It is becoming difficult to provide sneak peeks into the Thorn Bearer that aren’t spoilers for readers who haven’t caught up with the series. As an alternative, here is a deleted scene from Transgressions.
Sevenday 80, Day 6
Lilian, are you certain you cannot join us?” Vicenza asks as they exit the Cartel at midday in the company of Chrys and Rebecca. “It is said to be among the best of the season’s entertainments and the fee is modest.”
By the calendar, the rains should be easing. They are not. With the out of doors unappealing, several warehouses in the refinery district have been converted to temporary entertainment centers to exploit the city dwellers’ need for distraction and an alternative to their quarters. The modern fable of romance, commerce conspiracy, eroticism, and murder has been well received and is exactly the type of light entertainment that the apprentices’ embrace.
“I would, but it is not a suitable venue or entertainment for Katleen,” Lilian admits with some regret. “Nor will I abandon her on Settlement Day. She looks forward to it, so. As it is, I shall enjoy a holograph fable that includes an impossibly intrepid adolescent, a gallant gray raider, and a ghost.”
Chrys laughs. “A ghost, truly?”
“I expect it to be thoroughly tedious. I cannot fathom how one of Katleen’s intelligence is so readily beguiled by lurid entertainment.”
For those who lack the means for live entertainment, there are the holographs. In the large amphitheaters, the players are projected to immense heights. Even in the cheapest seats, where the sisters will be invisible among the servitors and crafters, Lilian and Katleen will not miss a detail.
As it turns out, Lilian does not find the entertainment at all tedious. She finds it subversive. The construction of the entertainment is exceedingly clever. On the surface, it presents a lurid entertainment of little merit and some humor. Beneath the surface, it is a subtle attack on the status quo.
The intrepid youngster is a precocious commoner who absently spouts Universalist tenets as common sense. The gallant gray raider is a free-trader. His only transgression is the refusal to accept the dominance of the Cartels. The ghost is an evil warrior seeking to steal the physical body of an unsuspecting mortal. The only character that supports the Order of the Five Warriors is a Shrine gardener who interprets canon with a sophistication well beyond the education of such a low-level servitor.
Settling into the mile-by-miler, Lilian voices none of her observations. She is content to let her mind drift while Katleen chatters. “The gray raider was exceedingly appealing. If there is a second installment, I imagine the heroine will reach the age of consent. They might make a match of it. I thought the shrine gardener very wise. Do you think the ghost will return? She seemed very determined. I would prefer a new ghost in the next installment. Do you agree? Lilian?”
At a demanding tug on her hand, Lilian attempts to recall Katleen’s chatter. “I agree. Such a wise gardener is unusual. As to the ghost, I thought her clumsy. She must have been a meager warrior when she lived.”
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