LADY OF LEGEND
Deleted Scene #1 — Prologue: The Pit
By R.M. ArceJaeger
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No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Published by Platypus Press
Please do not read this scene unless you have read the book, as even early pieces may contain
This scene was intended to thrust the reader directly into the story so that from the get-go, they would feel a sense of impending danger and excitement. The main body of the book was to be a flashback, with the reader catching up to “present time” in Chapter 22.
Although I rather liked this prologue, in the end, I felt that it distracted from the story. I wanted the reader to focus on Robin’s journey from young girl into legendary leader, and her capture was merely a contributing event to that epic, not a conclusion.
Deleted Scene #1 — Prologue: The Pit
Robin was buried alive.
Or at least, it felt that way. Earthen walls surrounded her, and darkness swaddled her like a funeral shroud.
The darkness was the worst. Even the pain in her shoulder was bearable, as long as she didn’t move. But the darkness beat against her, pounding her with the absence of light and sound. She waved her good hand in front of her face in an attempt to fight it off, but the blackness didn’t even flicker. For all she could see, she might never have moved her hand at all.
Robin wished that one of the guards who had escorted her here had chosen to stay. No matter how unpleasant they were, at least they had torches. But no one would voluntarily remain near this cesspit if they didn’t have to, and her prison had no need of a guard — its slick muddy walls were quite impossible to climb, even for someone who wasn’t injured.
At least those walls insulated her against the cold.
As if it heard her thoughts, an icy draft suddenly shot through the pit, making Robin shudder. Reflexively the girl wrapped her arms around herself, the motion making her gasp as sudden fire flared in her shoulder.
Oh, how Robin longed to sit beside the bonfire again with her friends! Its flames would burn extra high tonight as her people celebrated the start of the Christmas season. Their revelries would be carefree and their sleep peaceful, unaware of her capture until it was too late.
If only she had returned with Little John when she had the chance!
At the thought of Little John, the tears Robin had been trying so hard to hold back broke free. Silent sobs tore through her body as she rocked back-and-forth. In an attempt to stop crying, Robin made the mistake of drawing a deep, shuddering breath.
Immediately, her sobs turned to racking coughs as her lungs fought to expel the pit air. Until now, Robin had managed to endure the stench by breathing as shallowly as she could. Now her mistake had opened the floodgates of smell, the putrid scents of waste, blood, and decomposition drenching her senses and making her nearly retch.
Desperately, Robin tried to back away from the stench, but there was nowhere for her to go. Worse, she knew exactly what was causing the most rancid odor. Her jailer had taken a perverse pleasure in showing her what lay in the pit before throwing her inside; the image was seared into her memory.
Soon I will be the corpse in the corner, Robin thought gloomily. Yet she knew that wouldn’t be the case. She had caused too much trouble for the Sheriff for him to permit her so impersonal an executioner as starvation. Even if he couldn’t hang her publicly — and he still might decide to do that — he would want to personally witness her death.
She had killed today.
Because of her, many men — good men, probably, with wives and children — had died. Now it was her turn. Sitting in this hole awaiting her own execution, she could appreciate the irony of her plight. She only wished that justice hadn’t chosen to serve itself at the Sheriff’s hands.
Although — as far as irony went — she supposed that her situation did have a certain elegance to it. She was as much the Sheriff’s prisoner now as she had feared she would be the day she decided to flee her home, only two short years ago….
End Deleted Scene