Palladium – Chapter 5

I have yet to take down the first 4 chapters, so if you want to read these, you still have a little time left. They won’t stay forever. These are only supposed to stay for a week (or two) then disappear. Best hurry along and get to reading them.

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.


Cover and layout copyright © 2019 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art copyright © Rodjulian | Dreamstime.com, ©
Xneo | Dreamstime.com, and © Gualtiero Boffi| Dreamstime.com

Palladium

Chapter 5

by Dawn Blair

Cirvel pulled on his cloak over his clothes and turned to see Treshauna putting the finishing loop onto the tie to her black pants. “Care to tell me know why you need a genie?”

“You going to be in a hurry now?” Her gaze swept hungrily over him. Again.

He let his tension draw back his shoulders. “I told you that I’m on a deadline.”

“I suppose you did. I would fully love to give you the lamp back, but I really can’t.” Her shoulder rose with a hint of a shrug as she tipped her head to the side.

“Why not?”

She acted as if there had been no growl in his tone. “Because I need you for more than two days. It’ll take a good starcraft going at twice light speed just to get there in four days.”

“Then we have no deal.” He started to turn and walk for the door.

“Yes, we do. We consummated our agreement, remember?”

“That was before you told me that you wouldn’t give me the lamp.”

“Turn yourself back toward me.”

“I’m leaving,” he raged. But even as the words rose through him, he felt a tug in his chest and his body followed her command without resisting. She had bound his energy to her. Try as he might, he couldn’t stop his feet from dragging across the floor toward her. He felt the muscles in his neck and jaw flex as he kept from giving into demanding anger.

“I said we would help each other with our mutual adventures. You agreed. We made a pact. I meant what I said. I really would love to give the lamp back to you. I can’t. We’ve got to go get it and it won’t be easy.”

“Who’s got it?”

“Another Black Night. He thought he could crack it and get the genie out.”

Cirvel paused, turning a quarter turn back to her. “He doesn’t own the lamp either.”

“Small technicality.”

“What makes him so certain he can do it? What magic does he have?”

“Enough that he could probably pull a living soul out of the lamp. But he’s not expecting it, so he might end up killing the man you put in there.”

“You waylaid me on purpose.” He spun toward her, growling and baring his teeth. “You have known this, yet you stalled.”

“No. Yes. But I couldn’t have you charging in there until I had bound you to me. I’m sorry. I had to be sure.”

“I said I would help you.”

“How can I believe a novihomidrak? You can hardly stand to be in the same room with me. How would it be when you are surrounded by Black Nights? I had to make sure we would all be safe, including you.”

He didn’t know enough about ninjas to understand if they worked their energy bonding through sex. Or had their time in bed together been more than that? The question irritated him. He’d be lying to himself if he didn’t admit that he wanted it to be more. “Does he possess weapons from a novihomidrak?” Cirvel snarled.

“No.”

“Then I would be safe.” Even though the words gave him a sense of triumph, he still felt the muscles pulling at his mouth thought he fought the urge to bare his teeth again. He didn’t want to be rude and overpowering. Not yet. That time may yet come, but not with her.

Her back stiffened with anger at his words much as he had hoped and she stood up straighter. “You assume too much. You don’t even know what power this Black Night has.”

“And you assume that I cannot counter it.” He held back a grin. She might have some power over him, but not total control.

Cirvel felt a ripple and saw the shadow of deception flash behind her eyes.

“Valihish.” She motioned her hand in a circle before her as she hissed the word.

“Dak’nar!” He took two steps in and grabbed her wrist. With his forward movement, he broke her stance and nearly knocked her to the floor. Only because of his hold on her did she not fall. He pulled her against him and he placed his free hand against the small of her back. “When I’m paying attention to my opponent, the Humline tells me all I need to know.”

She arched against his hold, her hands flat on his chest. “But it also can blindside you, like I did at the festival.”

“I did not know you were my opponent at that time.” He grinned, leaning over her. Cirvel nuzzled his mouth against the soft curve where her neck met her shoulders. “But I did tell you to surprise me. The Humline allowed for that.”

She twisted and deftly extricated herself from his hold. She started to speak, but the words dropped unspoken from her tongue. Shaking her head, she glanced down at the floor.

