This is a raw (unedited) deleted scene from upcoming novella Innocence and Ire. It didn’t fit well within the story. It takes place after the events on Avalon, as Tyrryal, Raphael, and some of the children journey by ship to a new land. My editing team (editor, beta readers) thought that Morgana should have faced a different fate on Avalon, contrary to what I explain happened to her below. I’ve left it more ambiguous in the book so readers can decide what fate befalls Morgana.
Hundreds of thousands of words go unpublished by writers every year because they just don’t fit or don’t work for the writer, the story, or the publishers and editors that make books. Hopefully, these words can both entertain and provide insight into the writing process for you.
Nerina stood on the boat. Sheehan was clinging to Eli’s leg. Shira was asleep in Nerina’s arms. Her face was tear stained. Tyrryal paced the boat nervously. Their new home would soon peak on the horizon. Avalon was gone. She swallowed back tears as the cool ocean breeze whipped past her face. Tyrryal had asked her to try and calm the storms and the waters on their journey, but the land was not as responsive to her magic as Avalon had been. The waves were calmer now and the storm had moved on quickly, but the effort had left Nerina weary.
Eli reached for Shira.
“You’ll disturb her sleep,” Nerina insisted.
“So you’re just going to collapse around her from your own exhaustion?”
Nerina grew quiet. It took her mind a long while to muster a response. She nodded to Eli and handed Shira off to him. She stirred a little but did not wake. Heavy legs dragged her towards Tyrryal.
“I’m sorry to interrupt you. I was wondering where it is I should go to rest?”
Tyrryal pointed towards the cabin door.
“Thank you,” Nerina nodded and made her way towards the door.
Its wood was strong and firm. The moisture had caused it to swell and stick to the frame a bit. Nerina tugged hard on the door. The force of the swinging door nearly knocked her down. She clung tightly to the handle.
She felt a world away as the boat swayed and the crew around her rushed by. Stepping so she wouldn’t slip on the damp stairs, Nerina closed the door as best as she was able behind her.
“Rina, is that you?” Morgana asked from a musty smelling hammock.
Nerina collapsed into an empty hammock beside Morgana. The itchy canvas barely registered. Nerina’s eyes fell closed quickly.
“Is it really gone?” Morgana’s small voice asked.
Nerina couldn’t answer as emotion threatened to choke her again. For a long while, they lay there in silence. Nerina drifted in and out of sleep. Morgana peaked over at her older sister. Their mother’s death and the loss of Avalon seemed to have aged her. Nerina’s skin had a greenish hue to it.
Morgana slid out of the hammock and her bare feet connected with the wood. She walked gingerly to avoid slivers. Climbing up the slippery stairs, she pushed the cabin door open.
Men raced around, shouting things and tugging on ropes as best as Morgana could guess. She scanned the deck until she found him. He was at the opposite end, beside the captain. As she took a step forward, a hush fell over the men. A superstitious lot, they were unsure if her red hair was an omen or blessing.
She ignored their gazes all the way to Raphael.
“Nerina isn’t well.”
Raphael turned from his conversation with the captain, “Excuse me.”
The captain nodded his answer and turned back to the ocean.
“Tell me about it as you lead me to her. I can’t see her on deck anywhere,” Raphael beseeched as he looked for Nerina.
“That’s because she’s below deck. She looks a little green. And, I don’t know. She doesn’t seem well.”
Raphael smiled comfortingly, “Lead the way.”
Morgana nodded and led Raphael past the crew which had resumed their duties. They shot wary glances as she passed. Raphael tugged open the door and motioned for Morgana to slip into the darkness ahead of him. Green was a normal pallor for those who got seasick, but Raphael would still check. As soon as Nerina sleeping in the hammouck, he felt it.
“Bring me a stool, would you?” Morgana scampered away to retrieve one.
Raphael found himself too curt lately. The loss of Adamina and Avalon weighed heavy on them all. Not to mention, Gabriel had decided to fall from grace. It was as reckless as the life-blood exchange performed on Adamina to save her, but that was his brother; reckless and a romantic.
Morgana returned with the stool.
