Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Deleted Scene - Magic Study by Maria. V. Snyder


*squees* Maria V. Snyder! Who's not in love with this woman? She written us many delicious books over the years and drives us crazy with her insanely good characters. I think, overall, those in Team Maria love her Study series the most with Touch of Power about equal, am I right?! As you can see, below is a deleted scene and Maria will take over the introduction ;) *pours over the Yelena/Valek goodness*

SPOILER WARNING: 
If you haven't read this series...this deleted scene from the second book does refer to information you'll learn reading the first and some of the second. The scene might not make huge sense, as it isn't just a romantic one. Because this scene was deleted, the way things play out in the final version is different so I don't think the spoilers are really huge or will ruin your future reading experience so...do what you like ;) 

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Let me explain – I don’t write a lot of romantic scenes.  When Valek and Yelena finally get together in Poison Study, I wrote a sentence about it.  My editor told me this was unacceptable so I expanded it into a paragraph.  So most of deleted scenes tend to be a bit more action oriented.  The one below is from Magic Study – I was going to have Yelena rescue Valek from the Sitian prison before he’s executed, but changed it because Valek is just too smart to be caught so easily and I liked how the new scene worked.  

“Yelena, you won’t be able to save Valek,” Irys said, reading my mind.

“Why not?” I asked.


In a gentle voice that I have never heard her use, Irys said, “Roze has surrounded his cell with a magic shield.  Cross it and she will know immediately and raise an alarm.  And this time you can’t use your friends in the Citadel to distract her.”


“You still doubt my abilities.”


Irys’s gave me a rueful smile.  “She is the most powerful magician in Sitia.  Even if you could get past Roze without alerting her, Valek’s immunity to magic would warn her when he crosses her barrier.  She would feel a deadness when Valek traverses her shield.  Since there is only one person in the world who could do that, she would know.”


Now my emotions twisted and neared panic.  Irys was right.  My thoughts scattered.  All logic fled and all I could think about was losing Valek to the noose.  Ferde’s prediction about my future seemed to be coming to fruition.


“Find your center,” Irys said.


I looked at her in confusion.


“Calm your thoughts and your heart.  Find your soul.”  Irys gave me a pointed stare.


I left her and went back to the Keep, wandering around the  campus, thinking of Irys’s advice.  Eventually, I arrived at the pasture.  Kiki’s horse sense might help me understand what Irys meant.  She stopped grazing and came over to the fence.


I fed Kiki three mints as my thoughts circled without end.  I wanted to throttle Cahil and I wanted to scream out loud because I couldn’t think of a way to rescue Valek.           


Peppermint man has blinkers
, Kiki said. 


Blinkers?
 

Lavender Lady wearing blinkers, too.

I stopped my internal hand-wringing about Valek to think back to my first lessons with Cahil on tack, searching my memory.  Not a part of the saddle, blinkers had something to do with the bridle.  The answer hit me like a slap to my face.  Blinkers were the two leather flaps that blocked a horse’s view on the sides, limiting their vision to only what was in front of them.  In other words, Kiki implied that I, like Cahil was lying to myself.  About what? I wondered.

 

Kiki snorted with impatience.  You can free mate.
 

Perhaps I could slip under Roze’s shield using one of the guard’s thoughts?  But what about Valek?
 

Borrow hides.  Kiki agreed.
 

A man doesn’t have a hide, but a soul.  Only a Soulfinder could borrow one and return it unharmed.  I could do it and I have been doing it for a long time.  Blinkers, indeed. 

[Later]

I waited for the moon to set before approaching the Council Hall.  The moon was two days past full and still bright enough to cast shadows.  Using my lock picks, I unlocked a side entrance.  Roze’s shield had to be close to Valek.  She wouldn’t have wanted to sift through the comings and goings of all the Council members and their aides in the building.
 
The hallways were deserted and the quiet air felt as if it was waiting for the bustling noise of daytime.  I heard my first obstacle before I saw them, and stopped.  Reaching out with a thread of power, I connected with the two guards who stood at the top of the stairway that led down into the prison level.
 

They discussed the upcoming hanging in excited whispers, congratulating themselves on being part of the capture.  I sent them both to sleep, and heard two thuds followed by silence.

I had planned to just spray them with Curare, but then the guards would have seen my face.  My new strategy would hopefully keep my identity a secret.


Risking a peek around the corner, I saw the prone forms of the men.  I stepped quietly pass them and descended the stairs, stopping once to put the two soldiers, who guarded the base of the stairs and the entrance to the prison, to sleep.


Placing my hands on the doors to the prison, I sent my awareness through.  Four more guards played cards in the room between me and the cells.  Just beyond the men, I could sense Roze’s power.  It roared like a wall of fire.


