I thought it might be fun to do something a little different for this post. This is a short scene I deleted from my novel Torment in my quest to cut 48,000 words. This character's viewpoint was removed completely, which turned out to be a good choice because it ultimately made another of my major characters much stronger. I did kind of enjoy this scene and thought it might be fun to share since it really doesn't require a lot of explanation. It didn't go through the last run of edits, but I think it is clean enough for this purpose. Enjoy!
Adran walked into the room, shutting the door softly behind him. In the rest of the stronghold, there was very little to remind one of the imperial palace in Yiroth. Walking into Prince Yiloch’s chambers, however, was like stepping back into that distant place. Varied shades of blue and gray dominated the decor, most with silver and ivory worked through. The furniture was made of a pale wood, accented with silver inlay. This one part of the stronghold attested to the prince’s longing for his old home.
Running his fingers across the smooth top of a dresser, he grimaced at the thin film of dust. He would send a servant in to clean the rooms. They had to be kept tidy for Yiloch’s return.
He sighed, his gaze running slowly over the chairs in the sitting area where he spent many an evening drinking wine and chatting with the missing prince. The smell of the other man was growing stale in the rooms.
Taking the prince’s sword from its stand, he sat on the bench at the foot of the bed and began to polish it lovingly. Yiloch’s mother commissioned the blade for his fourteenth birthday. A beautiful piece with ascard energy bound into the blade by its creators to keep it strong and finely edged. Since his mother’s death, Yiloch cherished the blade as though her memory lived in its reflective surface. He rarely went anywhere without its perfectly balanced weight hanging at his side.
How long had the prince been gone now? Had it been late summer or early fall when he disappeared?
Adran shook his head. Every day that passed, it became harder to hold things together. They all wanted to see Yiloch take the throne, but he wasn’t here to lead them now. No one knew where he was, only that he was gone. For a time, the fact that there was no confirmation of his death was enough to keep things from crumbling. The longer this went on, the more he heard whispers that the prince was dead and there was no reason to continue. Allies were losing patience and searching for other options. Few were interested in staying under Emperor Rylan’s rule. Increased taxes and export restrictions stressed even the wealthiest of the nobility and the peasantry suffered the most, as they often did in times of strife.
The door crept opened tentatively and Adran’s twin sister Eris peeked in. As soon as her pale amber eyes spotted him, she entered, closing the door behind her, and walked over to sit beside him on the chaise. He set the sword on the bed behind them.
“I thought I would find you here,” she said.
“Did you come with news or just to contemplate the silence with me?”
She brushed a lock of dark blond hair behind her ear and chewed at her lower lip.
“I wish it were the latter,” she said finally. “News arrived from the capital. Emperor Rylan had Prince Delsan executed.”
That explained the glimmer of unshed tears in her eyes. He had barely known the younger prince before following Yiloch into exile, tending to have little interaction with him because of Yiloch’s dislike for him. Eris, on the other hand, had been more than a little friendly with Delsan, friendly enough that Rylan lectured his son more than once on the impurity of her blood. It was a loathsome double standard from a man who sold off many pureblooded Lyran people overseas as slaves.
Placing an arm around her shoulders, he squeezed her gently, hoping she could draw some comfort from the contact.
“Delsan should have come with us,” he said.
The muscles in her shoulders tensed under his arm and he heard her teeth grind together. “Did Yiloch even ask him?”
He hesitated, considering the two princes. Yiloch, like his father, considered Delsan an embarrassment. The younger son was of a gentler nature than either of them, something they both considered an unforgivable flaw. It was no wonder Yiloch and Rylan hated each other so much, they were far too similar.
“Probably not,” he admitted reluctantly.
Silence reigned. Dust motes danced in the light shining through the many windows. The glass here had been created with ascard to be free of flaws, and the light came in undistorted and bright, the clean light of a cool spring evening in the mountains. It set the myriad silver details in the room to sparkling.
“Is Yiloch going to return?”
He squeezed her again and she melted against him this time. The comfort he offered was comfort he yearned to feel for himself. How long could he believe? Every word of encouragement he gave now tasted of lies rolling off his tongue. How long before the others saw through to that doubt?
“He will,” Adran said firmly. “He must.”