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.
Part of the difficulty in writing an adventure story that takes the main character out of his/her comfort zone is that rounding out the culture of that comfort zone doesn't get much space on the page. It helped to give the other characters a life outside of the story. The more clues and references to the greater world I could use, the more the world took shape while the story was happening, rather than instead of.
This particular excerpt is the moment when Mink gets pulled back into destiny after an interlude of denying his involvement. The exchange is amusing, but it underlines Mink's self-deprecating humility keeping him from respecting his role in the world's events. He is less the reluctant hero, and more the oblivious hero, more willing to give credit to those around him.
Tear of God – Elements
So, best case scenario, Mink had three days to himself. Technically, he had been excused from school through the rest of the week. However, he could go tomorrow morning to start making up his hours.
Just as he was deliberating over where he should spend the day with Dreh and Pulti, someone knocked on the door. He opened it, half-expecting them to have made his decision for him. Instead, he stared right at the face and trademark shaved head of his childhood thornball hero, Tolrin Makunam!
Tolrin had been captain of the Floth Riptides for a twelve year stretch. He led them to a total of eight national championships, including a five-in-a-row run. Employing an arsenal of reactionary defensive strategies, Tolrin still held the league record for the fewest goals allowed in a season. What surprised Mink the most was that despite his massive frame, Tolrin stood three inches shorter than himself.
“Mink Jolle?” Tolrin inquired. The excitement of being asked for by name left Mink mute. “Are you Mink, or not?”
“That’s yes. Yes, sir. I’m me. Mink. I am Mink.” Oh, man.
“Wonderful. You have been selected by the High Council to guide my unit to the location of the Tear of God.” Tolrin spoke in matter-of-fact rote.
It took Mink a while to remember the reports he had heard of Tolrin enlisting in the army after retiring from thornball. The circumstances of this visit turned out to be neither as random nor pleasant as Mink might have hoped. And yet, Tolrin Makunam was at his house!
“What do you need me to do? Tell you where on the Great Plateau it is? Rift Ridge?” Mink’s questions jumbled out. “I’m not sure if I can draw a map very well.”
“No. You are assigned to the Guide Cell under my command. You will report directly to Corporal Alré and walk the Team back to the site the way you came.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t think I understand. I’m not exactly army material.”
“I couldn’t agree more. But, I have my orders. And now, so do you. Welcome to the service.”
“What? Someone enlisted me? Is there an appeal or something?” Mink’s voice squeaked.
“The High Council of the Main Cameral, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the most efficient way for my Support Unit to guide the Tear of God Extraction Unit to the site is to have you lead us there. Your Uncle Durren signed the order himself. So, you are reporting to Corporal Alré in one hour, or I will have to use Mental Change and Inspiration on you. Knowing who your father is, I trust you understand how that will work.”