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.
In this passage, Nyam, Mink's mother, teaches Mink how to use her Body Movement effect, Quick Legs. Quick Legs is a self effect, but through direct contact with the Tear of God, Nyam was able to figure out a way to add implementation to the effect. Mink obviously has more training to do, but I like thinking about this scene through Nyam's perspective. She's spent at least the last twelve years concerned about her son's lack of Elemental affinity, and now she gets to teach him how to use one of her most useful effects.
Even though there are more character, relationship, Elemental use, worldbuilding, and plot development aspects to this excerpt, it's really just a gratuitous share for Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day to you lucky ones. May you all have the opportunity to share some privileged knowledge and a few tricks to your children.
Tear of God – Elements
Mink drew in a deep breath. “Moment of truth, people. Let’s see if it worked.”
When he stepped forward, his foot touched the ground so quickly it threw him off. His second step happened automatically, but never touched the ground. He slammed down hard in the dirt and skidded on his side for a couple feet with no lasting damage.
His mother stepped up to meet him. “Remember. Tuck in your chin, do a sit up, and roll forward.”
Mink tried to get up. As he moved one leg out, he slid on his back eight feet and then rolled. The random jabs, burns, and scrapes were punishment enough despite the brevity of their pain. “I know! I know. Get up from my stomach, head pointed at the tree. Got it.” Mink rolled to the proper position and pushed up, carefully setting one foot, then the other, underneath him. “No problem.”
Nyam came beside him. “Just keep focused ahead of you. Don’t try to control your legs. You don’t think about them when you usually walk, do you? Just walk.”
Mink set his gaze upon the pergnut tree, and had taken six steps before his first one truly registered. The mere effort of walking sent him sprinting down the slight grade that headed into the basin of the wilderness. This speed gave him an appreciation for how much the slope actually dipped. He kept going straight in the direction of the tree, feeling the moment his center of gravity caught up with his momentum. His movements grew more natural. Eventually, it no longer felt like he was going quite so fast.
“You found your rhythm,” Nyam grinned, effortlessly walking backward in front of him. “When you’re ready, try walking a little faster.”
Mink leaned forward and put just a bit more effort into stepping. This speed blew wind in his face. He guessed he was walking about twenty miles an hour. He felt encouraged. Without prompting from Nyam, Mink began to jog.
“Be careful not to overdo it,” Nyam warned, matching his stride. “Small increments are going to be more productive than large ones.”
Mink could tell the jog speed was much faster. Reeds of grass whipped against his legs as he advanced down to the greener elevations of the wilderness. He didn’t have a clue how fast he was going now, and his biggest adjustment was being able to breathe in the rushing Air. The only way for him not to trip or lose his balance was to stop thinking about his steps at all.
“I’ll go ahead of you a bit. Try to stop right in front of me,” Nyam said as she sprinted off, making Mink feel like he was standing still.
Nyam stopped directly in his path. By his best estimate, it would take five seconds to reach her. He slowed his jog down to a walk and stopped by face-planting on the ground and plowing through the grass. He slid ten feet to a stop about thirty yards from his mother’s feet.
“That’s one way,” he heard Nyam yell. “But try to keep at least one foot forward next time.”
Mink pressed himself up and walked a few steps to meet his mom.
“I guess you haven’t exactly told me everything yet.” Mink brushed himself off.
“Well. Some things are better learned through experience.”