Please note that deleted scenes may contain spoilers!
Character Notes – descriptions of the characters in the Ren Crown world – click to go to the page or see names below
Deleted Snippet: Excelsine Description #1Deleted Snippet: Excelsine Description #2Ren’s Original Class ScheduleDeleted Scenes: Librarian and AssistantshipDeleted Scene: Garnet NorrissingGuard Rock: Sock Eater
The entire list is accessible on this page — more to come.
Bookmarks – Printables
Click on each to get the pdf file, then print to cardstock! Color or leave B&W! Will be adding more here — having fun with them!
Nexus, Leys, and Tribes Map
The ley slices of the Five Kingdoms, where each of the referenced tribes live (and/or rule), surrounding the Nexus and Garden. This map is included in the Tender of the Garden novella, whose story takes place in the Fourth Layer during the events of The Protection of Ren Crown.
Excelsine Announcement Board Notes
Papers were attached to the board by little white dots of swirling magic.
– From The Awakening of Ren Crown
This is the crest for Excelsine University. Graduates, use it with pride!
Second Layer Clock
An awesome reader asked me a question last week about the time keeping in the Second Layer, and I thought it would be nice to stick up an illustration.
Second Layer Clock – Made!
Forget an illustration! Reader Elizabeth MADE an awesome Second Layer clock! Look at the details!
This is a section of text that was cut from the scene in The Awakening of Ren Crown where Will is showing Ren the hologram of campus. It became too long, and the beginning quarter of the book was dragging, so snip, snip it went! 🙂
The dragon curved around the mountain, as did the view in the enchanted glass. My smile grew. There were terraces built into the steeper sides and large fields took up space in carved out areas, with stands built into the hill.
Streets that went up, streets that went in, and streets that curved endlessly around. Markets, stalls, apartments, and little shops lined the sides, forming neighborhoods. There were skyscrapers and business districts, thatched houses and mud bricks.
People walked with books and bags, and were dressed in all sorts of ways. Every once in a while the hologram spell would freeze on a face or building and zip into a large still frame up in the corner, then list stats on the person or place. A proper brochure or recruitment video.
But even with the pop-ups, the dragon kept going, and with it, the view.
The campus was a giant city, a fortress, spiraling ever higher with layer upon layer of history, architecture, and the fantastic carved into its sides. My heart beat harder in my chest. It was something out of one of my dreams.
I swallowed. I couldn’t let my wants distract me. I had a concrete mission now.
I also realized that this elevated Academy was the backdrop for Mr. Verisetti’s prints. The notion made something in me itch.
Jets of light lit up a long, long field ahead, and as the dragon curved around and over it, I could see students fiercely battling. They were using staffs and rods, or throwing marbles and other odd objects. One boy was only using his hands, untouchable in the middle of the field, familiar ultramarine blue eyes barely sparing a cold glance at the next challenger in front of him, nor the one sneaking up at his back. Lights shot from his palms and fingertips as his arms performed a deadly dance.
A little frame appeared in the corner with his picture, a number of weapons, including a staff, and a lot of text. I couldn’t concentrate and read it, though, through the pumping of my heart in my ears. I stared at the hue of his eyes and watched him annihilate everyone around him.
I had no memory of his face, but I knew those eyes.
I knew him.
Similar to the other description of campus, this scene was going on for too long (and had a different entry point from what made it to the final draft!). This section occurred once she arrived on campus.
Over my stack of now irreparably shuffled documents, I carefully examined the buildings around Top Quad as I walked. There were nine arrayed closely together in a myriad of styles. Cobblestone streets and paved streets alternately wove between them, along with one street which was made entirely of what looked like glass. Each of the buildings had a different architecture style. Modern, Art Deco, Classic, Gothic, New Age, Medieval. Spires in Gaudi-like style, castle turrets, square glass structures, a stone fortress.
I walked the street of glass, trying to peer down—and to the sides of my papers—to see if it was truly glass. Emerging from the glass alley, there was a section of land that contained nothing but a short wall. And the view beyond…. Oh, the view. The mountain was awe-inspiringly huge. Three thousand feet high, at least, with circle upon circle of buildings and development stretching down its sides. If the Tower of Babel existed, surely this strange enchanted fortress was it?
“Christian.” I closed my eyes. “Why am I here without you?”
