An Enchatner’s Study (The Rising Deleted Scene)

(Disclaimer: These scenes are not fully edited. They may make reference to events that no longer happened. These are for your viewing pleasure. Though most all happened in the background of the actual book.Such ‘real’ scenes will be noted as such.)


The Custod in question, young Cedrick Custod, sighed. He closed his eyes, allowing the cool relief it brought to his eyes to settle for a moment. Cedrick bent over. He spotted the fallen book that had caused the loud bang. He picked up the book, and tossed it onto his bed.

Cedrick paused a moment. It seemed no one else had woken up. With a breath of relief, Cedrick bent over the books again. His eyes scanned the page of the large book in front of him. At the same time, his right hand went over the page writing steadily. His tired eyes looked over the book with a determined look. His jaw was set. Each item being closely pondered, and interpreted before moving on. He had to get this right. He would get this right. There had to be a way to make this work. There just had to be.

A thought came to him; he quickly wrote it down. The fingers of his right hand were red from writing for so long. It was hard to tell if he was writing or reading. The truth was, he did both at the same time. His hand automatically writing down what he was thinking.

The subject matter wasn’t at all easy, or simple to learn. Cedrick was studying the complicated art of magic. Not many dared venture into magic. Even fewer found they had any skills in it. Cedrick was among a rare few who dared. As this thought came to Cedrick’s mind, a rush of resentment ran through him. He snarled a little.

Cedrick’s father hated magic. He tried to keep Cedrick as far from the study of magic as possible. He tried – with increasing desperation – to get his son to be interested in his battle training. It was his own personal war with his youngest son.

Cedrick sighed once more. It was getting late. Dwelling on sad thoughts was not going to help him. He might as well turn in. If he didn’t feel the emotion, he wouldn’t learn a thing.

Cedrick hid everything under a lose floor board under his bed. He had broken it for just that purpose. He tightened the board back in place.  His work finished, Cedrick climbed into bed. He snapped his fingers. The light went out. Once they were out, so was Cedrick.

 


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Cannon Scene

Flirting Doesn’t Get You Out of Work? (The Rising Deleted Scene)

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The next day work went on. Elphacena acted as if nothing had happened. Cedrick couldn’t get the scene of the night before out of his head. He felt uneasy about it all. What had happened those years before? Why had she tried to beat the king’s brains out and if she was so ashamed of it, why wouldn’t she talk about it? If she wasn’t as evil as she was made out, and she clearly wasn’t, why was she so secretive. She seemed to be dying to let herself out, but deeply afraid to make that move.

Cedrick found himself even more incapable of keeping his eyes off her now, if that were possible. Questions were running through his mind endlessly. He was sure there was only one way to find the answers and that was to ask her himself. Yet he was afraid to do it.

The next few days work went on as it always did. When Cedrick finished the mourning work they took a break for lunch. Neither of them spoke for a long time. At last Elphacena broke the silence. Cedrick had a feeling it made her uncomfortable.

“How did your studies go?” she asked. Cedrick shook his head. “I’m still lost.” He admitted. “Why won’t you just tell me what I’m looking for?”

“Because it’s not something I can help you find.” Elphacena said. She held her cup in both hands as she thought. “I can’t describe it, but you won’t get it until you find it yourself. I can’t help you; I can only show you where to look. I-I’ve tried to tell you. I’ve tried to explain the connection, it’s all emotion feeling yet you can’t understand it, you have to feel it.”

“But how do I find something when I don’t even know it is. For all I know I’m staring right at it.” Cedrick said.

Elphacena smiled. “I said that to my father when I was trying to find the answer to.” She said. “I doubt there is a single student of magic who hasn’t asked their teacher that, but I’m afraid all we instructors can say is we understand your frustration. We’ve been there.”

They were quiet again. Only the sounds of eating were heard. At last Elphacena sighed. “We can’t work like this.” She sighed.

“Like what?” Cedrick asked. “You’re uncomfortable and you can’t learn if you are unsure. I’m an enchanter too Cedrick. I can feel it. What is bothering you?”

“Nothing,” Cedrick said.

Elphacena gave him a look.

“Well, it was just I noticed what I said, what I said last night, I bothered you.” Cedrick trailed off.

Elphacena looked down. “Oh,” she said, “I see.”

“I didn’t mean to bother you.” He said. “I-I just said what I thought.”

