Elantris Alternate Ending Material
(WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS!)
Welcome to the final bit of ELANTRIS deleted scenes. On this page, you’ll find a group of things that were cut from the climax of the book, including an alternate ending to the Raoden/Sarene/Dilaf fight in Teod. First, however, I’d like to make a sincere request that if you haven’t read the novel, you do so before reading this page. I really hate giving spoilers, particularly about my own works, since I love a good ending so much.
Now, on with the scenes! The first thing that got cut from the ending was a reference to Hrathen not really being Fjordell. As I’ve said in the annotations, I don’t know where this came from. I think I was just writing along and thought “hey, what if I did THIS!” Of course, it turned out poorly, and I’m embarrassed to say I let it stay through the first few drafts of the book. However, I pulled it relatively quickly, and so no editor ever saw it.
Yet, here it is, reproduced in all of its confusing, contrived plotting:
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|He looked into her eyes as he dropped the last of his bulky cotton underclothing, meant to cushion the armor. Now he stood bare chested, wearing only a pair of thin knee-length trousers. “What Dilaf does is not right,” he informed, pulling a small vial out of a pouch on his trousers.“But your faith. . . .” Sarene said.
“My faith is in Jaddeth, a God who wants the souls of men to worship Him. A massacre serves no one.”
“Wyrn seems to think differently.”
Hrathen paused for a moment, then chose not to respond, instead rubbing the contents of the vial into his hair. He massaged for a moment, and then dunked his head in a washbasin. When he pulled it out, his hair was no longer Fjordell black, but a stark blonde.
“Dye?” Sarene asked with confusion.
“No,” Hrathen informed. “Dye remover.”
“When we arrive, we will seek passage on one of the merchant ships,” Hrathen explained quietly. “They will bold from Teod as soon as the Armada moves out to give them room—it is the nature of merchants to avoid conflict at all costs. There are several places in Hraggen I know of that don’t see a Derethi priest for months at a time. We can hide there for a while.”
“You talk as if Teod will fall,” Sarene hissed back. “You may go, priest, but I will not leave my homeland.”
“If you value its safety, you will,” Hrathen shot back. “I know Dilaf—he is a man obsessed. For some reason he has decided to kill you. If you stay in Teod, so will he. If you leave, perhaps he will follow.”
Sarene ground her teeth, undecided. The Gyorn’s words had apparent sense in them, but it was possible he was concocting things to get her to accompany him. Of course, there was no reason for him to do such a thing—what cared he for Sarene? She had spited him enough times that he was probably revolted by her presence.
The moved slowly, unwilling to set themselves apart from the crowd by increasing their speed. “Tell me where you were born, Hrathen,” she requested as the walked. She had assumed she understood him, but so far her assumptions had proven simplistic when compared to the complex man that stood by her now.
“In Duladel,” he admitted after a moment’s walking. “I didn’t even attend my first Derethi meeting until I was in my late teens. I believed instantly, the structure and formality of Shu-Dereth drawing me in. I joined the priesthood, disguising my heritage. I . . . thought I had faith. It turned out, however, that the thing I grew to believe in was not Derethi after all. I don’t know what it is.”
Hrathen shook his head. “That is too simple, Sarene. Despite what our separate religions teach, believe is not simply Korathi or Derethi, one or the other. I still believe Derethi’s teachings—most of them at least. My problem is with Wyrn, not God.”
Sarene hesitated for a moment before asking her next question, but, eventually, she had to let it come out. For some reason, now that she had seen this other side of Hrathen, she was anxious to learn what else about him she had misjudged. “Hrathen,” she began, “is it true what they say about Duladel? That you . . .”
“You instituted the revolution?” Sarene asked. “The fall of the Republic, that was your doing.”
Hrathen bowed his head. “I was behind it.”
“Your own people?”
Hrathen’s voice was almost a sob when he answered. “Yes.”
Except, he hadn’t—not really. He had convinced himself that the Republic’s fall was a necessary tragedy, an important step in the salvation of the people’s souls. Now, however, he had dispelled that illusion. His work in Duladel had been no more moral than what Dilaf had attempted here in Teod. Ironically, by opening himself to truth, he had also exposed himself to the guilt of his past atrocities.
