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, November 25, 2015

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 17

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 16

* * * * *

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 17

Bishop slipped the phone from under his pillow and rested it on the open book where Damian and Sid couldn't see it. They were too wrapped up in the computer and whispering between each other to notice anyhow. He was sure they plotted to make sure he wouldn't come with. The woman might not be a Guardian yet, but she had that air about her.

Well, he'd just have to be one step ahead of them. The book was in his hands now, and he'd make sure it stayed that way. Insurance. They probably had others, but Sid seemed intent on holding onto this one--she wouldn't leave it behind.

It amazed him that they couldn't read the words in this book. The Guardians seemed to have fallen far from the days they had walked the ground of Turss last. He'd help to make sure they fell farther, though.

True, the first half of the book was completely out of reach to him. He had peeked at it as he walked back to the cabin. Likely the text that had gotten them here. He'd piece it all together once they crossed into Nect.

Sid tapped on the computer screen.

Bishop wondered how she'd react if he turned it on. That one, she piqued his curiosity. He hadn't sensed any magic coming from her since she had struggled to keep her grip on the chain. Maybe she didn't even realize what she had inside of her.

The power of the All-Seeing Eye--the one to spawn the Ancients who built the gates. Sadly, the latter were long dead and the former blinded to the tumult of Turss. At least, it seemed that way, since not a lash was fluttered in their direction to help end the war.

It would be amazing if Obsidian truly had the blood of the Ancients flowing through her veins, albeit diluted. Power like that could create great things. And cause horrible destruction.

She turned away from prodding the computer and smiled at him. "Finding what we need?"

Bishop returned the smile. "Oh, yes. It's all quite clear."

He swiped the phone to unlock it once she had returned to her conversation with Damian, then typed in a message: "Portal opened. Two young Guardians came through. Going back with them." Quickly, he hit send. His hand shook as he typed in the next bit. "Prepare a blink and wait for my return at the gate."

Bishop hesitated, his finger hovering over the phone. Finally, he tapped send again, hoping he had chosen the right path.

Sid wouldn't be part of plotting to kill a man. That's what it was--true they didn't know for sure what would happen if lost inside the gate when it closed, but how could it be anything other than death? "I won't do it."

"You have no choice." There was an edge to Damian's voice that she'd never heard before. He'd been so patient with her, even if a little cold. Now though, the words sounded like a demand and a threat rolled into one.

Everything she had thought about him, she never imagined he was a man willing to end someone else's life with such little care. "You're a rotten person."

He drew back. "I'm only . . . I don't have to explain myself to you."

"Problem?" Bishop asked. "Lovers' spat maybe?"

Sid whirled on him. "I assure you there's nothing like that between us. Never."

Damian did her the favor of keeping his mouth shut for once.

"OK, then. Not only are you demanding, but defensive too."

Her heart took up its pounding again. If it kept this up, she'd die of a heart attack in no time. She shouldn't have been so agitated over Bishop's suggestion. It wasn't like she'd considered Damian in such a light, even if she had felt amazingly safe in his arms when he had saved her from the shift or that he had grounded her mind when she had lost it and opened the gate.

But she felt the insane need to make sure Bishop understood that she wasn't interested in Damian.

All these years she had been so focused on finding a way to open her portal, to becoming a Guardian, to reading the text of the book that was no longer in her possession, that she'd avoided the distraction of boys, of falling in love. Now she was stuck in a room with two of them and clearly the maddening thud of her heart thought she had waited too long to explore any such desires.

Stupid heart.

"Shouldn't you be figuring out how to open the gate instead of nosing into our business?" Damian crossed his arms over his chest. "If you want a better chance to survive, to not get caught by the other Guardians in Nect, we need to be quick. Dawn isn't far away."

Bishop tilted his head and his eyebrows drew together. "But night only began a few hours ago."

"We entered the portal only a couple of hours before dawn in Nect." Sid pulled out the chair at the desk and sat. "Unless . . . what if time passes differently there than it does here?"

