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.
by Dawn Blair
The gnome pushed away from where he leaned and waddled across the room toward a workstation beneath some cabinets. He opened a drawer and pulled out a white sack before toddling back and handing it to Cirvel. “Anything else?”
Cirvel closed his eyes and acknowledged the gnome by bowing his head. “Thank you. That should be all.”
As T’kiel went back to the workstation and sat down on a stool there, Treshauna came closer to Cirvel. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“No. This is something I must do. There is no assistance that can be given.”
She squeezed his forearm then stepped off toward T’kiel.
Ignoring their low-toned chatter, Cirvel took a piece of chalk from the bag and set to work making sigils on the floor. He discarded his robe when it became too much of a detriment to his writing. In his tunic and leggings, he continued making the magical netting needed as a structure for dismantling dimensional magic. As soon as he finished with the preliminaries, he placed the book into the middle of the three rings decorated with spirals, triangles, and ancient magic symbols.
He drew one final box, small and divided by the line of the largest circle. He placed four fingers inside the outline. “Trakaeshala voch ka milhan.”
The box lit in green, then pressed through the chalk marks scrawled on the floor, zipping its way to the center. As it reached the middle, the whole design burst into gold and rose off the floor. Cirvel pulled his hand back as the outer rings ascended higher than the inner two.
Behind him, Treshauna and T’kiel fell silent.
Cirvel crossed his arms over his chest, placing his hands on his shoulders, and closed his eyes. He would have felt more comfortable if he’d been able to change back to his genie attire. For some reason, it felt strange and awkward to be doing dimensional magic like this. But he didn’t want to change in front of T’kiel.
A soft, warm glow came over Cirvel as if he’d settled into a warm bed cocooned in velvety blankets. Treshauna filled his thoughts and he changed his breath to focus on the present rather than memories, no matter how pleasant.
He had much work to do. With a shield of glowing silver around him, he walked into the center of the rings and picked up the book from the middle of the funnel. A draft of air rising from the floor let him release the book to float in the air. Silver webbing drifted off the ends of his fingers as he worked around the book, occasionally tapping it enough to lock the wavy tendrils onto it.
Cirvel sensed someone walking up to his magic circle and he turned with a snarl. T’kiel had come closer to examine it. Cirvel’s growl sent the gnome stumbling back a few steps. Treshauna caught the little man and kept him from falling over. “I said no disruptions.”
T’kiel muttered an apology, looking truly sorry. Treshauna pulled the gnome back with her, but they didn’t return to their seats. Cirvel continued working, trying not to let the sparking, annoyed, tingles running in irritation up his spine distract him. They had no idea how a novihomidrak could sense others, especially when they were working dragon magic. That said nothing about his additional genie magic, which was a whole other level and usually one cloaked in suspicious apprehension.
They had no understanding.
That thought gave Cirvel a prideful smile. Most people didn’t understand him. Of all the individuals throughout the galaxy, he was probably the most unique of them all.
Once he had adequate anchors in place along the book and several hanging in the air but not quite touching the leather cover, he drew back his hands as if he were pulling puppet strings. A layer of shining gold expanded from around the book still maintaining a rectangular structure.
“This is the energy of this realm,” he said, feeling the need to explain though he wasn’t quite sure why. He reached his fingers through to touch one of the golden lines. “Line calthadus.”
The structure broke, falling like rain to the floor.
He tapped the book and a second set of anchors attached. He pulled on those. Again, a netting around the book stretched, this time a brilliant blue color.
Cirvel shook his hands, clearing away the webbing from his fingers. He reached in carefully, trying not to break the delicate strands now surrounding the book, but lifting each one to examine it. He had to roll some of them slightly against the pads of his fingers to see the other side. Looking for a thin line on each one, he knew that the differentiating mark could be small and seemingly insignificant. It might be something as tiny as a mark, or unperceivable as a slight change in the color. Usually, it was something more, but not always.
When he found nothing, he blinked down his dragon lids to examine it closer.
