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, December 16, 2015

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 20

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 19

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Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 20

Bishop entered Damian's room, not surprised that most of the personal items within consisted of books neatly lining several bookshelves. They were probably arranged alphabetically--or with some other complex system.

No windows either. Claustrophobic. "Don't you ever want a little fresh air?"

"That's what stepping outside is for." Damian opened his wardrobe and pulled down a pillow and blanket from the top shelf. "It was a window or a larger room, and I opted for the later. The bathroom is right through that door." He pointed to the only other way out.

More room for all of his boring books. Bishop hoped those books would at least be somewhat useful, though he doubted Guardians were allowed to keep the important stuff in their own rooms.

"Sorry, but you'll have to sleep on the floor," Damian said. "My bed isn't big enough for two of us, unless you'd like to get up close and personal."

"You expect me to sleep right now? I'd much rather explore."

Damian threw the pillow and blanket at Bishop. "There will be no exploring. You don't belong here, and anyone who sees you will know it. This House is only for Guardians and Dedicants, and you're neither."

"I came all this way, though." This Guardian wouldn't stop him from poking around. He had to find something to help Turss, to take back and stop the wars, or to blackmail the Guardians. "And you agreed."

"I agreed to bring you through the gate. Nothing more. You're here. Don't get comfortable." Damian pulled off his shoes, then slipped under his covers without changing, placing his back to Bishop.

Mistake. You never wanted to show your back to someone who might just bury a knife in it. Too bad Bishop didn't have a knife--he should have taken the one Sid had offered.

And Damian had nothing to worry about comfort. Bishop was far from comfortable. He missed the beat of the gate in the back of his mind, the hum of its call--he felt dead without it. And he didn't know how to get back, to open the gate on this side. Since he couldn't feel the power, he wondered if he could cast the spell, even if he could read the words in the book.

The book. His heart had sunk when he looked at it and what Sid had said was true. He couldn't read any of the words, not even in the half where he found the information on Turss. That first half, though--his mind reached out for it, thirsting, wanting to learn how to piece it together.

And he would learn. He wouldn't just lie here doing what Damian told him to do. Oh, no. He came here with the intent on taking a little back of what the Guardians had stolen. Or to gather enough information to help the others now surely gathering in Turss near the gate.

Bishop tossed his pillow onto the floor next to the bed, tucking the book under it, and pulled the blanket over him. He was smart enough to face Damian, not expose himself to an attack. Then he waited for Damian to leave for the day, sleep the last thing within reach.

Damian didn't want to look at Bishop, which is why he rolled over even though he didn't intend to sleep at all. If he saw the man, he'd have to acknowledge the horrible situation he was in.

He had to get that book back. And he needed Obsidian's help to do it.

Once he got her alone, he was sure he could convince her to see reason, to see the foolishness in all of this. They had to push Bishop back through the portal--keeping him here was too much of a risk.

Damian wasn't sure he knew where he stood anymore with the precepts, with following them exactly like a proper Guardian ought to, but he did know he didn't want to be banished, stripped of all he'd known. He was a Guardian, one who'd stumbled, but having that taken away from him would destroy him.

So, yes, he had to convince Obsidian. Especially with how she seemed to be taking to Bishop. Foolish girl. He wanted to see that powerful woman she had metamorphosed into in the courtyard the day he first met her. Not acting like some lovestruck adolescent.

Damian threw his covers off. He couldn't just lay there doing nothing. He didn't really want to leave Bishop alone, but the inaction had him crawling out of his skin.

He entered the bathroom and scrubbed off as much of the blood in his hairline as he could, then quickly changed clothes.

It looked as though the stranger slept, eyes closed and mouth slightly parted, however Damian knew better. This man couldn't fake the heavy breathing of true sleep. "They'll be serving breakfast soon. I'll bring you something." Perhaps that would keep him in the room, knowing that he'd be checked in on shortly.

Damian exited the room. It was actually still too early for breakfast, most of the House just waking up, or still fast asleep in their beds if they were smart. First, he circled his floor, hoping the exercise would burn off some of the crazy energy inside of him. It failed to do so--pacing the halls was still a form of inaction because what he needed to act on was removing Bishop from the House of Portals, from all of Nect. He didn't belong here.

