At age sixteen, Mink Jollè still hasn’t discovered his Elemental affinity, which is an identity crisis unheard of on the planet Georra. He has endured constant bullying while being held back in school, and his parents have come to employ drastic measures to help him mature. Their current ruse is a camping trip on Rift Ridge, where they test Mink to the breaking point, to no avail.
Meanwhile, Mink and his parents run across a Machinist scout searching out a mother lode of ore, who finds more than he bargains for. An immense geode buried deep in the ground is fabled to be the Tear of God, and the first nation to claim it will hold power and protection unrivaled on Georra.
The race is on as Mink’s parents stand guard at the Tear of God, sending Mink back to his homeland for help. Defying the odds and surprising himself, Mink succeeds in delivering the news to his people, and is chosen to assist a Team in returning to the site to relieve his parents and acquire the Tear of God for Octernal. Along the way, Mink is forced to rely on his strengths without an Element in order to win respect and ultimately discover his true identity.
Raymond has enjoyed writing from an early age. He lives in Coastal North Carolina with his wife and two daughters. His character driven stories reflect the diversity of the places he has lived and the jobs he has had, focusing on animals and film.
This bubble comes after both parents fail to determine Mink's Elemental affinity. It has a good feel for family dynamics and shows familiarity among the characters even though they are covering new ground together. Also, more details of Elemental use are revealed in actions.
Without going into too much detail, I had to squeeze every drop of family life out of these chapters without stopping the story to do so. World building, character development, and plot advancement working simultaneously while avoiding exposition. This is what keeps writers up late at night. It's not always as easy as it looks.
Tear of God – Elements
After her shadow had grown noticeably longer, she started picking up and extinguishing embers in her hands, rubbing them into the back of her neck. Her mood improved greatly after this and she rose quickly, dusting herself off.
“Now you,” she said to his Body before toppling it over in the Mink-shaped impression still carved into the ground. She stood over the Body and chanted Unfeel to Dispel the effect in a deep, strong voice,
“May Curpo undo the effect.
Take back the power which you gave.”
With that, she pressed her finger to Mink’s forehead.
He sat up from his personal crater, rubbing his chest and belly. “Whoa, Mom. It doesn’t hurt at all.”
She extended a hand to help him up. “See? Told you so.”
After Mink got back to his feet, he hugged his mom. “Sorry it didn’t work.”
“Me, too. I’m very sorry I couldn’t find your Element, Mink.” Nyam’s mood soured again. “I could have sworn I was on to something.”
“It was totally crazy. I mean, when you shot me with that dust, I thought I wasn’t going to have a Body left.”
“Well, it did more damage than I thought it would, but I had strengthened your Body several times over. I wonder now if I strengthened it too much…” Nyam lost herself in thought for a moment. “No. That’s not it. They all did damage. One of them shouldn’t have. And one of them should have strengthened you.”
Mink could tell she was about to cry again. “It was an amazing effect anyway. You did really good at it. How much did you practice?”
“Sixteen times. With a double-blind study. Worked every time.” Nyam shook her head and went to the sleeping Juré and poked him on the shoulder. “Juré? You awake yet?”
“Yeah,” he said without opening his eyes. “Can I have a little more time, though?” Sleeping in the wind shortened the time he needed to recover. Only about four hours had passed according to Mink’s best guess.
“We only have three or four hours before the sun sets. I’d like to start Plan B now.”
“I thought yours was Plan B,” Juré complained, rubbing his eyes.
“Not that Plan B. Our Plan B.”
He stood and stretched. “I thought we were doing that tomorrow.”
“We were, until both of our methods came up with no rotting clue to his Element. I can’t wait. That means you can’t either.”
“Four hours isn’t going to be enough time for that plan to work.” Juré helped himself to the leftovers sitting by the Fire. “Better to get an early start tomorrow.”
That evening, talk of Elements were set aside in favor of games with dice. Before long, Mink had nearly forgotten about the bizarre ways his parents had tested him that day. They played long into the moonlight and it wasn’t until Mink settled for sleep that the fear of the following day swept over him.