SEEDS-Deleted Scenes


No book is ever completed.

Budget constraints and deadlines make some story elements unfeasible, while pacing and tone force you to cut certain sequences. All these expensive, time consuming, and leftover bits end up on the cutting room floor. Many get tossed into a file box to be forgotten.

Fortunately for you, I have dusted them off and placed them here for you to enjoy. Don't mind the dust bunnies, just think of them as a part of the scenery.

Deleted Chapter: Chapter 15 - What We Leave Behind

Athel happily plopped down at the galley table and straightened her clean naval uniform. As always, Alder had arranged the table impeccably with fresh flowers, folded napkins, and precisely arranged tableware. After nearly a month of living off ration packets, she was really looking forward to a real meal. Even though they were still several days away from Thesda. They had come across a small uncharted jungle isle, and with a little help from Hanner's hunting skills they had secured quite a bit of fresh meat, and with a lot of help from Athel's magic, they had grown and harvested a huge load of fresh fruits and vegetables to eat.

“Someone looks happy,” Mina winked as she sat down, her lavender eyes twinkling in the morning sunlight shining in through the broken holes in the hull.

“Well, I don't mean to brag,” Athel said, unwrapping her utensils and tossing her napkin onto the floor. “But Wysterian men are easily the best chefs in the league. With all this fresh meat and produce onboard, you outlanders are in for quite a treat.”

“Sugar, your island is on the other side of the planet, that makes you the Outlander here.”

Ryin walked in from the kitchen wearing a dirty apron, looking dejected.

“Why is he bringing the food out?” Athel questioned.

Mina's face grew stern. “He's on galley, bilge, sanitary, laundry, and any other nasty duty I can think of for the next month for attacking you.”

I already said I'm sorry, okay?” Ryin grumbled, setting the plates down on the table. “Can't you just let it go?”

“Serves you right, I'd say,” Athel said happily as she examined her plate. Suddenly her smile disappeared and her fork dropped out of her hand.

“What is this?” Athel asked harshly.

“It's a salad.” Ryin answered with a shrug.

“A salad!” Athel yelled, fire in her eyes.

“Is that a problem?” Ryin asked, growing concerned.

“You murdered innocent plants and place them on a plate in front of me, and you ask if that is a problem?” Athel roared, standing up and throwing her chair aside.

Ryin's jaw dropped open in fear. “I-I'm so sorry, I had no idea that...”

“No idea? My people are born from plants, and you place a tray of plant corpses on my dinner table?”

Mina brought her hands up to her face in shock. “Sweetie, we didn't...”

“She's just kidding,” Alder explained as he walked in wearing a clean apron, carrying some more plates. “She's just mad because she doesn't like salad.”

Ryin stood dumfounded for a moment. “That was a joke?” he finally managed to ask.

“Pretty good, huh?” Athel said, picking up her chair.

“I thought you were really mad.”

“Captain Evere has been giving me acting lessons,” Athel beamed, sitting back down.

“Aye, and a good student, she is,” Captain Evere praised as he walked in and sat down next to his wife. Hanner and Odger followed suit.

“For our first course you will be enjoying a five leaf fresh spinach blend with an almond and cranberry vinaigrette dressing,” Alder announced formally as he set down the plates.

“I hope there will be meat in the main course,” Athel complained quietly, poking her salad with her fork.

“Not at all, madame,” Alder corrected as he picked up her napkin and placed it formally on her lap. “There are many dining experiences in which salad is featured as the main dish.”

“No, there aren't,” Athel judged, tossing her napkin back onto the floor. “Salad is not the food. Salad is just something that comes before the food. Salad is like a promise from the chef that food is on the way so people won't leave.”

Alder bowed down to pick up the napkin again, but then thought better and left it there instead. While everyone ate their salads Alder and Ryin returned to the kitchen, then reappeared with a tray of finely presented beverages.

“This fruit juice blend has been designed to compliment your salad,” Alder declared as the drinks were set down. Mina held hers up and with a flick of her finger chilled it into a frozen fruit smoothie.

“Where is mine?” Athel asked with a mouth full of salad.

“For you, miss Athel, I have made a special beverage to compliment this evening's dinner,” he proclaimed, setting down a glass filled with a brown liquid. Athel eyed it suspiciously and took a sip, nearly dropping the glass as she gagged.

“What do you think?” Alder asked.

“It's VILE,” Athel coughed. “What is it?”

“A Bursage family recipe, made from lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper.”