So, he climbed the stairs to the next floor and stood in front of Obsidian's door, about to knock.

"You know, you ought not play games with that girl," a woman said from behind him.

He jumped then spun. "And you are?"

She beamed at him and offered a hand. "Ama. Sid's roommate."

He reluctantly shook her hand. "What games?" If anyone was playing games it was Obsidian--she still had secrets buried, and he knew it. But uncovering those would have to wait until Bishop was safely back in Turss.

Ama giggled. "Men." She opened the door. "Sid, you have a visitor."

"How can anyone get any sleep with all of this racket? I can't wait until I'm a full Guardian and have my own room." A scowling blonde pushed past him and went into the bathroom.

"Don't mind, Enid," Ama said. "She's just dedicated."

More like perfect Guardian material. Sid had mentioned a roommate was having difficulty with the script. Sadly, it was probably Ama--not many Guardians offered smiles so generously around here.

Sid approached the door, hair a knotted mess. "A little early. Those two may be awake, but I haven't slept a wink." She offered a level stare, as if trying to remind him how much they had recently been through.

As if he could forget. "Unfortunately, we have things to discuss. Things that can't wait."

She sighed. "Fine. Give me a few minutes." She slammed the door in his face.

Truly, if he could allow her to sleep for a week after the ordeal they'd been through, he would. Not only did they have Bishop to deal with, but they needed to make sure that their actions weren't too different from usual. No mentor would allow a dedicant to take a week off--even a couple of days was out of character.

After some time, she emerged from the room, her dedicant robes hiding the cut on her arm.

Damian pointed at her head. "Did you forget something?" Her hair was still a rat's nest.

"If it's so urgent to discuss things, I figured you'd rather me not take the next fifteen minutes trying to comb through this mess. After last night though, I think cutting it off might be the wiser option."

No, she couldn't cut it. She was joking, right?

She laughed. "The look on your face." Then she did some weird twist with her hair and pinned it up with the same hair pins that had etched script in both the grounds of Nect and Turss. It still looked disheveled, but less so. "After you."

They walked down the hall side-by-side. Once they reached the stairs, he thought it safe enough to talk, not many people in earshot, though more dedicants and Guardians were in and out of rooms and bathrooms. "We need to get the book back from Bishop."

"So eager to send him back?"

Seriously, she couldn't think that he should stay here. "Of course he needs to go back. There's nothing here for him. Except trouble--for him and us."

"Well, perhaps we should first find out why he wanted to come with us."

Her head was in the clouds, that was the only explanation he had. "Isn't that clear? He wants to find something to sabotage the Guardians. Or he could even be here to kill everyone."

Sid stopped halfway down the stairs and he halted a few steps below her. "You can't think he's that cruel and devious. He did save us."

"That's just because he needed us to get here, to gain knowledge."

She planted her fists on her hips. "If you're so sure that he has horrible plans, then why didn't you let go of him when we were crossing through?"

He looked down the stairs. "I couldn't. I just couldn't do it."

"Oh, Damian." She placed a hand on his shoulder.

Her touch sent shivers down his arm, and something sparked deep inside of him. At least she no longer thought him a wretched person for considering killing someone. At least he hoped not.

He continued down the stairs, disengaging from her touch. "No matter what you think his intentions might be, he can't stay here. It's not safe for any of us."

Sid caught up to him once they reached the bottom floor. "Then let's grab something to eat for all of us and talk to him. See what he wants here. And after that, then we can convince him to return home."

Finally, she spoke some sense.

They made their way to the cafeteria and grabbed what they could--fruit, bread, some cheese. The hot food hadn't been prepared yet. Damian snagged two extra glasses for water since he only had one in his room for himself.

Then they wound their way back up to his room.

"I never thought I'd get to see your room like this," she said.

"What?" Why were the women saying such confusing things this morning? Or he was just too drained, physically and mentally, to comprehend any of it.

"Never mind." She shook her head. "See, we'll have a nice meal together and figure things out. Shouldn't be too hard."

Hoping Obsidian was right, Damian opened the door to his room.

But Bishop was no longer there.

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Chapter 21

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