“What is it?”

“Ask me the most logical question that comes to your mind.”

Cirvel studied her and tried to decipher what exactly she wanted him to say. He reached to the Humline for assistance. “You were delivering him a genie. You thought you had one in the lamp. Now you want to take me to him. Why do you need a genie?”

She seemed pleased that he’d figured it out on his own. “Because we need someone who understands the trap, how to keep energy contained in something like a lamp. The enemy we’re after is unstoppable. We hope we can seal it away, but we know that we might only be temporarily inhibiting it.” She looked thoroughly defeated and ashamed at having to admit this much.

Cirvel smiled. “Sounds like a challenge. I will help.”

***

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, ©

Xneo | Dreamstime.com, and © Gualtiero Boffi| 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.

 



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What happened?

Let’s chat, shall we?

Let me start by saying that I’m trying an experiment and moving the free fiction to Friday. I want to see if it has better results there. (catch last week’s now) Not going to lie. This is all about the exposure. Me running the free fiction does no good if only a few people are reading it. I want more eyes on it.

If you were looking for my progress blog that I usually run on Monday and didn’t see it, you’re not imagining things. I didn’t run it. I had originally thought that it would be a way of me being publicly accountable, and I still like that idea, but I’m not sure anyone really cares. I thought someone might be interested in seeing how all gets done in my life and the incremental baby steps it takes. I had hoped that it would inspire others. Instead, I feel as if it didn’t have the intended effect. I also didn’t come back to review it like I thought I would.

Feeling like no one really cared culminated with other factors (cold, snow, gray skies, working many hours, little sleep, and a desperate need for sunshine) into a massive depression for me. Massive.

I don’t like talking about my depression or admitting that I have it. I’ve seen others with depression and mine is very mild comparatively. Usually I can resolve mine by getting more sleep. Not this time. I had the stupid little voices working away in my head and they wouldn’t leave me be. I began to feel destructive. Worse, I couldn’t cry. I felt as if I could vent with tears, things might be okay.

Continue reading

Palladium – Chapter 4

Fine, Sally, you win!

Here you go.

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.


Cover and layout copyright © 2019 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art copyright © Rodjulian | Dreamstime.com, ©
Xneo | Dreamstime.com, and © Gualtiero Boffi| Dreamstime.com

Palladium

Chapter 4

by Dawn Blair

Cirvel lay spent in bed, the soft sheets tangled around his legs and waist. She had never even asked his name, though he knew hers. He swore he’d roared it a couple of times.

How very unlike him.

He turned his head away, irritated with the shame he felt. This was so unlike him.

She crawled over to him. “Isn’t it supposed to be the woman who draws away in embarrassment from her unabashed passion?”

He didn’t know what to say. Come to think of it, he hadn’t said much. He pushed her away and started to get up. “Whatever enchantment you have put over my soul, you can release it now.”

Treshauna laughed. “How many times am I going to have to tell you that I haven’t done energy work against you?”

He didn’t want her to say that at all. This would be easier to accept if she just admitted that she’d used her talents against him. Once again, he started to leave. She reached up and touched his hair, her fingers raking through the long, black lengths. “What color are your eyes?” she asked.

Unwillingly, or at least he wanted to believe that, he rolled back down beside her, turned his face to her, and blinked away the dragon lids. Her fingers came to explore along his cheeks, feeling out the bones beneath his eyes. “Your eyes are so dark. They are almost black.” Her mouth preyed upon his once more.

His instincts no longer fought her. He’d figured that once he’d possessed her, she wouldn’t have sway over him any longer. Instead, she had taken him. He felt so wrapped up in her. Lost.

“You are struggling,” she commented, drawing away from him slightly.

“I need the lamp, the one you stole from me.” That one thing floated like a life raft in his mind, a single preoccupying thought that would keep him from drowning in her energy. The Humline confirmed that she wasn’t manipulating his energy and that he was supposed to be with her, but he couldn’t figure out why.

“Will you tell me why I can’t access the genie inside?”

He nodded. “He’s not a genie. He’s a human which I have trapped in the lamp. Since you possess the lamp by theft rather than true acquisition, you don’t own it and aren’t the master of the energy inside.”

