Favorite Scenes — Dead Magic Edition

I promised I’d post my favorite scene from the upcoming novel Dead Magic so … here we go.

Once again, I’m not one of those people who likes spoilers  … Unless I get invested in a character, then I have to know if they survive the book/story. No, really, I flip to the end of books and hunt for names just to make sure they’re still there. I won’t read the whole thing, I’ll just check if they still have dialog and then go back to reading like normal.

I know, I’m terrible.

Anyway, I won’t give any spoilers but I will post my favorite scene. I’ll give the barest amount of setup for this one — this scene happens early(ish) in the book and I cut it off before anything major can be revealed. Fans of Witch-Born will recognize the two characters (Dorian and Elsie). These two do play a major part in Dead Magic but as I’ve said before the book itself is more focused on Winslow Agoston and Valeda Quinlan.

Why do I love this scene in particular?

I think because it’s honest. Dead Magic takes place eight years after the ending of Witch-Born. Things have changed. Relationships have strained and while the love between Elsie and Dorian is still every bit as strong as in Witch-Born, all is not perfect.

Please note that this is an unedited version of the scene. 

Dead Magic: 

“Why would you promise that woman something you know you can’t give her?” Dorian half chased Elsie around the western perimeter of the ark, thoroughly annoyed that he’d been forced to hunt her down again.

“Who says I can’t give her what she wants?” Elsie kept a brisk pace, lithely avoiding the overgrowth of jungle around them. Her black hair was pinned up in a tight bun, making the exotic, angular curves of her face more prominent. If he hadn’t been suppressing the desire to strangle her Dorian might have given her a compliment.

“The Council says you can’t.” He had to catch himself on a fallen bit of tree when she abruptly stopped. The moist ground slid away from his left foot and he quickly found a better standing spot.

The ark was built precariously close to the edge of the ridge-line, its entire circumference taking up a four mile wide, three and a quarter mile long declivity in the mountain range. The egg-shaped monolith of iron and steel was far enough from any towns that it looked like a shadowed lump of hillside at a distance. Up close, however, it was big and bulky and looked quite impenetrable. Which, he thought with a frown, was the point.

Elsie turned to an iron ladder built into the side of the wall and prepared to climb. Dorian grabbed her elbow to stop her. There would be people wherever she was heading and they needed to do this conversation in private.

“You promised, Elsie.”

“No,” she said. “As I recall it, you are the one who promised silence, not me. I stood there like an idiot, trying to remind myself why I didn’t kill them all where they stood.”

“Elsie. Think of the hysteria that would happen if word got out.” Dorian moved closer to her, glancing at her gloved hand and preparing himself for the battle he’d just stepped into. “If Valeda Quinlan publishes the fact that Magic is dead, the Untalented will panic. There will be riots and mayhem and a lot of innocent lives will be lost.”

“Even the Witch-Born will panic, Dorian. Talented or not, all of Magnellum’s fate rests on the Warding Pillars. Panic is exactly how the people should be reacting.” Elsie scowled at him but didn’t move, still poised to climb the ladder. “The Wild is coming, Dorian. It’s coming and there’s very little we can do about it.”

“The Wild has been ‘coming’ for eight years now, Elsie!” Exasperated, he let go of her and shoved his fingers through his hair. “By Fates! I’ve been listening to you for eight long years. I’ve watched you build this … this …” He waved at the side of the ark in frustration, “this insanity using resources you shouldn’t have. Don’t try to deny it, either. Delgora was rich when you ascended to House Witch, but it wasn’t this rich. You’ve been spending more money than we’ve got, insistent that world is about to end, and for what?”

Elsie blinked up at him, her caramel eyes glimmering with an emotion he couldn’t recognize.

“The Warding Pillars haven’t failed, Elsie. There’s peace in Magnellum right now. You cannot overturn society on a whim.”

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