“Well, you weren’t wrong to say it.” Elphacena said. She sighed. “It only upset me because… because I was worried that it might be true.”

Then Elphacena smiled. “You aren’t sure how to handle me are you?

Cedrick laughed. “No, no I may have been suitor to women before, but you, you are a whole different story.”

Elphacena also smiled.

“No, no I’m not unsure how to handle women.” Cedrick said looking right into Elphacena’s face. “I’m just unsure how to handle you.”

“I’m just that odd.” Elphacena said sounding a little sad.

“No,” Cedrick said, still looking right at Elphacena. “You’re just that special.”

Elphacena beamed. “Are you trying to be nice to me?” She asked.

“Well, what’s wrong with that?” Cedrick smiled.

Elphacena smiled wider. Then she sighed and looked down.

“To be honest, I don’t think you’re any more comfortable around me.” Cedrick said.

“No I’m not.” Elphacena agreed without missing a beat. “I know that, and I’m sure you do to. However, I don’t have to be. I’ll get over it. I’ve just been alone for so long I-I almost forgot how it felt to have people around.”

After being alone for so long, Cedrick knew exactly what she meant. He felt her pulling his heart strings. She’d been alone for a very long time. He couldn’t imagine. She didn’t even have a pet in that lonely cave. Just those books and maybe some hobby to keep herself occupied with.

“Well then, I guess we’re really off to a good start.” He said.

Elphacena smiled. “You’re still being nice to me.”

Cedrick also beamed. “I know.” He winked.

Elphacena leaned forward and said, “You know, this isn’t going to make me go easier on you in lessons.” Cedrick laughed as Elphacena smiled and stood up. She left the table, leaving Cedrick to smile widely after her feeling a warmth growing in his chest.

 


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Cedrick Who? (The Rising Deleted Scene)

(Disclaimer: These scenes are not fully edited. They may make reference to events that no longer happened. These are for your viewing pleasure. Though most all happened in the background of the actual book.Such ‘real’ scenes will be noted as such.)


The following night they all went to the meeting. It was a solemn group that met in the cave room.   They were all rather quiet as they gathered together. No one spoke for a moment. Then at the same moment they all looked at Michael. He swallowed.

“Well you asked us here,” Lieut. Rackrith said, “What do you have to say?”

Michael looked very uncomfortable. He glanced at Author, who was there in Jarbo’s place. He nodded at him to go on.

Michael stiffened his jaw and said, “Well it’s-it’s about who should take Jarbo’s place as commander of our division.” He said.

“Author is the only one who comes close and I believe he’s doing a good job.” Lieut. Rackrith said.

“Jarbo had someone else in mind.” Michael said.

Everyone went stiff. The whole attitude changed to shock.

“How do you know that?” Cmdr. Jamison asked.

“They were his last words.” Michael said. “If don’t believe me ask Author, he heard him as well.”

They all looked at Author who nodded.

“He wanted someone other than you?” Mercutio asked surprised. He was looking at Author.

“Sir, I don’t feel ready for this. I’m hardly keeping my head above water. I didn’t even know if the explosion team could make the rooms they made. I’m just not ready for this sir. I’ve hardly keeping myself together as it is.”

“Then who did Jarbo want for the job?” Mercutio asked, looking at Michael then to Author.

“I’m not sure,” Michael said. “I-I don’t know him, we only got a name.”

“A name?” Mercutio repeated.

“Yes sir, only his first name.” Michael said.

“What was the name?” Mercutio asked.

Michael hesitated. “Cedrick,” he said, “All he said was his name was Cedrick, his last word was that name.”

Arylana saw her father’s face fill with shock. His face fell and he turned away, putting his hand on a side table. Arylana and Roxorim looked at each other, their hearts in their throats.  They were shocked beyond words. Arylana felt as if their hearts would show themselves beating in their necks. Arylana felt as if the whole world had shrunk. For a moment she wasn’t aware of anything. When she shook herself she saw they all were staring at Margorim, noticing his reaction.

“What is it?” Lieut. Norbert asked him.

“Do you know him?” Mercutio asked hopefully.

Margorim sighed and looked at them at them all. Arylana and Roxorim watched him in suspense.

Margorim looked right at the general and said, “Yes, he’s my son.”


