Thursday, April 21, 2011

30 Days of Genre, Day 9- Saddest Scene in a Genre Novel

A tough one. I looked up, re-read and decided against several scenes. In the end, I chose this:

But then he saw another mounted man urge his horse around behind Rhys, shouldering him aside with the heavy destrier and sending the Healer sprawling. Rhys slipped in blood and fell without being able to break his fall, the back of his head hitting the edge of one of the altar steps with a sickening, hollow crack.

And after they have manged to escape:

But while he argued with himself, and agonized, and even made a tentative probe to see whether he could work the spell on an unconscious subject, he realized that it was too late. Rhys was dead. As Niallin's voice wrapped around him in the traditional prayers, joined by the responses of Dermot and a handful of priests in the white of the Gabrilite Order, Camber felt the bleak emptiness and knew that Rhys was gone.

He waited until Niallin had finished, his hands still resting on the thick red hair which hid the damage done to the skull beneath, then signalled minutely that Joram and Jebediah should cease their ministrations. As they sank back on their heels, drained and exhausted, he gently gathered Rhys into his arms again, cradling the red head close against his cheek.

"Dear God, why?" he whispered, his voice breaking as the tears began to come. Forty years to make this man and now- this! A fall! Death should be more difficult!"

It's not a huge scene. There are points in the Deryni books that many may feel are more wrenching, but for me, this is one of the saddest for the reason Camber expressed at the end. Yes, they were trying to escape from the despicable Regents, but a fall? What amounts to an accident? Not a battle, not a sacrifice for a greater cause or to protect someone else. Knocked down by a horse and a cracked skull on a stone step. It seems- pointless. But that's one of the things that makes the Deryni books ring true for me. Things like this happen. People get shoved and fall and die, leaving behind wives and children and loved ones. People die far too young for no real reason.

Reading this scene always makes me tear up, and feel angry at the same time.

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