Are you trying to poison me?” Athel accused.

“It is meant to cleanse the system,” Alder explained.

Hanner reached out with his huge arm and grabbed the glass between two of his meaty fingers before swallowing the contents. “It doesn't taste poisony,” Hanner appraised, smacking his lips, “But it does taste like failure.”

“What does failure taste like?” Odger asked, confused, as he scratched his filthy cheek.

“Just ask Hanner,” Ryin quipped.

“Just what's that supposed to mean, Colenat?” Hanner demanded.

“You're the five hundred pound Iberian who was brought down by a peanut. I'd say that makes you an expert in failure,” Ryin retorted.

For a moment the two men stared at each other, neither backing down.

“Good one,” Hanner said, smiling. He gently patted Ryin on the back, which knocked him across the room and into a stack of folding chairs.

Everyone laughed heartily. Captain Evere and Odger banged their fists on the tables, cheering.

“Oh, that is the hardest I have laughed since I was hypnotized,” Odger exclaimed, wiping the tears from his grimy face.

“And now onto our main course,” Alder announced, bringing out deliciously steaming plates, and setting them down. “Mixed grill barbeque skewers with lemon-honey lamb kabobs alternated with rosemary-basil chicken kabobs.” The presentation was exquisite, the aroma and flavor immaculate. Everyone was in awe and a couple people applauded.

While the others ate, Captain Evere slid the meat and vegetables off of the skewers and began stacking them on different sides of his plate.

“What are you doing, honey?” Mina asked.

“I don't like my food to touch,” Captain Evere admitted.

“What are you, twelve?” she teased, slugging him in the arm.

“What about me?” Athel asked, greedily eying the beautiful plates around her.

“For you, Miss Athel, a special dish of asparagus and sesame-seeded tramishes, boiled, steamed, and then grilled in a white wine sage reduction.” Alder said, placing the dish down. Athel wrinkled her nose at the sweet-smelling dish.

“What are tramishes?” She asked suspiciously.

“It is a local root vegetable. Very difficult to cut, very difficult to prepare, but possessing a robust savory flavor that I think you will find very satisfying,” Alder said, trying to sell the dish as best he could.

“You had to boil it, then steam it, then grill it? It sounds like it doesn't want to be food,” Athel commented, poking it with her finger. “Why have you prepared separate dishes for me tonight?”

“My apologies, Miss Athel, but I'd rather not answer in mixed company.”

“Just answer the question,” Athel insisted, lifting up an edge of the plate as if hoping there was something else underneath.

“Begging your pardon, but in the past you have forbidden me to speak of such things in front of others.”

“Fine, then I rescind that former command, whatever it was,” Athel ordered, her anger rising.

“I would be happy to discuss such things in private after dinner if that...”


“Very well,” Alder said, straightening the cuffs on his uniform. “I am putting you on a diet. You have gained nearly fifteen pounds since we joined the navy.”

Everyone went completely silent, daring neither to move or speak. Athel's face burned bright with embarrassment, and she bit her lower lip to keep herself from swearing.

“I told you you would not like the answer,” Alder apologized.

“Ah, the ensign fifteen,” Mina finally commented, trying to console Athel. “It happens to all of us, sweetie. It's the nutrition packets. They're designed to be one-size-fits-all, but they end up giving us ladies far too many calories.”

“Alder, please retire to your quarters for the evening,” Athel whispered, her face red with shame.

“But, miss Ath...”

“I said GET OUT!” Athel shouted.

Alder looked visibly hurt, but he bowed formally, and walked out of the room. For several minutes everyone ate their dinner in silence.

Finally it was Mina who broke the silence. “I think it was sweet of him, he's just trying to help you out, sugar.”

“And you just volunteered to switch plates with me,” Athel said sternly, swapping their plates and gobbling down Mina's meat skewers before she could protest.

“My pleasure,” Mina capitulated, poking the tramishes with her fork.

The doors to the galley swung open and Dr. Griffin walked in looking quite upset.

“Captain Evere,” he bagan, pointing an aged finger. “I want to make a formal protest about your first mate.”

“Mina?” Evere asked, looking at his wife sidelong. “What thing has she done?”

“Not 'thing,' thingS, captain, plural. She's done it five times in the last year. When I'm off ship looking for herbs she sneaks into my office and moves everything out of alignment. My distillery set rotated five degrees clockwise, my fungus samples moved one inch to the left. Everything I own is carefully arranged and aligned. She knows this and yet she takes some kind of bizarre perverse satisfaction in throwing my office into complete and utter chaos.”