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Sibling Distractions with Weapons (The Rising Deleted Scene)

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The sun shone though the gap in the mountains. Arylana looked up at it as it lit up the whole outdoor section of the encampment. The rebels had managed to escape and find a place to establish a base. They couldn’t have found a better spot. It was purely by mistake they’d found the place. They’d left the valley as soon as word reached them that the pass was open. They’d moved out as fast as humanly possible. They’d reached the western mountain range several days later. They’d found their perfect new base mostly by accident. One of the children had been climbing over the rocks as they’d moved further east. Arylana had looked up just in time to see him slip into a hole they couldn’t see.

Arylana and Cmdr. Jamison had run over to investigate. The child wasn’t at all hurt. Arylana helped the child out, while Cmdr. Jamison and Roxorim explored the hole the boy had fallen into. It was so large they never found the end. Roxorim kept exploring while Cmdr. Jamison reported his findings to the general.

Several more men from the spy division went into the hole and two days later they reported that it wasn’t just a hole or even a cave. It was a huge network of giant caves in the mountains. They told the general how they found, in the middle of the caves, a large opening that made a kind of locked in valley. The only way to get to it would be from the caves.

The general moved everyone into the caves and started to establish it as their base. They turned the open valley into farming land and it was going well. Fruit trees, vegetables and many other types of food were growing rapidly. A smaller space, that also had an open top, was made into a ranch to keep the animals. At first it was just horses, but over time they discovered wild goats on the far side of the mountains and captured them. Many other wild animals had been taken and they now raised sheep, goats, and horses. There was a hope they could capture some wild boars to add to, what was fast becoming a farm.

The caves provided perfect places to live. They still used tents inside of them for privacy, but the caves were large and formed almost a castle or fort within the mountain. It was as if the Father had carved out those caves just for that very use. A section of the Enchanterims division used magic to blow up several smaller caves that could be used as meeting rooms and even apartments for families. It was slowly becoming a city of its own within the mountain.

Arylana was sitting in the smaller opening, watching the horses grazing in the grass. They were trying to make as many tunnels out of the caves as they could and using many wide different varieties of methods to keep them hidden. The main entrance they’d made was hidden behind a large waterfall. Others were hidden by rocks or large plants. Others enchanted to look like solid rock. This was how they’d managed to gather enough dirt grow anything in the caves.

If Jarbo was still alive he would know how to change the whole floor of the valleys into dirt. Arylana thought sadly as she watched two horses race around the edge of their corral.

Mercutio had pulled them aside and told him of Jarbo’s death the night of their escape. Arylana had been horrified. Of course her father acted as if it was nothing, but Roxorim looked like he might cry. As she thought this someone sat beside her. She looked over to see her brother.

He smiled at her slightly as he sat down. He watched the horses for a moment. Then he said, “You miss him don’t you?”

“Who?” Arylana asked.

Roxorim smiled at her. “You know who I mean. I know that look in your eyes. Jarbo of course, you were thinking about him. When you think about Mom you get a look much like that.”

Arylana smiled weakly. “Just thinking,” she said, “about how much he’s missed.”

“Yeah,” Roxorim sighed, putting an arm around his sister. “He is.”

They were quiet for a moment before Roxorim said, “You know Michael has been trying to talk to us about his replacement for a month now.”

“I know,” Arylana said. “He seems to think Jarbo had someone in mind.”

“Yeah, Mercutio has at last conceded and set up a date for us to met and hear what he has to say.”

“That would be the meeting tomorrow right?” Arylana asked.

Roxorim nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “That’s what it’s about.”

They didn’t speak for a moment. Then Roxorim tightened his arm around her. He put his head against hers soothingly. He let out a sigh through his nose. Arylana pressed her lips together and leaned on her brother for a moment.

“Well looks like a lull day.” He said at last, “Let’s go try out those odd weapons we saw the other day.”

Arylana sighed.

“Come on I know you want to.” Roxorim smiled, “I saw you eyeing them. You haven’t let out some steam in a long time. I know you, you aren’t happy until you beat something. Come on let’s go.”

He stood up and helped his sister up beside him. They went into the weaponry and pulled out two very odd looking weapons. They resembled spears, but had something like ax heads at the top and a long spike at the backside of the ax.

“Well at least we get a whack at these things.” Arylana said, spinning hers around through the air. “They are odd aren’t they, ever used anything like it?”

“Nope,” Roxorim said, “though father would have loved to get his hands on this. Teach us how to use them.” He smiled at his sister. “Want to try a round with them.”

“I could hurt you.” Arylana smiled.

“I’m too big; it wouldn’t do any real damage.” Roxorim smiled.

