Actually, I've thrown out all 18,000 words, though I suspect a couple of these scenes will find their way back into the book in one form or another.
At the moment, I'm still letting the story gel and identifying the POV characters as well as the supporting cast in general. The most important thing to nail down is the interaction between the protagonist and the antagonist. As the novel opens the squire is, well, squiring for the knight of the royal duke. How the squire and duke interact here is key. I've got to figure out what type of relationship they have, if any. Considering this squire will spend the next 30 years seeking revenge against this duke it makes sense for him to look up to and admire the duke at the opening.
Besides this, I need to figure out how to open the book. I've been toying with a possible scene that introduces the main players and an impending peril that becomes the catalyst for the royal fratricide that will soon take place.
I'll have to see if this will work as an effective opening. I think it will as it can work as a way to introduce elements important to the whole story, while at the same time adding in some foreshadowing for a later key scene.
I just have to figure out who will be in this scene. I don't want to have too much going on yet at the same time I want to be able to show the main dynamics in play up front.
Beginnings are tricky things indeed.