‘Twas the week before Thanksgiving [in America], and all through the town, snow started falling, making everyone frown. Business owners hemmed and hawed and finally quit guffawing at the preposterous storm hitting the town.
Worried employees stood by the windows making such a palaver, their bosses told them to go. Onto the clogged roads, they went, skidding on ice and the snow fast-covering the town. A sea of taillights stretched onto the horizon, making everyone groan.
No road was clear. There was no escape, so our brave little scribe hunkered down and drove into the night. Her car skidded and fishtailed but found no traction at all, so it struck something hard and bounced out of town.
The curb was okay, but the car was in a bad way, so our scribe parked it and hiked through the snow. She took refuge with a coworker and his nice family in town. After many hot cups of tea and much thawing out, our quiet scribe settled down by a warm fire to work on her phone.
Meanwhile, the cast, worried on her behalf, pulled on our warmest, wooliest clothes and headed to that town. We trekked and stomped, flattening the snow, but our progress was slow. Uncle Miren finally leaned on his crutch and declared, “we must stop before we freeze through.”
Papa just nodded. His magic hated the snow and had burrowed so far down, his toes probably glowed. I wanted to check, but my numb fingers couldn’t untie the bow. Then Papa lifted me up, and I burrowed under his cloak where the snow couldn’t go, and we set off for our scribe’s apartment in a distant town all aglow.
After much stomping and dusting off snow, we thawed out by a lumir crystal and watched the falling snow. I burrowed under the blankets with Papa to wait while we ate hot stew from a big bowl.
And that’s what we’ve been up to this week. Our scribe is back home safe, and her car’s at the repair shop. After a weekend of being stranded, she’s supposed to get a rental this morning, so she can get to work.
Ranispara, yes her, snuck in an extra chapter, and so did I. So that’s where those extra 6,000 words came from, but those added chapters are really awesome. We level up in them. 🙂
Our scribe is just giving it one last read through because she’s paranoid she missed something due to all the drama this week, then she’ll hit the publish button. We’ll shoot you an email as soon as it’s live in all the ebook stores, so you might hear from us twice this week!
We’ll do something fun in that extra email. Promise.
My little fingers are already poised to hit the upload and the publish buttons, and I’m not budging from the magical pc until I get the official nod to hit them.
(Our scribe is also publishing Curse Breaker: Darkens, Curse Breaker: Faceted, and Curse Breaker: Falls to iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. on the same day. So all our books will be everywhere ebooks are sold.)
While I give my scribe the ‘finish it’ look, here’s your first look at chapter three. Papa and I return in this one!
~ ~ ~
Chapter 3: Rocks and Ripples Redux
“Where are we going?” Ran regarded Sarn from where he rested in his arms.
“To find out which tunnels are passable then we’ll see what our options are.”
Hopefully, we’re not trapped with that tentacular horror show again. If they were, he’d need one hell of a plan to keep them safe. One thing at a time. I can’t access my head map anymore.
Or can I? Sarn skidded to a halt. Pebbles ricocheted into the shadows announcing his presence, but he ignored them. How did I know to turn right instead of left back there? Is my map part of my mind or my magic?
Sarn wavered. Part of him wanted to find out and to finally answer the one question that had haunted him all his life. Am I human? Is my son?
Instances where he’d gone above and beyond what any Ranger could do flashed through his mind. Like his thirty-mile run through a maze of killer trees, or the cave-in he survived at thirteen, or that thousand-foot fall he’d limped away from with just a bad sprain. And those were just a few of the highlights that rushed past. There were many, many more, and they all asked the same question:
How much of that was magic, and how much was me? And more importantly, what did Ran inherit from me? Now was his chance to get a definitive answer if he dared.
Ran rested his head on Sarn’s shoulder, breaking the deadlock. I must find out for my son’s sake. But there was no way back from that. Once he found out, it could change everything.
“Papa, are you okay? You’re just standing around staring at rocks.”
“Yeah, I’m okay. I’m just trying to decide something that’ll affect you.”
Or would it? No matter what I discover, Ran is still my son and my guiding light. Nothing can change that. So why was he still standing there balking while a creature the size of a fortress destroyed parts of his home?
“What are you deciding?”
“Whether I really want to know how much of what I do is because of the magic, and how much is because I’m not like other people.”
Ran said something, but all Sarn could hear was Inari’s voice.
“You’re not a freak. You’re just unique,” she’d said a month or so ago.
It felt like so much longer, and the words felt strange in Sarn’s mouth as he repeated them without meaning to. Ran shifted in his arms.
“You say that like being unique is a bad thing. Is it?”
“I’ve always thought so. I wanted to be like everyone else, not different from them.”
“Is that what ‘unique’ means?”
“I think so.”
The dull thud of falling rocks echoed in the shadowed gloom of the tunnel. Which way was it coming from? Sarn listened hard but he couldn’t tell, not with his hearing diminished in one ear. There were too many miles of naked stones for those echoes to bounce off.
“I’ve never had a chance to discover just how much of my ‘uniqueness’ is magical and how much isn’t, but we’re about to find out.”
Because their lives now depended on those skills, and Sarn had a feeling he’d need every lesson Nolo and the other Rangers had ever taught him. I hope they’ll be enough to get us both out of here alive. Forget the whole human/non-human conundrum. Survival must be his sole focus right now.
“Okay, I like being unique. But can we be unique somewhere else? I don’t like it here.”
Nor was this a safe place to have an identity crisis. The wall to their left shook to emphasize that. The Ægeldar had either found them or they hadn’t gotten far enough away from its extra-long tentacles. Time to fix that.
Cracks proliferated across the wall outracing Sarn. A black fog pushed through them and coalesced on the ground.
Find out what happens to us next time, or if you can’t wait, download a preview of Curse Breaker: Sundered now!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who’s celebrating it this week!
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Until next time, dear reader
This is your host, Ran, the only son of Sarn, and his sidekick, wishing you a great week! 😉
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