I breathed in a deep gulp of air as I continued my path down the mountain. A fortress without altitude sickness. The air was fresh and clean. A large river circled the base of the mountain, and flat plains and towns stretched out for miles beyond. I could see clouds surrounding mountain tops in the distance, but none lingered here, making the view utterly unspoiled and fantastic.
Sans map, I didn’t know exactly where my dorm was located, but I could see Dormitory Circle, even from way up here. It stretched around the entire circumference of the fifth circle of the mountain. I just had to keep working my way down.
It was a long, long way. Each circle was a hugely wide and mostly flat plane, then steep steps would cut down to the next level. The whole way, I encountered only three other students using the stairs. Which meant there were easier methods of transportation available.
Fun note — this schedule was in a very early draft that did not include her sneaking onto campus (some day I’ll have to post how that changed and about everything that got modified during the overhaul!). Bootcamp was taught by a flesh-and-blood Lieutenant Draeger in this early version of drafting. 🙂
An hour later, my fingers ached from all the things I’d had to sign in ink, blood, and magic. I was now loaded down with a giant eighteen inch high stack of informational packets, contracts and agreements, an orientation appointment two days hence, and a class schedule for the next four weeks.
* Adviser—Professor Stevens, Chemistry and Compounds, professorial housing, 33 West Owensby, Thirty-third Circle
* Bootcamp—Lieutenant Draeger, 2nd Compound, Ellery Square
* Individualized Project—Professor Stevens, 52 Neb Cross, Sixth Circle
* Layer History 101 (audit only)—Professor Ling
* Ordinary vs. Extraordinary (audit only)—Professor Suttikul
Like the class schedule, in the initial writing of the first half of Book 1, things looked a bit different. Ren was on campus legally, hidden by Marsgrove (wait until I get those snippets up for some topsy-turvydom!), and helped by some of the adults. All of that obviously changed during the writing, but I thought you might enjoy reading a snippet from an alternate-Ren-reality, written long before the book was completed. I have pages upon pages of helpful Mrs. Huxford, the librarian, who offers Ren a job in the library — but who was lost in edits by the time I finished, and only makes unnamed appearances in the books now (but who still survives in my mind!). You can see how some things morphed but survived the process, though, like the five card disks and the notice board.
She withdrew the five card disks, which had helpful titles and a small cover picture printed on each. “Interesting choices.”
I blushed. “I just picked them at random. I was curious.”
She tapped them and considered me. “Would you like a library tour? There are four floors, but if you aren’t shown how to access the upper levels, it can be hard to figure out.”
I swallowed the sudden rush of love for another human being. “Yes, please. I would love that, thank you, Mrs. Huxford.” The words approached fervent.
And, the assistantship that almost was…
A piece of paper with the letters “libr” caught my eye. It had obviously been there for a while, since other notices had crept over the edges. I lifted it out to discover an ad for a fourth floor library assistant on a paper that had seen better days. The text was decently unexciting, indicating that the job paid peanuts, but someone had tried to spice it up by adding in glorious benefits such as “study as you earn” and “gain library secrets” and “know the secret stacks!”
I could use a few peanuts. I was going to need to purchase a number of magical substances. There was only so far I could go with my stash of babysitting cash.
I plucked the notice from the board and rubbed it between my fingers. Fourth floor assistant? Maybe the reason the position was still available was because no one could find a way up there to apply. I stuck the paper in my back pocket, copied down the text about the Art Expressionists’ meeting, and decided to try a search wall.
I needed book access when no one was watching, and I needed money.
I dug the library paper out of my stash box, then found Mrs. Huxford in the library. “Have you filled this position?”
Mrs. Huxford’s eyes lit up. “No. Are you interested? We could dearly use the help, and it is an excellent way to learn the fourth floor intimately.”
That was what I was counting on. “I am very interested.”
“Perfect!” She examined me warmly. “And perhaps you might help me update things around here. Make the library more new-user friendly? And there are plenty of old magic users who set foot in a library only once a year. It would benefit all.”
Spend time in the library? Gain library secrets? Talk to someone who was willing to tell me things? Absolutely.
“Great. Can you come by next Thursday at Capricorn Rising?”
I’d have to figure out what time Capricorn Rising actually was, but I nodded. I had about two dozen side projects, but a part time job…it would provide some money. And a job that would facilitate everything else?
