Exclusive Deleted Scene with Introduction from Robin LaFevers:
There has always been a lot of mystery surrounding the character Sybella ever since she first showed up on the pages of Grave Mercy. She was so guarded and secretive that it even took me a while to get to know her.
In order to understand Sybella well enough to tell her story, I had to go back to the beginning and see her arrive at the convent where she trained to be an assassin. I had to see what sort of pain and baggage she brought with her, even though I knew there would be no place for it in the finished book.
This ‘lost chapter’ from Dark Triumph is Sybella’s introduction to the convent, a much more rough and tumultuous beginning than Ismae experienced in Grave Mercy...
Dark Triumph – Deleted Scene
When the cart stops moving, I open my eyes and see the boat; suddenly, I know exactly what is happening. The hedge priest has tricked Old Nonne and is not taking me to safety as he promised. Instead, he has delivered me to one of the night rowers, one of the desolate, bound sailors who must carry away the forsaken souls whom God and the church have deemed unworthy.
“No!” I scream, certain there has been a mistake. It is my father who has committed evil, not I. My mind is sluggish and thick, like a heavy fog, and those memories disappear beneath the weight of it. But I am certain I do not want to get in that boat and be ferried across the Passage de L’Enfer to where I will have to reside in hell.
I throw off the heavy weight of the blankets that hold me down, and sit up. The world tilts alarmingly and my stomach heaves, trying to cast out whatever potion they have been pouring down my throat. Even so, I lurch to my feet, but before I can climb out of the cart the hedge priest and the sailor are there. With callused hands they hold me still and try to soothe me with their deep, clumsy voices. “It’s no use,” the old sailor grumbles at last. “We’ll have to tie her up or she’ll tip us all over.”
The hedge priest gives a curt nod, and as if by sorcery the sailor produces rough hempen ropes, which he uses to bind my wrists and feet. I thrash and call for help. “Hush her, before she calls every busybody around.”
Mumbling an apology, the hedge priest places a scrap of filthy cloth in my mouth and binds it around the lower half of my face. I panic, not able to draw a full breath. The entire world tilts dizzily as the sailor takes my feet and the hedge priest my shoulders and I am lifted into the boat. They place me on the damp wooden hull, where the smell of salt and old fish fills my senses. I fear I will gag, and if so I will surely suffocate. I concentrate all my will on trying to calm myself and think.
I feel a gliding motion as the boat slips out from between jagged rocks and into the dark blue water. We move soundlessly through the waves, as if Death Himself has silenced our movements so none will know of our passage.
My heart thuds against the wooden hull under my breast and I twist and flex my hands until my wrists are raw, but the cords hold tight. After a while, my heart calms somewhat, matching itself to the steady sounds of the slap of the water and the creak of the oars.
A while later—I have no idea if it is moments or hours—there is a crunch followed by a jarring sensation as the boat runs up against a rocky shore. A voice calls out—a woman’s voice, for of course, as the priests have warned us all, hell is filled with women. “What have you brought us, Father Guillame?”
Continue reading the deleted scene