Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Deleted Scenes from Ages of Aenya

A new prologue, changing the focus from Xandr to Thelana, necessitated a number of revisions for the many chapters that follow in Ages of Aenya. In one instance, a whole dream sequence/flashback fell victim to the editor.

In the original scene, Xandr has gone to sleep in the Temple of Sargonus after talking to the High Priest Urukjinn. In a dream, he relives a battle between himself, Ouranos and a horg, with a village girl who has fallen in love with our hero caught in the middle. Unfortunately, the scene was cut to make room for Xandr's origin story.

Here is the cut scene, given new life on World of Aenya:

Image courtesy of my #1 fan and sculptor David Pasco

The horg stumbled to one knee with a surprised look at the failing of his body. Leaning against his spiked mace, he clawed the swath of blood across his folds of flesh, again with surprise, and glared up at his assailant. It was a human who had done this. But the horg would not be denied his meal. He shrugged off the wound and hoisted his mace, but it felt heavier and clumsier than before. Dust billowed into a reddish haze as he charged like a toddler new to bipedal movement.      
Xandr waited. Horg blood speckled the stone-strewn earth from Emmaxis’ silver edge. Despite the imminent attack, he was calm, keenly aware. A broken waterwheel spun no more, as the tributary that once poured from the Phayus no longer flowed, making the land dry, barren of plant and animal, which had brought the horg to the home of the woodcutter looking to dine. The dinner to be was the woodcutter’s daughter. Foolish in the way of girls blossoming to womanhood, she had taken a quick fancy to Xandr, and at the moment was rushing into the battle. Ouranos swept below the clouds, swift as his avian wings could carry him, but even he could not save her. Whether she came to him in the midst of the attack to tend his wounds or profess her love, Xandr would never know. The horg’s mace left very little of her face intact. The rest of her flew against the rocks and hung like a coat of flesh.
He scarcely remembered her, but she was an innocent knowing nothing beyond the boundaries of her father’s farm. She loved Xandr, perhaps, being the only man of marrying age she had ever seen, and now bits of her skull lay scattered across the earth. Should the mace have hit him instead, it would not have pained him more, or left a deeper scar. 
Ouranos made another pass blinding the monster in feathers. The horg brushed the bird man away, but the intrusion bought Xandr the second needed to focus, to put aside thoughts of the girl and squeeze his fingers about Emmaxis. The iron mace whistled from side-to-side, sprinkling blood, and as it came within striking distance, Xandr noticed it was gold—a hammer—in the hands of a golem.     
His single bed sheet was damp as if dipped into a washtub. Casting it into a wrinkled bundle, he let the night air cool the sweat of his brow, and sitting upright, surveyed the sparse contents of his surroundings. Memories pelted him like sling stones: the mulling over what was spoken in the Sargonus Temple, the nightly ritual of removing the faces of the dead and dying from his mind.
He turned to his own face, disheveled despite the courtesans’ efforts; for they could do nothing to erase what decades of restless sleep and wandering the untamed lands had done to him. He saw also that he was strangely distorted, and the pits of his eyes were sunken in shadow. Emmaxis was smooth as milk and shined like polished silver, a perfect mirror, and yet it never showed the face he longed to see.
The shout came from the hall beyond. Grudgingly, he donned his kilt to hide his nakedness, and slid the bolt from the door. It was Finias, looking pale and trembling.
“Xandr!” he cried. “Murdermostfoul! Inourverytemplenodoubt! Come quick! The High Priest summons you.” At least those were the words Xandr thought he heard, as images of ogres and dead girls still swam in his head, and Finias spoke hurriedly, merging his words.
“What is it now? What?”
“A terrible omen!” he exclaimed. “Terrible! Follow me post-haste!”


  1. I really enjoyed this. It was great to see even a small snippet of one of Xandr and Ouranos' adventures together, and also nice to see some more of the original Xandr story elements reborn for AoA (the horg/orgre, and the wood cutter's daughter.) Just out of curiosity, how long has Ouranos been a part of the battle with the horg/ogre? Without spoiling anything, do you yourself know much of the adventures Xandr and Ouranos have shared, or are they as much a mystery to you as they are to the rest of us?

    1. I wrote this part years ago, just when I started rewriting DoE, so it is pretty old. Back then, a major theme of the book was Xandr dealing with loss: the loss of his parents, the loss of his mentor, and the loss of the village girl. That was going to eventually lead up to Xandr having to deal with Thelana tagging along in his life. But I shifted the focus of the story to Xandr's search for understanding his purpose. As for "The Adventures of Xandr and Ouranos": I honestly don't know that yet, but I sure think it'd be fun to find out.


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