Today I have something very special for all the readers out there, a deleted scene from Death Sworn by Leah Cypess! I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Leah a few months back at two book events (with three other very talented authors). The scene below is one we got to talk about at the event after I’d asked if any of the authors had any deleted scenes they could share with us. During both events I got to hear snippets of Death Sworn and let me tell you this is one book I can’t wait to dive into. Without further ado here is Leah!
Almost a decade ago, I went caving with a friend on a trip to Costa Rica, and our guides thought it would be really funny to lead us into a cave full of bats without warning us. Needless to say, my first reaction (well, maybe my second reaction) was to pull out a notebook and write a description.
Years later, writing Death Sworn, I thought I finally had my chance to use that description. I pulled out my old travel notebook with great glee.
Alas, it was not to be. When Leah Clifford, author of A Touch Mortal and caving expert, read an early manuscript, she pointed out a number of reasons why there couldn’t be bats in the caving system I had set up. So I excised the scene – but if you’re interested, you can read it here!
At the bottom of the third staircase, the passageway opened into a large cavern. Sorin waited for her there, eyebrow cocked mockingly. Ileni strode past him into the cave, and suddenly she was surrounded.
It was like being rushed by a waterfall of arrows. They streamed past her, over her, around her, small and dizzyingly swift, filling her ears with a high-pitched chittering that bounced around the inside of the cave. Ileni screamed, and the defensive spell was half-formed in her mind before she realized that nothing was touching her. Tiny creatures filled the cave like ghostly shadows, dashing inches over her head, around her, but not one brushed by her.
Furious – at herself for the scream, and at Sorin for his obvious enjoyment of it – Ileni gripped her elbows with her hands, pressing her arms against her body. “You all walk through here every day?”
“Several times a day, usually. It helps teach us to ignore illusionary dangers.”
“How fortunate for you,” she snapped, and strode onward, through the cloud of bats that swirled around her without touching her. After a moment, Sorin followed her.
When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.
But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
Leah Cypess wrote her first story in first grade. The narrator was an ice-cream cone in the process of being eaten. In fourth grade, she wrote her first book, about a girl who was shipwrecked on a desert island with her faithful and heroic dog (a rip-off of both The Black Stallion and all the Lassie movies).
After selling her first story while in high school, she gave in to her mother’s importuning to be practical and majored in biology at Brooklyn College. She then went to Columbia Law School and practiced law for almost two years. She kept writing and submitting in her spare time, and finally, a mere 15 years after her first short story acceptance, she sold her first novel.
Leah currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband and children.