"Then we all may be doomed," Damian said. "If time moves more quickly there while it drags here, we'll be missed. There's no telling what time, or even what day, it will be when we cross back."

"But if it's the other way around, and it passes more slowly in Nect, we may be able to get back before most of the House wakes." Sid had to hope that was the case. She didn't want to disappear, not like the one person had in her neighboring county back home.

"No way of knowing." Damian grabbed the back of Sid's chair. "Make haste."

Bishop turned pages more quickly. "Alright, alright."

Sid looked up at Damian. "Perhaps they won't miss us at all. Are you required to check in with anyone daily?"

"No."

"What about your parents?"

Damian barked a laugh. "No worries there." Then he looked away, studying the ice box that had started making noise again.

His mother must not have hugged him enough as a child--that must have been why he was willing to entertain ending someone's life. Sid had to find the reasoning behind his actions or she'd lose her mind. Again.

"Here we are," Bishop said. "I think I have all of the required materials. Good thing, too, because it would take at least a week to have someone deliver anything." He tucked the book under his arm and headed for the small kitchen, then rummaged through a cabinet. "Yes. This." He pulled out a strange looking lamp. There was no spot for oil, but it had one of the bulbs similar to what was above their head inside of it.

"What is it?" This world was amazing, and Sid wanted to take everything in during the short time she was here. Part of her even wanted to stay, to explore all the differences between Turss and Nect, and to see what that computer could do.

"Just a lantern." Bishop flicked a switch and it lit up, then turned it off again. "Good. I don't have to replace the batteries." He handed the lantern over to Damian who held it up in front of him as if it were going to burn him.

Sid pulled out the knife and hair pins from her pocket. "Will these be helpful?"

"Ah, the pins, yes. Did you have to write in the dirt as well?"

She nodded. This side didn't seem to need any blood to ignite the magic. Probably a good thing--her arm still hurt where she had cut herself.

Bishop pulled open a drawer and pulled out some fine strings. "Unicorn hair. We're in luck I enjoy gardening. These little things help the flowers flourish."

"Unicorn?" Not only did they have strange humming ice boxes in this world, but creatures she'd only ever heard of in fairy tales as well.

"Your Nect is an odd place if it doesn't have lightbulbs or unicorns." He shoved the hairs in his trouser pocket. "That should be all we need to open the portal. Just let me get a backpack of supplies together before we leave."

As Bishop filled his bag, he made sure to keep the book near him. Sid could have tried to grab it, but she had a feeling he wouldn't let her. So instead, she watched his movements, his arm muscles tensing as he reached up to grab something in his wardrobe. With all the time he claimed he had, he must have stayed fit. It surely wasn't magic that made him able to carry her across the chain with ease.

The chain.

She'd soon have to cross it again. Oh, how she'd rather just sit here and continue watching Bishop instead.

Damian kicked the leg of her chair.

She peered up at him and pursed her lips.

"Sorry."

Doubtful.

"Ready for an adventure." Bishop's grin nearly took over his whole face.

"Are you so nonchalant about risking your own life?" Damian asked.

"Hardly. But when you've been cooped up in this cabin and the general vicinity around it for a few years, you'd be itching to escape it too, no matter the risk."

"Whatever." Damian exited the cabin, lantern held safely away from his body.

Bishop made to follow.

"Wait." Sid had to warn him, even if it meant betraying Damian. Even if the thought of that betrayal stung the corners of her eyes. It shouldn't--what he planned to do was wrong. But she couldn't explain her own reaction.

"Scared of falling from the chain?"

She stood. "No." Well, she was, but that wasn't why she was stalling. Now she was tempted to say nothing since he felt the need to poke at her insecurities. That would be petty, though. "When we go through the portal, hold on tight. Don't let go for anything."

A bemused look skittered across his face, and he leaned in toward her. "I promise. I won't let go of you."

Obsidian felt the heat of his body, and a heat mirroring it blossomed deep inside of her. It took all of her will to stop herself from making some unseemly sound. His reply tumbled around in her mind, which only made the warmth heighten.

