Feeling a little like an archeologist and taking the blog in a new direction this week sharing a passage I unearthed. It’s been six months since I shared Gryphon Gray on the blog and the other day I discovered a deleted scene. It’s essentially backstory and shows what caused M’Ameth problems with the elf elders. She was six years-old at the time, half the age she was in the short story.
In a way, it’s almost a flash fiction piece in its own right.
So, why did I remove it? A couple of reasons. One is that it brings a gryphon into the story early, thus dulling the moment later in the short story. The second, and probably biggest, reason is that it’s a big chunk of backstory that stopped the story dead in its tracks, slowing down the pace that her climb was mimicking.
If you’d like to read or reread the original short story you can click on this Gryphon Gray link.
So, here you are, M’Ameth and her effort…
A summer not so many years before, M’Ameth sat along the water course while friends played in the turbulent flow. T’Drail, who was cute for a boy, but too often mean, which was a poor elf thing to be, snatched her carving from her hand. Other children berated him, but his chest puffed out in reply. Climbing atop a broad boulder, he held the treasure over the running water threatening to drop it. For certain, such an act would carry it to the great ocean.
She’d spent days carving the gryphon for her mother. What could be worse than losing it at the last? Intended for another and nearly complete made it an almost-present and an almost-present should never be lost.
Rather then cry, she’d agreed to do anything if only he’d return her effort. Kneeling in the dirt before him, she’d squinted when she raised her face.
T’Drail, standing upon the big rock before her with the sun behind him, was silhouetted before the sun. What was he waiting for? She was considering yanking his feet out from beneath him when he broke the silence. “Sing for your effort. Yes, sing for us all and let us see if you have talent. Only then will I return my prize.”
The other children insisted she not comply, that she fetch her brother to teach the bully a lesson, but images colored her vision. She saw her effort floating towards the great ocean, a place where even her brother couldn’t retrieve it.
An almost-gift lost forever.
She stood and thrust her shoulders back. “What shall I sing?”
T’Drail raised a thin, dark brow that she understood to mean surprise, especially when his lips parted and no words emerged. His shoulders hinted at a shrug, but failed to commit.
Still the carving remained in his hand. Her effort. A gryphon. Yes, that would do. The carving was its own suggestion. Taking it upon herself, she chose the Old Elf song she’d heard whispered. So beautiful in its telling of the gryphons and their love for the high places, that she couldn’t forget it.
She raised her voice so there’d be no question she was complying. She might even draw an adult’s attention and T’Drail deserved discipline for his teasing.
Eyes closed, she pulled in air to aid her child’s voice and bellowed the ancient words barely known. They felt comfortable passing over her tongue and lips. How could that be? How could old words she’d never uttered be such a part of her?
The song was a long one and more than once she thought to pause, but then she’d visualize the carving bobbing in the swift water.
Her eyes opened when the other children gasped. T’Drail still held his superior posture above her, with the carving raised, but the sun was no longer visible behind his head. Her voice faltered. He turned to look behind, but her focus remained on his clutching hand. T’Drail screamed, dropped the carving, and fled. Slipping, stumbling, and scraping her hands on the stone, M’Ameth navigated the rocks to retrieve her effort.
It tumbled into the current and shot downstream.
Tears gushed unbidden. Seeking assistance, she turned to the shadow cloaking the sun. Mouth slack, eyes wide, she retreated until her back struck stone. Perched where T’Drail had stood moments before was a huge, magnificent, and terrifying gryphon. It’s claws and talons scratched the rock, its massive wings were spread wide. It let out a screech that could deafen an elf for life.
Hands grasped her tight beneath her arms and pulled her backwards, doubling the distance from the great beast. Spinning her around, her mother’s gray eyes searched her own.
“What did you do?”
Her attention returned to the rushing water. “My effort, the carving for you is—”
“No.” Her mother, tears glistening in her intense gaze, shook her. “What—did—you—do?”
“Nothing. I did nothing…”