Author: Neon Genesis PM
As the former squire of the Heir, Alex of Tirragen can have most anything he wants. But he is a young man of secrets and shadows, and no one quite understands his fascination with a girl whose purple eyes are - seemingly - her only remarkable feature.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Alex & Alanna - Words: 1,597 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 25 - Published: 11-27-10 - id: 6510136
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Alex is in the library one day, looking up something for Duke Roger, when he overhears a conversation between a few squires sitting at one of the heavy oak tables. Thom of Trebond is speaking, his voice weary and full of distaste. "—So she'll be coming to Court soon, and I'll have to find a husband for her. Father's death can't be helped, I suppose—though I doubt he would have been able to marry her off well, anyway. Too absorbed in his books."
One of the other squires notices Alex and calls out, "Alex, maybe you can do poor Thom here a favor and take an interest in his twin sister."
This is a joke, as it's well-known throughout the palace that Alexander of Tirragen and Thom of Trebond do not get along. They are both too proud, too aloof, and quite jealous of the high regard Roger has for the other.
Alex just smiles, thinly and coolly, and does not answer. That he would take interest in a twin of Thom's? Laughable. She's probably just as haughty and prickly as he is.
That winter, Alanna of Trebond does not go unnoticed in the influx of young ladies come to Court seeking husbands. Her eyes and hair are as startling as her brother's, and the Trebond line, while quietly notorious for insanity, is ancient and blue-blooded.
However, the sixteen-year-old girl is soon found to be easily flustered and quickly angered, and it is plain, despite those purple eyes, that her looks are no match for, say, Delia of Eldorne, the current beauty of Court. Soon the flame-haired girl merits little attention, not when the balls are flush with other young ladies quite superior in terms of loveliness, fashionableness, and manners.
At one such ball, Alex leans against the wall, observing the proceedings detachedly. Couples twirl about on the floor, while others make conversation over refreshments. He hasn't interest in any of it. In his mind, young ladies are good only for kissing and holding; having to talk to them is simply mind-numbing.
He has not yet met a girl who has anything worthwhile to say, yet they all chatter on regardless, which aggravates him further, having long held by the belief that, if one has nothing interesting to say, one should remain silent.
Roger approaches him, holding a glass of wine. As the Heir, he is the most eligible bachelor in the room, though currently he has shaken off all of his admirers except Thom, who is both more persistent, and more favored, than most. Not more so than Alex, but—he shoots the younger boy a very cold look.
"Really, Alex, you should dance," murmurs Roger. "Don't you find any of these exquisite young ladies appealing?"
"Hardly," Alex says dryly, and Roger laughs.
"Neither do I," he confesses merrily, "but I will have to choose one eventually. A king must produce heirs. And you, my friend, must as well—my reign will be desolate, if I cannot look forward to dark-eyed young pages of Tirragen, ones who will serve me as well as you have. What say you, Thom?"
The young Lord of Trebond looks pleased to be spoken to. "Well—"
"You're looking to wed off your sister, are you not?" Roger cuts him off smoothly, his eyes gleaming. "I have the most marvelous idea. Introduce her to Alex. I'm certain they will get along famously."
Alex and Thom are both aware that Roger is toying with them, setting them against each other for his own amusement. But they react as expected to. "I don't really think…" Thom starts, and this time Alex interrupts, his smile as self-satisfied as a cat's.
"Yes, Thom, do introduce me to this sister of yours. Where's the harm?" he asks innocently. Why hadn't it occurred to him before? What better way to aggravate Thom than to become involved with his sister?
"Very well," says Thom tightly, and leads him off across the ballroom. They find the sister hanging back from the joyous crowds, apparently having an involved talk with Sir Myles of Olau. Alex smirks. Thom will have a difficult time indeed, finding a husband for a girl who hasn't anyone but the Court drunk to talk to.
Thom approaches, lays a hand on her shoulder. Sir Myles, his eyes flicking between Thom and Alex, excuses himself to get more wine. Thom smiles sparingly at his sister. "Alanna, I would like to introduce you to Sir Alexander of Tirragen."