This had to stop. She stepped back. "Good. I wouldn't want you to get lost." Then she drifted out of the door with as much decorum as she could muster.

* * * * *

Chapter 18

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 16

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 15

* * * * *

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 16

Damian didn't trust Bishop. And not just a healthy dose of the usual skepticism when dealing with a stranger. No. This man didn't have honorable intentions. He knew it.

And he also didn't like how Obsidian looked at Bishop. She was still her stubborn, demanding self, but he caught glimpses of something else, like awe, or attraction. Nothing better than returning to Nect and leaving this savior of theirs behind. The last thing Obsidian needed was another distraction.

But unless they wanted to spend the time to unravel the script--Damian knew he could, eventually, however they didn't have a year to devote to puzzling out some text--he had to agree to have Bishop come with them.

He could agree, and promptly summon the Council to take Bishop into custody. That would hang himself and Obsidian, though. So, if he brought Damian through, he'd have to hide him. If they passed through at the wrong time, they'd all be in trouble. He didn't think Sid's implication of death was a possibility, but excommunication was a surety.

What a mess.

Time forced Damian's hand. "Fine. You can come with us." And then he'd make sure to send the man back the first chance he got.

"Really?" Sid's eyes widened.

He really needed to take her aside and remind her who the Guardian and who the Dedicant was. Though it probably wouldn't matter. She'd grown too comfortable with challenging him. And he'd allowed it to happen.

He'd allowed all of this to happen. "Yes, really."

"But, how are--?" There she went again, questioning him.

"Let me worry about it." He tried to give her his best respect-me look.

She shrugged and reached for the book.

Bishop pulled it out of her reach. "Splendid. I'll just keep this for now. After all, I'm the one that'll be figuring things out. Best we get out of this tall grass, though. Follow me." He walked off.

"Hey, that's mine," Sid said and stalked after him.

Damian grabbed her arm. "No, it's the Guardians'. You never should have had it in the first place."

She wiggled out of his hold. "All they'll do is burn it."

Of course, she was right. He didn't want that either.

"We better catch up, or we'll lose him." She strode off, aiming for the waving grasses that Bishop had disappeared in.

For a beat, Damian watched her walk away, her hair swaying along with the grass. She hadn't included him in that they. He felt less and less a Guardian the more he followed her into this muck. If he didn't want the book destroyed, how could he wear the title of Guardian without guilt? But being a Guardian was more than the precepts. Wasn't it?

He had to stop this questioning. Only days ago, he had thought he knew exactly what his position was in life, who he was, what he would become, and what he believed in. Now it was all scrambled after meeting Obsidian.

She vanished from view, and he jogged to catch up, hoping Bishop wasn't leading them into some trap. Even though she seemed to trust him, she shouldn't. He'd already tricked them into agreeing to take him with them.

Damian should have figured out a way to say no--should have thought harder to find a way out without this stranger's aid.

Bishop led them to a small cabin, an unassuming wood building surrounded by a brilliant array of flowers. They made rainbow patterns, as if they were carefully placed there. The tall grasses were also cut back to barely nothing. Nature didn't do this.

"So beautiful," Sid said.

Bishop chuckled. "I have a lot of time on my hands."

"Is there anyone else around?" Damian asked. The building seemed too small to house more than one person.

"Nope. Just me. They don't feel it necessary to have more than one person watching the gate, especially since it's been inactive for so long. And most people prefer not to live near the edge of the world." He opened the door and motioned them inside.

All Damian saw from out here was darkness, the night wrapping the little cabin up like a shroud. There could still be a trap in there, more people to capture them, no matter what Bishop said.

Obsidian slipped through the door and into the blackness.

Not hearing any protests from her, he sighed and followed.

Bishop came in and closed the door, then Damian heard a flick. The entire cabin flooded with light so bright that he thought the sun hung from the ceiling. That wasn't gas lighting like they had in the House of Portals. He wanted to look closer, but the brightness stopped him from seeing anything but a round bulb.

