This week’s main work-in-progress has been Pathway of the Moon. With eleven chapters left to a total of sixty chapters, this books has been a major undertaking. It’s the longest project I’ve ever worked on, and it’s hard to believe that, a little more than a year after I started it, it’ll be finished, at least in its rough draft form. I’m really excited! This week’s WIP section comes from the last chapter I completed.
LEO rubbed his eyes and stared at the pages in front of him. They’d come no closer to answers with their night of studying than they were the day before. Books and scrolls donated to their work by the scholars from the Argos Records Library and their new friends among the Disciples of Rith lay scattered everywhere. Amadeira had fallen asleep at some point, her head resting atop one of the smaller tomes they’d received. He sighed and set aside the diary.
He’d learned a great deal more about the things he was, supposedly, capable of, but in all that searching, nothing to explain the problems with the Pathway. His blood should have opened it. And it had, but now the Pathway was broken, allowing no further travel to and from their world. He’d discovered only one thing in all his searching.
Pages were missing from the diary. Who knew what they’d contained or where they’d gone. Maybe they were another prophecy. Maybe another explanation to help him, the Son of Shadows, find his true path. But so far, he just felt like his head might explode, and he wanted to throw the book across the room.
He stood and rubbed his temples. Maybe fresh air would help. He glanced over at Amadeira. Still asleep. She shivered slightly in the draft coming from the window. He walked over and latched it shut before snatching a blanket from the seat beneath it. Then he returned to Amadeira and settled the warm, scratchy wool over her sleeping frame. She whimpered but didn’t wake up.
Satisfied with that, he left her to sleep and meandered out into the halls. His aimless walk led him to the gardens, the still crisp air of early morning washing over him. He settled onto a bench with a sigh. All the things he’d learned about himself and the frustratingly elusive solution he needed permeated his mind, refused to let him relax. Two days of searching for nothing. Leo buried his head in his hands with a groan. What good did it do him to know he could use the shadows to teleport or that he could quite literally touch another person’s soul with them if he was unable to solve the issue they most needed to solve?
“You look restless.”
He glanced up to find his mother staring at him with arms crossed. “What are you doing up so early?”
“I’ve been an early riser for quite some time.” She settled beside him. “But you were too busy dispensing justice to others to notice.”
He frowned. “What?”
She fixed him with a stern gaze. “Did you think I had no idea what you were doing? What you were trained to do?”
His frown deepened. “You mean you knew the whole time?”
“Suspected at least. And when you went traipsing off on some secret mission, I guessed the rest. They’re saying you defeated Kiarhsu while you were away. The least you could have done was tell me the truth.”
He sighed. “I couldn’t. They wouldn’t allow it.”
“Before that, you could’ve.”
“I didn’t want you involved.”
She smiled and took his hands in hers. “I know you didn’t. I just wish you hadn’t gone through everything alone. I heard from Amadeira that the king’s making you his liaison with the nobility.”
“So what has you so down?”
“Honestly?” He sighed. “Too many things.”
“Very well.” His mother squeezed his hands and stood. “Walk with me, and tell me what you can about it.”
He complied with a worn out smile. “Where to start?”
“How about with the trip? I’m certain that’s where some of these troubles are stemming from.”
He laughed sadly. “Yes, some of them. Actually, most of them.”
“What’s troubling you most?”
“The Pathway. We found it, and I opened it because I wasn’t given a choice.”
“Weren’t given a choice?”
“Well, when it’s between letting the one who owns your heart die and saving them by sacrificing yourself to open a Pathway… What would you do?”
She smiled. “You love that girl a great deal. A very large change from when you first met her.”
“I was just trying to protect her back then.”
His mother snorted. “You just didn’t want to pull anyone else into your fight. You were afraid of getting attached and losing her.”
He pinched the bridge of his nose. “Fine. That was part of it. But that’s beside the point. The point is, I couldn’t let her die just to avoid opening that Path. So I let it happen. We barely made it out alive, and this time, she saved me. But ever since I went undercover out there, I’ve been finding more and more things that unsettle me.”
“Well, first of all, I’m the object of numerous prophecies written by Queen Bane of Ashkarith. Did you know that?”
She raised a brow. “Is that accusation I hear in your voice?”
He glared at her. “Mother, for the love of Albrith! Did you or not? I’m having an existential crisis here. I don’t need to add to it.”
She patted his arm with a sweet smile. “I didn’t know anything about it, no. Your father suspected your potential back when you returned from the woods that night at six. But he never confirmed those suspicions.”
“He confirmed them,” Leo muttered.
“The night you killed him?”
“You knew about that too? Why am I not surprised?”
“I know more about you and your life than you realize. So, you opened the Path?”
“And now it doesn’t work. I’m supposed to figure out why using the diary and books given to me by the Disciples of Rith and the king’s scholars. But I can’t find anything. All I’ve done is uncover the ways my power can be used and all the ways it can go wrong.”
“Plainly put, I need a tether of some sort. I need to be grounded the same way the strongest of those with Controdene abilities do. Even though mine isn’t a mental power, it could still consume me if I’m not careful, and my tether pulls me back from the edge of insanity.”
“That tether is Deira.”
He swallowed and scuffed a foot through the gravel of the path before lifting his head to watch the rising sun. “I think so. I can’t be sure, but she was able to bring me back from the edge of death back in Dubarin. My powers were consuming me and my mind, and she followed me into the dreamscape I was in.”
“Does she know what her part in this is?”
He shook his head and shoved his hands into his pockets. He still hadn’t brought it up with her. Didn’t know how to, if he was honest. How would he tell her that she was in the prophecies right alongside him? That she would be the difference between his salvation or damnation of himself and all of Alcardia.
Hope you all enjoyed! What have you all been working on? Did anyone finish out their NaNoWriMo projects? I did, though I didn’t manage to finish all of the things I was working on when I started. However, the important thing is that I met my goal of writing at least 50,000 words in November!
As always, feel free to share bits of whatever you’ve been working on or to offer feedback to others here. Just remember to keep everything polite and friendly.