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 23, 2015

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 21

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 20

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Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 21

Bishop quickly dug through Damian's wardrobe once he had left. He was right, the T-shirt and pants he wore would be out of place. Damian's clothes were a bit tight on him, and the button-up shirt made him feel like he was suffocating, but they'd work.

Then he slipped the book, the one with the rune of Turss shimmering on the cover, behind the books on one of the endless shelves. Not the best place to hide it, but he couldn't carry it around with him--he'd have more of a chance to lose it that way.

Once that was done, he exited the room. It sounded as though some of the Guardians stirred, but he didn't see anyone. Carefully, he retraced his steps and walked back down the stairs to the entrance of the courtyard.

He heard voices and ducked behind a pillar. Both Damian and Sid passed by, heading down the stairs. Probably talking about him, too. He didn't catch their words and they eventually disappeared down the hall.

Maybe he should have waited to venture out in the evening. No, Damian would be in the room, likely, eyes on him. Now was the best time. He shouldn't dally in Nect longer than he needed to. Information, that was his main goal, and then finding a way to open the gate to report back to the Blink. Then they'd help him decide what to do next.

And Damian had absentmindedly told Bishop which building housed the main library as they traveled to the room earlier. He'd find all the information he needed there, and it was easy to hide among the shelves, as long as he didn't stand out too much. Hence the clothes change.

Before Bishop went back into the courtyard, he looked up at the mural above him. The thing was amazing, but old--even from this distance he saw peeling and chipping paint. Sad the Guardians hadn't kept it up. No matter the age, it solidified all the stories he'd been taught. One central world, a nexus of sorts, connecting to many other worlds, Turss a small blip. Clearly inconsequential with all of the other worlds that existed.

What made this world so special? Why did the Ancients use this place as the anchor to all of the chains? Not like he could raise an Ancient from the dead and ask. Maybe he'd find the answer in the library.

Bishop entered the courtyard, the rising sun making the array of gates look like a brilliant maze of arches. So many. He never imagined this many. And there was no telling if this was all of them. He guessed not. No reason to have all of the portals in one spot if there was a whole world to build them in.

He wove around them, using them as hiding spots as needed when he saw a Guardian--he had no qualms about touching the things. The few Guardians he saw looked even more uptight than Damian. No, he definitely didn't want to get caught by them.

Finally, he reached the library, but he strode past it. The Turss gate--he had to see if he could trigger the magic. The loss of the power felt as if he'd lost a limb. He entered the strange hill, now completely hidden from anyone who passed.

Light filtered from the opening above--it looked as though a battle had been fought here. Blood stained the ground near the gate and a bit further away. Sid's and Damian's? Probably.

He touched the portal, the stone arch still as cold as before. And again, he was just as disappointed. No magic, no call. A longing seized him, to be back home, tending to his flowers around the cabin, never having seen or sensed the two otherworlders. He'd allow the desire of the gate to wash over him, to follow him about his business.

Somehow, feeling the pain of that desire was better than satiating it when it meant ending up on this side and severing himself from such senses. Well, he'd get back. He would. But not until he was finished here.

So Bishop pulled himself away from the gate, reluctantly leaving it behind, promising the arch on the other side that he'd return for it.

Then ducking a few Guardians, and what had to be dedicants in white robes, he entered the library. Three stories high, and a heck of a lot of books.

Well, he had to start somewhere.

Bishop wound his way to the top level, pulled a book off of a shelf, and started reading.

Obsidian waited for the, "I told you so," from Damian. The fact that he was right wasn't what stung the most, but the feeling that Bishop's disappearance was a betrayal of sorts. She'd trusted him. No clue why, but she had.

Oh, yes, she'd been a fool. Not only with her feelings toward Bishop, but also the stupid stuff that came out of her mouth when talking to Damian--she had felt like she needed to say something, and she had made a silly comment about visiting his room. Probably just Ama's words getting to her.

Yes, a complete fool. No more. Never.

Instead of accusing her, though, Damian tossed the food on his bed and threw open his wardrobe. "Quick, look for the book."

"He probably took it with him." It was a waste of time to search, had to be.

"Possibly." He poked through his hanging clothes, the shelf on top, and two drawers on the bottom. "Hm, he took some of my clothes. He's no idiot. What would be worse than us getting the book back?"

Sid had to redeem herself, prove that she wasn't a complete ninny and able to form proper thoughts and ideas. "The other Guardians finding it."

"And he knows that." He closed the wardrobe drawers and started to toss his bed, some of the fruit rolling off onto the floor.

"He could have hid it elsewhere, to make sure we also wouldn't find it." That made more sense to her, but even she couldn't think of anywhere safer. She hadn't been in the House of Portals for long, and she still felt the best hiding place was somewhere close and easy to access--like under her dresser. "I guess that doesn't make much sense since he doesn't know the grounds well." She peeked under Damian's dresser. Not there. Guess he didn't think like she did.

