A Sentinel gen novel
written by Jody Norman
Jim and Blair both notice that they are slowly drifting apart, and there seems to be little they can do to stop it. That is until a new case sets Jim on a collision course with his future, one that might or might not include Blair — it all depends on the choices Jim makes.
John looked at him, and Ellison tried to hold the gaze, hot anger spurring him on, until finally he glanced away. "Blair's interest was always in the Sentinel," the shaman said quietly, "but what he didn't talk about that much was the Sentinel's place in the tribe, as one of them."
"Sentinels aren't of the tribe," Jim contested, his stomach churning.
John snorted. "Of course they were. Why else would they have cared about their people?" He shook his head. "Those were his parents, siblings, friends, perhaps even lovers. Sentinels came from the tribe so that they were of it, caring for all the people within it, and bound to all those people by the bonds that a community creates. A Sentinel would have shared in their rituals, their joys and sorrows, and would have known those people as his own. Of course," he added, "that was a necessary safeguard, too, on both sides. Evolutionarily, the Sentinel was bound to the community, the tribe, and cared for them, insuring that his or her talents would be used for their benefit, not his own. He was thus less likely to abuse his powers at their expense. And the community, in turn, would have protected their Sentinel for all of the same reasons."
"The Guide did that," Jim growled, his heart thudding in his chest.
John gave him a long, steady look. "The Guide had a particular talent for doing that, yes. He and the Sentinel had a bond that no one else could duplicate, and ways of caring for each other that the other members of the tribe couldn't participate in. But both Guide and Sentinel were a part of the tribe, and the tribe was part of them - one whole thing."
Jim bent his head, staring down at the couch. He could feel his lungs, tense and laboring, could hear his heart, thunderous in his ears. "Sit!" John barked, and the drill sergeant command was so familiar that Ellison found himself moving to do just that, circling the couch and dropping into its cushions. He stared at his feet, then raised his head and looked at John, unable to hide the helpless feelings churning through him.
"What do I do?" The words were spoken before he realized them, and his gaze dropped.
"Be who you are," John said softly. "A Sentinel, born to the tribe and part of it. Your path is to walk by the side of your Guide, together with company that you trust."
Jim closed his eyes, red darkness behind them. "I can't," he whispered.
"Yes, you can."
"No, I can't."
John sighed. "You don't have a choice, Jim. You are who you are, and this is the only path open to you. Let go and take it. Trust in the others to catch you, because they will. Trust Blair." Jim could feel the shaman's gaze on him, gentle yet searing. "Let go, Jim." Ellison leaned his head on the palm of his hand, pressing hard, as if the pressure would relax the headache throbbing through him. Opening his eyes, he looked at the world through his fingers, wincing at the bars of light. A black muzzle nudged his knee and he blinked at it, then dropped his hand, staring at the black wolf who stood before him, tail waving gently. Blue eyes met his and he blinked, then glanced up. Farr studied him thoughtfully, and Jim jerked in a breath, glancing back at the wolf, who opened his jaws in a canine grin, then nudged Ellison's knee again and turned, vanishing into the darkness in one swift leap.
"Damn it," the Sentinel grimaced, rubbing his eyebrows with one hand, "I hate it when he does that."
"John likes the last word," the priest agreed, his lips quirking. "Shamans are like that."
"I've noticed," Jim grunted, trying not to sigh. "Must be genetic."
Farr's grin flashed and he nodded. "Probably."
128 pages. $10 for PDF version with color cover.