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.
Before Mink and Nyam reached the chamber of the Tear of God, they had to run through the tunnels and subterranean chambers under Rift Ridge. Time being of great importance (and Nyam has no patience), they do so much too fast for Mink's liking. Mink, being harnessed to Nyam's back, doesn't have any choice.
To avoid wandering aimlessly, Jure is relaying information from the Machinist scout's memory and Mink is filtering the information with his own. Being opposing Elemental types, Jure and Nyam need Mink to act as a go between with Silent Signal Fire. Not only does this excerpt show how Elemental use works, but also how they work around limitations.
The other little tidbit of info here is a reminder of their urgency. Their enemies have the advantage and could react at any moment.
Tear of God – Elements
She swung into the tunnel. Mink held the glow crystal aloft and the light filled an impressive amount of the tunnel’s length. His mom rushed to the edge of the light and stopped so fast that Mink struggled to keep his grasp on the crystal.
“Try to keep the light out of my eyes, please,” Nyam said. “I need to see.”
“Give me little warning on the stop-and-go and I’ll still have arms to hold it.”
“See any other tunnels yet? Still a straight shot?”
Mink lifted the crystal high over his head. “I think it’s straight. I didn’t exactly–“ Mink got cut off by Nyam zipping to the edge of the light once more. He looked back to the pinhole-sized opening of the cave. It resembled a lone star in a sea of night. Holding the crystal directly above, he searched for any paths they might have missed.
“Much better. Keep it just like that,” Nyam said. “I can see a bit further. That, or my eyes are adjusting, finally.”
Before Mink could respond, they sprinted twice the distance they had already gone. There was a time when he loved his mom’s sprinting, but unfamiliar territory and dim light were such killjoys. She veered a few times and then slowed to a gradual stop.
“Better stop? More comfortable?”
“Yes. Thanks.” Mink looked forward with raised crystal. “I think I see a few tunnels ahead.”
“Me, too. That’s why I stopped. Any idea which way?”
“Hold on.” Mink checked in with his dad. “Hey, Dad? Can you hear me?”
“Yes. Go ahead.” Juré’s voice sounded so clear that Mink looked over his shoulder.
“We’re at the first junction, I think. Any memory?”
“He explored three tunnels there. The one on the right should lead to the stone.”
The right tunnel felt like the way. “We agree to go right.”
No sooner had Mink spoke than Nyam shot down the right tunnel. The floor sloped downward at a sharp angle and, judging by the jostling Mink felt, Nyam hadn’t expected that. Once the floor leveled out again, she slowed to a stop.
“That was close, wasn’t it?” she said, catching her breath.
“Mom. Just don’t tell me these things.”
“Fair enough. Sorry. So, looks like this is just an open cavern. See a way out?”
Mink scanned the walls for a crack, shadow, or any indication of a continued path. No obvious tunnels in sight, Mink worried that the way forward would be narrow and he would wind up scraped over several yards of sandstone.
“Just don’t take off until I can confirm anything. It might be too narrow. But the direction to the crystal should be about twenty degrees to the left.”
“What about that crevice right there?” Nyam pointed to a sliver of black running up the far wall about thirty degrees from center.
“Maybe. Lemme just check –“
Nyam reached the crevice in question with three very quick strides. It was wider than it looked from across the room. Wider than the two of them shoulder to shoulder and several yards tall, the crevice bent off to the left, not the right as Mink had hoped.
“I’ll wait,” Nyam said.
Mink thought to his dad, “We’re in a very large room with no obvious exits. We found a crack that seems to be the only way forward. Any idea? From what I recall, we need to go right, but this goes left.” No response followed. “Dad? You awake?”
“Sorry, buddy,” Juré finally said. “I was just going through his memories for more information. Concerning your crack… snicker, snicker. Follow that until you go down to an underground lake, hug the bank around to the right and count five tunnels, take the fifth tunnel, and check back with me after you come upon a connecting room with two high exits and one low.”
“Okay. I got it.”
“And tell your mom that the scout is expected back in a couple days. A lot of people are awaiting the results of his find. Still, we’ve got a bit more time to be thorough and careful.”
“No problem. Talk to you later.” Mink spoke up to Nyam, “Dad wants me to tell you that a bunch of people are waiting for the scout, but not for a couple days.”
“What did he say about this path?”
“He said to take it until –“
Nyam zoomed through the crevice at a breakneck speed. Mink could scarcely tell which side his Body was leaning with each turn. He would have protested if he had managed to catch his breath. Before he could, Nyam slid to a stop in knee-high Water.
“Kinda slippery here. You didn’t mention anything about Water.”