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.
As Mink's parents prepare to verify or debunk the discovery of a Tear of God, Mink expresses his abject disbelief that such a thing could exist. He ultimately has no choice but relent to the plan. His opinion is one that bespeaks a current trend in their country of Octernal where scientific understanding has eroded religious credibility.
The Tear of God itself will be shrouded in debate throughout the eight books of the series, so I had to be careful in how I defined and revealed it. It's important to me not to lie to my readers, nor string them along a path only to set them up for the okie-doke at the end. Ergo, I needed to be sure that all eight books were planned to a point of reliability and all details regarding the Tear of God would ring true and consistent.
Tear of God – Elements
“Okay. Now what do you want to do?” Juré asked Nyam.
“We have to confirm the find ourselves. If he’s wrong, let him waste their time. On the other hand… we have to act fast.”
“Then your work is done,” Mink interjected dismissively. “There are no Tears of God, so let’s move on.”
“Could what you saw fit in the Cradle of the Citadel?” Nyam prodded.
“Yeah, I guess so. I haven’t been there since I was eight.”
“Then we can’t take the risk. We have to evaluate it ourselves.” Juré turned to Nyam. “I’d go with you, but I have to babysit the scout. No telling how long he’ll sleep.”
“But I need you with me to relay his memories of its location. I can’t run around blind in there.”
Mink rolled onto his back and stared at the few wispy clouds sneaking by in the outer layers of the atmosphere. This had already been a strange day and he suspected there would be a few surprises yet. At least his parents had busied themselves with something other than him for a change. He envied the clouds. So much better to be a distant passing observer of this world than its de facto whipping boy.
“Take Mink then. He saw it.”
“Uh-uhn. No way,” Mink protested from his prostrate position. “This is your guys’ show. You wanna go look like idiots chasing a tale of the ancients, please, leave me out of it.”
“Then tell me what you saw.” Nyam stood up and started stretching out. “Is it a straight shot to the cavern, or are there a bunch of forks and dead ends?”
“I dunno. It wasn’t exactly like seeing, y’know? There were other caverns and stuff. Could be a straight shot. How should I know? I didn’t have enough time to trace a line through the maze. Dad’s going to be much more useful than me here.”
“Your dad has to stay here. I need a guide, someone who has seen inside there. Otherwise, I could be searching for days in the dark.”
“I tell you what,” Juré broke in. “If you agree to let me Silent Signal Fire you and help your mom, you can hold the glow crystal.”
Mink chuckled at the childish bribe. “Oooh. The hard bargaining begins, I see.”
“And I’ll throw in that I won’t tell anyone that we asked you to look for a Tear of God,” Nyam offered.
Mink felt that his parents weren’t going to leave him alone on the matter, but also that he was in the enviable position of making demands. “If you promise me that you’ll leave the Element thing alone for the rest of the vacation, I’ll go.”
Juré reached into his right thigh pocket and handed over his glow crystal. Mink accepted it with both hands and mocked the excitement he used to show as a four-year old.
“Do you want to be harnessed? Or just hold on?” Nyam asked Mink regarding the way in which he preferred to be carried.
Mink looked down the cliff to the opening the scout came from. “Harness. Please.”
Nyam sprinted back to the campsite at an incredible pace. Puffs of dust rose from her footsteps, which touched down at least seventy-five yards apart. It took her longer to untangle the harness from their cart than to run to camp and back. Mink marveled at how she could run so fast and yet still breathe normally. Then again, he was used to seeing her come home with labored breath after a full day of using Quick Legs to run her taxi business.
He helped her tighten the harness. It had been years since his mother had carried him this way. She rotated a hand behind her for him to use as a step. Mink was quite a bit larger than his mother, yet he looked like a big baby held by her formidable Body user strength. He climbed into the seat on her back and secured his arms and legs by tightening the straps. Mink paused long enough to second guess his role in all this before clipping the back guard in place.