Camp NaNo Excerpt: The Aperture

So, in keeping with taking a vacation of sorts from the blog, I’m leaning heavily on a first draft excerpt again this week. Well, it’s a vacation if you don’t count the almost 81K words I’ve written since the first of the month. It’s a strong pace, but there’s a chance I may not finish this month. I’ve begun to think the story will run longer than I expected.

Another "place holder" cover for NaNo. Cover: CA Hawthorne

Another “place holder” cover for NaNo.
Cover: CA Hawthorne

Apparently a longer novel is what happens when you have two main characters who are often apart in the story. Whoops. I’ll press on, though, and worry about length later. In many ways I’m not too worried since it is fantasy and the fourth in a series. Things are bound to be more complicated.

So, another excerpt from Bk4, Traversing the Astral Plane

This is still early in the novel and marks the first time Amatha has accessed the Astral Plane since she arrived in the real world. It’s also the first time it’s occurred when there were others around, including the witches Wersa and Kercar (newly adopted aunts) and Prayleen (newly adopted friend).

Unfortunately, what Amatha sees only she can see. Or maybe not…


Aunt Wersa approached with a mug. “Drink this, Amatha.”

“It smells—”

“Drink it. It must go down now.” She tipped it to her lips and the thick, warm fluid slid down her throat.

She coughed. “That’s awful!”

“Shh!” Aunt Wersa turned, as did Aunt Kercar. Turned towards a blank wall. She’d just passed out, awoke, was forced to drink a retched potion, and they were ignoring her to stare at a blank wall? Sometimes witches were difficult to understand.

A blue, pulsating glow appeared, a black expanse surrounding it. “It’s my door!”

Behind, Prayleen laughed. “Dear Genessa, the lot of you never cease to make life interesting.”

Aunt Kercar stepped closer to the wall, hands on her hips. “Is this what you see when you have your spells, Amatha?”

“It’s what I just saw.”

“What you just saw is different than what you’ve seen in the past?”

“When I was in the artificial place it was a bit more vivid, but mostly the same.”

Back to her, Aunt Kercar nodded. “Thoughts, Sister?”

Aunt Wersa set her hands prayer-like before her lips. “I hope I’m wrong, but based on all I know I have to say it appears to be the Aperture.”

“I concur.”

Prayleen stepped closer. “It’s beautiful, but what’s the Aperture?”

“For all it’s beauty, it’s a terrible device.” Aunt Kercar crossed one arm and set her other hand to her chin. “It’s a spell wizards can summon, first discovered by the wizards of the Old Empire. Amatha’s description of it as a doorway is apt.”

“A doorway to where?”

“Anywhere in Carrdia or Tremjara or Ontyre. Or other worlds.”

Still week kneed, she twisted around in the chair, one arm over the back. Prayleen was right, it was beautiful, but it was like a dead thing on the wall. It moved, but it was silent. There was no voice. No Nathaniel.

“Other worlds? Other worlds besides Ontyre?” Prayleen adjusted her glasses. “There are other worlds?”

“Supposedly.”

“Could we step through this?”

“No. This is but a representation of what Amatha sees, perhaps ten seconds of the vision repeating.”

“So, people, wizards, use it to go back and forth?”

“Basically. Little is known of the Aperture.”

“But if Amatha is seeing it then someone is using it.”

“Quite correct, unfortunately. There was a time when it was a forbidden spell, but the wizards of old abused it anyway. The wizards of our day have sworn to not use it.”

“But she’s seeing it?”

“Correct again, but while wizards have sworn to not use it, sorcerers have not.”

“So they use it to go back and forth to—somewhere?”

“Yes, but at a cost. The only way to open the Aperture is with a human life to power it. Each time she has witnessed her doorway someone has died.”

A human life. How could something so beautiful come at such a terrible cost?

She moved past the others and placed her hand on the wall in the middle of the Aperture. Nothing happened, as Aunt Kercar said would be the case.

Nathaniel. Wherever he was, he was where someone went at the expense of another. Was he in danger? Was that why they were passing through? All that time calling out from the fearful place and always he answered when no one else did. Maybe all that time he was in more danger than she?

Her voice was a whisper. “Oh, Nathaniel…”

The Aperture image shimmered and disappeared.

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