This deleted scene comes from Chapter 2 of Rook and Shadow. In the original draft, the king pulls Princess Salara out of the opera rehearsal to have a conversation with her before the delegation arrives. I took it out to make the pacing faster, but I enjoy a chance to see the king's character.
Salara and Her Father - Rook and Shadow Deleted Scene
I followed father to his library. We sat in chairs by an empty fireplace, silent. I stared at the books lining the wall. He stared alternately at the ashes and window.
“You come of age tomorrow,” he said.
I jumped a bit and nodded. He looked at me expectantly, but I could not think of a thing to say.
“Coming of age means an increase in responsibilities.”
“I am aware.”
“I think so.”
“You are our only child, Salara.”
“I had observed the fact.”
“And are you prepared to accept responsibility for this kingdom?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I am naming you heir to the throne. We will have your official coronation after settling matters with the colonial delegation.”
I stared at him.
“We meant to have a son, a king.”
“I know nothing about ruling.”
“Neither did your mother. If you marry well enough, you’ll never have to learn.”
“You are of age now. You could actually consider some of the marriage proposals you receive.”
“I’ve been receiving marriage proposals?”
“Since you were born,” my mother said.
We both jumped. When had she come in? I looked back and saw the doors were open.
“Really?," she said. "This is what was so urgent that you had to take her away from rehearsal?”
“Mother, tell father I can’t be queen.”
“Of course you will be queen. I don’t understand why this is even being discussed.”
“But, you were meant to have a son. Everyone has said so, as long as I can remember.”
“Well, I clearly didn’t. Listen, Darling, this is nothing to worry about. You will carry on as I have, bringing joy and light and art to the world. Your marriage options may be limited, but there will be plenty of capable men desperate to have you. You may even be able to find someone from a decent country and form an alliance.”
She turned to my father.
“How dare you upset her the day before the opera premiere? This couldn’t have waited? Look, she’s crying! Do you know what that does to the voice?”
“We need to present a strong front, especially to the colonies. If we announce her as heir while they are here, it will create an impression of stability.”
“And if she chokes in the opera? What impression will that create?”
“Some things must take priority over art.”
“I didn’t marry you to talk this kind of nonsense. Come, Salara, we’re going back to rehearsal.”
“I’m not finished yet.”
“Oh, I think you are.”
Mother pulled me out of the room and ran into a messenger. She glared at him, and he bowed deeply.
“A thousand apologies, Your Highness. But the delegation ship has been sighted. They will be here within the hour.”
A. G. Marshall
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