"You Guardians are a strange lot," Bishop said. "Never seen a lightbulb before?"

Damian straightened. "Of course." He wasn't sure why he lied, but he felt a fool. This world clearly had advances that Nect didn't.

As expected, the cabin only housed enough for a single person. A messy bed was shoved into one corner, a simple nightstand next to it. Then there was a large, tall chest, much more intricately carved. Several shelves held innumerable books which looked well-read.

But the items on the other side of the large room confused Damian. The oven didn't seem to be operated by gas, just like the light. The icebox was also quite large. And it hummed. Most curious of all though, sitting on a desk next to a closed door was a box with what looked to be a mirror. No, not a mirror--it didn't seem to reflect enough.

Damian officially didn't like this world, about the same amount as he disliked Bishop.

"What's that?" Sid pointed at the strange box.

"A computer."

"A what?"

Bishop smiled. "Nevermind."

Now Obsidian was making them look fools. And Bishop knew it--that annoying grin of his.

Well, even if Damian didn't understand some of the things in this world, he wasn't stupid. All the differences were just another reason to be more cautious. And to find a way out of their agreement. They couldn't take this man back with them.

Sid approached the computer. "But I want to know what it does. We don't have such things in Nect."

"Shocking, since you Guardians stole everything from us." A soft snarl punctuated his statement, then he coughed. "Sorry. You're guests in my home. Where are my manners? A bathroom is through there if you need it." He motioned toward the closed door.

Damian honestly didn't want to see if there were any differences in the bathroom compared to Nect. He'd rather prod more out of Bishop--his facade had dropped for a moment, and there were clearly things bubbling in his mind. A man who hated Guardians. Definitely someone to keep out of the House of Portals.

Sid peeked into the bathroom, curious as ever. All Damian saw over her shoulders before she closed the door again were shiny, white fixtures.

"Well, I must admit Turss is quite interesting from what I've seen so far." She beamed. "And I'm sorry to hear the Guardians were so horrible to your people in the past. It was a long time ago, though. And we aren't going to steal anything. Promise."

The world was not built on promises, but truth. Promises are made to be broken. No one can shatter the truth.

The truth was Damian wanted to steal Bishop's knowledge on how to read the script, then leave him here to collect dust with his computer and hatred.

"Forgive me if I have a hard time trusting the words of a Guardian," Bishop said.

Damian cleared his throat. "She's not a Guardian. Not yet."

That earned a glare from Obsidian. Let her glare.

"Ah." Bishop cracked open the book and stretched out on his bed, ankles crossed. "Make yourself at home while I read through this. Sorry that there's only one chair, but I never have guests, unless you count the occasional delivery person."

Someone who spent most of his time alone with a lot of time to think definitely wasn't to be trusted. Even Guardians couldn't live such a solitary life. It wasn't natural.

Sid studied the computer, and Damian joined her. He leaned in, speaking quietly so Bishop wouldn't hear. "We're not taking him with us."

He had to give her one thing, she knew when not to react surprised. She just continued looking and touching the strange box with the semi-reflective front and whispered as well. "That wouldn't be nice. You said you would. Is a promise nothing to you?"

"I made no promise. And we can't trust him."

"What's to trust? He'll be walking into our world. A den of vipers, that. His neck."

"And if the Council finds him and he fingers us as the ones who brought him in via a portal?"

She sighed. "I see your point, but I still don't like it. Anyway, he has to tell us what we need and what to say. How are we supposed to leave him behind?"

"We need to be linked to all pass through, or the gate will close." He honestly didn't want to say it. There was no telling what would happen if a portal closed when someone was in the middle of it. But it might be the only way to shake this stranger. "Make sure he's last. Then let go as we pass through."

Obsidian's jaw clenched and she tapped the shiny, dark surface with a fingernail. "You know that'll likely kill him."

Damian's stomach churned. He never thought he'd ever consider killing someone. Even this stranger, who he couldn't fully explain not liking, didn't deserve to die, and especially not by his hand.

