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.
On the first night of the rescue mission, Mink discovers that his life-long friend Pulti has also been invited along. This continues on the subplot of the love triangle, but also demonstrates some more details of Elemental use, specifically in regards to the Body Element.
Pulti has been heretofore unaware of the details of Mink's journey. This is an opportunity to recap some important points, but rather than spend too many words rewriting the story, I get to fold in some new information and fresh perspectives. Pulti's presence, along with Blin's, also affords me the chance to show a mix of Mink's former interactions with the new. I opted not to use any flashbacks because the pace of the story needed to stay on track.
Tear of God – Elements
He thought it possible to be in the valley before sundown. He wanted to believe that he could be with his parents the next night.
A pair of hands roughly covered his eyes and a low, grumbly voice said, “Guess who?”
Mink’s heart pounded up into his throat. “Corporal Alré?”
Pulti’s familiar and very welcome laugh broke through the night Air. “Corporal Alré? Oh, I got you good!”
Mink spun on his heels and stared eagerly into Pulti’s face, glad to see her. “Pulti! What are you doing here?” He gave her a quick hug.
She pushed back and flexed both of her arms. He noted she was dressed in her usual baggy sweater and pocket pants with permanent wrinkles. “Fourteenth strongest Body user under twenty-five, thank you very much.”
“That’s great! Are you in my Unit?”
“I’m in the Extraction Unit, Surface Squad, Pull Cell. Cool people. Fun times.”
“Yeah, right. So, is this what you and Dreh were doing in the Capitol?”
Mink realized that it was yesterday she spoke of, and yet it seemed so long ago. Was it really just the night before that he’d last seen Pulti? She seemed so different then, so much more feminine. And here she was, back to her regular tomboyish self. He could scarcely believe that it had been that morning when he woke up so hungover. Thinking about it all made him suddenly tired. However, before he fell asleep, he had to tell his friend about what had happened over the past few days.
“Yeah, Dreh had to give me a lift. My mom and dad are still out there at the site. To get me to the capitol in time, my mom put the Quick Legs effect on me.”
“No way! Wait. You’re lying. Dreh took you.”
“I would have made it by myself, but Blin stopped me and Thoy canceled the effect. That’s when I went to Dreh and had him take me the rest of the way.”
“That’s insane. How did she do that? I want to try.” Pulti mumbled through the Quick Legs chant, counting syllables distractedly with her fingers.
“I wish I could remember. It would make me feel more useful.” Mink’s good humor started to darken, so he deflected the attention to her. “Do you have Quick Legs now? How do you walk with it active?”
“That’s hard. I’m always concentrating on that. Part of the trick is not flexing your toes. That’s where the big push comes from. If you lift from the heel and curl your toes before they touch, the effect is weak enough to maintain a walking pace.” Pulti ran around Mink so fast that she caused his hair to spin around his head. If he blinked, he might not have seen her move at all. “I’ve had it going for six months. I’m maintaining about three effects right now.”