Extra, 1st Draft of Heart Search first Scene:
Here it is in all it's warts -- the cut first scene of Heart Search...
Druida City, Celta, 422 Years After Colonization, Late Spring
"We've located your heirloom amethyst and diamond cuff bracelets," the private investigator said. His craggy face was expressionless on the scry screen hanging on the richly paneled wall near Laev Hawthorn's desk.
Laev Hawthorn, GreatLord T'Hawthorn, kept his own face as impassive but let hope trickle through him. As far as he knew, those were the last of the Family treasures his late wife, Nivea, had sold before his HeartGift. His Heartgift – that creation that reflected his deepest self that he’d produced at seventeen in a dreamquest when his magic ran wild.
He might be able to retrieve all the lost items after all. "Thank you. How much will it cost to recover the bracelets?"
The investigator told him and Laev’s jaw tightened. It wasn't at the amount. Like most FirstFamilies he had generational wealth that wasn't easily dissipated – though Nivea had done her best. But it was an expense he wouldn't have had if he hadn't made a bad mistake in choosing his wife.
"Residence?" he addressed the intelligent castle that he lived in.
"Here, T'Hawthorn," the Residence answered, at it's haughtiest. It didn't approve of the investigator, hadn't approved of Nivea, and Laev was unsure of its feelings for himself.
"Transfer funds to cover the retrieval of the jewels and Prime Investigation's bill," Laev said.
"Thank you," the private eye said. His eyes narrowed and he continued softly, "Now, GreatLord, why don't you tell me what you really want me to find?"
Laev kept his stare steady. Obviously the man was more observant than Laev had anticipated. The investigator was a master of his craft and several years older than Laev's thirty-two. Though a commoner, the man had a confidence – and an aura that whatever mistakes he'd made, he'd fixed them immediately ...and they weren't as costly as Laev’s spectacular failure.
"I’ll do that, Primross, but not now and not over a scry."
A door banged in the castle and a rush of exuberance seemed to breeze toward him. His student, a girl like the younger sister he'd always wanted, had arrived for her morning lesson in finance and estate building. It took real effort to slam the door in the Residence, but Jasmine Ash always managed. She'd stop at the kitchens for a treat and to stroke Black Pierre, the old FamCat who'd survived Laev's FatherSire's death.
Laev said, "I don't have any more time for this matter now. Please obtain the bracelets and have them delivered as soon as possible."
With a mock-subservient dip of the head, Garrett Primross said, "As you wish, GreatLord." He hesitated a beat, then asked, "Do you wish to continue to retain my firm?"
Primross Investigations was only the man himself and an apprentice, but Laev appreciated pride a lot more now than he had as a youngster. Sometimes appearances and pride were all that had kept him going.
"Yes." He calculated how long it would take for Primross to find his HeartGift. That gift, made during the second fugue which freed his psi power, his Flair, could only be truly sensed by himself and his HeartMate. Too bad he'd thought Nivea was his HeartMate when he was a gullible seventeen and given it to her.
He studied Primross. The detective had already exceeded Laev's expectations in recovering some of the family treasures. Laev’s pride had been too touchy to speak to another FirstFamily lord to track them. Discreet inquiries had led Laev to Primross.
It didn't matter that Primross disliked the noble class and barely treated Laev with civility. It didn't matter that Laev's pride took a beating as he revealed his secrets to the man. What mattered was getting the items back, and in that, Primross had been successful.
Another concern was the amount of time that had passed. Nivea had been dead for nearly two years. She’d been selling Hawthorn items for five years before that – objects that Laev’s FatherSire wouldn’t have considered valuable but Laev did.
Laev’s FatherSire, who had hidden the problem from him, had passed on three months ago. The shock that Nivea had been a thief and his FatherSire had tolerated that, made no attempt to retrieve Family heirlooms had stunned Laev.
Laev said, "Send me a contract for a monthly retainer, for an initial period of three months."
Surprise flashed in Primross's eyes then he jerked a nod. "The courier with your bracelets is on the way. I'll have the contract in your cache box within the septhour." Primross named an amount that seemed lower than it should have been. Laev narrowed his eyes to study the impassive man. Was the investigator hiding something himself?
Before he could come to a conclusion, the scry creen went dark.