Now she was the one to draw away, taking one of the blankets with her. “To trap him, that would mean you’re a genie.” She crossed the room and snatched up a little optical glass which she held up to her eyes. She gasped in shock.

He knew what she saw.

“That’s right,” he confirmed as she examined him again.

“But how?”

That was the easy answer. “I was a teen when I was put into the lamp, then fed to the dragon. Because of the constant size, the dragon gestated me for longer. Rather than ten years, I was inside the dragon pearl for a century.”

Treshauna stayed on the other side of the room, shifting slightly to the side as if uncomfortable to be with him now. “Were you the dragon’s special birth then?”

Cirvel shook his head. “No.”

The shame flooded over him once again. He couldn’t take the sensation of it any longer. He rolled over and reached for his clothes. “Now that you know the lamp will do you no good, why don’t you give it back?”

“Because I do need a genie.” She crossed the room, circling around the bed toward him. “And I now know I have something you want.”

“I suppose you won’t give me back the lamp until I complete whatever it is you need me to do?”

“You make that sound unreasonable.” She stopped his hands from pulling the cloth over him, leaving him standing nearly naked before her.

“I don’t have time. What I need appears in two days’ time and only for a period of seventeen hours.”

“This man in the lamp possesses this item you need?”

“No, but he knows where it’s at.”

He barely got the words out before she pressed herself against him again. He dropped the cloth to put his arms around her. “Why are we drawn together like this?” she asked, brushing her lips over his skin.

He felt the little hairs bend and smooth against her. It tickled.

“I should fear you,” she muttered, now looking up at him. Even without his dragon lids, her eyes were an amazing blue that begged him to lose himself within her.

“Yes, you should.” He was terrified of her.

“Then let us make a pact to help each other and consummate it. I think our mutual adventures could be a lot of fun.”

Cirvel touched the Humline, even though he knew that it would agree with her idea before he did. Confirmation came as fast as he knew it would. He leaned down to kiss her, his dark hair making like a curtain around them. “A lot of fun indeed.”

***

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, ©

Xneo | Dreamstime.com, and © Gualtiero Boffi| 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.

Progress – March 4, 2019

I keep having imaginary conversations with myself. I really hate that because it’s such a time waster, which is not something I can afford right now. But, my mind keeps regurgitating things.

Dumb primitive animal brain!

Dumb things that I am forced to think about, things I want to say, things I don’t know that I should speak.

Grr! It’s irritating.

Continue reading

Thoughts on Castle in the Air

I’m a Diana Wynne Jones fan. Pure and simple.

When I was looking for a new book to listen to, I decided that I wanted another DWJ book. I had once heard that Castle in the Air was a sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle. On this particular day though, I couldn’t find any confirmation that it was. I decided to take the chance on the book because… well, Diana Wynne Jones. Need I say more?

And I started listening.

First, I imagine the narrator, Jenny Sterlin, as an older English woman. I enjoyed hearing her do mock Middle Eastern accents (like I could do any better!). Really, it made me laugh with enjoyment.

Now, there are some things I didn’t like about the narration, mostly the fact that the breaks in the tracks didn’t follow with the chapters. It sounded like it was the entire read from a day, but I also realize that it might have come from a recording originally meant for CD, so I give it.

About halfway through, I was getting a little tired of everything always going wrong for the main character. It seems like hardly anything goes right. I was beginning to wonder if this would be the first DWJ book that I didn’t like. Inconceivable! I certainly didn’t want to not like it. But, I also knew that sometimes Diana can take awhile to get things to come together, like Enchanted Glass or The Lives of Christopher Chant. So I waited, wondering how the heck she was going to have enough material for the hours that I had left.

I was certain that this was not related to Howl’s Moving Castle at all.

I finally took to analyzing why this book felt so long. I was no longer listening and enjoying (not that I wasn’t, but I was trying to figure out why this wasn’t rolling along as I wished). This was, after all, Diana Wynne Jones.

Then it happened.

I was listening along and a character names Sophie mentioned Howl’s name. I nearly dropped my phone. This was Howl’s Sophie! All of a sudden, the story looked bright, shiny, and new. I was so excited. Howl!

The pieces of the story suddenly started falling into place. The only thing that I missed was Calcifer. Dang little fire demon!

