Wednesday, May 29, 2013



Readers of my original series know that, often, there are scenes and/or characters that are cut out of early drafts. Sometimes these are removed because they are not working, sometimes because their sub-plot is slowing down the action and sometimes because I need to get back under my 180,000 word limit!

Now, when you buy a DVD, you get to see extra scenes that were left on the cutting room floor.

Here, you get the DVD extras from Bridge Of Swords. These scenes may give you some extra insight into characters, or you may well judge that it was a good thing I cut them out!



He did not have long to wait. The sound of footsteps made him run to the door, so he could see who was coming. To his relief - and also his anticipation - it was Rhiannon. He checked she was alone and, before she could even get to the door, he had thrown back the bolt and rushed out to meet her.

`Huw!’ she stopped in her tracks. `What are you doing here? Is everything all right?’

`No, it’s not,’ he grabbed her arm and hustled her into the room, kicking the door shut and locking it.

`What is going on?’ she demanded.

`We don’t have much time. You need to come with me,’ Huw said carefully, urgently. He had rehearsed this a couple of times, trying to anticipate any problem areas and where she might ask questions.

`What? Why?’

Huw held out the signet ring. `Do you recognise this?’

Rhiannon reached out an picked it up. `Father’s ring! What has happened?’ She could feel her heart beating, like a frightened bird. She had walked back expecting to have nothing more than a comforting bath and a fine supper for her evening - now she had an clearly agitated Huw in her room and she knew him well enough to see he was genuinely upset.

`Rhiannon, I am sorry, but your father is dead,’ Huw said carefully. `You have to be brave now and listen to the rest of what I am going to say.’

`What? No! How?’ Rhiannon felt the first tears pricking at her eyes.

`I came here because I am leaving for the north tonight and I hoped to say goodbye to you. But when I got here, I heard an argument outside in the sitting room. King Ward was here, with his guards, and your father. Ward was demanding you.’

`Me?’ Rhiannon felt as if she could not breathe properly. Her heart was pounding and she did not know whether she was going to burst into tears at any moment. She tried desperately to focus on what Huw was saying.

`Your dancing has inflamed his brute passions. He means to take you, by force if necessary. Just like he would with a country. He will force you to his bed. He came here, wanting your father to help persuade you to submit to his lusts. But your father refused, he vowed to protect you while there was life in his body. There was a fight, I could not see what happened but, next thing I knew, he was being carried away by the guards - and his ring rolled under the door. I do not think he would take it off while he was alive …’

Rhiannon clutched the ring in tight, unable to stop the tears now.

`He wouldn’t ever take it off. They must have done something to him,’ she cried.

`I am so sorry,’ Huw eased an arm around her shoulders and patted her head gently. `I wish I could make this easier for you. But we cannot let his sacrifice be in vain. You must come with me now.’

Rhiannon tried to think, her head was just a whirl and she could not hold onto anything beyond her father’s signet ring.

`Go with you? Where?’

Huw took a deep breath. `Well, you remember me saying that I am Velsh? We need to go to the Vales …’

`I can‘t go there!’ she gasped.

`We have to! It is the only place that might be safe - if we go anywhere in Forland, Ward will find us. And going to the southern countries is not going to be safe either - he has his armies fighting down there. No, we need to go north. None will suspect that - you are the only one who knows that I am Velsh.’

`But, the Vales? There is nothing up there! There’s no towns or cities, nowhere for me to perform - and Ward is sending men up there to raid and terrorise the Velsh. I need to go somewhere better …’

`There is nowhere else!’ Huw snapped. `And by going there, we can stop what Ward is doing. It is the only safe place for us - trust me…’

`This doesn’t make any sense!’ she cried.

`I know,’ Huw agreed. `It is madness. But we have both seen enough of Ward to know that …’

`No, none of this makes any sense! Why did Ward come here, why did my father fight armed men - why were you here?’

Rhiannon was struggling to come to terms with what Huw was saying. Her life had always been so ordered, so controlled. She had known what was going to happen, had been told exactly what she had to do. Now her father, the one overwhelming guiding light in her life, was gone. She felt like a ship being blown by the wind, unable to steer or take control of its passage. And the thought of leaving not just Crondon but Forland itself was just horrifying.

Huw could see the conversation was heading down a dangerous route. Worse, this was all taking too long. Her father could return at any moment - and that would only be the start of his problems. He knew she was used to being told what to do by her father - he had to tap into that

`Listen!’ he snapped, and her head jerked up.

`We don’t have time for explanations, or even to cry properly. If we are to escape, we have to do it now. Now, I am not your friend?’

`You are,’ she agreed.

`Your only friend in this castle?’

`Probably my only friend anywhere,’ she admitted.

`Then you have to trust me. We need to get out of here before Ward and his guards return. They are probably looking for you even now. Time is slipping away. Take my hand.’

Rhiannon did not want to. She wanted someone to slowly and carefully explain what was going on. Even better, she wanted everything to go back the way it was. She had been happy this morning. People applauded every performance she did, her father said he was proud of her work, and she had Huw as a friend, to sneak out into the city and enjoy a little freedom, the only freedom she had ever tasted. This story of Huw’s, it did not quite sound right to her. She had the feeling there was more to it than what he was saying. But, against that feeling, was the cold, hard reality of her father’s signet ring in her hand. She had never seen him take it off before. Something had to have happened for it to be here, rather than on his finger.

`Rhiannon! We have to go now!’ Huw barked at her, and the habit of obedience was too strong. People had always known what was best for her. Her father had always known what was best for her but, if he was truly gone, the next person she looked to - the only other person she really knew - was Huw.

Dumbly, she took his hand and followed him.

`That’s right. Come with me and we can get to safety,’ Huw promised.

He did not know if that was true, he did not know if she would stay with him. Worse, he was struggling to maintain the story he had made up - only long years of practise on the stage was enabling him to keep his emotions hidden. He felt terribly guilty for tricking her like this, and worried what would happen if she ever found out the truth. But he was also excited by the thought of running away with her, and the two of them being alone together tonight.

Rhiannon only dimly registered as he made her take a large bag stuffed full of clothes and helped her exchange her soft dancing shoes for a pair of stout leather travel shoes. But, in a way, it was also strangely comforting. What Huw had told her was shocking in so many ways, not least because it threatened to force her to think for herself, make her own decisions. She had no experience of doing anything like that. Sinking back into blind obedience was far more reassuring. Trying to unravel the riddle of what he was saying, trying to make sense of it was a daunting prospect. Far easier just to do what he said, go along with what was being arranged for her.

Together, they raced down the servants’ corridor.


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