Quote of the Moment

"What's Past Is Prologue." - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Ch. 27

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 will be posted to Born to Write and Wattpad about one month after it's released to my newsletter subscribers. If you'd like to see the posted chapters a month sooner, please consider signing up for my Author Newsletter!

Chapter 26

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Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 27

Bishop wallowed.

He didn't know what else to do. His entire life he'd had a purpose, a goal. And now he had nothing.

Once he returned to Turss empty-handed, the magic faction would surely condemn him, likely conscript him into battle. Because he'd failed his mission.

Not only had he failed, but he'd taken a risk by coming here... to Nect. He'd dreamed of a wealth of information and knowledge, enough to aid those in Turss. End the war.

Well, not just an end, but a slaughter -- magic trampling tech. That idea had always made him uncomfortable. But unless one side conquered the other, there'd be no end. There was no possibility for peace and compromise. The conflict had lasted too long.

Maybe he should simply turn himself into the Guardians. Whatever they'd do to him would likely be less dreadful than his people back home.

But then he'd also condemn Damian and Sid. While he still smoldered over the former, he couldn't bring himself to be so cruel to the latter. She had too good of a heart. And the magic that swirled inside of her... he was positive she had no idea, which was why he hadn't asked her about it. No point in mucking things up even more than they already were.

Bishop heaved himself off the bed and tidied the trays and remaining scraps of food. He always felt better when he was active, like when tending to his garden. A task he'd miss, maybe even more than listening to the call of the gate.

Once the room looked less disheveled, he dug out his clothes from where he'd stuffed them in the wardrobe and changed. His t-shirt was so much more comfortable than the button-downed shirt of Damian's.

He noticed the book Sid had pulled off the shelf was still on the chair, and he grabbed it to put it away, but the title on the cover intrigued him. Fairytales of Nect. Not something he'd expect a Guardian to have.

It also fascinated him that the language here was the same as on Turss. A fact that hinted that the people of this world were more connected to those of his than he'd assumed. Not that he'd ever find a text here that spoke of it. Wretched Guardians.

Bishop settled in the chair and cracked open the book. As he read through the stories, each one a fantastical, outlandish tale, something scratched at the back of his mind. It all felt oddly familiar. He'd read Turss fairytales as a child, but these didn't seem to match up. Maybe if he could get his hands on a copy back home he could compare. The familiarity bothered him, as though if he was so close to realizing the link, like when the words in the portal book felt just out of reach after they'd crossed into Nect.

Damian entered, shattering Bishop's concentration. He appeared disheveled and utterly exhausted with black smudges under his eyes. "Good. At least you're still here. I honestly didn't need another surprise to deal with today."

"Why do you have this book of fairytales?" Bishop lifted the text -- he didn't care about the Guardian's problems with too many surprises.

"Why are you asking silly questions?" He sat on the edge of his bed, removed his glasses, and rubbed his eyes. "If you must know. I enjoy them. That was actually one of my favorite books as a child, much to my mother's chagrin."

Bishop caressed the cover. "They seem familiar. I'm not sure how."

"There's bound to be many similarities between our worlds. The Ancients touched every world when they built the gates. I've even been considering that they created a common language that connects us as much as the portals. Well, at least since we ran into you."

"Can I take it with me?" He expected a no, but he still asked. Not only did the stories have meaning to Damian, but it likely broke some precept to take such an item from one world to another.

The Guardian put his glasses back on and stared at the book. "I suppose I can always get another copy. And though I can't help you with the war on Turss, I think I can oblige taking a little bit of Nect home with you."

Bishop pressed the book to his chest. For a moment, he thought Damian might not be as horrible as he'd thought. But then he considered how inconsequential a book of fairytales was compared to what he truly needed. The man claimed he couldn't help, however he might be keeping secrets of his own.

"I need to lie down for a bit. Can I trust you won't kill me in my sleep?" The previous kindness was obliterated by the harsh accusation in his voice.

"I won't touch a hair on your head. I swear on the gate back home to Turss." That didn't mean he wouldn't snatch the leather bag once the man was asleep.

Unfortunately, Damian situated it under himself before laying down.

Bishop sighed. Not that it would have mattered. There was nothing left here for him to do, and he couldn't use the book to get back on his own anyhow. It had taken him years to master the portal language in his world, and though he was sure he could eventually interpret the text here in Nect, it wouldn't be quick enough.

So, he went back to reading the fairytales and striving to figure out why they all seemed so familiar. It was the only distraction he had from thoughts of his future once he returned to Turss.

Obsidian wandered back to her room, the exhaustion tugging her down more and more with each step. Perhaps some sleep would be a good idea. That brief nap in the study room had only exacerbated her tiredness, and she hadn't had a solid night's sleep since before she entered the House of Portals.