He hit the wall with the top of his weapon and made a nice deep chink to prove his point.

Arylana grinned. “I’ll give it a whirl.” She said. She had to admit it did sound soothing and fun to try out these odd weapons

Roxorim smiled. They both held their weapons and tried to attack each other. Roxorim started trying different blocks. They used different techniques and ideas until they thought they’d found enough to try a real round with the weapons.

“Ready?” Roxorim asked.

Arylana grinned. “So ready,” she said.

They backed up. They froze like panthers.  A several few frozen seconds passed. Then Arylana lunched first. Roxorim blocked. They spun around each other. Then Roxorim gave it a strike. They exchanged several more blows. Arylana ducked under Roxorim’s swing and rolled under him. She used the weapon to push herself up and swung at Roxorim’s back. He block by letting the back of weapon extend out more and twisting it slightly.

“Nice one,” Arylana smiled up at her brother.

Roxorim smiled at her. “Thank you,” he said as they pulled back to face each other, bowing slightly. Arylana grinned.

Roxorim made the next jump. Arylana blocked then she kept her weapon pressing against her brother’s, put one end to the ground, used it to hold her weight as she pushed up and hit her foot into her brother’s face.

Roxorim fell back. He used his weapon to stop himself from falling all the way. He then rolled away from Arylana’s next swing and pushed himself up surprisingly quickly for such a large guy. Arylana laughed.

“Good move sis, I had to use an old stave trick to block that one.”

“Thank you sir.” Arylana said with a wide smile and a bow.

Then they had to stop as they heard someone coming. Roxorim was feeling his lip where Arylana had kicked him.

“Sorry if it’s really bad.” She said.

“No worse than it has been before.” He said. “Will be fine with a bit of healing magic.”

Arylana couldn’t help but smile. “You still remember how? We used to just have Cedrick do it.”

“Yeah I do.” Roxorim smiled.

“Do you remember it?” he challenged Arylana.

Arylana smiled. She put her hand to Roxorim’s lip and healed it. Roxorim smiled and took her arm, where he’d left a nasty bruise and did the same

Roxorim smiled. “We did Cedrick proud.” He said.

Arylana smiled.


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Hope in a Hole in the Ground (The Rising Deleted Scene)

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Several days later the word came. One of the squads returned. Everyone ran over and found one of the scouting parties had returned. Everyone seemed very excited.

“Are you sure?” the general was asking one the gunneries.

“Yes sir,” the gunnery nodded, “it would go all the way through if the end wasn’t blocked. It appears the enemy army blocked it with a bolder. We tried to move it, but it’s far too large. They must have used half their army or caused a rockslide.”

Mercutio saw Arylana who was standing beside her father. “They found a cave.” He told them at once.

“Really?” Arylana asked excitedly.

“Yes but it’s blocked.” The gunnery said, addressing them. It seemed he was egger to say he’s spoken to the Custods himself. “We’d need a hundred men to move it, but there isn’t enough room to get a hundred men in there at once.”

“Send a message to Jarbo. Tell him exactly where the cave is and then he can use magic to move the rocks.” Arylana said.

“I quite agree.” Mercutio said. He turned to the gunnery. “Take your squad find Jarbo, he was last seen around the Liber Forest.”

Margorim and Arylana gave each other significant looks. “Find him, tell him precisely where the cave is and send him there. Take Author and Michael with you.”

“Yes sir,” the gunnery said and turned to call his men together. He called to one of his men to find Author and Michael.

The General looked at the Custods. “We’ll wait for the message that they’ve broken through.” He said. “Once we have it we will move out.”

“If that’s the case sir, I ask one favor of you.” Margorim said.

“Anything,” the general said. “My youngest, the one in hiding. I must send a message to the house. I was planning to check in once the winter was over, but if this is going to be such a busy time. Would you please have a message sent.”

“Yes of course.” Mercutio said. “I’m sorry you can’t check in as you’d like. I’ll make sure my messenger sends it at once.”

He called over to one of the enchanters, who sent messages by magic. He gave him a card and wrote down the quick message. He gave it to the messenger. The messenger put it into his pocket. If only he hadn’t. If he’d just put it somewhere else.


To Read more:

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A Lost Letter (The Rising Deleted Scene)

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Several days later the word came. One of the squads returned. Everyone ran over and found one of the scouting parties had returned. Everyone seemed very excited.

“Are you sure?” the general was asking one the gunneries.