Damian ducked into the bathroom.

She was reluctant to look inside the drawers--that felt like an invasion of privacy--so she moved onto the bookshelves. First, she skimmed the spines. What better way to hide something than in plain sight? Nothing popped out, though, and Damian moved out of the bathroom and started digging through his dresser drawers.

"It has to be here." He growled.

Such desperation--Bishop had sneaked off, that was all. That didn't mean he was about to burn the whole House of Portals down. And if he did, Damian should have been searching for him, not the book.

All the books were arranged so neatly on the shelves, the spines of every single one right up to the edge. Sid carefully felt behind the books on each shelf, going right to left and bottom to top. She'd gone through most of the shelves, proud of her idea, but disappointed by the time she reached the last shelf, highest on the left.

And then her fingers bumped into it. She stretched onto her tip-toes, trying to fish it out. Perhaps it was just a book of Damian's that had slipped behind the others, but if it wasn't she didn't want to ask Damian for help, even if he was taller. He'd never give her the book back.

"Did you find something?"

He'd noticed her struggling. Damn it. She grasped a corner, slowly pulled it up, then she lost her grip and it fell back with a thud. "You did. Watch out." Damian rolled up his sleeves and nudged her aside.

Drat. But she didn't fight him. He wouldn't hand the thing over to the Council yet at least. Not until he made sure Bishop was back in Turss. And by then, perhaps she could convince him to let her have it back. Or at the very least to not give it to the other Guardians.

He reached up and pulled the book out from behind the others. There it was, the rune for Turmoil, or Turss, emblazoned on the cover. He touched the script with hesitancy. "Yes."

"If you give it to me, I can hide it where he can't get to it."

The wandering eyebrow shot up above his glasses. "Oh, really?" He pressed the book to his chest. "I'm guessing somewhere in your room? Because you don't have many options for hiding places. Not only would it be risky for Ama or Enid to find it, but as a dedicant, you shouldn't have this anyway."

It had been worth a try. "It is my book, you know. I'm the one who found it."

"About that. Where exactly did you find it?"

Oh, crud. Sid had to start considering the words she used more carefully. Again. Because she used to be fine--she'd hid everything and kept the secret of the book and gate for so long. Now, Damian--and Bishop, for that matter--had completely destroyed her composure and thought processes.

She pulled herself up to her full height. "None of your business."

"But it's completely my business. I'm a Guardian."

No truer words. "Well, Mr. Guardian, shouldn't we be looking for the interloper? You know, to protect the House of Portals? Just because he doesn't have the book doesn't mean he can't cause havoc. If he's found, we're all in deep."

Damian opened his mouth. Here it came, the scolding she probably deserved. Then he clamped his jaw shut, rummaged in his wardrobe again, producing a leather bag with a long strap, and shoved the book inside it.

At least she'd managed to distract him from his line of questioning. She picked the fruit up from the floor and set it on the bare desk. Clearly she'd lost this round of Whose Book Is It Anyway. Right now, it was Damian's, punctuated by him throwing the strap of the bag over his neck so it rested against his chest.

"Eat something," he said. "Then we head to the library. You'll study while I look for Bishop."

"Wouldn't it be better if both of us were looking for him?" After all, two pairs of eyes were better than one, especially when one pair had to wear glasses to see well enough.

He grabbed some bread and cheese from his bed and nibbled on both. "Yes, if you want to attract the attention of the other Guardians. You're a dedicant, and your job is to study, to learn the precepts and how to read the script."

"Already got the latter down." In less than a day, even. Ha. At least it hadn't taken her a year.

Damian glared at her. "Don't get smart with me. The Council would have a conniption if they found out you'd learned to read the runes so quickly. You know that. If you're off doing something other than studying, someone is going to question it. Especially if you're off by yourself. I at least have the ability to stick you in a study room and go about getting some of my own tasks done elsewhere without others questioning my actions."

Damian one, Sid zero. Actually, he probably had more than one point, but who was counting?

"All right. I'll be a good little dedicant and study for now. As long as you promise not to kill Bishop when you find him." She still felt responsible for him, and even though his slipping out hurt, she didn't want any harm to come to him.

"I thought we already determined that I'm not capable of such things." Damian shoved the rest of the bread and cheese in his mouth. Once he finished chewing and swallowing, he said, "But no promises I won't drag him around by his hair a bit."

Obsidian picked up an apple and chomped into it to stop herself from groaning. It would be a wonder if all three of them came out of all this alive. If the Guardians didn't get them, Damian and Bishop were sure to kill each other without even trying.

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Chapter 22

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