Cirvel studied the sigil work. He had to admit that the gnome knew his dimensional magic, another fact that gave him pause to wonder about the genie markings that had been erased from the door. “It does.” He slipped the bone into his pocket.
“Then I leave you to your work. I’m going to go check on the ninjas and hope they haven’t destroyed my shop. I swear, if I have to separate the two of them again, I’m going to charge them triple.”
Cirvel watched as T’kiel stormed out the door, the latch clicking securely behind him. Once alone, Cirvel got to work. He took out the little jar which held the drop of clear liquid he’d taken from the blue webbing and placed the vial in the center of the circle. He then raised the circle around it. “Vochey metaocular.” A little round piece which looked like a metal ring surrounding a clear marble came to his hand.
He waved his other palm in front of him and a sort of flat patch of blue magic took shape. He held up the metaocular to his eye and squinted with one eyes through it. He could see the vial with the drop of liquid in it, though now it appeared yellow. He rolled the metaocular in his fingers and the image zoomed in until all he could see was the liquid.
There, swimming around in the fluid, was the measurement he needed. The calculation for this realm looked like squiggles and swirls, but his genie magic understood it more than his novihomidrak self did. This, the strange little essence all floating in the murk, was the energy which made up the Humline of the world. That gave him the calculation he needed for planning the shift through dimensions.
Steepling his index fingers together, he solemnly closed his eyes and nodded as if in reverence. While in that moment of calm silence, he thought about the exact gesture he’d need to create the symbol that would unlock the dimension.
When he was ready, he rose to his feet and dispelled the magic. Once it dissipated, he picked the vial up from the floor. His fingers hit the unicorn bone as he put the vial away and he pulled the oval out to examine again. He knew this had to be costly, for remnants of a unicorn didn’t come cheaply or frequently. Cirvel raised his hand as he pivoted. “Sha’ma’shae.” All of his magic scattered. He knew T’kiel would appreciate him leaving the clean room clear of his magical impressions. He rubbed his thumb over the bone pendant once more, then walked out into the hallway.
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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.