Raccoon Blog

Thoughts from Count Cedric Raccoonsworth Trashington III, Authorial Aristocrat of the Whispering Woods

Trash Posts from a Trash Panda, Vol. 2

In our latest edition of Trash Posts from a Trash Panda, we bring you this deleted scene that very sadly did not make the final manuscript for Fragile Oath.


As soon as we were finished eating, one of the women in the camp, Fia showed me to where I would be sleeping, a small tent nestled toward the center of the treeline. Davin’s gaze followed us all the way there, always keeping me in his line of sight, though we still hadn’t said much to one another.

She held open the tent flap and I followed her in, trying to quash down any lingering trepidation at the general lack of walls.

Fia eyed me in an appraising sort of way. “No one can find this place if we don’t want them to, and there hasn’t been a single act of violence in these trees for decades. The princelings are in the tents on either side of you, by their mutual insistence. You’re safe here.”


The word brought tears stabbing at the backs of my eyes for reasons I couldn’t quite put into words. So I only nodded, hoping it conveyed my thanks. Her only response was to reach into her pocket and pull out a small flask, placing it on the barrel that served as a table.

“Here. You look like you need this more than I do.”

Then she spun on her heel and left without another word. The tent flap hadn’t even settled before it rustled again, this time emitting Gallagher. 

“If you want to throw on that dressing gown,” he gestured to the one that had been left in the tent. “I can heal the rest of you.” 

Right. Because he had to touch the injury in question. 

Even trusting him as much as I did, there was a part of me that balked at him being so close to me. But it was preferable to the reminder of Alexei searing into my bones.

“I would be grateful.” 

He gave me a look like he knew what had just passed through my mind was more than simple gratitude, but he didn’t press the issue. It was quick work, at least, and he kept his gaze firmly averted. 

“You’ll be tired tonight, but you should feel better tomorrow.”

Then he went to his tent so we could both sleep, leaving me alone with my demons and Fia’s whiskey. It wasn’t half as cold as it should have been in the clearing, and the pallet on the floor was surprisingly comfortable, but I couldn’t quite relax. 

The others were awake, and the sound of voices combined with the rhythmic thudding of an instrument had my senses on constant alert. Or perhaps that was only my mind, the way that every time I closed my eyes, I still felt the phantom bruises.


A scarf unwinding from my neck. 


Blood creeping toward the bottom of my gown.


The sword.

My voice sounded colder to my ears, saying the words over and over, until a different voice cut in, the tone so low I could barely make it out.

“She has everything she needs?” Davin asked.

“And then some,” Fia responded. 

“You left her a flask?”

“You know me so well. Worry not, mini-Oli, I saved one for you, too.”

“Much appreciated,” Davin said.

“On the grounds that you take it into your tent and go the hell to sleep.”

Davin didn’t respond right away. I took a small sip from my own flask. It was woodsy and potent and disgusting. 

Still, I took another.

“You’re getting so maternal in your old age, Auntie,” he said after several heartbeats.

That must have been an inside joke because the girl couldn’t have been much older than we were. There was the sound of a fist connecting with something solid, and a small oof.

“And there went your flask,” she said.

“I thought you said there was no torture allowed in the forest.”

It was an unexpected blend of painful and comforting, hearing Davin’s easy banter and knowing how far from it we were. Fatigue lined his voice, too, though, and not a small amount of tension, even here.

That made two of us.

But finally, somewhere between the whiskey and the healing and the low, steady murmur of voices, I drifted off to sleep.

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