I really enjoyed how it all came together, as always. I don’t know why I ever lacked the faith with her story. DWJ is an amazing storyteller.

I do have to admit that when Jenny Sterlin got to doing Calcifer’s voice, I thought, “I want Billy Crystal.” My whining aside, she did an excellent job with Howl’s voice. I really want to get the audio for Howl’s Moving Castle just to listen to Jenny’s performance. I want to hear her take on the tale.

Now I’ve moved onto House of Many Ways, which is much easier to see is a continuation of the Howl series. Then I want to go back to the Chrestomanci series. Oh, so many DWJ books I still have to discover. I can’t wait for the adventures.

Happy reading!

Palladium – Chapter 3

The last few weeks have seemed like “whack a mole.” Every time I get one of the little buggers back in the ground, something else pops up.

I guess that’s the fun and adventures in space and time.

For you Loki fans, I have been getting some done on the 7th novella. Okay, when it snows in Los Angeles, I get the point. *grin* I did have to get words done on the novella so he wouldn’t dump snow on me coming home from Sandy, Utah. It certainly was aiming that way as we headed toward that weekend. Guess who had no snow? Yep! Me. People may think that I’m weird, but that’s okay. I know the reality: Loki loves to pester me with cold, snow, and ice if I do not pay enough attention to him.

I really want to go get my words in for the night so I can get some sleep. I can’t wait until spring and the sun returns for good. I needs it, Precious, I needs it! You can clearly see I’m losing my mind here.

We should get you to the story and away from me. *grin* Happy adventuring!

This story is meant for new adult audiences. It is rather mature in nature, not that there’s anything really detrimental, but it certainly isn’t meant for readers under 17 as there is content of a sensual nature. If you are younger or prefer completely clean content, please go no further with this 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.


Cover and layout copyright © 2019 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art copyright © Rodjulian | Dreamstime.com, ©
Xneo | Dreamstime.com, and © Gualtiero Boffi| Dreamstime.com

Palladium

Chapter 3

by Dawn Blair

Cirvel made his way back to the festival. The musk scent in the air had deepened as fresh dancers had taken over. This had probably happened a couple times over and the sweat of all the people hung around. Through that odor, Cirvel also smelled meat cooking. A different kind now, and coming from a different vendor. This meat smelled much gamier.

He scanned around for the ninja, even while he chided himself for trying. It wouldn’t be smart for her to return to the festival; she had what she wanted.

Unless she’d been there for another reason and taking the lamp had merely been a crime of opportunity. Let’s see if we can steal from the novihomidrak and get away with it.

He had proved that she could.

He blinked down his dragon lids, the world taking on a yellow hue. A second look at the crowd didn’t reveal any more information than the first time.

Cirvel wanted to head toward the vendor booths and avail himself of the meat which tantalized his senses. In just thinking about sinking his teeth into it nearly made his dragon teeth emerge. He caught himself smiling as he swallowed back the saliva pouring into his mouth. The insides of his cheeks tingled almost painfully.

But eating what not what the Humline called him to do. Not at the moment at least. The time for that would come. Right now, it dragged him to walk away from the festival, stride confidently down the street, letting the music fade behind him. He gave in to the urge and followed where it led him.

His mind chewed over the information he knew: Imor had seen the map, one that glimmered into existence only once every decade. Granted, it had been a decade since Imor had seen the map. If the sapere hadn’t mentioned that he was waiting to view it again, word might not have ever reached Cirvel about its existence. That map would show him the source of an imagination dragon, a special one that hoarded books. Not only would this imagination dragon have the knowledge Cirvel sought, but it would have everything that Cirvel would need to know immediately afterwards in the books that it kept scattered.

But until Cirvel got back the lamp holding Imor, he was no closer to his answers than he had been before he learned of the map’s existence.

“Back again so soon,” a voice called out of the shadows.

Cirvel stopped, turning slowly toward the woman’s voice. His heart raced, but he hoped not to show an ounce of his anticipation. Patience, he mentally commanded himself as if the word were a meditation mantra. He got the pleasure of watching her step out of the darkness into the light. She wore black now, not the skimpy dancer’s outfit he’d seen earlier. A grating tension scraped up his arms and spine, making him fight against the snarl that twitched on his lips. He forced it into a smile instead. He knew that he really should be pleased to see the ninja again; it gave him a chance to recover the lamp.