One thing, however, kept him from falling into despair. The knowledge that, whatever else happened to him, no matter what he had done, he could say that he now followed the truth he knew to be in his heart. He could die now, and face Jaddeth with courage and pride.
|He looked at the greave, then shook his head, pulling off his bulky cotton underclothing, meant to cushion the armor. He stood bare chested, wearing only a pair of thin, knee-length trousers and a long, sleeve-like band of cloth around his right arm.Why the covered arm? Sarene wondered. Some piece of Derehti priest’s garb? Other questions were more pressing, however.
“Why did you do it, Hrathen?” she asked. “Why turn against your people?”
Hrathen paused. Then he looked away. “Dilaf’s actions are evil.”
“But your faith. . . .”
“My faith is in Jaddeth, a God who wants the devotion of men. A massacre does not serve Him.”
“Wyrn seems to think differently.”
Hrathen did not respond, instead selecting a cloak from a nearby chest. He handed it to her, then took another for himself. “Let us go.”
“When we arrive, we will seek passage on one of the merchant ships,” Hrathen said quietly. “They will bolt from Teod as soon as the Armada launches. There are several places in Hrovell that don’t see a Derethi priest for months at a time. We can hide there.”
“You talk as if Teod will fall,” Sarene whispered back. “You may go, priest, but I will not leave my homeland.”
“If you value its safety, you will,” Hrathen snapped. “I know Dilaf—he is a man obsessed. If you stay in Teod, so will he. If you leave, perhaps he will follow.”
Sarene ground her teeth. The gyorn’s words had apparent sense in them, but it was possible he was concocting things to get her to accompany him. Of course, there was no reason for him to do such a thing—what cared he for Sarene? She had been his fervent enemy.
They moved slowly, unwilling to set themselves apart from the crowd by increasing their speed. “You didn’t really answer my question before, priest,” Sarene whispered. “You have turned against your religion. Why?”
Hrathen walked in silence for a moment. “I . . . I don’t know, woman. I have followed Derethi since I was a child—the structure and formality of have always called to me. I joined the priesthood. I . . . thought I had faith. It turned out, however, that the thing I grew to believe was not Shu-Dereth after all. I don’t know what it is.”
Hrathen shook his head. “That is too simple. Belief is not simply Korathi or Derethi, one or the other. I still believe Dereth’s teachings. My problem is with Wyrn, not God.”
He had convinced himself that the Republic’s fall was a necessary tragedy. Now he had dispelled that illusion. His work in Duladel had been no more ethical than what Dilaf had attempted here in Teod. Ironically, by opening himself to truth, Hrathen had also exposed himself to the guilt of his past atrocities.
One thing, however, kept him from despair—the knowledge that whatever else happened to him, no matter what he had done, he could say that he now followed the truth in his heart. He could die and face Jaddeth with courage and pride.
Whew! That’s a tough one to put out again. Even re-reading it, I find myself cringing quite a bit. Enjoy these while you can! Mistborn doesn’t have anything half so embarrassing.
You’ll also notice that the original foreshadowing of Hrathen’s arm wasn’t in the original. We’ll talk more about this later. Hrathen was always a student at Dakhor—in the first draft, he went from Duladel there. However, I added the fact that his arm had been changed into the later drafts of the book.
You might be able to see why, in the hurried first draft of the book, it seemed like a good idea to me to have Hrathen be a Dula. It let me have had him overthrow his own people, giving (supposedly) an explanation to why he’d felt so guilty all along.
However, at the same time, that completely undermined his character. His guilt, then, wasn’t related to as pure a mourning for what he’d done—it was related to some kind of buried national loyalty. Also, his treason against Fjorden was weakened greatly, which was always the better part of his climax. Fortunately, I fixed this early on.
Sarene escapes from the Dakhor
This is actually one of the more interesting deleted scenes I’ve posted because I think it really shows how my style has improved over the years.
What we have here is the scene where Sarene, in the coach, discovers the Dakhor attack, then runs up to Kiin’s house. Well, in the original story, this became the place where I finally revealed the identity of Eventeo’s spy in the city. (Even in the final draft, this person is mentioned a couple of times, though never revealed.)
