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.
Obsidian rubbed one hand back and forth on the cover of the book she grasped, blood leaking from a wound on her arm. The insanity he had only heard of flickered in her eyes.
The gate had her in its grasp, and he also felt its pull. It sucked at him, the magic licking his fingers like a cat. And then he truly saw the cover of the book. "Is that the same rune as above this portal?"
Perhaps it wasn't just insanity, but she held a real way to open the portals.
Damian looked at her, feeling the need to save her from whatever brink she was on, throw her before the Council, and read the book to open the gate all at the same time. He couldn't be sure which were his own emotions and which ones the portal plucked like strings.
But he had to do something, instead of simply standing there like an indecisive idiot.
He stepped toward her.
She raised the book above her head. There, in the lines of her face, the determination etched in that fierce glare, he saw one of the old Obsidians, not just the madness that tickled her soul.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he said.
Sid laughed. "You'll take me to the Council, though. They'll make sure to do the hurting."
"Oh, no? You're even more naive than I originally thought."
Her accusation cut him--all the things he thought she was, cruel wasn't one of them. "Please let me see the book." If he got it out of her hands, perhaps the insanity would leave her. Of course, that meant it was possible it would seize him. He'd take the risk.
She lowered the book at least. "Not unless you promise not to take me to the Council. Or mention this to them at all. And the book comes back to me." A wicked little smile lit her face. "If you're a real Guardian, you'll keep your word. What was that precept? Oh, yes. The truth in all things."
That was the precept she had finally remembered out of the endless list?
Damian sighed. "I promise."
"Come get it, then." It sounded more like a taunt than an offer.
He approached cautiously, reminding himself that she was no Guardian, and with all of her secrets the truth meant nothing to her. The closer he got, the thicker the magic became. It choked him--it wasn't just coming from the gate or the book, but from her as well.
One more step.
She raised the book again, swinging down, aiming for his head.
Damian tried to block her and only changed the trajectory. The book clipped him on the shoulder and he staggered back.
Sid came at him again, this time successfully striking his head.
He toppled to the ground, blood trickling past his eye. That thing had sharp corners.
She hovered over him, book poised for another assault. "Don't move. I'm opening this gate, and you're going to lie there and watch."
His head spun. He couldn't stop her if he wanted to. And that was the big question--did he want to? The magic swirling around him seeped into his skin, sneaking in through the wound on his forehead. It would be amazing to actually see a portal opened in his lifetime.
Not like this, though.
Damian fought against the tug of the magic. No, it wouldn't engulf him.
Sid turned away, satisfied he'd stay down since he didn't move or respond.
Just a few beats of rest, then he'd stop her, stop her from making a mistake. No portal should be opened lightly.
What was he thinking? Lightly? The portals shall remain closed to all, lest we allow the demons on the other side to consume us. That's what he should be thinking. Ever since Obsidian entered his life, the precepts in his mind were crumbling to dust.
He swiped at the blood dripping into his left eye, trying to see what Sid was doing.
She drew words in the dirt before the gate with some type of pin. Script. And she murmured some words. Ones he couldn't make out, she spoke so quietly.
The candle under the gate flared, touching the pinnacle, setting the rune ablaze.
If possible, the magic inside the hill grew. No. He didn't have much time. He had to stop her.
Damian crawled along the ground, his head spinning too much to allow him to stand.
She didn't seem to notice, too intent on her ritual. The closed book rested at her feet, his own blood marring one of the corners.
"Turmoil." The word rang from her throat clear and strong, the magic crackling along the ground.
Sparks danced along the gate, and the rune burned. The flame reached toward the center, the empty space between the stone, which flared to life, a swirling fire turning counter-clockwise.
Too late. Damian grabbed Sid's ankle anyway, and pulled her down.
She screamed, falling face first on the ground, covering the book and the runes she'd written in the dirt. And then she rolled to her side, a wildness in her eyes, hands out like claws, teeth barred.
But before she gouged his face with her nails, he grabbed her hands. "Sidi, stop. Please." The magic coursing through her jumped to him, his fingertips tingling, but he rode the wave of power, siphoning some of what held her enthralled, somehow keeping it in check so it wouldn't overtake him as well.
Her mouth softened, and the madness slowly drained from her eyes, replaced by that stubborn streak. "Only my mother calls me Sidi."
"I know. I'm sorry." Though he wanted to smile, not apologize. She was back. Thank the Ancients.
And the realization spread across her features--eyes widening slightly, lips parting. She raised her hand, hovering it over his wound. "No. I'm sorry." She twisted toward the gate, the spiraling inferno behind her. "What have I done?"
"Nothing that can't be undone." He hoped. "Does that book of yours mention how to close a portal?"
She nodded, released his hands, and picked the book up, dusting it off again. "I just want to check one thing quickly."
The pages she flipped to were near the back, covered in script that Damian couldn't read. Trying to make them out felt like he was battering his fists on a steel door.
"I still can't read it." Sid looked back at the gate. "A mystery to be solved another day." And she turned to another page. "Here we go."
Damian sensed a shift in the magic. The power remained heightened around the opened portal, but steady vibrations hummed through the ground under him.
He'd completely lost track of time. "How quickly can you close the gate?"
"A couple of minutes."
"That's not soon enough."
"What? Why?" Sid placed her hand to the ground--she must have finally felt it as well. "Run and come back to close the gate after the shift?" The confidence in her question was non-existent.
"We have no clue what will happen if we leave a portal open during a shift. The results could be...destructive." Damian was afraid the House of Portals would be incinerated. But they had to do something before they became part of the hill.
Obsidian grabbed his hand. "There is one thing we can do."
"I'm not going to like this, am I?"
"If we go through the portal, it'll close behind us."
Nope. Didn't like it at all. There were no other options, though.
She stood, tugging him up with her, and she wrapped an arm around his waist when he teetered--the blow to his head still bothered him.
He stared at the swirling fire, wondering how badly it would burn. Not as badly as his failure as a Guardian. Jump through and thwart all that the precepts were meant to protect, or become fertilizer.
Sid pulled at him. She seemed to have no qualms making the decision to pass into another world. One named Turmoil, no less.
The magic of the shift swirled around Damian's feet like fog. Ignoring the dread in his chest, he gave in to Obsidian's coaxing and stepped into the inferno with her.