There, on the underside of one of the threads, a line of light blue. So subtle was the shift that he might ordinarily have missed it. He plucked at the thread, bending to examine it closer and hope it wasn’t going to break. He slid his nail along the length of the outer dark, blue thread, feeling the gel-like substance give way. Blue goo slid out over his fingers, making them slick. He fought the urge to be repulsed; he could wash up later. Now, he had a life to save.
The inside of the thread had a sensation like a blood vessel, all slick and pliable. He slipped his finger in and drew the second string up. He pulled, tugging as much of it as he could out of the opening.
Pinching it between his fingers, he ran down the length to clean it, or as much as he could access without breaking it. If he didn’t have to get to this world, he might not worry about that so much. As it stood, he needed a live connection to the world to make sure that it hadn’t been blinked out of existence. Going somewhere that was no longer there was usually a great way to get slammed painfully back to where you’d started; a sign that the Oneseong always wanted people to be learning and growing.
“The world where we need to go is still alive,” Cirvel said to Treshauna. Let T’kiel surmise what he would from his words. If T’kiel really was a friend of Drelin, the gnome would find this happy news.
If he wasn’t a true ally, then that would soon be revealed too. Either way, it didn’t matter to Cirvel. If he walked out of here with the knowledge of the other dimension, good. If he had to fight his way out, so be it.
On the other hand, he held Drelin’s life right here in his fingers. One slip, an accidental cut, and they wouldn’t be able to track Drelin. He’d have no competition for Treshauna.
She was already his.
He listened to the wise, little voice that spoke back to him. Yes, Drelin had broken her heart. Cirvel was fairly certain that she wasn’t one to give second chances. Rather, he should take the knowledge of her previous relationship with Drelin and use it as a lesson about how to treat her right and make sure she was his.
Even without looking up, he knew exactly where she stood. He could even smell her beautiful blond hair and feel the softness of the curls. The latter he knew was a memory, but the former was an actual, current sensory.
Now was not the time!
“Vochey vial.” As he said the spell, he held out his hand, palm upward. A moment later, a little vial with a cork stopper in the top appeared.
He twisted the light blue thread around his index finger, then holding the vial beneath it, he squeezed it as if he were wringing out a wet cloth. A clear liquid drop came off and fell into the vial. Releasing the thread, he corked the top before placing it in his pouch. Then he checked the thread again just to make sure he hadn’t damaged it, or worse, snapped it in two. All seemed well, but he smoothed his fingers over the line anyway.
Knowing that the others probably had no clue what he was doing, he touched the dark blue structure. “Line calthadus.” The blue rectangle fell away from the book.
Working quickly with the few strands of remaining webbing waiting for him as well as establishing some new ones, Cirvel set up new anchors on the cover. He gave it a tug and a new structure pulled away from the book, this time pink.
Not only was the rectangular-shaped netting the vibrant color, but it also contained an entirely different architecture to the pattern. He felt the Humline respond with pain. Instinctively, he tore his hand through the netting, seizing the book as he went, and destroying the magic. “Balish.”
He turned, recalling the funnel magic around him with surprise. A tremor quaked through his shoulders at the memory of the pink rectangle as if his mind couldn’t let go of that moment. He knew he’d seen something, yet he couldn’t decipher exactly what it meant, only that it wasn’t good.
“Cirvel?” Treshauna asked as he dispelled the magic. The glowing settled from the air and became chalk on the floor once more.
Numbly aware that she was moving toward him, he raised a hand to stop her. “I’m not yet done.”
“But you’re pale.”
“I am still capable,” he snapped back. He settled with the chalk on a clean section of floor and began to draw new symbols. He kept having to force his mind away from those he’d seen in the pink glow. Why had he tried for that third layer when he only needed two?
He should have known that third layer would merely return him to this world, which would be the same as the first. He’d had the book here. He knew where it had been for a while. He really shouldn’t have gone looking.
The chalk snapped in half, rapping his knuckles against the floor.
He hated bad omens.
Journey with an ice nymph through the hot sands of a desert world as he tries to find his sister before they both perish from the heat.
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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, ©
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