The sister extends a small hand to Alex, who touches his lips to it briefly. "Charmed," she murmurs, her eyes large and watchful.
Alex stands up straight again, cocks his head, and offers his arm. "If I could have this dance."
Her smile is small. "I would be honored." And with that, Alex takes her onto the dancefloor, leaving Thom helpless but to watch and seethe. Alex is not the husband the young sorcerer had had in mind.
They begin to dance, and Alex says nothing, aware that his silence is making her uncomfortable. Unabashedly, he trains his dark eyes on hers, not looking away as custom dictates. This makes her blink, but she meets his gaze unflinchingly, which… surprises him, he will admit.
Her eyes are very bright.
"So, Sir Alexander," she begins, trying to alleviate the tension. "What do you most enjoy about Court?"
Alex, doing his best to repress a sneer, does not answer. This girl is just like all the rest of them, shallow and dull. Already bored, he studies her. She's quite petite, easily fitting into the crook of his arm. Her facial structure is neither displeasing nor noteworthy, though her eyes and hair lend the illusion of prettiness. He does feel some sort of sexual attraction to her. Perhaps they can find a deserted corridor—
"Sir Alexander, you must tell me—are all knights as rude as you, or, in that, do you stand above your peers?"
He's completely thrown off, and blinks. "I—what?"
Thom's sister looks at him pertly. "I must confess that I do not know as much of chivalry as surely you do, but I was quite strong in the belief that a knight has the good grace to answer a lady's simple question. Or is that not chivalry? Please, enlighten me."
Direct little thing, isn't she. "I did not answer your question because I have been asked it by young ladies such as yourself a thousand times over. It's lamentable that the gentler sex has so few topics to converse about." Another nobleman, clearly having drunk too much wine, staggers past them with his dancing partner, and Alex steers the girl in his arms out of the way.
"Forgive me for having been shut up in a convent," cries Thom's sister indignantly. "It gives one precious little to speak of. Or shall I entertain you with riveting tales of embroidery?"
"You're quite frank," he informs her, smiling a little.
At that, she raises a shoulder in a delicate shrug. "I never could master the art of ladylike conversation. And having been exposed to very little of the world, I cannot speak of that, either. All that's left to me is frankness."
"So you should see the world," is his simple solution.
Thom's sister gives him a look that says she'd already come to that conclusion by herself, thankyouverymuch. "I plan to. I want to. But I must find a husband who can support my adventures financially, and, moreover, will give me leave to pursue them."
"Ah," says Alex, his face grave but his eyes mischievous, "that is quite the task indeed. I wish you luck." Then, he tilts his head. "Did it ever occur to you that perhaps you might find a husband who will accompany you on these adventures?"
Now, she is the one caught off-guard. "Well, I—no. It didn't occur to me."
He smiles a small, secret smile. "Keep it in mind. 'Come with me on an adventure' is more appealing than 'Let me go on an adventure.'"
"Different things appeal to different people," she counters. "If you're so knowledgeable, to whom does 'come on my adventure with me' appeal to?"
He regards her for a moment. "Well," and here he gives a blasé shrug, "to me."
(At the end of the evening, she is no longer Thom's sister to him. She is Alanna.)
I'll be fine, you'll be fine
This moment seems so long
Don't waste your precious time
We'll dance inside the song
Dude, I could go for some pancakes.
This is the first chapter out of two or three. It's another Alanna-goes-to-the-convent, yes. Prince Jonathan died of the Sweating Sickness. As for why Thom didn't heal him, I doubt Thom would have gotten along with Jon's circle. And even if Thom had tried to save the prince's life, Alanna's success was largely due to the assistance of the Great Mother Goddess. So yeah, Jon's dead, Roger's the Heir/is slowly killing the queen. Sorry 'bout that, guys.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything involved in the Song of the Lioness - the characters, the setting, the plot, etc. All is Tamora Pierce's. The lyrics at the end come from The All-American Rejects' "Dance Inside."