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.
A major side-effect of Mink's Elemental lack is an absence of self worth. It affects his perspective not only on his role in the discovery of a Tear of God, but also in his hopes for romance. Though the story is told from Mink's viewpoint, I needed to write all the clues for the reader that Pulti desired Mink, but credibly leave him oblivious.
In this particular excerpt, I wanted to pause and show the toll the journey had taken on Mink so far. It takes place very close to the halfway point of the story. In most narrative structures this is where the "campfire scene" takes place. I opted for a party instead for the hero to regroup and find his resolve to continue.
Tear of God – Elements
As they approached the house, Pulti came out. Mink couldn’t tell if it was the moonlight or makeup, but her skin looked lighter. Her shoulder-length brown hair had been twisted into corkscrews and highlighted. Mink couldn’t ever remember seeing Pulti so dolled up before. She wore a tight-fitting jacket and a shadowy skirt that flared out as she walked.
Maybe she always looked like this at parties, he wouldn’t know. It was quite a change from her usual low-key look. He made a mental note of pointing this out to Dreh.
“Took you long enough, Dreh. I’ve been bored for hours.” Pulti carried two bottles of nutty and was in the process of extending one to Dreh when she stooped and squinted at Mink draped over his friend. “Well send a pie to my family! Is that really Mink? Are you really Mink?”
“Hey, Pulti. Am I glad to see you! I could use a little Recovery effect.” Mink separated himself from Dreh and gave her a hug.
“Sorry, Mink. I’m a bit too tipsy to do a proper chant right now,” she confessed. “Besides. Sleep deprivation kickstarts your buzz.” Pulti and Dreh even thought alike. Mink knew they would be perfect together. “Aren’t you out of the country, playing Animalist or something with your parents?”
“Dad stuff. I had to cut the camping trip short.”
Dreh took over. “What’s going on inside? Did we miss anything?”
The trio made their way to the house. It was all one level but huge, with a large central octagon flanked by two smaller ones. “It’s just getting started. All the lame and tame is over with. Pirk loves the shoes you made her, by the way. I want a pair for my birthday, hint, hint. What took you so long? Something wrong with your sled?”
“Never! My sled is strong, woman. Nah, we left Protallus City late this morning. I cut a couple hours off my time by only making two stops.”
“How did you wind up all the way out there?”
“Long story.” Mink left it at that. Under the glow crystal by the door, he got a much better view of Pulti. He wanted to compliment her, or at least let her know he noticed the change, but he was too tired to think of anything to say. Seeing her all done up struck Mink with a disturbing realization. “Oh no! Of all the rot.”
“What’s wrong?” Pulti asked, startled.
“I’ve been wearing the same clothes for four days now! I can’t go into the party like this! Do you have any idea what I’ve been through?”
Dreh and Pulti just about fell over laughing. Pulti had to set her bottle on the porch so she wouldn’t spill. Mink laughed a little, but he was really upset about being in a crowd of strangers with dirt, snags, sweat, and Blin’s scorch marks all over him.
“You look fine, Mink.” Pulti straightened, but she still had the giggles. She smoothed his hair and tucked it behind his ears, all the while with a goofy grin. “Don’t worry about it.”