Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 10

DISCLAIMER: This is rough draft material. Don't be surprised if you fall into plot holes, trip over inconsistencies, and get hit in the head with direction changes. I've done my best to read through several times before posting, though, to make sure most spelling and grammar errors are corrected. Any constructive comments are welcome for when I revise this novel. Thank you for reading!

All current and previous chapters for Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession can also be found on Wattpad. And for an easy to access list of all chapters that have been posted to Born to Write, please visit the Table of Contents.

A new chapter is planned to be posted to Wattpad every Friday, and that chapter will then be posted on Born to Write on the Wednesday after.

Chapter 9

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Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 10

Crossroads.

Obsidian paused, staring up at the door to the courtyard, the word jumping out at her. Made sense.

And that was the frightening part--it all made sense. She was kind of nervous to walk through the doors and see the script etched on all of those gates. Sensory overload, a hint at what was through each one.

For some reason though, the portal from home remained out of reach, blurred in her mind. She'd stared at the the thing so many times that it had been etched in her memory. Yet the image of the script remained cloudy now.

She blamed Turmoil. Well, if it really came down to it, she only had herself to blame. Touching that portal scrambled a lot of things, including the recollection of her gate. And it wasn't as if she could simply go home and refresh her memory. No, she was stuck here until she found a way out.

But when she thought of leaving, a crippling fear seized her. Not her fear--it couldn't be. The gate's fear. It didn't want her to leave. It didn't want her to fly away. Not until it sucked her in.

"Obsidian?" Damian stood on the threshold, holding the doors open. "Something wrong?"

"Just trying to figure out what the script over the door means." Kind of.

"Did you?"

Sid wanted to say it, wanted to say the word, to show off. Not only had she learned the Portal language quicker than he had, she also wanted to make him proud. The last was a bit of a puzzle even to her. "No. Not yet."

"One day."

Yesterday. She nodded and followed him to the library, making it a point to not look directly at the script on any of the other gates. Not only did she not want to be overwhelmed, she was afraid she'd give herself away if she openly gawked.

They settled in the same study room as the previous days. "Did you bring the Portal language book with you?"

Stupid. "No. I thought you'd want me to work on more precept memorization. Probably best to get that over with. Don't you think?" Did he buy that? He had to have bought that.

Damian gave her one of his best examining gazes. "You were so eager to learn the language."

"I think I just burned myself out a bit trying to make sense of it all last night. Stayed up way too late. A shift in focus is best, I think."

Still that stare.

"And if I'm being honest, it actually has me frustrated. It's much harder than I thought it would be. One of my roommates even mentioned that she's been studying it for almost three years and she's still lost. Kind of daunting." Yup, great job at digging the hole deeper.

Damian sighed. "Daunting. All right. I'll get the precepts."

Obsidian patted her brow with a sleeve of her robe after he left the room. She had felt like she'd been sweating profusely, but there was nothing there. All these years mastering lying, and this Guardian had her swerving all over. She handled it better under the stare of Councilwoman Liss.

No matter now. She'd study the precepts all day, like a good little dedicant. Then tonight, before her roommates returned, she'd pry her book from its hiding place. Perhaps something inside of it would help her shake off the feeling she got every time she thought of Turmoil. The feeling that actually never fully left her.

If Sid couldn't find a way to wash away the residue it left on her after touching it, maybe she'd find a way to open it, to give it exactly what it wanted.

Damian paged through several texts. After delivering the precepts to Obsidian, he had begged off, claiming he couldn't decide what he wanted to read today. Well, he couldn't decide because what he wanted to read no longer existed. So he paced the shelves of histories, wishing he could find one further back, something from the time of the Ancients.

More importantly, he couldn't sit in the same room with her for an extended period. The lies fell from her tongue as if they were water. He knew she was hiding something, he just didn't know what. And he didn't want to tip her off. He didn't need her looking over her shoulder, being more cautious of him, when he was trying to discover her secrets.

Perhaps whatever she had been hiding had to do with that.

But a more obvious answer settled in Damian's mind. She had unraveled the Portal language. An insane thought--no one could learn that quickly. And she knew that, the story about her roommate proof, so if she had puzzled it out, her instinct could be to hide her discovery.

Why?

No. No way she could have learned it yet. The way she had stared at the door to the courtyard, though. He couldn't deny what he saw yesterday either. The script had instantly consumed her, and right at the end of her scrutiny, he saw a flicker, so close to comprehension.

If he assumed she knew the language and was hiding the fact from him, there had to be a reason. She had been so eager to learn it. The only reason to learn it was to read it. Nothing interesting to read, not anymore.

Damian slammed a book shut that he had opened but hadn't even glanced at the words. He was losing his mind, sending himself in circles. Obsidian was an enigma, and all she did was make him crazy.

It could all be simpler than he made it out. He was seeing things. That was it. She hadn't lied to him--she had been forthright about being frustrated. In all likelihood, she had wanted to learn because of the histories that no longer existed. Once she discovered that, her desire was squashed.

That had to be it.

Damian tucked the book under his arm, not even looking at the title. Any book would do, as long as it got him out of his own head. He slipped into the study room, trying not to disturb her, and settled in the chair opposite. Then cracked the text open.

"Why do you want to read about that?"

He peeked over the book.

Obsidian had her hand covering her mouth, clearly suppressing a giggle.

Perhaps he should have looked at his reading choice before actually deciding. He glanced at the cover--A History of Fashion Throughout Nect. For the love of the Ancients. He shifted in his chair. "I've grown a bit bored with wearing the same thing day in and day out." So much for the truth in all things.

Her hand fell away and laughter echoed in the small room. She pointed at the book. "Though I admit your plain white shirt and gray trousers could use some improvement, I don't think you'll get many good tips from that."

Damian sighed and stared at the book. Certainly not. "Perhaps you're right."

And suddenly, she was quiet.

He shifted his focus to her, a small o of surprise on her face. "What?"

"You're smiling."

Indeed, he was. It had been so long he'd had anything to smile about, he almost touched his face to make sure it was there. "Something wrong with that?"

Obsidian shook her head. "You should do it more often." She tucked a stray hair behind her ear and beamed back.

He should. No end to this girl's effects on him. First she addled his brain, and now she had him grinning bigger than he imagined he ever had before. And he felt lighter for it, less burdened by his duties as a Guardian.

Damian had to remind himself, though, that he was a Guardian. Even if it meant he'd never smile again, it was his responsibility to uncover the secrets she surely harbored.

He hated this corner he found himself trapped in.

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Chapter 11

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