by Kathy Tyers
DAYSTAR – Deleted Scene
In Chapter 46 of DAYSTAR, Tavkel has died and Sentinels are scattering over the surface of Procyel II. There are several vignettes in this chapter, so readers can find out what happened to characters from previous books: Tiala Caldwell, Rava Haworth, and Tel Tellai get cameos. But I rough-drafted another scene. Two scenes, actually. One featured Meris Cariole’s parents, and after just one draft, I decided that we already knew enough about them from Meris’s recollections. It’s much too rough to post anywhere.
But the other scene, which made the chapter too long and so was deleted, will answer the Facebook friends who asked, “Will we ever find out what happened to Alef and Jisha?”
Here you are. It’s rough, since it was deleted before three or four rounds of final edits!
Not even youth implants could postpone aging forever.
Decades ago, Netaian expatriate Jisha Drake had fled Citangelo with her husband and taken another name. Eventually Her Majesty Rinnah had proved that the Netaian nobility wouldn’t re-emerge from darkness and drag him home for geis refusal, so they reclaimed their birth names. They had fit comfortably into the aristocratic community on the Federate world of Luxia, first as staff for the sympathetic Remelard family and later as friends.
Alef had thrived in the import business. Jisha worked in the Federate cultural exchange program founded by Lady Firebird.
Now, though, Alef lay dying. Their dear friend Daley Bowman had come all the way from Oquassa to say his good-byes.
And bless their determined hearts, the men were arguing theology.
A form-response pillow elevated Alef’s head and chest above the temperature controlled bed. His private med, officious in her pale yellow tunic, sat on the bed’s other side and watched his monitors. Alef was expected to die within hours, but no one would guess it by the light in his eyes.
Jisha wouldn’t leave his side until the end. Still, she was glad to share his company with this oldest friend. Alef had lost none of stout determination. Loudly he argued, “Just because the Netaian Powers sprang from someone’s power-hungry imagination—”
“I won’t …” Daley stood slightly stooped from decades of strenuous labor. His own years of hiding hadn’t been as comfortable as theirs, but he too had survived. “I won’t even listen,” he snapped at Alef. “They murdered how many wastlings down the years? That’s grudge enough for anyone—”
“Against the Powers, of course.” Alef pushed himself up a little higher against the pillows. The med sprang up to assist him. “That’s no cause to dismiss Tavkel and his claims. The Powers never did anything. Tavkel acts. He brought Firebird’s son back to life—Kinnor Irion, who might be sitting on Rinnah’s throne right now, except for—”
“Everyone knows you and Jisha owe Firebird your lives.” Daley crossed his arms. “That’s old news. Don’t ask me to change a life I built from nothing. Without anyone’s help. What about my brother? What about Corey? Nobody brought him back. Caldwell’s squadron—”
Jisha spoke up. “For pity’s sake, Daley. Firebird loved Corey almost as much as you did. If she could forgive High Commander Caldwell—”
“Maybe she never loved Corey at all.” Daley snorted softly and strode to the window. Backlight from Luxia’s yellow-orange sun gave his wisps of white hair the illusion of flame. Then he slumped just a little bit more. “No, I know she loved him. But I grew up enslaved, a sacrifice to the Queen’s own brand of religion. Never again, Jisha. Nobody owns Daley Bowman. Except Daley Bowman.”
“This isn’t slavery,” Alef insisted. “Rinnah isn’t Siwann. Tavkel isn’t the Nine.”
Daley chuckled and turned back into the room. “Thank all Nine of them for that.”
Jisha exhaled. The tense moment had passed. These men had shared the terrible wastling upbringing, then the slow resurrection of hope and purpose. Maybe if Daley backed down now, they would share one more thing before Alef passed from this Whorl.
She raised her handheld and sent a request for three cups of cruinn.