Now, deleted scenes:
In my final revision of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, I cut quite a lot. Whole chapters, in fact. But nothing is ever thrown away. I have all those scenes and chapters safely squirreled away. I’ve already got plans to put several of them involving an important side character together into a story–possibly novelette or novella length. I figured out the title this morning. Maybe that’ll come out around the time I publish the second book or a little before.
Meanwhile, here’s another deleted scene. This is a bit of world building–the Festival in the coastal city of Caere–that will probably come into a later story but just wasn’t needed in this one. Vatar is the main character of TSC, a boy from the semi-nomadic plains tribe come to the city and about to be apprenticed to learn blacksmithing (after his broken arm and cracked ribs heal). Arcas is his cousin. Kiara Vatar’s little sister. She’s about eight at this point in the story (though she may have been a bit younger than that when this scene was written).
Unlike Arcas, Vatar actually resented the arrival of Caere’s great holiday, the Festival, because it meant Uncle Lanark closed down his forge for two whole days. Vatar didn’t care about any of the strange Sea Gods that the Caereans worshipped. What was the Festival to him?
Nevertheless, early on the first day of the Festival, Uncle Lanark led all of them–Pa, Mother, Kiara, and Vatar included–to the Smiths’ Guildhall to greet the grand procession of the Sea Gods through the streets of Caere. Arcas pulled Vatar and Kiara along with him a platform near the top of the wall by the gate which was reserved for apprentices and children of guild members, where they could get a good view of the show.
Arcas leaned as far out over the wall as he dared. “Here they come!”
“I can’t see anything,” Kiara complained.
Vatar boosted her up to sit on the top of the wall and kept his good hand on her waist. “Now sit quietly or I’ll pull you back down.” Kiara was just apt to try something daring, like trying to stand up or even walk along the narrow ledge if she wasn’t restrained.
In a few moments, the stately parade appeared in the street below them. The Sea Gods–all but one–were carried on jewel-studded platforms supported by blue-robed priests. The Sea Gods wore heavy robes in green or blue, heavily embroidered with seed pearls in swirling patterns. All of them looked slightly larger-than-life to Vatar, and most of them seemed to have a sort of hazy glow around them.
Arcas narrated the show for them. He pointed out Celeus, chief of the Sea Gods, at the head of the procession and recognizable by his crown of silver studded with pearls and moonstones. Behind him came Tabeus, the first smith, riding a fine grey stallion and carrying the very spear that had slain the sea dragon. There were also Calpe, patroness of Healers, Abella, the Seeress, and several others.
Vatar was distracted from the full catalog by having to keep hold of Kiara, who squirmed to get a better view as the Sea Gods stopped in front of the Smiths’ Guild to bestow their blessings and receive their tribute in return. The one Arcas had identified as Tabeus took a prominent role in the blessing of the Smiths’ Guild, Arcas said, because he was the first smith.
Kiara squirmed particularly violently and almost fell. Vatar leaned over the wall to pull her back, slipping his left arm from the sling to get a better grip. He cried out at the pain from his broken arm and sore ribs. Tabeus looked up. For a moment, Vatar froze. He felt pinned by that sharp gaze. Then Kiara slipped a little farther and Arcas reached to help Vatar pull her back to the platform.
She stood on her tip toes. “I can’t see anything from here. Put me back up.”
Vatar winced as he put his arm back in its sling. “Too bad. I warned you what would happen if you didn’t sit still.” He looked back down. “Show’s over anyway. They’re moving on down the street.”
“They’ll turn the corner and go on to the Merchant Guildhall next,” Arcas said. “We might as well go back down. There’ll be competitions for the apprentices with prizes.”
Vatar shrugged his left shoulder to indicate his broken arm. “I’m not an apprentice. Not yet, anyway. And I couldn’t compete if I was.”
“True,” Arcas said. “Well, there’s also a special feast day meal when we get home.” He grinned. “More of Mother’s sweet pies, I bet.”
Vatar grinned back. “Now that sounds good.”