This is a scene I deleted from Of Deception and Divinity for no other reason than to decrease the length of the novel, if only by a few pages. I contemplated keeping this scene in because my son felt it framed the character of Jahi Berber in a more understandable and perhaps sympathetic light. Let me know what you think.

This scene would’ve appeared in chapter eight.

“When my son and his guest arrive, make sure they’re sent to my office without delay.”

“Yes, General Supreme.” The guard gave a brisk nod, turned and left the presidential office, closing the large door behind him.

Berber rose from his chair and moved from behind the oversized, imperious desk. He’d inherited the imposing antique piece of furniture with its secret drawers, hidden mini vault and gun hold, all surrounded by heavy cherry wood with a deep gloss finish and held aloft by four muscled legs of a forceful jaguar. The desk served as a physical reminder of what it meant to be a Berber, what the name had come to represent, to the people of this country, as well as to the international community. The thought laced him with both pride and regret.

He walked to the tinted window behind his desk. Between his enhanced vision and the towering edifice, he could see for miles. No other structure obstructed Jahi’s vision of his beloved country. In fact, it was against Sudanese law for a building to be taller than the one in which he stood. Another superfluous family inheritance, like the desk, as well as so many other laws and practices that, at this point in his life, felt more natural than forced.

Jahi Berber enjoyed the lifestyle of being general supreme. As president of an independently stable nation, he could choose his country’s political and financial allies from a position of power, if not superiority. And he took immense pleasure whenever he turned his back on arrogant, self-serving full-humans who promoted their international policies under the guise of humanitarianism.

He scoffed at such blatant manipulative efforts, knowing the extent of full-human’s inhumanity toward each other. Full-humans did not belong in the Sudan, even the ones who knew of preternaturals, allowing themselves to be taken as a chosen mate by a witch or were-cat who should’ve known better than to bring a full-human into their dangerous and secret world. Yet, some Sudanese persisted, despite the decree, using magic to hide the truth of their illegal union and forcing the general supreme to take measures to protect their way of life.

The decree tore families apart, he knew, but better that than deformed children not meant to survive the genetic impossibility of life between a preternatural and a full-human. Better to have a medja witch from his secret militia perform a deep mind wipe and send the full-humans away from the Sudan with no memory of their life there than to risk the chance of exposure and the possibility of war between preternaturals and full-humans.

He did, as always, what needed doing.  Yet, Jahi was more than the sum of his were-cat and Berber parts. For as much as he basked in the power that came with being general supreme, he also reveled in the ability to help Sudanese citizens through the enactment of just laws and the building of sustainable financial, cultural, and educational infrastructures. The country’s unemployment rate was at an all-time low, while high school and college graduation rates were up. Sudan now flourished, but there was still a specter of ugliness and sickness that festered below the clean, gleaming skin of revitalization.

Jahi Berber had wanted for nothing as a child, every whim and desire met, often exceeded with nonchalance. He’d received the best education, traveled the world, indulged in pleasure of every sort, and answered only to his father. Such was the life of the son of the House of Berber. And never, not once growing up did Jahi think of all those Sudanese who labored unscrupulous hours in fields and factories, who swallowed their pride when denied civil rights, who were punished for seeking the freedom he took for granted.

Jahi watched as a black limousine stopped in front of the building. A few minutes later, a familiar sight emerged, followed by an unfamiliar one. Jahi smiled, his son had finally returned home. He watched as his youngest son held the hand of a woman, leading her away from the armed men and into the building, Assefa’s medja claiming the rear the way an excellent bodyguard should.

The general supreme smiled. Jahi hadn’t seen his son in almost a year. He tried his best to give Assefa the space he needed to find his own path as both a man and as the future general supreme, but it took all his patience and fatherly love to do so. He wanted him there, where he belonged, and now that Assefa had brought a woman home to meet Jahi, he saw this as a good sign, a very good sign. Any woman who could capture his son’s heart was a woman General Supreme Jahi Berber looked forward to meeting.

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