Over the years, I think I’ve improved drastically in my ability to write a good action scene. Here, we have an example of how I used to do it. There was a lot going on, but I think the tension was weak because of how many things were showing up. Sarene has her sword, Ashe is buzzing around, Torena (Shuden’s girlfriend) shows up, and then finally Kiin arrives. The result is very confusing.
In the rewrite, you can (hopefully) see me being more concrete with my writing. We have more visuals, more sensory information, and more real danger. A lot of the distractions are removed, creating a “less is more” writing style for the scene. I removed the spy reveal from the book completely—it was one of those little surprises that was just cluttering things up and distracting from the important mysteries.
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|Sarene watched the slaughter for a moment, before screaming at the coachman to turn them around. The stunned man suddenly realized their danger, and whipped the horse into motion. However, just then one of the shirtless warriors noticed them, and began running their direction. He moved impossibly quick, and when he was still a good distance away he jumped, sailing through the air to land on the horse’s back. Another short hop took him to the coachman, who screamed once as the warrior’s sword descended on his neck.Sarene cursed, pushing open her door and stumbling out. She heard a soft thud from behind her as the warrior dropped to the cobblestones, and she knew that she could never outrun his supernatural speed. She spun, looking for a weapon of some sort, but all she saw was the shirtless man descending on her, a slight smile on his lips. With revulsion Sarene realized that his skin was pocketed and ridged—as if it were covered with tattoos that had somehow raised the skin rather than coloring it.
Suddenly a Seon shot through the air, buzzing around the man’s head with dizzying speed. The warrior looked up, cursing in Fjordell, as he waved his sword ineffectually at the Seon.
“Ashe!” Sarene said with surprise. But then, with surprise, she realized it wasn’t him—this Seon was slightly different, his globe of light smaller and bluer than Ashe’s. She stood in confusion as a half-dozen armed soldiers clanged around the corner and fell on the Fjordell. They hacked and chopped at him like they were trying to cut down a tree, and the man screamed, falling eventually to their onslaught.
“Are you all right, Sarene?” a voice asked urgently. Sarene turned with surprise—she recognize the feminine voice.
“Torena?” she asked incredulously.
The red-haired girl smiled. “Your father sends his greetings,” she explained, handing Sarene a Syre.
Then Sarene realized she did recognize the mysterious Seon—it was Deo, her father’s servant. The men who had saved her as well—the had the larger builds and lighter hair that marked them as Teos, as opposed to Arelenes.
“You’re my father’s spy?” she asked incredulously.
Torena blushed. “One doesn’t have to be a Teo to work for your father, Sarene,” she informed. “He wanted someone nobody would expect.”
“Come, my lady,” one of the soldiers urged, shooting a glance back at the chaos behind him. “We should go.”
“Yes,” Tornea agreed. “Lead us to Kiin’s house, captain.”
The man nodded, motioning for his men to fall behind the ladies as they moved quickly away from the massacre.
Sarene allowed herself to be led, still amazed. Torena, for her part, seemed to be enjoying the experience whole-heartedly. She always had complained that her life was boring; she had been the most enthusiastic woman at Sarene’s fencing lessons. Eventeo had chosen his accomplice well. Sarene could only imagine how Torena would have exulted at the chance for intrigue, yet at the same time no one would have expected the quiet, slightly-built woman to be a spy, least of all Sarene. It was her experience that the least likely spies usually made the best ones.
Fortunately, Kiin’s house wasn’t far away. However, they passed several more streets filled with burning homes and the demon-like Fjordells. Sarene turned her face from the scenes of brutal murder, her heart shuttering at the horror. Where had they come from, and what made them so unnaturally tough? Her ponderings were cut of as one of the soldiers yelled in pain. They had been discovered.
Sarene and Torena backed up as the remaining five men pulled around them protectively. The Fjordell’s darted forwards, one jumping completely over a soldier’s head to attack from behind. Torena screamed, no longer excited, but ghostly pale as the dark-eyed Fjordell advanced on them.