“Couldn’t stay away from the festivities, or were you coming back to take me up on my offer?” she asked, sashaying easily up to him.

Her eyes were blue, bluer than most skies he’d seen. They trapped and held him.

She stopped before him, her gaze now uneasily on Cirvel. He realized that he still had his novihomidrak lids down. No wonder she looked so vivid to him.

“Don’t blink them away.” She held up her hand, not quite touching his chest as she pulled closer to him.

He let her command him even though it forced him to go against the instincts rising through his chest, including the apprehension pouring down his arms. He found himself trembling. Yet he couldn’t look away from her blue eyes. They held him lost.

His mind tumbled.

Confusion frolicked across her face. The sight of it nearly made Cirvel laugh. He felt the threat of it bubble in his throat. One did not mock a ninja. Yet, her eyebrows furrowed as she studied him like she didn’t know what to make of him either. Random happenchance let them explore each other.

“Shall we find a bed now, or do we pretend we both were seeking each other for the lamp?” The words out of his mouth astonished him equally as much as they appeared to shock her.

“Presumptive, aren’t you?”

He could barely understand what she said to him.

With a hiss, he drew back. “You’re doing that, aren’t you? Manipulating my energy?”

“This may come as a surprise to you, but I’m not doing it. Check?” She stepped closer to him.

It took a moment for him to realize what she wanted him to check. Then he realized she meant he should check the Humline. His mouth opened in amazement.

“My name is Treshauna. I am a Black Night.”

“What do you want with the lamp?”

She grabbed onto him and yanked herself against him. “I thought you were going to take me to bed first.” She reached up on her toes and pressed her mouth against his.

“To business then.”

***

If you have enjoyed my work, please tell a friend about my stories. Thank you!

Im with Cupid front cover2 small
Feeling a little romance in the air? Love deserves a second shot. 


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, ©

Xneo | Dreamstime.com, and © Gualtiero Boffi| 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.

Progress – February 25, 2019

Egads! Are we at the end of February already?

I had a good trip going and coming from Utah last week. Had some blowing snow across the road, but for the most part it was clear and dry.

Wizarding Dayz was a very family-friendly show. I did a lot of networking, met some great people, and got a cartoon done courtesy of Alex Lee Buie.

That dang dimple in my chin!

I met several writers I didn’t know before and look forward to getting to know them and their work better.

Wizarding Dayz is very Harry Potter themed, and I caught a couple wizards walking around.

Oh, and here was a shot of my booth:

I also found a stowaway among my books. Bob joined the adventure. Here he is here hiding behind Loki’s chair.

See his happy little grin? He was so pleased with himself. Just about as much as when he crashed my “vacation” when I went to a writers’ conference in Oregon. He’s such a freeloader! *grin*

At least it was only Kevin and myself going out for Chinese food at Chin Wah.

We also had dinner one night at Los Cucos, but I didn’t get any fantastic pictures of the food. Bummer. It was good. We were hungry.

I surprised myself and got my words done each day. On Friday I managed to get most of them in during the show; there just wasn’t a whole lot of traffic, so I used my time. I always figure that the fastest way to make people come up to my booth is to start to write. I get immersed and *poof* people come and pulling me out of it. Murphy’s Law. *grin* It’s just one of the many ways I hack the universe.

Earlier in the week, I finished editing Tangled Magic and got it to my reader. Yeah. I also got back on track with the audio, but I’m still not sure there’s not some I will have to throw out and re-record. I’m experimenting at this point.

As I’m writing this, I haven’t got any painting done yet, but I hope to change that soon. I want to get started on a new painting tonight (Sunday). There probably won’t be any new painting listed in my numbers below, unless I decide to do something small, but I really want to get to work on another large painting. We’ll see what I really do when I step up to the easel. I’m thinking about Mexican leftovers first.

Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week:  4,618 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  957 words.

Daily word goal reached for 198 days! Weekly word goal reached for 31 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  20,513words

Writing year to date total: 45,677 words

Drawing/painting last week: None for this week.

Audio: About 2 hours editing audio.