“Yes sir,” the gunnery nodded, “it would go all the way through if the end wasn’t blocked. It appears the enemy army blocked it with a bolder. We tried to move it, but it’s far too large. They must have used half their army or caused a rockslide.”

Mercutio saw Arylana who was standing beside her father. “They found a cave.” He told them at once.

“Really?” Arylana asked excitedly.

“Yes but it’s blocked.” The gunnery said, addressing them. It seemed he was egger to say he’s spoken to the Custods himself. “We’d need a hundred men to move it, but there isn’t enough room to get a hundred men in there at once.”

“Send a message to Jarbo. Tell him exactly where the cave is and then he can use magic to move the rocks.” Arylana said.

“I quite agree.” Mercutio said. He turned to the gunnery. “Take your squad find Jarbo, he was last seen around the Liber Forest.”

Margorim and Arylana gave each other significant looks. “Find him, tell him precisely where the cave is and send him there. Take Author and Michael with you.”

“Yes sir,” the gunnery said and turned to call his men together. He called to one of his men to find Author and Michael.

The General looked at the Custods. “We’ll wait for the message that they’ve broken through.” He said. “Once we have it we will move out.”

“If that’s the case sir, I ask one favor of you.” Margorim said.

“Anything,” the general said. “My youngest, the one in hiding. I must send a message to the house. I was planning to check in once the winter was over, but if this is going to be such a busy time. Would you please have a message sent.”

“Yes of course.” Mercutio said. “I’m sorry you can’t check in as you’d like. I’ll make sure my messenger sends it at once.”

He called over to one of the enchanters, who sent messages by magic. He gave him a card and wrote down the quick message. He gave it to the messenger. The messenger put it into his pocket. If only he hadn’t. If he’d just put it somewhere else.


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Striking a Deal (The Rising Delted Scene)

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Arylana also stood up, but she didn’t leave. She studied Mercutio for a moment. For such a young man, he looked very old at the moment.

Arylana had never noticed how tired he always looked. How his eyes constantly had shadows under them. How he always seemed to have weight inside of him. Arylana hesitated.

“Sir,” she said. Mercutio looked up at her. “You don’t have to do this alone.” She said. She had no idea what made her say it, it just popped out.

Mercutio smiled. “Unfortunately sometimes I do.” He said, “It is why there is only one general instead of many. There are many commanders; there are many lieutenants but always only been one general.”

Arylana studied the general for a moment. “What are you going to do?” she asked at last.

“I don’t know.” Mercutio sighed, “I just don’t know. My mind tells me I must do what I can, while my heart protests.”

Arylana looked at the General, for a second before saying, “maybe then you have to do what you can’t.”

Mercutio looked at Arylana confused. “And what is that supposed to mean?” he asked.

Arylana smiled. “You can’t deicide, but you must. So do what you can’t do, nothing.”

Mercutio’s eyebrows shot up. “You think I should take no action at all?” he asked.

“Yes,” Arylana said, “I think you should do nothing at all. Let the hand of fate guide you and what will happen, will happen.”

Mercutio smiled. “You have extraordinary faith to believe ‘fate’ will take us down the right path.” He said.

“If there is only one path, than you must take it.” Arylana said, “But if there is one hidden from your view I believe you’ll trip on it if you tread with enough carelessness.”

Mercutio laughed. “You are an extraordinary girl.” He said.

Arylana smiled. “It’s my job to be.” She said.

Mercutio studied Arylana for a moment. “You know,” he said after a few seconds, “for a girl with such a mind and a sharp disposition, you aren’t harsh to look at.” Arylana’s eyebrows rose. Mercutio smiled. “Sorry, I’m just trying to clear my mind.” He said. He looked at Arylana for a moment.

“Arylana,” he said, standing up, “there is, is something I must ask you to do for me.”

Arylana gave the general a confused look. “Anything you order my lord.” She said. “

No, it’s not like that.” He said. “It’s something a little more, personal.”

Arylana looked nervous. “What is it you ask of me?” Arylana asked.

Mercutio sighed, “Well you said it yourself, I can’t do this alone.” Mercutio said, “I-I often feel there is no one I can talk to without having them try to push their own plans or their own views at me. You however, you’re different. You’ve never asked me to do anything for you or to use me to get your own ways.”

“Well I,” Arylana said, trying to think of a way to get around this, but she could think of none.