“Thank you,” Raphael settled his lean form down onto the short wooden contraption and then asked Morgana to retrieve some broth for herself and her sister from the cook. Morgana carefully walked down the wooden floor to the back of the cabin. The kitchen was deep inside the ship, accessible by a small set of rickety stairs below the cabin.
When Morgana was out of sight, Raphael placed a hand lightly on Nerina’s forehead. His energy quietly travelled around her own. A ripple of light informed him of the cause of her malady. The gaping black hole in her soul brought him to tears. Avalon’s death had taken much from Nerina, including a piece of her very being. Her magic had been both tied to the pure element of water, and to the land of Avalon. With Avalon gone, so was the power and life that came from it. There was nothing he could do for her. She would live a life with her powers slowly fading away, and then she would pass into the realm of mortality to be reborn again.
But only be after a long and joy filled life.
He recharged her energy as best as he could. Her sleep deepened and the green pallor receded.
Raphael sat back and placed his hands over his face.
“Is she okay?”
Morgana stood in front of him, two bowls in her hand. Raphael looked at Morgana. How had she grown from a little girl into a young woman? Time was playing tricks on him.
“I thought you could use some,” she thrust the bowl toward him.
“Thank you. Yes, she will be okay,” Raphael drank deeply. As soon as they settled, he would have to return to ether to recharge.
“But she won’t be complete. Will she?”
Raphael sighed. Morgana had her father’s Sight too. He bet she could see the gaping hole in her sister’s soul.
Barely a decade old and Morgana held the wisdom of age. Raphael still had not figured out if it was a blessing or a curse for those young mortals like Morgana and Nerina with wisdom woven into their being. It made life very different. He had watched many soldiers, healed many warriors, and delivered to the afterlife many martyrs that held the wisdom of ether within them: the wisdom of the gods.
A calling would pull them through life violently, tightly, never letting go until their missions were complete. Then it would toss them against the rocks killing them, or worse marooning them in a world that had no place for them. Often the world they saved turned upon them when the evil had been banished.
“I don’t want to go with Nerina,” Morgana whispered.
“Why do you say that?”
“Nerina, Eli, Shira, and Seehan make the perfect family. I should be starting a life of my own. I want to travel, see the world, not to settle down. If I settle in with Nerina and Eli, I’ll never get to live. I’ll turn into a spinster, or worse I’ll get married!”
The horror on Morgana’s face made Raphael laugh. He knew the real reason. He had plucked Morgana from the fires. She wanted to avoid people, needed to be taught about her power. He had watched how on-edge Morgana had been the whole trip. She worried about losing control of her powers.
“Your father said the same thing, well minus the spinster part, once. He abhorred the idea of marriage until he met your mother,” Raphael grew silent.
They were both gone, Gabriel and Adamina. And he had flung that memory right into this young girl’s face.
“Oh, Morgana, I am sorry. I spoke without thinking.”
She stood beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“No, it is good to know what he was like. I remember his hugs and his love, but his features, his voice, he is fading away. I want to keep him alive. The pain keeps them both alive.”
Raphael swallowed back tears and nodded. He missed Gabriel terribly, in the way only close siblings can mourn each other. Living did not quite feel right. Like all the light had gone out of the world. A piece of you gone forever. Raphael knew Gabriel wasn’t truly gone, but it was still a loss. He would never be the Angel he had been again. Gabriel would be born, life after life and each one would change him just a little bit. Gabriel would never be the brother Raphael remembered.
It terrified him. As an Angel, he had been able to hold on to the illusion of eternity. Little could end the existence of his brethren. He had mistaken it for immortality. He hoped Gabriel forgave him this failing. Raphael studied Morgana’s face. Here he was, shining brightly from his child. He would ensure Gabriel’s daughter lived out her days well.
“I understand. I will go with you to the next land, and we shall start your journey. I will hear no protests regarding my presence. I’ll not let you go otherwise.”
Morgana smiled, “Thank you.” Nerina stirred, and Raphael fed her the broth. She fell into a quick sleep as soon as she had finished, colour returning to her cheeks.