I scanned the guard’s minds, putting them all into a deep sleep.  Searching the weapon belt of one of the soldiers who had been guarding the entrance, I found a set of keys and unlocked the door.


The four in the guard room had slumped over the table, scattering the cards.  Now came the hard part, and I worried if my plan would work.  I took a deep breath, and, careful not to alert Roze, I drew in a fine line of power and wove a net like the one I had used on Ferde.


Waking one of the guards, I caught his soul and inhaled his essence before he could react.  I tucked his awareness to a dark corner of my mind.  His body was still alive, but he was temporarily mindless.  I hoped.  He reminded me of Reyad’s and Mogkan’s victims, but I would treat the guard’s soul with the utmost care.  This time had felt different than with Fisk’s parents.  With them, I only borrowed their awareness, I hadn’t captured their souls.


I repeated the process with a second guard.  But this time I layered his thoughts and personality on the surface of my mind.  His confusion threatened to turn to panic.


Just a dream,
I soothed.  Dreams are strange and yet mundane.  It’s time to check on the prisoner, I instructed.

Yes it is.  Where’s my partner?  We always go in together.


I weaved in the thoughts of the first guard’s soul with mine and the second man.  The first man’s terror burned in my mind.


Quit it Jon,
his partner scolded.  We need to check on the prisoner.

I soothed and encouraged them to believe they were dreaming of a routine task.


When I unlocked the final door into the cells, Roze’s magic probed my mind like a sharp knife.  I kept both guard’s thoughts on doing the routine prisoner check.  Sweat stained my shirt as the effort of keeping two souls began to tax my strength.


Her magic followed me as I walked between the two rows of cells, looking into each one.  Most of the prisoners were asleep.  Eventually, Roze ended her scrutiny, I sighed with relief and sent the men’s thoughts to a quiet corner of my mind.


Valek waited in the last cell on the left.  Alert and poised.  He smiled when he saw me.


“I’d ask you how you got in, considering the tent of magic, but I fear it would be a long story.”


“Very long.”  I unlocked his door with the special key.  He raised his eyebrows at it, but kept quiet.

“Now comes the tricky part and I have no idea if it’ll work.  I'm going to give you a guard’s soul.  Let him dominate your thoughts.  Encourage him in thinking he’s dreaming of a routine check.  But don’t let him take control of your body.  Pretend he is a puppet and you’re the one hiding behind the curtain, unseen, but operating  the strings.  Understand?”


His eyes held my gaze for a moment.  “You have accepted your abilities, then?”


It seemed everyone had figured it out but me.  “It’s not an easy thing to accept you know,” I snapped. “How long have you known?”


“The first time you called for my help against First Magician.  Since I’m immune to magic, you borrowed my soul to block her from digging deeper into your mind.  I was glad to help, Love.  It meant you needed me.”


I remembered our conversation before I had left Ixia and traveled into Sitia.  “When we parted, you said I didn’t need you.”  I had thought I didn’t need him.  Just wanted him.


“I didn’t think you would find so much trouble.  You’ve proven me wrong.  Again.”


I stepped into his arms, and we shared a deep passionate kiss.


“Ready?” I asked.


Valek nodded, and I funneled one of the guard’s essences into him.  Valek scrunched up his nose as if he had a bad taste in his mouth.  My perception of his features changed and I saw the guard’s face peering out.  I let my guard back to the surface of my mind.  Valek grunted in surprise.


We passed Roze’s barrier.  Her magical probing went deeper this time and I had to use a lot of energy to hide my thoughts.  Valek’s immunity to magic would keep him safe.  An eternity passed before the probing finally stopped and we were in the guard room.


Touching the shoulder of one of the mindless soldiers, I returned his soul, sending him into a heavy slumber.  Hopefully he’ll believe tonight’s events were just a strange dream, and won’t be able to identify me when they discover Valek’s escape.


I pointed to the other guard and Valek copied my gesture, but he shook his head.  Fear sparked for a moment until I realized only I could move a soul.  I grabbed Valek’s hand and the man’s arm and felt the guard’s confusion as he passed from Valek to me and then back into himself.  I sent the guard to sleep.


When we left the Council Hall and had traveled some distance away, I heaved a huge sigh of relief and wilted against one of the alley’s walls.


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Did we love that?! Ah, Yelena is quite badass and isn't it nice to know Valek needs saving every once in a while? ;) Well...in this version, anyway. I guess he didn't get caught in the real book LOL. Let me know what you thought of this! :)

If you're a fan of Maria (obviously if you've read this far), run over to Brodie's blog to check out her amazing character interview with Avry and Kerrick from Touch of Power! *fangirls* I love it to death and you will too! Very swoon-worthy material.

Be sure to enter the Comment Giveaway to go into the running to win some fab prizes and check out the event schedule along the way!

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