“I was hoping,” Mercutio said, “I could find in you a confidant. A friend that you would agree to, to allow me to just talk to you. I know I pretty much have to formally ask you to be my friend, but in my position it is the only way I can get any real friends anymore.”

Arylana smiled. “You’re saying you want me to be willing to talk to you, but never tell anyone what you say, even my own father.”

Mercutio smiled. “I just want someone I can talk to openly, without feeling like I have to play politics with.” He said.

Arylana completely understood that feeling. She grinned. “If you’ll agree to do something for me.”

“Oh,” Mercutio said, watching Arylana carefully. “What would that be?”

She grinned. “Be my friend, be my confidant. Promise anything I say won’t be told to anyone else.”

Mercutio grinned. He held out his hand. “You have yourself a deal.” He said. Arylana shook Mercutio’s hand.

“Then our secret pact has been formed.” She said.

“It’s is the beginning of a great confidantship.” He said.

Arylana laughed. “That isn’t a word.” She said.

“Well it is now.” Mercutio smiled. Arylana just laughed.


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Raising a General (The Rising Deleted Scene)

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“We need him here and we need him now!” snapped Lieut. Rackrith, “This can’t keep going on like this. The snow is melting we need all hands on deck.”

Arylana was sitting with the other commanders and officers as they made plans for their evacuation out of the valley.

“I’m sure he had a good reason for leaving.” Mercutio insisted. “But we didn’t come here to discuss that, we are here to discuss how we are going to get out of this valley alive. We’re all but surrounded. There is only one way out and they’re watching it, with all the eyes they can. We either need to find some magic solution or another way out. We need a plan. I called you all here to ask for ideas, not to listen to you all point the finger of blame at everyone else for not having a plan.”

All of the officers went quiet at the rebuke. “Now you are my most trusted officers, that is why you are here.” Mercutio said, “I want to know what you think we should do, to get our men out alive. All of the preparation and rebuilding we have managed to do will be for naught if we can’t get them out. We’ll be worse off for all of it. We need plan. Now please, I respect you all and don’t blame anyone for not having a plan. If anyone should take blame, it’s me for not calling this meeting sooner. Now please, set that aside and let us talk about what we should do, not what should have been done. For the past doesn’t matter now, only what to do next.”

No one spoke.

“May I propose an idea?” Margorim said.

“I’m all ears.” Mercutio said. “Is there a way we could trick the army into thinking we’re going out one way and then really be going the other way. As soon as we make an appearance I’m sure the whole army will converge on the spot we’re “leaving” from. That will leave our real exit wide open.”

“I like it.” Cmdr. Drake said at once.

“Only how do we do that?” Mercutio asked. “We’d have to send some men that way, enough to make it look like the main army. That would be a suicide mission. We’d have to send half of our army there. We’d lose too many men.”

“Is there perhaps a way to lure the army to a different location another way?” Arylana asked. “A well planned attack by a small band, or perhaps we could manage to assassinate just the right officer to draw all the men together.”

“We don’t even know which officers are there.” said Cmdr. Luke. “We don’t even know how many men there are all together. We only know what our small patrols can tell us. That is where they are and that they’re larger than us. If we can get out of this valley, we can at least have the advantage of our main forces being hidden. We have very little going for us, unless we can get out of this valley alive.”

“Do we perhaps have a weapon that could make a big enough bang to draw their attention?” he asked Cmdr. Aidan ,who would know if they had something to that effect.

The commander shook his head, “The biggest bang we have is a land mine and we only have maybe ten of them left. We’d have to manage to sneak a squadron out. There is no way we could manage to place all of them in time and also be sure all of them would go off at once. That is the only way we’d cause a large enough commotion to trick the whole army into one spot.”

They all went quiet again. Lieut. Rackrith spoke, “Could we go over the mountains?”

“No,” Margorim said, “the road is too hard, many of the women and children would never make it, most of all in the cold of winter.”

“Better a few women and children than the whole army.” Lieut. Rackrith said. “What other choice do we have?”

“We can’t doom them to death because we are too lazy to think of another way out.” Cdr. Aidan said. “We are doing this to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

“We also have to think of those yet to live, commander.” Lieut. Rackrith countered. “If a few lives today will free those of the women and children who will yet live, than I think it’s a fair exchange.”

Arylana looked from the arguing officers to Mercutio, who looked unsure of what to do. He had put a hand to his face and was gazing at some distant point clearly thinking hard. Arylana watched him carefully, trying to read his thoughts. Roxorim was looking at the officers while Margorim was looking at the map with a slightly desperate look on his face.