Let’s just end it there and say there is a good chance you may see a magical library adventure from me some day. 😉
Garnet Norrissing was one of those characters that popped fully formed into my head — and I have a LOT of dialogue snippets about her from other characters (especially the delinquents). Ultimately, I couldn’t justify including her in Protection, which was already chock full of new characters, and it didn’t really work to introduce her after that. Still, I have a soft spot for Garnet and wish I could have told her tale.
Here is an eavesdropping scene where Ren is watching and listening to Bellacia trying to get information on Ren. I tried really hard to include the scene in The Protection of Ren Crown, because it had a number of hints to other things and it humanized Inessa (who is rather one note on the page, since she really hates Ren and the only time we see her is when Ren is around).
You might recognize what Garnet was trying to warn Will about. 😉
The girl was…odd. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but her eyes were too wide, making her pupils too small, and slightly unfocused.
“Garnet,” Bellacia said, pulling the girl’s unfocused attention to her.
“Brought in the midday’s night. An army of dragons. Tartarus alight.”
Bellacia’s lips tightened in a smile. “What do you see of the girl?”
“Connected by fire. By copper and gold. Death’s long bier.” The girl looked toward my bushes, her unfocused gaze not making contact with mine, but I felt as if she was looking at me all the same.
“The sickly green casts shade. It hurts me. And all those made.”
Inessa put an arm around her, hugging her close and touching the girl’s cuff. “Shhh…I’ll take you back to your room.”
Bellacia put a hand on Inessa’s arm. “We need her.”
Inessa shook her off. “No. You can try again later if she is feeling up to it.”
I didn’t make an everyday study of their table, but ever since my introduction to Bellacia, I occasionally watched their interactions in the cafeteria. It was the first time I had seen Inessa naysay Bellacia in any way. Inessa usually had a fawning, sycophantic expression to her face when she looked upon their group’s leader.
Escaping, I asked Olivia, Will, and Neph about the girl with the strange eyes when I finally made it to Okai.
“Garnet Norrissing,” Olivia said tightly. “Inessa Norrissing’s sister. Certifiably insane.”
Will poked the side of his head. “Did too much tampering with frequencies a couple years back. She was brilliant with them—she was a named user on the hack market at thirteen. Helped make hot swapping what it is today—swapping out one frequency app for another while keeping brain activity normal. Wish I had met her then. But she tried to hot swap too many.”
His head poke became a finger loop. “She’s not all there now. The incident caused a huge flurry of government restrictions to be put into place so it doesn’t happen again.”
“I know of whom you speak,” Neph said softly. “She has strange patterns in her magic. We sometimes have that happen in our community as well when someone breaks internal walls that should not be broken.”
“Rumor has it that she can see magic clearly and make predictions based on the connections she sees.” Will shrugged and his finger looped again. “And at other times, fruit loop city.”
“Will,” Neph chided.
“She stopped me last term and told me that I had to beware the stick man, Neph.” Will shook his head. “She was very earnest about it, and nice, so I thanked her and helped her back to her dorm.”
I swallowed. Stick man? My anxiety increased.
“They keep her cuffed up tighter than an Ori—than a Port Mage.”
“Cuffed? But she makes predictions?”
“Not real predictions, more like she issues warnings or gives overlooked information. One of the underground papers explained it as she sees a lot of information all at once. Like the red streaming room—-but coming down her feeds continuously. And sometimes she assimilates information together that wouldn’t make sense otherwise. But streaming isn’t like reading a book. It’s hard to put pushed information like that into words. It either assimilates in your mind to form a coalesced picture or it blasts by.”
I thought of the red streaming room. It was awesomely useful, but no way would I want to experience that every moment of my day. No wonder her eyes were so far from lucid.
“They cuff her frequencies, but it’s like…I don’t know, looking at a drug addict in withdrawal all the time.”
“Inessa is extremely protective,” I said.
Neph nodded. “It’s a good quality.”
“If you count being protective as a good quality, then it is her singular one,” Olivia said tightly.
I started seeing Garnet Norrissing everywhere. Baden-Meinhof style, now that I was aware of her, I saw her all over campus.
Guard Rock became a bit too dignified for this representation, but I always found the image amusing. 😉
Guard Rock was rifling through my sock drawer again. He had eaten six socks already—unfortunately, he didn’t like to eat pairs, so I now had six socks without matches.