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

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

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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."

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Chapter 17

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