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

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 19

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 18

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Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 19

Damian couldn't do it. He hadn't fully wanted to do it in the first place, but when Bishop had said those words, he just couldn't leave him in that icy wasteland. Even if it wasn't a sure death, no one deserved to wander that cold for the rest of their existence.

His conscience was going to get them all killed, though. He'd have to think of something else to get Bishop back to his own world, sooner rather than later. First, he had to get the book.

"Looks like the time difference worked in our favor," Damian said. "It's only a few minutes past the shift."

"Amazing." Obsidian plucked the candle from the well and shoved it in that hidden pocket of hers--it must have gone out on its own when they passed through the first time. "I'd love to explore more of Turss to see more of the differences."

She never learned. Damian had to make sure she didn't wander off the proper path again. Even if he wasn't sure what exactly that path was anymore.

"Sorry," she said. "You know, if that eyebrow of yours climbs up any higher, it's going to get stuck like that."

Damian wanted to slap her and laugh at the same time. He restrained himself from doing either and ignored her statement instead. "Please hand over the book, Bishop."

The man barked a laugh. "I don't think so. I'm guessing holding onto this would be in my best interest, if I want to keep my hide."

Obsidian put her hands on her hips. "It's not like you'll be able to read any of it, anyhow. Holding it hostage will do you no good." She stepped closer to Bishop. "Be smart and hand it over to me, though. Not him."

Bishop cracked the book open and furiously paged through it. "You're right, I can't read any of it. How is that possible?"

"Magic," Sid said.

"Whether I can read it or not, I think I'll still keep it." His mischievous grin was unnerving.

Damian should have let go when Bishop almost lost his grip. That would have been so much simpler. Then the book could also be lost in the ether, and all of his problems would have been solved.

No, he had to feel bad about killing someone. Make his like more difficult.

Well, trying to get the book now wasn't going to happen, and they were wasting time arguing. "We need to get out of here before anyone else wakes up and finds us. We'll deal with the book later." And here was yet another horrible decision. How to hide Bishop. Only one option for now. "Bishop, you can stay in my room for now."

"I'd rather go with Sid."

Oh, yes, that was just what they needed, Sid falling all over this outsider and losing her head even more. "She has roommates, who would notice you. I, on the other hand, have my own quarters. No one but me enters."

"No one? Kind of lonely." He snickered.

Hypocrite. "Something I'm sure you're already plenty familiar with and used to."

Bishop shut up.

"If we're going to go, let's." Sid slipped through the gap in the misshapen hill, differently formed than before they entered the gate to avoid the shift.

Damian and Bishop trailed after.

"Bless the All-Seeing Eye," Bishop said. He'd stopped just outside the gap.

Damian forced himself to stop as well. This interloper was his responsibility, and he couldn't leave him behind. "Problem?"

"See you tomorrow, boys. I'm heading back to my room." It seemed Sid couldn't get away from them fast enough. Guess it was the only option now that she didn't have the book to help her through another gate. She wove around the portals which soon blocked her from view.

"So many gates. I mean, I knew there were other worlds, but I couldn't have imagined this many. And so close together."

Small mind, then. "You did force us to bring you straight into the Guardian compound." He considered warning Bishop about the shifts at night. But if this man decided to poke around where he ought not, he deserved anything he got. At least if he got sliced in two by a shifting portal, Damian couldn't be directly held accountable for his death.

He still felt kind of slimy for holding back, though--and the thought of Sid's disapproving glare over his thoughts. Perhaps he should just mention it.

"How many Guardians are we talking about?"

"I never counted. A couple of hundred, at least."

Bishop whistled. "Guess we better be off so you can hide me then." He walked forward in the direction Sid had gone, clearly expecting Damian to follow.

Keeping this man hidden would be a difficult task, indeed. Damian had a feeling he'd refuse to stay put.

Obsidian tip-toed into her room, careful not to wake Ama and Enid. Thankfully they both seemed to be heavy sleepers. She undressed, bandaged the cut on her arm the best she could, then crawled completely under her covers.

She wanted to sleep for a week.

But the magic wouldn't allow her. Right when she had stepped back into Nect, the power had washed over her again. And the Turmoil gate struck up its call once she looked up at the script. It beat a rhythm in her head almost similar to the sensation she had felt when she touched the chain in Turss.

It wanted her to open it again, step through.

Sid covered her head with her pillow, but that didn't lessen the tug. No, she wouldn't let it take over her mind again--she had to gain control, maintain it.

Not like she could go back through, anyhow. She didn't quite remember all of the strokes needed to etch the proper words in the dirt, and her mind hadn't retained the exact ones she needed to speak as well. She was horrible at memorizing most things to begin with, but when she pictured the writing in the book, the edges of everything were fuzzy.

She dug her fingers into the pillow, stopping herself before she ripped it open. The last thing she needed was to have to explain why there were feathers all over her part of the room.

Not only was the magic tugging at her mind, insisting she listen to it, to save Turss from whatever turmoil the portal was so labeled for, she didn't know what to do about Damian or Bishop.

Damian had insisted Bishop should be left behind, but he hadn't actually let go of him. Had Bishop hung on tight enough, over-powered Damian? It hadn't seemed that way once they had finished the crossing. Damian would have been angrier than he already was.

Perhaps he hadn't wanted to lose the book as well. Who knew what was going on in that mind of his. Not her, that's for sure.

And Bishop. She had to get control of her feelings around him. There was no reason for her to be simpering, and that was all she could label it as. She didn't know him, even though he'd saved her. He also tricked them into taking him with them on their return trip.

She knew what was going on in Bishop's mind even less than Damian's.

The biggest problem--this entire mess was her fault.

It was probably good she didn't have the book back. There was no saying what she'd do if she had it. Perhaps she'd completely fall off the horse and go on a rampage of opening all of the gates in the courtyard, letting unknown horrors step into Nect. Or her body would snap under all the pressure and she'd jump out her window, bludgeoned to death by a gate as she fell.

That would be a fitting death. Especially since a gate dragged her onto this path in the first place.

"Sid, are you okay?" Ama, sweet Ama. She must have woken her with all the thrashing.

Sid peeked from underneath her pillow. "Just dealing with a bit of inner conflict."

Ama rolled to her side. "Ah. I was wondering why you weren't in bed when I got back to the room. Is it about your mentor, Damian? Have you been sneaking off with him for other things other than studying?"

All Sid could do was offer a dumb-founded look. At least she assumed it was dumb-founded because this was the last thing she thought anyone would speculate. True, it was better than thinking she found a book detailing the opening of gates, then actually opening a portal, walking through it, and finally coming back with an other-worlder in tow.

"Well?" Ama asked. "Don't leave me in the dark." The rising sun filtered into the room, accentuating her smile.

"Um." What in the Ancients could she say? "Yes. I've been sneaking off with Damian. But nothing has happened. I swear. We've just watched the gates in the courtyard shift a couple of times. Under the stars." Just saying the words made acid rise into her throat. All this girl stuff was not her thing, not at all. "I don't think he feels the same for me as I do for him, though."

Ama's smile transformed from eager to knowing. "Give him time." She threw off her covers and slipped out to the bathroom.

Obsidian ducked back under her pillow. Give Damian time. Ha. Should she give Bishop time too? Her heart thudded in her brain, right alongside the throb of the magic.

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Chapter 20

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