Title: NIA GRAY AND THE QUEST OF THE CALLIS
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Word: Count: 90,300
My main character’s most stressful relationship is:
Nia has a difficult relationship with Baptiste, a fanatic who craves the Callis’ power. Nia hates power-hungry men, and especially hates how the quasi-religious order Baptiste is part of takes advantage of those too weak to fight back. All Nia knows is her country will fall into chaos if Baptiste gets the Callis. All Baptiste knows is he is the only one righteous enough to control the Callis, and that drives him to do monstrous things. Things he would never condone if he didn't believe he was the only one who should oversee the magick seeping back into Aubadia.
Everyone knows magick disappeared from Aubadia centuries ago. Nia Gray makes a living off what remains, scavenging once-magicked artifacts from Aubadia’s ruins and selling them to her wealthy customers. But magick starts seeping back into the world, and when Nia finds the Callis, everything in her life changes. Suddenly Nia the scavenger is one of Aubadia’s most wanted.
Nia doesn’t think she’s found anything special at first. The Callis is round and engraved, but not otherwise unique. But ten-year-old Toph accidentally activates it, and the Callis’ power flings him into another realm. Worse still, it attracts the attention of Baptiste—a power-hungry fanatic and a leader of a quasi-religious order who wants to use the Callis’ power to restore Aubadia to its former greatness.
Baptiste is willing to do anything to get that power, even if that means destroying the world he wants to rule.
And now the fate of the world rests in Nia’s hands, the Callis the one thing that can restore Aubadia or corrupt it forever. But when Baptiste catches up with her, Nia faces an impossible choice: destroy the Callis, or use its power herself.
First 250 words:
Nia reconsidered her life choices as the wolf-bear’s saliva dripped onto the top of her head. “Don’t you have something better to do?” she yelled at the beast snarling above her. “You better, because this is a really stupid way for me to die.”
The wolf-bear huffed, its hot breath a rancid fog steaming in the autumn air. Orange eyes peered over the cliff’s edge at Nia dangling below.
Nia clenched her teeth, begging her scarred hands to hold on. If she waited long enough, she knew the wolf-bear would lose interest—wolf-bears were reliable that way, except when they weren’t. But then the pain started, a familiar ache radiating up Nia’s arms. And as her fingers began to slip, Nia knew she was out of time.
“Go back to your cubs wolf-bear. I promise, I’m not that interesting.”
The wolf-bear growled in response, giving not one inch.
“Fine,” Nia grumbled. “Guess we’ll have to do this the hard way.”
She let go with one hand and grabbed at one of her leather arm bracers, fumbling inside for a tiny packet that she threw at the wolf-bear’s long bearded muzzle.
The wolf-bear—predictably—gnashed at it with its teeth, chewing the package to shreds before swallowing it down. After a pause the beast’s eyes widened. It spluttered and mewled pathetically, turned tail and ran into the forest.
Nia hoisted herself back up once the wolf-bear left. “Great…now I need…more hot pepper,” she gasped as she collapsed into an exhausted heap.