Sarene brought up her Syre as the man attacked. The thin blade quivered beneath the stronger weapon, but it held. The man’s second blow came impossibly quick, however, and only years of practice duels allowed Sarene to move quickly enough to avoid the attack. In desperation, knowing that she would never be able to move fast enough to block another blow, Sarene trust her Syre in one mad attack.
Her sword slid through the man’s chest easily, piercing him directly in the heart. His face was no more surprised than Sarene’s as he collapsed, sliding off of her blade. Sarene looked down with wonder—the soldier’s weapons had practically bounced off these men’s skins. Then she realized her advantage—the Syre’s thin blade had slipped between two of the rune-like ridged lines on the man’s chest. Whatever it was beneath the Fjordells’ skin, it was hard enough to turn steel, and the soldier’s weapons were too thick to get between the lines.
“Run, my lady,” one of the two remaining soldiers yelled, fighting with desperation. Sarene took in the scene carefully—besides the two Fjordells battling her soldiers, another one was quickly approaching. There was no way she could fight them all.
Grabbing Torena’s hand, Sarene began to dash towards Kiin’s house. She could see it ahead, rising above the other buildings like a beacon. There was a scream behind her has the last soldier fell. The Fjordell warriors would soon catch up to her.
Literally dragging Torena through the dark street, Sarene broke past the line of houses and started up Kiin’s hill. Her breath was coming in gasps, and her chest burned. Torena stumbled behind her and she spun, pulling the girl back up. Then she realized that one of the warriors was holding onto the girl’s foot—the other two stopped beside their companion, raising their weapons.
A bellow came from behind her, and a massive form crashed into the three shirtless warriors. A massive axe, large as a man’s chest, crashed into one of the Fjordell’s faces. Tough as their skin might be, the axe bit deeply in the man’s face, crushing both of his eyes and dropping him to the ground with a scream.
“Kiin?” Sarene asked incredulously.
Her docile uncle wielded his great axe with proficiency, howling Teois battle cries in his scratchy voice. Another Fjordell dropped to the ground beneath the sheer weight of his weapon, bones—or something else—cracking as Kiin pulled his axe free. The third warrior approached from behind and, realizing her uncle’s danger, Sarene thrust quickly, easily running her Syre through his back.
The final man collapsed and Kiin regarded her in the darkness. “Run you foolish girl!” he ordered, gesturing as three more Fjordells appeared out of the night.
Sarene needed no further provocation. She began dashing again as Kiin scooped up the frightened Torena and began jogging next to her. He moved surprisingly quickly for his bulk, following her through the door to his castle-like house, then pulling it closed and barring it behind them.
“Now, Lukell!” he ordered as they burst into the kitchen.
Lukell complied, throwing the lever Sarene had always mistaken for a torch-holder. A second later there was a mighty crash from the entryway, and dust poured beneath the kitchen door.
“Let’s see them break through that,” Kiin declared with satisfaction.
|It was a slaughter. The strange warriors killed with dispassion, cutting down man, woman, and child alike with casual swipes of their swords. Sarene watched for a stunned moment before screaming at the coachman to turn them around. The man shook himself from his stupor, whipping at the horses to turn.Sarene’s yell died in her throat as one of the shirtless warriors noticed the carriage. The soldier dashed toward them as the carriage began to turn. Sarene yelled a warning to the coachman too late. The strange warrior leapt, sailing an incredible distance to land on the carriage horse’s back. The soldier crouched lithely upon the beast’s flesh, and for the first time Sarene could see the inhuman twisting of his body, the chilling fire in his eyes.
Another short hop took the soldier to the top of the carriage. The vehicle rocked slightly, and the coachman screamed.
Sarene threw open her door and stumbled out. She scrambled across the cobblestones, shoes thrown from her feet in haste. Just up the street, away from the fires, lay Kiin’s house. If she could only—
The coachman’s body slammed into a building beside her, then slumped to the ground. Sarene screamed, lurching back, nearly tripping. The demonic creature was a dark silhouette in the firelight as he dropped from the carriage top, prowling slowly along the street toward her. Though his motions seemed casual, he moved with a lithe alertness. Sarene could see the unnatural shadows and pockets beneath his skin, as if his skeleton had been twisted and carved.