She fumbled into her room, yanked off her dedicant robes, and collapsed onto her bed. Only when she rolled over did she realize something was off about Ama's bed.

Sid shot up, now wide awake. The bed was stripped, completely bare. This of course could mean that Ama was laundering her bed linens, but the pillow was gone too, as was Ama's chest that had sat at the end of her bed.

To make sure that the dread rising in her chest wasn't just her tired brain making mountains out of portal hills, she got out of bed and checked the dresser. Empty. Every single drawer.

"No, no, no." Her words sounded like the muttering of a mad woman to her own ears. She sat on her chest, and stared at Ama's bare bed, striving to make sense of things, but her weary mind merely flailed.

Enid entered the room, looked at Sid, then glanced at the bed. "Oh, she must have finally given up and headed home." She made a derisive sound. "I told her years ago she wasn't Guardian material, but she wouldn't listen." A quick up and down appraisal of Obsidian and she shook her head. "You could do with a bit more composure, too, unless you want to end up like her." She humphed, grabbed a washcloth, and left the room.

Rude. But her brain caught up too late to throw back a biting response. "Ama wouldn't leave without saying goodbye."

And that was what broke through her scrambled thoughts. Ama had a month left to untangle the portal script. She'd never indicated she was on the verge of giving up. Her spirits had even seemed high this morning, when she'd assumed Sid was sneaking off with Damian for something other than studying. Sweet, kind Ama wouldn't wake up so damned early to study if she wasn't determined to succeed. And she surely wouldn't decide it was time to go home without saying goodbye.

The Guardians had gotten to her. They'd given up on her. Who knows where they'd taken her and what horrible things they had planned.

Obsidian imagined poor Ama, broken and bloody on the floor. She screeched, hurriedly threw a shirt and breeches on, and rushed out the door.

Once she reached Damian's room she pounded on the door, danced back and forth on her feet, then banged again.

Finally, the door cracked open, a bleary-eyed Damian peering out. "Obsidian? I thought we agreed to get some rest. And why aren't you in your dedicant robes?"

"Let me in. I need to talk to you. Now." She flapped her hands, the jolt of worry infusing a nervous energy in her.

He ushered her in and closed the door behind them. "It's safe to come out, Bishop."

The other-worlder slipped out of the bathroom, took one look at Sid, and cocked his head. "What's wrong?"

Was it that obvious? Of course it was. She was scared to death for the kindest person she'd come across in this den of vipers. "It's Ama."

"Your roommate? The one having problems with the portal script?" Damian rubbed his forehead. He appeared exhausted, and she felt guilty for interrupting his sleep, but this couldn't wait.

Sid nodded, vigorously, hoping to emphasize her upcoming point. "She's gone."

Damian quirked the eyebrow, though it didn't rise all the way this time. "What do you mean gone?"

"I mean her bed is stripped and all of her stuff is missing."

He sighed. "It happens. Not everyone has the wherewithal to succeed as a Guardian. She's likely on her way home."

Infuriating man. "No, she still had a month to decipher the portal language. And she never would have left without..." Her voice dropped to a whisper. "Without saying goodbye. I'm sure of it. I think the Guardians have done something much worse to her."

Damian rolled his eyes. "Not this again. I'm telling you, even though I know the council members are keeping secrets, we're not exactly sure what they're hiding, but I assure you it's not something like this."

"Wait. You're positive they're hiding something?" Bishop stepped forward, nostrils flaring. "You never mentioned that."

"Oh, for the love of the Ancients. It's not information you need to know. All I know is that my mother reacted when I asked her about Guardians having magic in the past. It doesn't change the fact that you need to go home."

Bishop glowered at both of them.

"Hey, don't go directing your ire at me." Sid crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm just worried about my friend."

"You've only known her for a couple days." A corner of Damian's mouth twitched.

Sid back-handed his arm. "And she's the kindest person I've met since arriving here. I just want to know what happened."

Damian rubbed his arm, brows drawing together. "Fine. If it will settle your mind, I'll inquire of her whereabouts with the council tomorrow."

"Not tomorrow. Now." Tomorrow might be too late. Even now it might be too late. "If I'm right and they... Please, Damian."

He closed his eyes and nodded. "Now it is. If I can find a council member. They're usually quite busy. Stay here with him." His pointing finger had more anger in it than it ought to. She couldn't tell if it was due to her or Bishop.

"Thank you."

Damian shook his head and left.

Obsidian hoped she was wrong. And yes, even if Damian asked a council member, they could lie through their teeth to him. Hopefully he'd spot it, though, like he had with his mother.