Cmdr. Aidan shook his head. “How can we justify allowing those few to die, when the whole point of fighting Heklis is to stop the death and suffering?”

Cmdr. Sebastian joined in. “If we’re willing to die, why do you think these women and children aren’t as willing to die for the cause?”

“So we’ll let a few of the weak ones fall to save the strong?” Cdr. Markos snapped.

“Better the majority strong than the few weak.” Cdr. Sebastian rebuffed.

Cdr. Jamison jumped in. “You’re all nuts.” He said, “We came into this knowing we’d have to sacrifice lives, but we decided it would be those who were willing. How do we know these women and children are prepared to do that?”

“That’s the price they pay for joining us.” Lieut. Rackrith said.

“Most of them had no choice, their husbands, brothers and fathers joined us. If they hadn’t they’d be left at the mercy of the king’s men.” Lieut. Norbert said, “They have no other choice.”

“Then why give them a choice in this?” Lieut. Rackrith asked.

“Men, men that is enough.” Capt. Drake tried to cool them, but the officers only became more heated.

“We have no other choice. If we are to save our army, some must die!”

“And who are you to decide who should die?” Cdr. Sebastian stood up glaring at Cdr. Aidan.

“We are the officers, that is our place to decide.”

“I said that is enough!” Capt. Drake tried again, but to no avail.

“It is not our decision to make!” Margorim’s voice boomed over everyone else’s. They all went quiet. “It is the General who will decide.” Margorim said, “And not that of his officers.”

Roxorim glanced at Arylana then quickly looked away. Arylana was still watching Mercutio. He looked deeply troubled and still didn’t look at anyone.

“Sir,” Capt. Drake said softly.

At last Mercutio looked up. “You’re all right.” He said, “It is our duty to decide who must sacrifice and also our job to protect those who need our protection. We are to defend the weak and we also are to use our best judgment to decide what sacrifices will bring the best outcome. The question here isn’t which is right; the question is how to balance those two duties with each other.”

No one spoke. Arylana was too busy admiring what Mercutio had said to really be thinking of a solution. He’d put the real issue right out into the open, as if it were as plain as the nose on his face. He hadn’t tried to soften the blow, he hadn’t lied to make it so it wouldn’t offend anyone, he just said it. It was exactly what needed to be done. Who could have found a better man to lead this army?

“Then what do you want us to do?” demanded Lieut. Rackrith, “you are our general, then command us.”

Mercutio didn’t speak. He was clearly still thinking. “Are we sure there is no way to get through another way.”

“Not that I see here sir.” Capt. Drake said.

“Did you Capt. Custod?” he inquired of Margorim.

“No,” he sighed. “But I only have a map to guide me. I don’t know these mountains.”

“Does anyone really know these mountains well?” Mercutio asked.

“Not to my knowledge sir no.” Margorim said.

“But is there a chance there is a large enough cave, in the mountains, that would lead us to the other side?” Roxorim asked.

“That’s exactly what I’m wondering.” Mercutio said.

“How could we know?” Lieut. Rackrith scoffed.

“We could send out scouts.” Cdr. Jamison said at once. “I could send out a whole squadron, each squad to a different place. It wouldn’t take them long. They could easily tell us if there is a way.”

“How long would it take them?” Mercutio asked.

“Three weeks at the most sir.” Cdr. Jamison said.

“Let us pray we have that much time.” Mercutio said. “We’ll look for a cave.”

“And if there isn’t one?” Lieut. Rackrith asked.

Mercutio sighed, “Then we will use any other option open to us.” He said, standing up. All of the officers followed suit. “Cdr. Jamison, send those squads out at once.”

“Aye sir,” Cdr. Jamison said at once and left the tent without another word.

Mercutio turned to the three Custods. “I’d like a word with the three of you.” He said, “The rest of you are dismissed.”

The officers all bowed and one by one left the room. Mercutio waited until everyone was gone before he sat down again with a sigh. Arylana and Roxorim moved closer and also sat down. Margorim returned to his own sit.

“What do you think?” he asked. “Lieut. Rackrith isn’t wrong, we need a plan. What do you think we should do? You are the only ones who didn’t speak in the arguments. What do you think?” he looked at Roxorim.

“Sir, with all respect we have no right to take a path that would lead to the death of those we are to protect.” Roxorim said, “We have no right to force them to die.”

