|Visiting the Kraken
Author: Baby Girl's a Queen PM
Kel falls pregnant before going to war. She has already faced many enemies in battle, but can she face her family and friends?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Tortall - Chapters: 5 - Words: 5,358 - Reviews: 24 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 01-30-09 - Published: 01-26-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4821358
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me. Italic text indicates it has been written by Tamora Pierce.
In the common room, Kel picked at her food, too tired and stressed to eat anything. It had taken two weeks in the wet and the cold to reach Wolfwood, a village near the Scanran boarder, and Kel had to "talk" to Lord Wyldon before he started giving out orders for all of the young green knights to go on boarder patrol.
Kel was about to go up to her room when a tall figure appeared in the doorway. Kel froze and her heart clenched. There he was – his hair dishevelled, his clothes muddy and as handsome as all hell. Kel certainly hadn't lost any interest in Cleon of Kennan over the three months since they had last met.
Kel felt the tingles run up her spine and her blood run cold with fear and wasn't entirely pleased with the two sensations. She was as happy as ever to see him but she wasn't ready to tell him the consequences of the night they had shared three months ago.
"Cleon!" Merric of Hollyrose yelled out from the end of the table. Everyone called out their greetings and Kel could feel the smile light up her face as he smiled back at her. She did notice though, that his smile had not quite reached his eyes. He didn't seem to notice the seat Neal offered him beside Kel and instead took a chair near the prince.
"Why are you here?" asked Faleron of Kin's Reach. He was one of the knights destined to defend the seacoast. "You're heading the wrong way."
Cleon glanced at Kel, then looked at Faleron. "I got message asking me to come home soonest. You've heard there's flooding in the southwest hills?"
Faleron, whose home was near Cleon's, sighed. "It's bad," he said. "Father said a lot of fiefdoms lost their entire stores of grain – oh, no. Yours?"
Kel's heart thudded. She had always known Cleon's home fief was short of money and she new every noble families solution – arranged marriage. She looked up to see that almost half of the table had shifted their gaze from Cleon to Kel.
Cleon had seen Kel go stiff at his news and regretted what he was about to do with all his heart. "Kel, may we please have a word in private?"
Kel's thoughts raced as she led Cleon up a narrow flight of stairs to her room. Kel realised that she couldn't tell him now. She knew Cleon was a man of honour and telling him she had fallen pregnant would force his hand to marry her instead. Kel's fief was not wealthy, her dowry had to be spent to send her to be a knight in training. Kel could see that if she married Cleon, his people would starve and she knew she was making the right decision.
"Kel, my fief has lost everything," as Cleon's voice rang out emotionlessly she knew he had rehearsed this speech, "I must marry Ermelian of Aminar or my people will starve." It was at this point he broke down, but only slightly, "I'm so sorry Kel, I know we talked about marriage but it's the only way to buy grain for my people."
Kel had kept her face Yamani blank during his speech and now, as Cleon began to fall apart, she was the one to comfort him. "We always knew it was a long shot, Cleon, we did talk about it. I know this is your duty – it part of being a knight, sometimes you have to make a sacrifice."
Cleon looked at her gratefully, "It didn't stop me dreaming though, that's what makes it that much harder now."
Kel reached up to put a hand on his face.
"Don't." He twitched away from her touch. "I can't – I'm as good as married now. It wouldn't be right."
The silence after that was awkward and uncomfortable. "Why don't you go back downstairs for dinner. I was heading to bed anyway."
Cleon gave a stiff nod as he turned his back as walked out of his life.
Kel let herself cry after Cleon left and she had cried herself to sleep that night as Tobe listened quietly from his palet on the floor. He could not understand how the strong, fearless knight who had saved him was now so helpless.