Pushing down another scream, Sarene scrambled away, running up the hill toward her uncle’s house. Not fast enough. Catching her would barely be a game for this monster—she could hear his footsteps behind. Approaching. Faster and faster. She could see the lights up ahead, but—
Something grabbed her ankle. Sarene jerked as the creature yanked with incredible strength, twisting her leg and spinning her so she smashed to the ground on her side. Sarene rolled onto her back, gasping at the pain.
The twisted figure loomed above her. She could hear it whispering in a foreign tongue. Fjordell.
Something dark and massive slammed into the monster, throwing it backward. Two figures struggled in the darkness. The creature howled, but the newcomer bellowed louder. Dazed, Sarene pushed herself up, watching the shadowed forms. An approaching light soon unmasked them. The shirtless warrior was expected. The other was not.
“Kiin?” Sarene asked.
Her uncle held an enormous axe, large as a man’s chest. He smashed it into the creature’s back as it wiggled across the stones, reaching for its sword. The creature cursed in pain, though the axe didn’t penetrate far. Kiin wrenched the weapon free, then raised it in a mighty swing and brought it down directly into the demon’s face.
The creature grunted, but did not stop moving. Neither did Kiin. He swung again and again, hacking at the monster’s head with repeated swings, howling Teoish battle cries in his scratchy voice. Bones crunched, and finally the creature stopped moving.
Something touched her arm, and Sarene yelped. Lukel, kneeling beside her, raised his lantern. “Come on!” he urged, grabbing her hand and pulling her to her feet.
They dashed the short distance to Kiin’s mansion, her uncle lumbering behind. They pushed through the doors, then stumbled into the kitchen, where a frightened group waited for their return. Daora rushed to her husband as Lukel slammed the door.
“Lukel, collapse the entryway,” Kiin ordered.
Lukel complied, throwing the lever Sarene had always mistaken for a torch-holder. A second later there was a mighty crash from the entryway, and dust poured through kitchen door.
Okay, to set up the last deleted scene, I need to explain a mechanic of the worldbuilding which, eventually, I removed from the book.
Originally, I had planned for the Seons to have an extra power—the ability to release their Aon. Each Seon, you may recall, is lit by a glowing Aon at the center. That’s the place the Seon gets his or her name.
Originally, I had the Seon able to use this Aon once, producing a magical effect, but at a terrible cost. The following section of deleted material talks about the mechanics. It comes from the scene where Raoden is explaining things he’s found in one of the books inside of Elantris to Galladon. (Who used to be named Galerion, if you hadn’t figured that out.) There is a lot of other material here as well, beyond the Seon/Aon explanation. I’ll talk about that below.
“No, it’s a combination of several things,” Raoden explained. “The key element, however, is right here.” He pointed to an illustration on one of the pages, a picture of a group of semi-translucent spheres with Aon’s written in the center.
“Seons?” Galerion asked.
“Not quite,” Raoden said with a shake of his head. “Though they are very similar. The difference is size—according to the text, these spheres were so small that hundreds of them could fit into a space the size of a pinhead.”
“Impossible,” Galerion declared.
“This is Elantris, Galerion,” Raoden reminded. “You lived here—what did it look like? What was Elantris’ one most awesome physical feature?”
“It glowed,” Galerion said with a shrug.
“That is because it was covered with these things,” Raoden said, pointing at the page. “These mini-Seons. Apparently, they were kind of an accident. The AonDor masters and scalars were trying to make mobile Aons—they found it restrictive that there were only two ways to draw the characters. Either you drew one in the air and it took effect immediately, or you etched one into steel and made it touch-activated. The scholars wanted a hybrid—an Aon that could float in the air and go where its creator commanded, but not activate until told to do so. They succeeded—these mini-Seons held an Aon and they could move around freely. However, the problem was that as soon as they were drawn they shrunk to a miniscule size, and the power they released was almost negligible. Several of the scholars think it took too much energy to sustain the mini-Seons, and that shrank them. They also had another problem—being so small, the tiny creatures had a tendency to stick to any surface they touched. It has something to do with various physical laws that I don’t understand yet.”