“I'd hardly call five degrees chaos,” Captain Evere observed.

“See, that is what I cannot stand about you people,” Dr. Griffin complained. “You have no sense of order.”

“Besides, how do you even know it was me?” Mina purred slyly. “Anybody could have gone in there.”

Dr. Griffin held up a fist full of white fur. “You shed in the autumn,” he explained.

“Oh...right,” Mina said furtively, her tail wrapping around her leg.

Chapter Seventeen - Part-Timers

“I got it!” Athel shouted as she plopped down at the mess table, bits of sand shaking off her uniform as she bounced happily. “I know how we can get the money to fix the ship.”

“You’re covered in sand,” Spirea complained, pulling her plate away to prevent further contamination.

“When I was watering Deutzia this morning,” Athel continued, “I realized that this is just like what happened to Master Teto and his crew in Amnesia Three.”

“Not another stupid book,” Spirea huffed, pushing a strand of raven black hair away from her face.

“So, just like in chapter seven, I went into town this morning and I got us all jobs,” Athel beamed.

“Ah, so that is where you have been all morning.” Alder said politely as he came in with a broom and dustpan. “We were beginning to worry.”

“A job?” Spirea said, spitting out a sweetmelon seed. “That’s your big plan?”

“It’ll be fun,” Athel encouraged. “I’ve never had a job before. Isn’t that why we joined the navy, to experience new things?”

“No, that’s why you joined,” Spirea corrected coldly. “I joined because you had my family thrown in jail.”

“Are you still on about that?” Athel asked, waving her hand.

“That’s all fine, sweetie,” Mina said as her long tail swished inquisitively behind her, “But why are you covered in sand?”

“Kind of a long story,” Athel mumbled as she rummaged through her rucksack. “I kinda’ got into a fight with a homeless guy.” She pulled out some clothing wrapped in paper and handed it to Spirea.

“What is this?” Spirea asked cautiously as she took it.

“Your uniform, of course,” Athel answered with a smile. Spirea unwrapped the dress and held it before her. Calling such a small amount of material a dress was being deceptively generous. The skirt was so short it more resembled a belt, and the neckline of the bodice had been cut so low was cut so low it almost reached her navel.

“I…I can’t wear this,” Spirea said, terrified.

“Sure you can,” Athel encouraged. Any woman would kill for your thighs, I don’t know why you are always ashamed of your body.”

“If I may offer an opinion,” Alder said calmly as he cleaned the sand off the floor. “I believe Miss Sotol’s objection stems from the fact that such attire is beneath her status as a lady.”

“You people are no fun at all,” Athel pouted.

“And, if I may add…” Alder began.

“Don’t you always,” Athel interrupted, crossing her arms.

“It is not appropriate,” he continued, “for either of you to demean yourselves with such work.”

“Oh, you hush,” Athel said, grabbing a chicken bone off the table and tossing it into a corner. “Why don’t you go clean that up?”

Alder sighed and scurried off to find a dishrag.

“Just what kind of job is this uniform for?” Mina asked between sips of wine.

“She’s supposed to stand out in front of the hummus shack and bring in customers,” Athel explained.

“More like get oogled by every filthy man that walks by,” Spirea hissed as she stood up. “I’m not doing it.”

“Come on in and try the day’s special,” Athel shouted to the indifferent pedestrians as they passed along the street. “Hot as fire and sweet as honey, this is hummas like you’ve never had before.” She swung the large sign from side to side in frustration, nearly clipping an old woman as she shuffled past her. The novelty of new experience had already worn off and replaced by the realization that her skimpy outfit was baring skin unused to the touch of the mid-day sun. Already she could feel a sunburn forming.

“You’re a Treesinger, aren’t you, asked a floppy teenaged local who had stopped to gaze at her.

“Yes, I am,” Athel said, trying to shade herself with the sign.

“So, where are your horns?” he asked with glazed eyes.

“We don’t have horns,” she answered with a frown. “Come on in and try the day’s special…”

“How many husbands do you have?” he interrupted, scratching at the acne on his neck.”

“None yet,” she said curtly, stepping aside so that he was no longer directly in front of her. “Hot as fire and sweet as honey, this is hummas like…”

“How big can you make that bush grow?” the teenager asked, pointing a wiry finger at the trimmed plant in front of the store.

“Actually, it’s a topiary, not a bush,” Alder corrected as he approached, holding several scrolls in his hands.