But Damian didn't know what else to do. He had to protect Obsidian, as well as himself. And all of the gates in the House of Portals. "He did say he was willing to risk his life."

* * * * *

Chapter 17

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dreams in Shadow Snippet

Yes, another release! Dreams in Shadow came out this past Friday. It's the first in a planned 78 short story series called Fortunes of Fate. All the stories will be somehow interconnected, but it won't necessarily be in serial form. There will be lots of different point-of-view characters. Dreams in Shadow can be found for purchase on Amazon and can also be read for free via Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

Interested in a taste of the beginning? Here you go!

Tilly swung her mud-caked bare feet over the edge of the cliff. She enjoyed sitting on the precipice after a long day of playing, watching the purple leaves in the valley below flutter in the wind. It gave her ideas.

And the one that popped into her head that day was a grand one.

The leaves nearby rustled, and a gray cat emerged from the underbrush. It rubbed up against her, smearing its damp nose on her arm.

"Ew," Tilly said.

Ew? the cat voiced in Tilly's mind. You're covered from head to toe in dirt, and you can't stand my wet nose against your skin. Aren't you particular?

"Sorry." Tilly scratched the cat under the chin.

My speaking doesn't alarm you?

Tilly giggled. "A servant once told me a chicken begged for its life before she chopped its head off. This is Fate, after all."

Home.

"Huh?"

Nothing.

Tilly leapt up. "Time to go."

Where, might I ask?

"On an adventure!"

Fortunes of Fate Series

For every card, there's a story.

The three cat sisters, Joslyn, Mia, and Amber, are world-hoppers. They're in search of a world to call home, and they finally find it in Fate.

However, they've grown fond of Earth as well, and they stick their noses into the lives of people from both worlds. From Fools to Magicians, the three cats are witnesses to the stories that unravel.

Dreams in Shadow

Twelve-year-old Tilly is the epitome of a little Fool. The moment she meets Mia, a cat who speaks into her mind, she decides on a whim that it's time for an adventure. Unfortunately, her carefree romp in the world of Fate is cut short by the willful Tillnea, a spoiled brat who won't take no for an answer.

As Tilly's adventure unravels, Mia seeks a way to get them both back on the proper path.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 15

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 14

* * * * *

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 15

Obsidian screamed when the chain started its rumbling again. Damian had her by the wrist, but he couldn't pull her up--he wasn't strong enough. And if he held onto her much longer, he'd slip off too. He barely had his balance the way it was.

She caught movement off to her right. A man walked along the chain toward them, as if he strode on perfectly flat, stable ground. He reached them and knelt next to Damian, who jolted, almost tumbling head first into the abyss.

The man stretched a hand down to her. "Grab it."

Sid didn't have time to consider who this person might be, what his intentions were. Take his offered help, or die. She definitely didn't want to die--at least not until she finally opened the gate back home.

She strained to swing her loose arm up to him and his hand enveloped hers, a strong grip.

He nodded, then rested his other palm on the chain, muttering something unintelligible under his breath. And then he stroked the link he knelt on as if it were a pet.

The chain stilled, and if it were truly a cat, Sid would have expected it to purr. No purring, though, just that throb in it, like a heartbeat.

Turning to Damian, the man said, "Help me pull her up."

Between the two of them, they dragged Sid back onto the link--the stranger clearly pulling more of the weight. She clung to the metal, or creature, whatever it was, unwilling to let go.

"Careful now," the man said. "Don't injure the chain. I can calm it, but we don't want it to get started again. Let's hurry to the other side."

Oh, how Sid wanted to be on firm ground, not suspended over an unquestionable below. But she couldn't move. "I can't." And Damian was stuck behind her.

The man sighed. "Fine then." He scooped her up like she weighed nothing and glided across the remaining length of chain, depositing her in the tall grasses on the other side.

Damian crawled his way across and to her, placing a hand on her back. "Are you all right?"

She nodded. But she wasn't really. Her fingers and shoulders throbbed from hanging off of the chain so long, and her heart thudded in her chest as if it wanted to compete with the thing she just crossed.

