I feel like I’ve spent weeks working on the plot design for five different novels.
Oh, wait! I have.
So the whiteboard above is just one of many that I used to help piece this story together. This board is actually directly tied to Palladium. So many decisions to be made.
Now I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to line out Walk the Path. I feel that once I have it lined out, then I can start listing Tangled Magic for pre-order. It’s hard to keep the cart before the horse. I admit that I’m having trouble staying focused on that plan. However, considering the magnitude of this story, I need to.
I just hope I don’t have to divide Palladium up into two novels too. (grin) Of course, my chapters are a little longer than the “chapters” I list here because I’m trying to keep it bite-sized for readers who don’t have the time to read through thousands of words each week. But still, I see how much I still have to go in this story and, while I’m certain there are parts that I can take out, I want the tale to be solid.
Let’s get you to the story.
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. After a search, he finds the woman who stole the lamp. Treshauna is a Black Night ninja who needs his help in exchange for the genie lamp. He asks her why she needs a genie. She replies that she and Drelin, the leader of the ninjas, need a powerful trap. Meeting up with the ninjas, they take to hiding within Cirvel’s shadow to travel through the Wells. As soon as they come out on the other side, they discover something is waiting for them. Blindsided, Cirvel gets severely injured by the Shniktaur, an agent of pure chaos. Cirvel 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. They are allowed to enter the city, but not very welcomed. They only get the briefest of replies in response to their questions about a healer for Drelin. Cirvel and Treshauna begin to walk the streets of this town they have happened upon. In looking for the healer, Madam Orcee, they discover that they are being followed. A brief encounter with their pursuers threatens to detain them from getting Drelin healed, so Cirvel uses magic to get away, only to be countered at ever spell, almost in a taunting way. At last, Madam Orcee’s shop is ahead of them. Once inside the tea shop, they convince Madam Orcee to help heal Drelin. The guards following them enter the tea shop and capture Cirvel and Treshauna, using some sort of magic which leaves them powerless and transports them to a cell. In the transition, a feeling comes over Cirvel that there is more going on here and that the Shniktaur has no intention of destroying this planet, not yet at least. They are released from the cell to go be presented before the queen. Upon meeting the queen, Cirvel shows just how otherworldly he is. Instead of scaring the queen, it intrigues her. Treshauna is left behind while the queen goes on with Cirvel. Queen Marthyrn leads Cirvel through the maze of her castle and shows him the amazing library called the Athenium which lies at the center. Cirvel learns she has read the entire library by magic. Queen Marthryn indicates there is more on this planet for him to protect other than only her city of Gohaldinest and its library, then she leads the way to show him. Marthyrn takes him to the center of the Athenium where there is an enclosed glass room. He hears a weak mewling. She keeps him from rushing ahead. Then he sees it: a small, ill dragon upon a pillow. Cirvel touches the dragon with trepidation, afraid his own power might overwhelm it.The dragon, Leschemal, is terribly sick and weak, but there is no apparent cause. Cirvel learns that this planet measures their time in seasonal cycles rather than by the stars; they have no astronomers here. It is in the last 100 years that Leschemal has gotten sick, so Cirvel questions Marthryn about what happened back then. Cirvel learns about the Plenelians, a group of magicless people who are at war with Gohaldinest. Cirvel demands that she stop the fighting, but when she says it won’t be easy, Cirvel pledges to go and speak with the Plenelians. One way or another, for the imagination dragon’s sake, this battle must end. Cirvel sees that she does care for Leschemal. Leschemal asks Cirvel if any of the worlds the imagination dragon created has survived. Cirvel tells Leschemal that he doesn’t believe they have. Cirvel and Treshauna are offered quarters. Treshauna notices that Cirvel is enjoying himself here and he confesses that Gohaldinest is his dream. He confesses to Treshauna that they have an imagination dragon here and why that is so important: they create worlds. Treshauna returns from checking on Drelin to let Cirvel know that Drelin would like to see Cirvel. They head over to Madam Orcee’s Tea Shop where Drelin is still recovering, but when they get back to the tea shop, Drelin is unconscious and unresponsive. Another woman who now claims that she is Madam Orcee tells them that Drelin is in the veil and trying to decide if he wants to return to his body or remain in the shadows. Cirvel decides to take him into the lamp, hoping they can heal Drelin the sands of the genie realm. Burying Drelin in the sands to let him heal, Cirvel and Treshauna head off over the sands.
by Dawn Blair
Cirvel and Treshauna flew along at speed which kept tossing strands of her blonde hair into her face. He finally reached up and wrapped the silky length around his hand. Just as a town came into view in the distance, the carpet began to slow.
“There are other genies here?” she asked.
“This is Fazitarn, a sort of hub city for the genies. I am the only one in this lamp, but I can travel to the edge of it and, if I am allowed, pass through boundaries into other lamps.” He pointed toward the distance to his right. “Do you see that faint blue shimmer on the sands over there?”