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.
It is important to me to have the reader know how the Elementalists live. The more pages I can spend following Mink through his country, the more their culture becomes clear. Yet, everything is filtered through Mink, so it needs to be written from the perspective of a life-long resident. I believe it's informative enough without having to pause and explain differences between their world and ours.
Sometimes, you just can't help but paint the landscape. Having Dreh take Mink to the Capitol gave me many opportunities to write more details of the Elementalist country, Octernal. I could have just had them make the trip in one sentence, but where's the fun in that?
Tear of God – Elements
Around four-thirty of the second clock, just before midday, they crossed the border of Floth into the Rhocke Prefecture, Mink’s favorite leg of the journey. None of the Flothian architecture back home related to Water, despite Floth being the God of Water. The road maps of Floth resembled rivers and streams from an arial view, but the buildings were traditional octagonal shapes. The more interesting ones looked like eight-sided crystal clusters, jaunting angles radiating from a common base, and panels polished to glint in the sun.
The typical Flothian shades of green dividing sprawls of suburbia transitioned to the vibrant Rhockeine hills of the spice farms. Each ranch went to great lengths to impress passersby, or rather potential customers, by painting landscapes with brightly colored leaves and flowers that danced in the breeze. Every season became a new work of art, particularly during the blooming season of Roysive.
They decided to stop for a late lunch and mud application in Albus, the principle city of Rhocke. Nyam almost never stopped until she reached the Protallus Prefecture town where she grew up, so an authentic Rhockeine meal was a rare treat. Dreh pulled into a Wood Spa and got a recommendation for a local favorite eatery. They walked out their leg cramps, musing over the anti-corner architecture of the city. Every building, including the city’s towers, had been rounded to avoid any flat surfaces or edges. As such, this area paid greater homage to Water with flowing lines and wave-like entrances. Yet, Mink couldn’t decide if it was the look he yearned for in Floth.
“You sure you got this?” Dreh checked once they reached the restaurant.
“Absolutely. It’s what my dad would want.”
“Ah. Nice to know I’m getting some of my tax dollars back.”
The lunch was exquisite. Mink could never find anything so richly fragrant and deliciously sour back home. Heavy with portions of reptilian meat and steamed vegetable stalks, neither of them could finish their portions, but they kept trying. Once the waitress offered dessert, they gladly exchanged their plates for a crispy, warm cake made with sautéed fruit peelings and topped with cultured heavy cream. They left with full bellies for about the price of a drink in Floth.