"I'd expect a couple of Guardians to know how to surpass the chain." The man sounded annoyed.

Sid looked up at him, tempted to glare, but that would be rude to someone who just saved her life. He almost seemed as surly as Damian first had when they met.

Then the stranger grinned. And she had thought a smile lit up Damian's face. This man, it changed his sour mood to joy instantly and accentuated his deep brown hair tumbling to his shoulders, brought a shine to the eyes that nearly matched his hair.

Where Damian's features were light, this man's were dark. Even his skin looked as if it had been out in the sun often, soaking up the rays and turning his skin a light brown.

"I'm Bishop, by the way. What brings the Guardians to Turss after so many centuries?"

What, indeed. Some foolish woman who allowed the magic to take control of her, that's what. Surely she couldn't tell him that.

"A mistake," Damian said, standing. He didn't offer a smile in return, and his lips almost curved in a scowl--he needed to work on his manners. At least he didn't directly blame her. Small favors. "And we need to get back before we're missed."

"Then why did you bother crossing the chain?" Bishop's smile vanished when addressing Damian.

Great, not only was she stuck in an unknown world--Turss was what Bishop had called it--unable to get back, but now she had to deal with two men who clearly didn't like each other. Who needed love at first sight when you had hate at first sight?

Not to mention, she didn't want to cross that damned chain again if she could help it. And now she really didn't want Bishop carrying her back across it. Her face flooded with heat from the sudden embarrassment. How could she allow herself to be treated like a helpless child?

Damian looked back across the chain, the gate now hidden by the mist. "We don't know how to get back."

Bishop laughed and scooped up the book at their feet. "You have this, don't you? Got you here, I assume."

Damian glared.

Sid sighed--it was time for her to stop letting Damian deal with this mess she got them into. "We weren't prepared. Something surprised us, forcing us through the portal. We didn't intend to step through. And the script in the part of the book that likely tells us how to get back is unreadable."

"She speaks." The corner of Bishop's mouth twitched.

How she wanted to see that wonderful smile again. Foolish thoughts. The last thing she needed to be thinking about was some stranger's handsome face. Especially one who rescued her as if she were some damsel in distress.

Rescued or not, now he was being mean. Sid pushed herself up from the ground, her legs still trembling. "Excuse me if it took some time for me to catch my breath from nearly falling to my death." She snatched the book out of his hands and paged to the section she assumed would detail this world and the way back, shoving it into his face. "If we could read this, we'd happily be on our way and out of your hair." She felt the urge to run her fingers through said hair. Ugh.

"Is that all?" Bishop plucked the open book out of her hands. "Well, I can read this. Shocked you Guardians can't." He laughed, an intoxicating sound.

Sid's heart, having calmed down some from her near death experience, hammered harder. This man had her completely flustered. Perhaps it was just her recent experiences that had her head thinking stupid things. Yes, that was it--they'd passed through a portal, traversed a living chain, and nearly died. That had to be it.

She sucked in a breath. "Then tell us what it says."

"Wow." Bishop slammed the book shut. "Demanding, isn't she?"

"Welcome to my world," Damian said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

Scratch that--she'd rather them hate each other, especially if agreeing on something meant they were ganging up on her.

"You enter Turss, where no Guardian has crossed into for centuries." Bishop's face grew darker with each word. "Send a bunch of magic tumbling toward my cabin, disturb the chain connecting the island to the gate, make me rescue your hides from falling to your deaths, don't even offer me your names after I offer you mine, and then demand I tell you what this text says." He barred his teeth, ever so slightly. "I guess the histories weren't far off the mark about the Guardians."

Sid squeaked. She'd gone from thankful he saved her life to completely rude in the matter of seconds.

And when she was about to apologize, Damian beat her to it. "We're sorry," he said. "This is Obsidian. And I'm Damian."

"Sid," she muttered.

