Let’s meet Dazh!
Dazh Qorin (pronounced “Dazz”) is the brother of my main character (Dranna). In the part of the book I’m currently writing, Dazh and Dranna are getting ready to meet up after not having seen each other for six years. In fact, Dazh’s disappearance is what caused Dranna to go on walkabout in the first place. It turns out that he has been held captive by the Queens of Galithnia, the floating kingdom far, far to the south.
In this excerpt, Dazh thinks about the dangerous monsters that have been spotted around the castle and the Queens’ attempts to stop the attacks. He also stops to consider one of the Queens in particular, who has been acting oddly of late, and the Roots themselves, the elemental energies that make up the universe…
Dazh breathed in. The aroma of musty old books pervaded his senses, and he suppressed the smile trying to creep across his face.
Finally. The Library at the Academy. The Queens had finally lifted their restriction on his being allowed through the gates. Well, it had been mostly Thideren’s convincing of Yentruoc not to block his access. He had been released from the castle cell weeks ago, and had been helping with the Fol’noc, even researching how better to kill the demons – yet the queens still had been hesitant to grant him his wish of seeing the Library. The “why” had something to do with tradition, with outsiders not being allowed to breach the hallowed halls . . . After all, the entire reason he had been imprisoned in the first place was his own cursed curiosity, which had pushed him to trespass in this sacred archive. No outsiders in here, not even visitors, he had been told.
But tradition could only go so far, when the entire country was in shambles.
The attacks had grown more frequent. The Fol’noc that had killed the king and queen of Galithnia had apparently been only one of several – or a hundred – or fewer than four. It had grown impossible to tell. And Rerun Grin – another interesting specimen! – still claimed that the original Fol’noc hadn’t been eliminated yet. How did the man know this? He couldn’t say. Just grumbled shuffled his boots angrily and tried to hide the fact that he brimmed with Fire Root energy constantly.
It couldn’t be healthy. It just plain couldn’t. No one else Dazh had ever met – save maybe his sister – could hold that much of any Root for long periods of time.
. . . And even Dranna shouldn’t. It was part of why he had come to Galithnia, to research why her headaches were getting worse.
Dazh frowned as he stepped into the main stacks, considering his circumtances as he peered at the spines of the tomes around him. He had at last been able to impress upon Thideren Relleum the importance of his research – or at least, a very basic understanding of it anyway – and she had, although reluctantly, given him her royal blessing to go forth and read “whatever you think you need to read,” as she had said. Yentruoc had basically agreed to give him access to the library to get Thideren out of her hair. The twins seemed more at odds than ever, lately, and he couldn’t blame them. The stress of dealing with their country falling apart – the country which they had only recently become rulers of – must have been excruciating. Yentruoc had taken to her quarters more often than not of late, and Thideren had been left to do the governing by herself.
The times Dazh did see the quieter sister, she had seemed . . . different. In an unknown way. Each time, she seemed more drawn in on herself. It was to be expected in someone who had just been thrust into a leadership role unprepared – and especially of someone who had lost loved ones in order to have that come to pass. But Yen still seemed . . . odd. Almost as though she grew brighter. It really seemed like the only appropriate descriptor. Dazh had never been good at manipulating Roots – that was Dranna’s wheelhouse, not his – but he could still sense all six elemental energies, and Yentruoc Relleum nearly bled Light from her very skin. Dazh couldn’t be completely sure without creating and running at least one research experiment (or maybe several) on the woman, and that perhaps would not go over particularly well for anyone involved. He had just gained access to the library. He didn’t want to jeopardize his progress by accusing the highest authority in the land of . . . well, he wasn’t sure what.
It still bothered him.
Well, that was a problem he needed to research further, that was sure. The books beckoned, however, and he put the thought out of his head. Or tried. Before his too-long sojourn in the castle brig, he had written Dranna about his findings. Such as they were. Something about the Line seemed . . . different . . . in Galithnia, and it made him curious. The Roots usually twinkled just out of the corner of his eye, a presence he couldn’t touch but felt as though it breathed on the back of his neck. Here, in the kingdom of dragons, the Roots felt stronger, but also odd. He couldn’t shake the certainty that the Roots danced counter-clockwise here . . .
Whatever that actually means, he thought.