“How did they even know that the Seons had gotten smaller?” Galerion asked suspiciously. “If they were that tiny, the scholars wouldn’t have been able to see them, kolo?”
Raoden shrugged. “I don’t know,” he admitted.
Karata was scanning the page. “So the scholars assumed they had failed?” she asked. She wasn’t any more interested in AonDor than Galerion, but Raoden’s insistence that it was her duty to learn these things held much sway with her. Her life as a soldier’s wife had left Karata with keen feelings on duty and responsibility.
“Yes,” Raoden continued. “Though one of them continued to work on the project. Eventually, he realized that he could write instructions into the mini-Seons’ Aons, giving them simple commands such as ‘spin in circles’ or ‘whenever that door opens, go through it.’ Eventually, he wrote one with a very interesting command.”
“Which was?” Galerion prodded impatiently.
“Reproduce,” Raoden stated. “He let the mini-Seon go, and within a few days they coated the city. There wasn’t a surface in Elantris that didn’t have thousands of the little creatures sticking to it and, since they glowed like regular Seons do, the city seemed to shine. Eventually the scholars found a way to get rid of them, but by then they were used to the glowing—besides, the effect had handed to the overall mystery of Elantris. Of course, they had to put limits on them—apparently the people were having a very difficult time sleeping when their walls, their bed, and even their skin glowed. The mini-Seons were revised so that they only stuck to stone, and then AonDor barriers were devised to keep them out of certain rooms.”
“Fascinating,” Galerion said uninterestedly. “So, what does this have to do with slime?”
“Have you ever seen a Seon—I mean, a regular big Seon—die?”
Galerion shook his head. “You mean when their master is taken by the Sheod?”
Raoden nodded. “That’s one way it can happen. The other occurs if the Seon ever uses its Aon. Seons are given life by the Aon at their center—somehow that Aon is kept in a perpetual state of pre-action, frozen at that moment before it releases its power. It is an open conduit to the Dor, which feeds the Seon. However, the Seon can let its Aon complete the AonDor process, thereby creating the effect the Aon was written to produce. An Ate Seon can make a room completely silent for a short time, an Iam Seon age an object or person by a few years. However, once the process is completed, the Aon disappears and the Seon is destroyed. When that happens, it leaves behind a dark greasy stain.”
“You’re sure?” Galerion asked.
Raoden nodded. “I’ve seen it happen—the refuse is a dark sludge, the remnant of what must have been the Seon’s body.”
“I wasn’t aware that they had bodies,” Karata confessed.
“Well, they can’t pass through walls or doors,” explained, “so there must be something physical about them. The point is that when a Seon dies, it creates slime. Now, what would happen if millions of tiny Seons stuck to every stone surface of Elantris all died at the same time?”
“It makes sense, Sule,” Galerion said with a grudging nod. “The Reod must have destroyed them all, and left Elantris sprayed with their corpses. I’ve always known that there was something unnatural about that grime. I’ve stood outside in the rain, watching waves of water pound against a stone wall without cleaning off a speck of it.”
“The slime is oily,” Raoden explained, “and it repels water. Have you ever heard Kahar talk about how difficult it is to scrub away?”
Galerion nodded, studying the book. “So, do you know how to make these mini-Seons?”
“In theory,” Raoden said. “But they won’t work as long as AonDor is blocked, and after it is unblocked we probably wouldn’t need them anymore.”
“So what is the point?”
“The point is,” Raoden explained, “this is another string in the web—another clue as to what happened when the Reod struck. We have to work backwards, my friend. We are just barely learning the symptoms of something that occurred ten years ago—maybe after we understand everything the Reod did, we can begin to guess what might have caused it.”
“And regular Seons?” Karata asked suddenly. “Could you, theoretically, make one of those too?”
Raoden shook his head. “I haven’t gotten that far yet—these mini-Seons were the ancestors of the Seons we have now, but the process that led to their development was extensive. I will be a long time before I am skilled enough in AonDor to follow those steps.” Assuming, of course, he added in his mind, I survive that long.
Okay. As you can see, Galladon isn’t quite on character in this scene. It’s a very early draft of the book, and it includes lots of ideas that got cut.
