I promised this week you’d discover where they had landed. Of course, if that was if you’d read the story Onesong when it was posted here. (grin) Of course, you sort of see a glimpse of it in To Birth a Destiny, but it’s not clear there, nor was it meant to be obvious. I only realized what was going on when I writing the Onesong stories (which are now Tangled Magic and Walk the Path).
If your new to my writing or haven’t read/don’t remember Onesong, don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you. I never know where people have started reading or what they have read, so it’s all good.
But for the core fans who have been with me for a while, I suspect there is going to be a small sound of delight at having hit a nugget of things coming together, followed by a, “Wait, how’s that possible? OMG! Need more now!”
That’s when the magic happens. (grin)
Previously: 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 (a champion born from a dragon). 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. Once Cirvel gets his focus back, he completes the spell and discovers Drelin’s location. T’kiel is interested in how Cirvel got tangled up with the ninjas and gives Cirvel a charm made of unicorn horn for protection. Cirvel and Treshauna leave T’kiel’s place and head out to find Drelin. Cirvel opens a portal to another world. They step through and they find Drelin, but are being tracked with attack imminent. Cirvel has Treshauna take Drelin to the shadows while he hunts. The Shniktaur follows Treshauna from the shadows, attacking them. Once again, Treshauna retreats to the shadows, taking Cirvel with her. He feels movement, and strangely even senses the Humline strongly here even as he is surrounded by chaos. Treshauna brings them out of the shadows. They stand before huge gates closing off the city before them and try to gain entrance. The guard demands to be shown that they have magic among them, a strange request, but Cirvel obliges with a simple fire incantation.
by Dawn Blair
The huge wooden gate started to swing open. It stopped with barely enough space to admit them through.
Heavy shadows lingered in the space beneath fortification wall. Its wide depth spoke to its strength. He doubted it would be much protection against the Shniktaur. But, to be this thick made him wonder what enemies it had been built to keep out. Cirvel noticed a guardhouse off to the right, built into the wall. The fact that it had a heavy wooden door with iron slats covering the small window as well as slots in the wall for arrows to be fired from expressed the permanence of the guards.
“Excuse me.” Cirvel turned to the guard, arm across him and hand on his hilt, standing by the entry. “Can you tell me what city we have reached?”
“You don’t know?”
That meant there were not many people on this world and whatever was out there in the forest was terrifying. “Tell me what city we have reached, then forget this question was ever asked of you.” Cirvel quickly turned toward the men standing near the gate they had just finished closing and continued in his deep voice, “And you never heard any question or reply at all.”
“You’ve reached Gohaldinest.”
“Where is Front Street?” Treshauna asked.
The guard pointed. “That one. It’s front because it faces the wall. After that, they are numbered. The cross-streets all lead to the castle.”
“Where will we find this Monsway?”
“About three blocks over. Look for the sign.”
“Thank you,” Cirvel said again, leaning into Treshauna to get her moving along. The more time they spent here asking questions, the more likely the guards were to realize they weren’t from this planet. That never went well, not anywhere throughout the Wells, even on places with space travel. Xenophobia was common among all species.
Where the trail leading up to the city had been dirt, the streets beyond were cobblestone. The houses were all built in stone similar to the road. All appeared sturdy and well-kept. Low stone wall or little fences separated the houses and the yards varied, but each appeared neat.
The presence of magic here felt fresh and alive. He felt it swirling through the air and dancing all around him. The tickle of it made him smile.
The weight of Drelin on his back made him surface from the pleasant thoughts of the city. “I’m not sure we faced the Shniktaur out there.”
“Why do you think that?”
“Because it pummeled me with one hit last time. This was hard, but not same.” He placed his fingers on his cheek. Still tender. He then pointed the wall. “Besides, that wasn’t created without purpose. That’s an outer curtain meant to keep something out of the city. There’s another curtain around the castle as another layer of defense.”
For a moment, she looked horrified by the prospect. “Won’t matter if the Shniktaur has his way. This city and their enemies will be gone”
“Why hasn’t the Shniktaur destroyed this place already, or at least started?”
“Be grateful,” she muttered before turning to unlatch a gate. They had arrived at Monsway’s house. Knocking at the door, they waited for it to be answered.
At length, it creaked upon and a stout balding man with a pipe in his mouth looked out at them. “Aye?” he asked, holding the pipe, but not removing it from his mouth.
“Are you the healer, Monsway?”
“I am. And I see you have a man in need of healing with you.” His teeth barely left the stem of his pipe as he spoke. He followed with a long drag on the pipe and a puff of smoke. “I cannot help him. I suggest that you take him to Madame Orcee.”
“Aye. She has a tea shop in the business district. Take him there and she will guide you.”
Cirvel stepped forward. “How is a tea shop going to help this man? Aren’t you the healer?”
Monsway took a step forward and pulled the pipe away from his mouth. “Aye, a body I can heal. ‘Tis not his body that ‘tis in danger. Madame Orcee heals more than the flesh. ‘Tis her services you need rather than mine. Now, good day to you.”
The door shut pleasantly in their faces.
Want to know more about ninjas moving in the shadows? Check out these two ninja origin stories.
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Palladium – copyright © 2019 Dawn Blair Published by Morning Sky Studios
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