Athel was strangely relieved to see him, and thrust her sign into the teenager’s hands so she could examine the scrolls Alder held out to her.

“Okay, let’s see how you did with the job applications,” Athel said, looking them over. Her face dropped quickly into a frown. “I thought you were done. You left most of this blank.”

“I couldn’t answer some of their questions so I just left them blank.”

“Previous employment is blank.”

“House-husbands are not paid wages,” Alder reminded her.

“So, are Treesingers allowed to drink juice?” the teenager asked dimly.

“You didn’t even fill out your last name,” Athel criticized, ignoring the teenager.

“Technically I don’t have one,” Alder explained. My dowry has already been exchanged so all my ties to the Bursage family are severed, and I can’t take your name until we are married.”

“We got a dowry for you?” Athel asked curiously. “How much did we get?”

“If I recall correctly, two hundred acres of farmland, half a hundred livestock, and a cedar chest of precious stones.”

Athel whistled. “Wait,” she said suddenly. “So, why didn’t you bring any of that with you?”

“It wasn’t mine to bring.”

“I heard that you guys aren’t allowed to wear buttons,” the teenager asked, picking his nose. “Is that true?”

With a huff Athel turned her back to the teenager and continued reading, her eyes growing large. “Under special skills you put ‘I can sense the needs and desires of the woman I’m bound to.’ You can’t put that, it’s embarrassing.”

“I’m not going to lie,” Alder asserted. No business is going to hire someone they can’t trust.”

“Okay,” Athel said, pushing the scroll back to Alder, “You’re going to have to do this all over again.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said politely with a bow. “If I may ask, why am I applying for management positions? I have a decade of training in housekeeping and comestibles, would it not be better to apply for a job closer to my skill set?”

“See, you’re too formal,” Athel explained, putting her hands on her hips. “We’re not in Wysteria anymore, you don’t have to be like that. I think the experience of being in charge of others will do you a lot of good.”

“Are the men allowed to learn how to read on your island?” the teenager asked, tapping Athel on the shoulder with a dirty finger.

Athel spun around on one heel to face the teenager. “Don’t touch me,” she said coldly, then snatched her sign from him and turned back around to face Alder.

“Here, I’ll show you what I mean, this will be good practice,” Athel explained. With one hand she knocked over a water glass sitting on a table next to her. Swiftly and silently, Alder produced a handkerchief and began cleaning up the spill.

“No, no, no, you’re doing it wrong,” Athel carped. Alder paused and looked at her in confusion, then, guessing her intent, switched hands and continued cleaning up the spill with his other hand.

“No, not that,” Athel barked. “You’re supposed to tell me to clean it up.”

“I am?” Alder asked, perplexed.

“Yes, order me to clean up the spill.”

“But, I’m almost done already.”

“That’s not the point. When you are in charge you make other people do stuff for you.”

Alder thought for a moment. “I understood that the role of a leader is to create efficiency. Ordering you to clean up the spill when I’m already down here will make the task take twice as long.”

“You’re hopeless!” Athel moaned, banging her head against the sign in frustration.

“I thought Treesingers were supposed to be beautiful,” the teenager interrupted, poking Athel in the small of her back. Mouth aghast, she turned around to face him, rage in her eyes.

“What did you say to me, you little twig?” She stomped her foot and the ground and the shop's topiary burst to life, wrapping itself around the teenager and enveloping him completely.

Breathing heavily, Athel looked up and saw the owner of the hummas shack, arms folded in anger.

“I’m fired, aren’t I?” she asked meekly. The owner reached out and snatched the sign away from her.

Athel’s arms hung low as she and Alder walked down the street together. Her Naval uniform was rubbing against fresh sunburns, and her auburn hair hung limply around her shoulders. “This wasn’t like Amnesia Three at all,” she complained quietly to herself.

As they rounded a corner, they came across a line of excited people that stretched back at least a block. As they approached the head of the line, they saw a table with Spirea and Mina sitting happily. On one side of the table, a diminishing pile of sweetmelons, and on the other side, a large and growing pile of money.

“What is all this?” Athel asked.

“What does it look like, genius?” Spirea said, taking a bite of sweetmelon. “We’re earning the money to fix the ship.”

“Where did you get all these melons?” Athel asked, befuddled.

“What, are you an infant?” Spirea asked. “We’re Treesingers.” She spat a seed out onto the ground and tapped her staff. Within seconds the seed grew into a mature plant filled with ripe sweetmelons.