Damian rose that eyebrow at her briefly, then returned to talking to Bishop. "Clearly we're a bit shaken at the events that recently unfolded. We'd appreciate your help in getting us back home. Honestly, we never meant to be a bother. We weren't even sure we'd find anybody on this side when crossing over."

Bishop studied both of them for a few minutes. "Eh, a Guardian willing to admit his lack of knowledge. I'll tell you, I didn't expect that." He looked at the book, tracing the script on the cover which now said Nect. "Nexus."

"What? No. It says Nect," Sid said.

"To you maybe. But here, this is the word for Nexus, the script above the portal you just came through."

Interesting. She guessed it made sense, though. All of the gates leading to many different worlds in Nect. He'd probably look at the script above the gate on the other side and say it said Turss instead of Turmoil.

"OK, I'll help you. But on one condition." Now that grin she had hoped to see again looked a bit sinister. "You take me back with you."

Sid glanced at Damian. He'd never agree to that, but they had no choice. The Council would surely know of their mistake if they brought someone back with them. "You risk your life if you come with us," she said. Not to mention her own and Damian's.

"I'll take that chance."

Oh, dear.

* * * * *

Chapter 16

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 14

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 13

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Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 14

Bishop waited.

That was pretty much his job description. A thankless and lonely one, since his last five predecessors had died having never seen what they waited for. He'd only officially taken over about three years ago, and his mind was already numb.

No one, especially him, ever expected to see the day that his efforts and those before him would succeed. It had been centuries.

Bishop woke with a start, sweat pouring down his face, soaking his sheets.

It couldn't be.

He pushed off his sopped sheets and went outside, the cool night air chilling the sweat on his skin. But it wasn't just the wind. No. The hair on his arms stood on end and electricity tingled up and down his spine.

Magic.

The gate was open. And it called to him more than it ever had before.

He'd visited it many times, feeling the vibrations of magic coursing through the stone arch, breathing in the power, and listening to its pleas to be released. He and his predecessors were chosen because they were especially sensitive to the magic--it was a job requirement.

Unfortunately, he couldn't fulfill the request. No texts existed on how to open it, not from this side. All the wretched Guardians had taken that knowledge with them so long ago, before they closed the gate for good.

The people of Turss hadn't believed the Guardians' threat real, that they'd be back eventually. Those unbelievers were now dust in their graves, and their descendants knew the Guardians had spoke true.

Until now.

Bishop ran inside and grabbed a shirt, pants, and boots to throw on, then went back outside, picking his way carefully through the tall grasses and toward the portal. The magic raced along his skin, sinking into his pores. A rope of power wrapped itself around his waist and tugged him toward the island.

No denying it. Even if he didn't want to succumb to its pull, he had no choice. The magic was that strong. His mind raced on what to do next, once he reached the open portal. He might have to face Guardians. If he did, he'd make sure to take whatever book they had with them. They wouldn't leave him and his people stranded again.

Especially since they had taken from Turss--now it was time Turss took back. Anything to help squelch the war raging since the Guardians had left.

Bishop dreamed of the day he'd rise to the level of hero, saving his world, finally completing a job that so many before him had been unable to complete. Every drip of magic skittering across his skin mixed with his excitement, fueling it.

And then the rope severed just as quickly as it had twined itself around him.

No.

Loss wrenched at his chest. Just a taste, that's all he had gotten. A tease. The true potential of the gate had been released--everything he had waited for, yearned for.

His dreams crumbled. The Eye giveth, and the Eye taketh away.

Either the Guardians who opened the portal had wised up and closed it, or someone had passed through, entering Bishop's world. No way to tell unless he checked.

So, he continued his cautious path toward the chain, his disappointment pounding through his body.

Those miserable Guardians. They'd pay for everything they'd put his people through, pay for kindling the War of Magic and Tech. It was all their fault--false gods with false promises. More like charlatans and thieves.

Shouts echoed from the distance.

Bishop froze. Had to be Guardians who had passed through the gate. No one else existed on this outer edge of Turss aside from himself. And his only visitors were those that delivered supplies once per month. One had stopped by a week out. Plus none of them would go near the portal, which is where the voice came from.