“Then what do you propose we do?” Mercutio asked.

“We have to find a way to get out, without risking the lives of those who can’t fight.” Roxorim said, “It is better to sacrifice those who have sworn to give their lives than those who have made no such agreement.”

Mercutio turned to Margorim. “And you?” he asked, “What do you think Margorim?”

“I think we have to do what we can.” Margorim said, “I’m afraid without a cave, going over the mountains is our only other option. If there were any other way I’d say take it, but it is our only choice. As much as I object to taking a path we know will lead to death, we can only do what we have the power to do.”

Mercutio nodded and looked at Arylana. “What do you think?” he asked.

“Sir, I don’t know what I think.” Arylana said, “I think they’re all right. Yet, I don’t feel good taking a path we know will kill some of our people, nor do I know any other way. I’m afraid my mind is as split as yours ,my lord. I agree with Roxorim and yet I agree with my father. I agree with Cdr. Aidan and also with Cdr. Jamison. I’m as torn as I could be.”

Mercutio looked slightly disappointed. He looked down. “I’m afraid my feelings are the same as yours.” He said looking at the floor. “I don’t know how we can choose for someone else, nor do I see any other choice.”

“General,” Margorim said, “With all due respect you have no right to be split on any issue. You are our leader and you need to lead us where we must go. You can’t sit on the fence.”

Mercutio smiled weakly. “You think I’m not aware of that Margorim?” he asked. “This is why I must seek all the advise I can find. It is up to me to find the right path and lead that way. Yet on this issue, I believe I have far too many strong opinions and good communicators to pull me one way or another.”

“Then you must take the only path open to you.” Margorim said, “When you only see one way ahead, how can you led any other way?”

“Because as a leader, I walk the road first.” Mercutio said, “I must be sure there are no other paths. I must check each and every inch of the road to be sure there is only one way. This has always been the struggle of every leader from the dawn of time, one of the many anyway.”

Mercutio sighed. “Thank you,” he said at last, “you may go.”

Margorim and Roxorim left almost at once. With a quick bow to the general, they left.


To Read more:

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A Enchanter’s Return (The Rising Deleted Scene)

(Disclaimer: These scenes are not fully edited. They may make reference to events that no longer happened. These are for your viewing pleasure. Though most all happened in the background of the actual book.Such ‘real’ scenes will be noted as such.)


Arylana was left to join her father as he studied a map.

“I don’t get it.” Her father huffed.

“Get what?” Arylana asked, sitting next to him.

“How we’re going to get out of here when the snow melts, without having to fight our way out.” He said, brushing snow off his shoulder as he spoke. “Look at this, I can’t find a way out. The army is over here, here and here.” He pointed at the map. “The only ways out are here, here and here. They have us pinned.”

“Is there a place we can go over the mountains?” Arylana asked.

“Some of the women and children wouldn’t make it, it’s a hard road. I’d be afraid some of them would die. I just don’t see a way out.”

“Do you think Jarbo would know a way?” Arylana asked. “What if we sent for him?”

“He might, it’s a long shot.” Margorim said, biting his lip.

“Did he get the pass closed off?” Arylana asked.

“He must have or the army would have been on top of us by now.” Margorim said. “He should be back soon.”

However he found out that he was very wrong. Two days later Author returned alone from the adventure. At first Arylana was worried. What happened to Jarbo? However she overheard him tell Mercutio that Jarbo had insisted he had work to do alone and would return in a month at the latest.

Margorim wasted no time in expressing how irritated he was at this. “He’s not a common fighter, he can’t just wonder off when he likes. We need him here. When will he stop wondering off like a lost child?”

“I assure you he told me he had very good reason. Something about making sure a friend was alright. He swore it was important. I wouldn’t let him go at first.”

“I’m sure Jarbo did what he thought was right.” Mercutio said, giving Margorim a quailing look. “Besides, none of us could have stopped him. He’s more powerful than any of us. Though I supposed, if I called on all his men and several of our fighters, we could catch him.”

“Have you ever had to try it?”Arylana asked with a grin.

“No and I hope I never will.” Mercutio smiled back.

Yet Arylana could tell something felt wrong. Was she right in her guess? Had Jarbo met Cedrick? If he had is that where he was going now? What was going on? Arylana didn’t know. All she did know was she had a bad feeling and she couldn’t shake it. All she could do was pray.


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