The Seon death by releasing its Aon wasn’t just mentioned here—it was a fairly large element of the world, for reasons I’ll explain when I post the next deleted scene.
It wasn’t the only thing about Seon background, and their relationship with the Dor, that got cut from the book. The truth is, I just didn’t have room to deal with much more about the Seons—particularly with all I needed to do to bring about the restoration of Elantris. So, I found a lot of these comments—which related to the creation and origin of Seons—to be distracting. They were really only in a couple of places, and they all ended up getting cut to make way for more simplistic explanations. (The above scene, for instance, now just talks in general terms about fungi or algae that fed off of the glowing Dor light that came through Elantris.)
For you Seon lovers out there, never fear! I intend to get back to the Seon origins in the sequel to Elantris, when—and if—I ever get around to writing it. Know, however, that none of the above material is cannon. I was working ideas out on the page, and eventually removed them because I didn’t quite like how they worked. So, some of these concepts may show up in the next book, but some may not.
Okay, it’s time for the final alternate ending. I’ve been promising that I’d post this for a while, and so I figured I should finally get to it.
If you read the previous deleted scene (right above this one) you’ll know that there was an element of Seons dying in the book in early drafts. Well, one of the points for this was to provide foreshadowing for the original ending. I’m not going to post the real ending, since it’s different enough that there wouldn’t be much to compare. Plus, I don’t want to spoil it, just in case someone who hasn’t read the book is reading here despite my warnings!
The battle ended with Dilaf piercing her shoulder. Sarene’s Syre clanged to the cobblestones, and she stumbled, eventually slumping down next to Raoden.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
Raoden shook his head—no one could be expected to win a sword fight against one such as Dilaf.
“And my revenge begins,” Dilaf whispered reverently, bringing his sword up. “You may stop calling, my love.”
Raoden’s brow furled in confusion, but not at Dilaf’s voice. He was no longer paying attention to the monk. Instead, he stared past Dilaf, at the sky—where a round ball of light was slowly, lackadaisically, floating down into the alley. A Seon.
Curious, Dilaf followed Raoden’s gaze, then laughed, turning away from the Seon dismissively. Raoden wasn’t so impetuous—he recognized this Seon, especially its lazy, unconcerned bearing. It was Ian.
The Seon still didn’t seem to recognize him. He took in his old master’s impending murder with the same level of responsiveness that he gave a flower or a butterfly. He bobbed slowly around Dilaf’s head a few times, his manner playful.
Then he began to pulse, hanging in front of Dilaf, light flashing from the broken Aon at his center.
Raoden gasped—he had only seen such flashing in a Seon once before. Dilaf frowned, obviously uncertain what was happening, or even if it was important. Sarene held to him, her arms tight around his neck.
The pulsing signified that the Seon was preparing to let its Aon go, to use up the bit of magic within it, allowing the Dor to burst free. The action any Seon could perform only once—the action that would kill it.
“Ian, no,” he whispered. It would do no good—Ian was the Aon of healing. If the Seon released its power on Dilaf, it would do nothing.
Ian burst, power flowing from his evaporating corpse and bathing Dilaf in a soft light. The light of healing. Then, however, something went wrong. The light turned dark and black, rays of pure ebony spraying from the disappearing Aon. Dilaf screamed once, and Raoden realized what was happening.
Ian’s Aon had been imperfect since the Shaod took Raoden. It had been broken, incomplete. Suddenly he remembered the story from Galerion’s book, the case study about the woman whose had been improperly healed. Improperly healed by a misdrawn Aon Ian. She had become. . . .
Dilaf collapsed to the ground, his hair falling lightly from his scalp, his skin covered with dark spots.
When Galerion arrived a few moments later, Dilaf was still huddled on the ground, and Raoden was trying unsuccessfully to heal Sarene’s shoulder with his wounded hands. The large Dula took in the scene, then nodded for a couple of Elantrians to remove Dilaf. He settled down, letting Raoden tell him how to draw Aon Ian. A few moments later Raoden’s hands hand ribs had been restored, and he moved to help Sarene.
You can probably see why I changed this! It’s rather out of nowhere, and it doesn’t let any of the protagonists really have a say in the final climax of the book. The new version is much, much better.