SAMPLE CHAPTERS & ARTWORK UPDATES

From Part II, Chapter 15 “Onyx” (originally titled “No’va”)

*****

“Found this little fellow on the way. Thought I’d give it a go.”

“This?” Jenario poked its side but it didn’t move. “You sure you didn’t smother it already?”

“Its eyes are still open,” Shafari returned, but Jenario cocked an eyebrow in doubt.

“I don’t see its throat moving like they normally do.”

“You’re confusing it with a bull frog.” Shafari waved a hand. “Okay, stand back! Here goes…” After looking down at the paper a moment, he began a slow chant that Jenario could only compare to croaking. It was a mesh of slurring which produced a mid-way hiccup. Then, they waited.

Jenario lowered himself so he could be eye-level with the tabletop. “It’s dead.” With a sigh, he straightened. “Where did you find it again?”

“Oh, just near some piled stone. Look! See, it’s moving!”

“I thought you said this was a sleep spell?” Jenario eyed the twitching from one of its tiny toes when a burst of flame lit along its back and soon engulfed the rest of the body. He sat back and rolled his eyes. “Wow….”

“Hmmm.” Shafari shuffled through his notes scribbled out along the edges of the papers. “Must have mixed up the meanings.”

“Just promise me you won’t try this on a person…unless we need a pyre.” He got up from the table and went over to a shelf. There, he picked up a container to scoop the smoldering toad into.

“Oh, shush! Let me think.” However, the smell of burning skin started up a fit of coughing. While Jenario let the tent flaps open, Shafari made a hasty departure and gulped in fresh air. “May I?” His voice cracked as he held up the vial of pink sand taken from the Study.

Jenario finally agreed. “Sure. Why not? Can’t imagine how you get anything out of it.”

“It’s all in the potential.” The mage waved a hand to signal his leave. “Until next time.”

Jenario only shook his head and watched the mage go, still coughing as he went. He glanced back at the tent with dark smoke beginning to drift out.

“Can’t wait….”

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