Wanting to keep at least the first book to Mia’s point of view, this scene from book one was cut. A friend suggested I add some snippets from the book to the website. How about some cut scenes?
This scene was one of the first things I wrote, and I like it. Though it reveals things that we now don’t learn about until later in the book.
These recruits, are just entering their second year. They’re on a watch detail for those about to join the guardians. Let’s listen in…
“There she goes again,” Jiral commented on the guardian local channel. It was difficult not to laugh when a recruit turned tail, this one turning away twice. “Rich girl, by the looks of her.”
“Again?” Gemma muttered, losing the bet to Jiral. She’d thought the wealthy brat would stand to the line. Something in her lost countenance had resonated in Gemma. New bracelets purring in her head, they spoke guardian to guardian. None heard them, except other guardians, the civilian girl unaware they conversed about her.
This is amazing! Gemma was overjoyed by the experience, though she hid the elation. As a second-year guardian, she had a reputation to protect. She was playing it cool. Jiral had had his bracelets a couple months already, but Gemma’s had been special, gem encrusted when they’d chosen her. Now they were but faint hoops of copper, but they had all the magic a girl could want.
Jiral tipped his head to Gemma, taking in her fury, delight and shapely new uniform. He wished she still wore the all-cloud outfit girls wore first-year, but then that’d mean he’d still be wearing the ribbons that had been a lousy excuse for clothing. The boys and girls outfits, for second-year, were combined into one, greater than the whole. Still, Jiral could have done without a skirt, though it was far better than the itsy bitsy boy shorts they’d had last year. Gemma made the new uniform look good. To say he was immune to her charms would be a lie. He laughed at Gemma’s response, hiding his thoughts behind a smile.
She would kick his butt if she caught him checking her out, but no doubt Gemma was checking out the guys too. First-day for the recruits was first-day for them as second-years. They’d now be mixed in the barracks, no longer separated by genders. Gemma was a fine woman, and he was glad to be sharing duty with her.
These new first-year girls would be embarrassed about themselves and about guys. The rich girl made this easy to see. How proud Jiral had been of his first-year Frost House, now to be taken up by green-bellied newbs. First-year scrubs, all worried about trivial things.
Being a guardian was the best. Jiral never would go back now. With his bracelets he could have armor, weapons and gear in the blink of an eye. Let them have his house, he’d be in the field. The first big real war game was a week away. He could hardly wait. Three-thousand second-years pummeling each other. He could hear the trumpets calling the charge. The glory to be won, there for the taking.
His laughter drew a look from Gemma. “The big game is coming up,” Gemma’s eyes gleamed the same as his. They talked about it for a bit before their conversation turned back to the newbs. Every single one looked lost, confused and certain to turn tail.
“You a house second?” Jiral asked Gemma, suddenly worried they wouldn’t see one another at the games. If she was, then she’d be off with the new girls. Use the bracelets and check, Dolt. With the bracelets he could scan her rank. Gemma was shaking her head, just as he saw she only had house colors and the duty they were sharing together then.
“No, you?” Gemma responded. She didn’t know scanning yet.
“No. I was thinking we might share a tent on the games,” Jiral hardly believing he’d said a word.
Gemma got all shy, then grinned, “We might be enemies. You’d look good in blue. I’ll be red myself.”
“How do you know?” Jiral asked jealously. “Your house have the girl Senior First?” He hadn’t kept track of the girl rankings. On the boy side it had been super competitive, but he hadn’t time. Gemma nodded. In the game, the girls’ senior faced off versus the boy’s first. Though it wouldn’t be boys versus girls. Good as the girls were, they didn’t have the numbers. More guys wanted to be guardians than women. He couldn’t let it go at that. In for one, in for a dozen. “We might be on the same team.” Appraising Gemma once again, he had to admit he was looking forward to overnights in the fields, away from camp.
Sure that they’d get in trouble, Gemma turned the question aside and pretended her attention was taken by the girl that had cost her their bet.
Gemma watched the girl go by, and Jiral watched her. It was possible that Gemma knew the girl, by her dress she was affluent. Maybe the girl had shopped at her parents’ bakery.
Gemma sighed. The girl did have nice clothes. A year’s wages by the looks of them. What reasons could she have for wearing such finery? Didn’t she know as soon as she entered the gate they’d be taken away, never to be seen again? She supposed, that they might be her spare clothes. Obviously used to finery, not a thought to her appearance, mind elsewhere, hem dragging in the dust, probably thinking on what lay beyond the gate to the proving grounds. In reality, there was nothing but a large square field before the collection of buildings that made up the citadel. If the girl even went through the gate, that is. Right then she was walking in the opposite direction.