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.
This section shows a bit of frivolity during the adventure back to claim the Tear of God. No matter how dire the circumstances, there's always time and opportunity to enjoy oneself.
More importantly for Mink, this particular stretch deepens his friendship with Trale. As a writer, I get to add a few more splashes of details about Elemental life, but the focus was letting the characters (and the readers) have a little fun before it's too late.
Tear of God – Elements
“So, bro, wanna race?” Tralé pressed.
“Don’t I always?” Mouké looked back at Alré. “Corporal Alré, do you give us permission to get off this rotting mountain as soon as possible?”
Alré checked the distance to Rift Ridge once more. “Please do.”
Without further delay, Tralé and Mouké started their scooters down the hill. They couldn’t speed up their chants without rendering them ineffective, so they added specifications to March Root that would move multiple trees at once,
“Wood appears to have life with me.
I make it move, fight, bend, and dance.
My hands implement my intent.
I use the target like a tool.
Touching root or branch move as one.
Trees stay together in a group.
My reach extends through their contact.
I move Wood through land like Water.
It remains separate from me.
I cannot kill my Element.
I control as Atriarb does.
Animate as soon as I reach.”
Mink’s hair blew on his brow as they sped down the mountain. On several occasions, he felt sure that Tralé wouldn’t finish his chant in time to move the trees before they crashed into them. The speed and uncertainty added a welcome thrill to contrast the monotony of the previous day. Mouké wove around the trenches cut by the trees as best he could, while Tralé opted for jumping them in a more direct route. Mink flinched, worried that the landings would jar him loose.
Tralé lost a bit of ground to Mouké when he got distracted searching for different music instead of March Rooting trees. Settling on “Best Step Aside,” Tralé resumed his pace. Mink became personally invested in beating Mouké. He bobbed his head to the song, and helped to steer by shifting his weight on the scooter. Tralé, visibly pleased, pulled his steering hand free. They couldn’t listen to music anymore with Tralé’s hand detatched, but the exhilaration of free falling down through the forest had a cadence all its own. The needled pergnuts became more scarce as the forest shifted to become predominately comprised of rolled-leaf specklenut trees.
Mink steered the scooter on his own by leaning left and right, past Mouké, Sapo, and a couple of trees Mouké had missed as they rushed into the forest. Using both hands, Tralé moved trees in front and behind them simultanously. They had such a commanding lead, Tralé slammed his steering hand back into the scooter, slid it to a sideways stop, moved the couple of specklenut trees he had left behind, Animated a couple of his brother’s trees for him, resumed play of the music, and sent a big smile to a fuming Mouké, still sixty to seventy yards uphill.
Continuing their downhill race, Tralé further orchestrated the trees to shake to the music as he cleared them from the path. He looked back once to check his lead on Mouké and gave Mink a satisfied nod. For his part, Mink couldn’t be more proud. They were going to win the race because of his contribution. This kinship with Tralé felt like the closest thing he had to his friendship with Dreh.