He heard another voice, this one quieter. Then he felt the slight vibrations under his feet. The chain trembled. Stupid Guardians didn't even know how to cross it without its anger descending upon them. He should leave them to their fate, hope the chain knocked them off into oblivion.

No matter how satisfying that would be, he couldn't. If they had a book, he needed to retrieve it.

So, he continued forward until he was close enough to peer through the grasses at the end of the chain. This close to the gate, he felt its call, its pleas. It sobbed to him, sad it was open for only a short time, urging him to ignite it again, to feed its desire.

Bishop took a deep breath and walled himself off from those cries--they would only distract him.

One Guardian hung from the second link out--looked to be a female. And the other, a male, was at the end of the first link, crawling on hands and knees toward her. The chain shook with pain and anger. They must have injured it. Her grip probably still pained it.

Fools.

He'd have to save them, just to get what he needed. A few more steps forward and he saw it--right at the edge of the pit rested the book. Unattended.

Perhaps he didn't need to save them after all.

Bishop crouched and crawled forward, making sure the grasses hid his approach, though they probably wouldn't notice him with their current troubles.

The chain calmed for a moment, which gave enough time for the man to reach the woman. He grabbed her wrist. "I'm not going to leave you. What kind of mentor would I be if I let my dedicant die?"

Dedicant? Bishop studied them, and now that he was close enough to see more detail, he noticed just how young both were. Not the aging Guardians the histories of Turss mentioned, but mere babies. He knew he shouldn't think them as such--he probably wasn't much older than them. By the sounds of it though, as well as the inability to cross the chain properly, these two were ignorant whelps compared to the fearsome and powerful Guardians of lore.

No matter. The book was nearly in his reach. He inched forward a few more feet. Right there.

The chain shook again, and the woman cried out.

A cry so heart-wrenching, that it almost sounded like the gate. Magic burned inside that one.

Bishop glanced at the book, then looked back at the dangling Guardian. Her desperation called to him, just like the portal. Hard to ignore.

He should snatch the book and run, leave them to the depths. But part of him couldn't, part of him wanted to answer her call. He was programmed to respond to such magic.

Not to mention, perhaps if he saved them, he could gain some information. More than what he could glean from the pages of the book. With his training, and their youth, they shouldn't be able to overpower him.

Heck, they could have just been messing around and stumbled into Turss without truly intending to. Perfect prey.

No, he couldn't think of them that way. He hated Guardians as much as he loved Turss, but he couldn't ever bring himself to torture anyone. Especially people who looked so similar to him. All the histories made the Guardians out to be giants, creatures almost human, but not quite.

These two, they could be his cousins. Nothing odd about their features jumped out at him.

What was he doing? Debating the value of saving a couple of Guardians?

The book, that's what was important. As long as it was the text that got them through the gate to begin with, it would surely get him to the other side. Well, the armies of Turss once he handed it over. Now that he thought about it, unless he took more of an active roll, he'd probably become a footnote in the histories, not a hero.

Bishop crawled to the edge of the pit and stood, the book at his feet. Both Guardians were oblivious to his existence, dealing with the throbbing and rattling chain.

Time to make a decision, before it was taken from him by the oblivion below.

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Chapter 15

Monday, November 02, 2015

NaNo 2015 - Long Live the Rebellion!

You knew it was coming, didn't you? NaNoWriMo 2015!

This year, like many years, I'll be a NaNo Rebel. I plan to complete the rough draft of two short stories (one was completed yesterday during my first writing session!) as well as continuing the rough draft of Chains of Nect.

We'll see if I can hit 50,000 words this year. Heck, as in past years, I'll be happy with 25,000. My toddler just threw a supreme fit, reminding me just how far out of reach 50,000 might be. =P

I also need to see if I can squeeze in some revisions of a couple short stories. And "Dreams in Shadow" will be released this month, along with a pre-order for another story!

Without further ado, the awesome word count meter: