For this post, I thought I’d offer up a scene from “Catch a Wolf” that I really liked writing, but decided it really wasn’t right for the book or Ly’Tana. So I rewrote the scene into what was published, making Ly’Tana murderously angry but not totally out of her mind. As I like to save stuff that I delete, because I can look at it later and if it didn’t work for this book or character, I might use it in another. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
I killed wantonly, like a lover reaching to kiss her suitors. Any man within reach of my blades felt their deadly and bloody kiss. My blades reached for throats and eyes and arms and faces, kissing each and every one. I laughed as I kissed, screamed laughter, bathing in the blood that fountained with every lover’s embrace. My heart, shattered with Kel’Ratan’s death, ceased its wail and grew numb and silent at last.
My suitors awaited me. I saw them, clustered together in a dark knot, watching me while others tended to those I had already kissed. For they were all my suitors, come to beg my hand in marriage. Our marriage born of blood and death.
If Wolf was Death’s angel, I was Death’s hand-maiden. I am come, my lovers, I called. Wait for me. Soon we shall embrace, and dance the dance of death.
They bunched together, much like frightened sheep before the onslaught of the storm. They beckoned to me, my beloved lovers, all of them. Their voices called to me, their arms opened wide to receive me. Hurry, their voices called.
I became one with Mikk, melded into a single creature, neither woman nor stallion, but a fantasy mixture of both. Our minds became one, our souls touched, merged, rebirthed into a new spirit. I saw with his eyes, he saw through mine. My hearing rose to new heights; I heard the breath hissing from the lungs of our suitors, tasted their fear. Our hearts beat as one. Time slowed to a crawl, then ceased altogether. Greater than the centaurs of old, we are a species created for one purpose: to kill.
Our beloved Brutal. We marked him for our kiss. Our betrothed, now awakened, watched us, half woman, half prancing, snorting stallion, fear bright in his fevered eyes. Why do you back away, my lovesome lord? Come, and I will kiss you, my betrothed –
Voices from behind us intruded, rather rudely, upon our communion with our suitors. Harsh voices that grated upon our sensitive hearing. We twitched our ears in annoyance, our tail lashed from side to side. Go away, you crude voices, we thought, how dare you intrude upon my communion with my lovers. Leave me alone to my marriage of blood and death.
For indeed we loved our suitors, each and every one of them. Why do you back away from me? I am Death’s hand maiden and I want to kiss you. Come closer, my sweet lovers, come to me. Stop. Do not flee. Betrothed, why do you cringe from me?
Our suitors fell back, their mouths opened in panic, swords falling from nerveless hands. Come hither, my loves, we called, our swords singing a sweet siren song. I love you. Come and dance the dance with me.
Damn that horrid voice. We heard it, a strong, compelling voice, far to our rear. Our tail lashed again in annoyance.
We were alive to the night, alive to the swords singing in our hands, alive to the fear of our suitors. We craved hot, fresh blood. We wanted to bathe in it, smell its sweet, coppery scent, taste it on my lips. Our lovers, our beloved suitors will kiss us, and we will drink their blood –
Another voice spoke, its hard texture making our ears, melded to the sweet song of our blades, cringe as our beloved suitors now cringed.
Suddenly, our beloved arose. He beckoned to us, calling our name. The skin over his face, blind with panic yet unable to resist our divine, seductive beauty, waxed pale. Yet, he closed the distance with unsteady, tottering steps. Our lovers also rose from their knees, their arms wide, begging us, craving us, ready to receive our kiss. They staggered in the wake of our beloved, hands empty, throats bared, begging for our kiss.
I am come, my lovelies. I am here. Death’s Hand Maiden has arrived.
We pranced closer. Within moments, we would be one with them, sharing our kiss among them all. Their blood would be ours, our wedding present. Our gift to them was our sweet kiss, our singing swords, our vengeance. Their gift to us was their sweet oblivion.
Our beloved betrothed shook his head like a hound shaking water from its fur. His hands went to his face in a desperate move to free himself from our spell. Ah, don’t, my love, I called silently. You want me. I know you want me. You know you want me.
He pointed a long pale finger in our direction –
“Shoot her, you fools!” he roared. “Shoot her now!”
Something in me snapped, jolting me from the union with the proud and deadly creature beneath me. My lovers, my beloved suitors staggered to their feet. My prancing stallion ceased his dance, swinging to face my lovers. My swords halted in their song –
Crossbow bolts twanged through the air toward me, their shrill whistles harsh next to the sweet song of my swords. I waited to meet their rush, for my lovers’ love to strike me, to carry me to them for the last dance.
The sound of crossbow bolts shattering brought me to myself. A jolt, much like a sharp slap, hit me in the ribs. I caught my breath in a deep inhale, clearing some of the fog from my brain.
Sanity returned with a rush.
Shattered yew wood and sharp steel arrow points dropped harmlessly to the stone cobble in a clatter. I stared at them in a daze, remembering dimly the desire to dance with the troopers, now too dangerously close for my safety. What was I thinking? Why for the love of the Lady would I love my enemies and want to kiss them?
Confused, I looked about me, remembering the swords singing in my hands. I still wanted Brutal’s blood dripping from my blades, but the previous love-lust was gone. Mikk stood patiently, yet tense, under me, his neck still arched, waiting for my signal to charge. Yet the oneness I felt with him had disappeared as well. I could recall it only through a vague feeling from deep within me, but I failed to wrap my mind around the concept.
Brutal nearly danced in his fury. A magical shield that protected himself and his soldiers now protected me. He kicked the limp body of Ja’Teel lying at his feet sharply in the ribs several times in rapid succession, venting his fury on his hapless wizard.