But if she was right. She'd do everything in her power to save Ama -- she was unwilling to leave the sweet woman to a dire fate.

* * * * *

Chapter 28 - Expected July 2021.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Writing Update - May 2021

I felt it was time for a writing update. Though as I started writing this post, I realized I'm behind on posting Chapter 27 of Chains of Nect! Oops. It'll have to wait until next week or June (I'd say the first week of June, but since I'm due for my second vaccine, I may be out for the count that week). May has been a bit of a crazy month. =P

Anyway, I can at least say I'm happy with my progress for the year so far. I feel much better than I did at this time in 2020 as far as my writing goes, though May has been a bit of a bumpy month for motivation.

The best thing for 2021 at this time - I'm ahead of schedule! I know, kind of crazy, isn't it? I always feel perpetually behind most years. I guess I aimed my goals in the sweet spot this time. If you want to peek at my original 2021 plan, here's the link: 2021 - This Year Has To Be Better.

2021 Publications

Well of Solitude (Fortunes of Fate, 7) is out in the world. It felt amazing to finally publish something again.

Bytes Bite, And So Do Fairies (Fractured Fairies, 4) is on track to be published in July. Hopefully I'll have a cover reveal next month!

2021 Project Progress

❦ Obviously I finished the revisions and edits for Well of Solitude. Yay!

❦ Revisions on Bytes Bite, And So Do Fairies are complete, and edits are scheduled for next month.

❦ The first draft of Nymphs Need Love Too (Fractured Fairies, 5) is complete! It came in around 10k words.

❦ I've already added 1.8k to the first draft of Gemini's Echo (Zodiac Aegis, 1). Here's hoping I exceed the 42k goal on that this year (knock on wood).

❦ I've been blogging at least once per month (sometimes twice), and I'm mostly on top of the newsletters. I've lapsed on posting my Year of Cats pictures on Instagram... I might have to blame video games for forgetting about that one so often - lol.

As you can see, I've had a pretty productive writing year already!

If I happen to finish the first draft of Gemini's Echo early, I'll dive into another one of my projects waiting in the wings. Should it be the Dead As Dreams revision, the Downward Spiral draft, the next Fortunes of Fate draft, or continue Zodiac Aegis with Taurus's Aura? What do you think?

Happy reading and writing, all!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

WandaVision - Walk Across The Bridge With Me

***WARNING: Have you watched WandaVision yet? If not, there are spoilers ahead, so if you don't want to be spoiled, hold off on reading! And what are you waiting for? Get Disney+ and watch WandaVision. If you're an MCU fan, it's a must!***

I'm going to be brief with this post, so no over-analyzing everything! I know, that's super tough since I'm always so long-winded. Let's see what I can do. ;)

First, I have to say that I was thrilled when WandaVision finally aired. Too long of a dry spell for new MCU movies! We'd started re-watching some of the movies at one point because we were craving more Marvel. And overall, for the first Disney+ MCU series, I thought it was great.

I know some people felt the series started off too slowly, but I actually enjoyed that slow build. Just a little bit of weirdness in each episode to pull me along. I mean, if you're an MCU fan and have seen most of the movies, you know something is clearly wrong here when Wanda and Vision are in a sitcom. And magic is the logical answer. I mean, Vision is dead, right? Right? OK, OK, comic fans know better. Is anyone ever really dead?

WandaVision sets up a lot to be explored in future movies and series. Because of that, it's really a bridge series. Yes, it still has a story with a full arc of Wanda dealing with her grief. Honestly, though, it felt more like a vehicle to line things up for things like Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness as well as establishing S.W.O.R.D. and Monica Rambeau. That's probably the series' biggest flaw, in my opinion. Not a huge one, by any means.

Along with Wanda, I enjoyed reminiscing over the different style sitcoms. I grew up on sitcoms, too, pretty much, so I recognized so many references. I'm sure I missed some, too!

One of the biggest pluses of this being a TV series instead of a movie is the room to breathe and build the world and characters. It didn't feel like I was being info-dumped on (maybe a little in the "Previously On" episode, but it added so many layers to Wanda, that it's easily forgiven). I'm looking forward to the other series ahead, especially Loki. I think TV series sometimes do better than movies since there's so much more time to explore different paths.

Finally, I love the design of the MCU Scarlet Witch costume! I totally want to be Scarlet Witch for Halloween.

Look, I kept that a bit shorter than usual, didn't I? Lol. I know I didn't delve into much, but I can emphatically say that I enjoyed the series, and I'm looking forward to more Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

If you've watched WandaVision, what do you think? Do you agree it feels like a bridge? Did you love it, hate it, or are you somewhere in between?