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Monday, September 22, 2008

A Gift for the Autumnal Equinox

As on the summer solstice, I can't help but dream of Navronne and Aeginea, the world I created for the Lighthouse books. Here is another snippet, a deleted scene. No spoilers, only very minor revelations about the world for those who have not read the books. For those who have, you'll remember the particular incident from Flesh and Spirit, I think...

The moon settled lower, swelling, brightening for that last moment as it touched the white cliffs and vanished. Fascinated, appalled, Kol watched the human man scrape the hole in the dark soil with a flat stone and lay his dead friend to rest. Though the gentle dignity of this completion must be considered in its turn, the more astonishing events of the night demanded his attention first. Only now did the truth of what this man had done penetrate his understanding.

Earlier on this very evening, Kol had watched the human murderers slaughter one of their own kind apurpose to defile this holy place. He had believed his friend Aniiele dead - poisoned by the victim's blood and torment - and these beauteous lands she nurtured lost forever to the memory of the long-lived. Once Kol turned his back on the meadow, even he would not be able to find it again, save by purest happenstance. Its vigor would fade, its plants and beasts weaken. Rage had threatened to undo him as he had witnessed the violation, the lively, graceful Aniiele’s fate so cruelly and deliberately sealed as she slept away her season in the sweet earth.

The Law of the Everlasting forbade the long-lived to interfere in human affairs unasked. Lacking weapon-skills to match the gross brutality of human conflict, they had been forced to endure the slaughter of their kind through this sort of violation. The Scourge, they called it.

The murderers had vanished, leaving the dying victim’s tainted blood seeping through the veins of earth. But just as Kol’s grief and anger had swelled to breaking, the Cartamandua-son had arrived and changed everything. How was it possible?

Human words bore no power over life and death. The man’s unsavory use of the fragrant nive', mixing it with blood, would disgust the most depraved of the long-lived. The death blow he’d struck upon the victim he named friend should have accrued its own violation atop that of the Scourge. But, indeed, the son of the despised Cartamandua had set the dying victim free of his tormented fate...and with him Aniiele and her meadow. How had he done it?

Kol scrambled higher in the great oak to watch. The dark-haired man laid gifts with the dead, then shoved dirt over the body, hauled stones to shield the turned earth from predators, and sat for a while beside the grave. It was tempting to speak to him, to ask what he had done and why. But Tuari had extended the Law to forbid human contact for all but sentinels. Kol cared nothing for Tuari Archon or his presumptuous attempts to amend the Law of the Everlasting, but these lands lay too near Moth’s range. He dared not overstep when she might be watching. Not yet, at least.

When the human rose and limped slowly down the slope, Kol was tempted to follow and discover if the Cartamandua-son might seek out the Scourge-wielders and challenge them for what was done to his human friend. But his relief and joy at Aniiele’s salvation could not wait to be expressed.

Brushing bits of bark and leaf from his skin, he rose from his crouch, angled his feet for proper balance on the branch, and stretched his arms skyward. Thought and worry and wonder flowed out of him, as he allowed the music of the meadow...of the pool...of the willows...of the grass and trees and wood...to surge in his blood. The gards of his power, scribed on his flesh as he had passed through the changes of childhood and youth, began to glow the cold blue of a mountain winter sky.

Summoning strength and awareness, alight with this one night’s grace in a world doomed to grief and breaking, Kol leaped from the top of the oak, and when his feet touched solidly to the grass, he whirled and spun and leaped to the meadow’s music until the coming of the dawn.


Anna said...

Oh, yay... and Happy Autumn! I love these little additional glimpses of Kol :)


Etoiline said...

Thanks for the autumnal gift. I bet you could make an entirely new book from these little deleted scenes, and I would buy it (and I doubt I'd be the only one!)

carolwriter said...

You are quite welcome. I don't imagine these could create a new story. This one is just an alternate view of something we've already seen from Valen's viewpoint. This reveals too much for that point in time. But I did enjoy writing Kol's little snips.

Unknown said...

*laughs* As far as I am concerned, you are a god. Thank you so much-- that was a real treat!