This is fanfiction and just about all the characters will be from Tamora Pierce's books. If there is another story similar to mine posted on this website (besides the basic idea that Kel decided not to accept the probationary year), I have not read it. I appreciate any reviews.

Kel looked at the missive that had been delivered by a royal messenger only a few moments before. She had taken it to her room to read as it was one of the few private places she had in the castle. She read it again and anger began to replace disbelief.

In response to the letter you sent us earlier this year We have
decided that if your daughter, Keladry of Midelan, still wishes to
become a knight of the Realm of Tortall she may train for one
probationary year. During said year she will be treated as a first
year page and take the same classes and training as all first year
pages. If by the end of her first year she still wishes to train, her
performance will be evaluated by the page training master, Lord Wyldon
of Cavall. If he believes her able she may then continue her
training. If, however, he believes that she cannot or will not keep
up with the male pages she will be releases from the training program.
Please send your response to Lord Wyldon residing at the palace.
His Majesty Jonathon of Conte IV

By the end of her second reading Kel was furious. She knew that Lord Wyldon was not a progressive and intensely disliked females performing in traditionally male roles. He had never kept his dislike a secret. The king must have known that putting her fate in his hand was the same as outright refusal, with one year of training while being ridiculed. Kel would have preferred an outright refusal, at least then there wouldn't be this sham of an attempt at fairness.

As Kel prepared to shred the message, she noticed another note in the package the messenger had given her. This one was not written on the heavy official paper used by court scribes but on light expensive stationary. Kel broke the plain seal and glanced at the signature. When she read the name she nearly dropped the letter. The message was brief and to the point.

If you find the options presented to you by the crown unacceptable
please contact me at my home, Pirates Swoop. May the Goddess bless
you, whichever path you chose.
-Alanna Cooper

Kel picked up her pen, took some paper from her desk and quickly wrote her reply.

Sir Alanna,
I have found the conditions laid down by the crown on the matter of my
training to be merely a ploy to soothe the king's conscience after his
proclamation ten years ago. If you could offer me a better solution
than returning to the Yamani Islands to continue my training I would
gladly accept. I know that I cannot join the Shang as I am several
years too old and I also do not think that Lord Wyldon would accept a
twin brother of mine since I have declared my intentions. Please
reply soon so that I may send an appropriate response to the palace.
Keladry of Mindelan

When Alanna received the message four days later she showed it to her husband, George. "I'm glad she's intelligent enough to see through Jon's ploy and I'm furious at Jon for breaking his word like this. No mention of probation was made before or after that proclamation. She must feel like she has been betrayed by her own king."
"Well, luv, what are your plans for the intelligent young girl whose rose colored glasses have just been broken?"
Alanna looked at her husband seriously, "Well, I had planned to train her myself but... well, the Goddess visited me during evening prayer last night. Apparently there are big plans for Keladry of Midelan. She said I would be a good sword teacher but others would be coming to teach other stuff." Seeing George's disbelief Alanna exclaimed, "I swear George!"
"I believe ya darling, its just hard sometimes coming to grips with the fact that my wife has conversations with the Gods."
"Goddess, singular feminine. Oh and she also said to keep an eye out for 'other girls in need of guidance' which I think you should be able to handle, Master Spy." George just looked at her. "Don't look at me like that, George, I know you are perfectly capable of telling me exactly what Jon mumbles in his sleep every night just like you can tell me how Kaddar's courting is going."
"Don't you think you ought to send a reply to Keladry? You might want to leave the Goddess bit out though. You don't want her to run screaming in the other direction, which is what I'd do if I'd been chosen by the Gods."
Alanna looked up from the letter she had started to write, "But you were, George. You were chosen for me." George just gave her a pained expression and left the room in search of their rambunctious children.

When Kel received the return message she opened it quickly and a gleam of excitement flashed in her eyes. Her decision for immediate training had been compounded when she found herself unable to rescue a litter of kittens from a spidren that had wandered onto Midelan land. She was going to Pirate's Swoop. Later that afternoon, after a long discussion with her parents, Kel sat down to write her to reply to King Jonathon's "generous" offer.

Lord Wyldon:
After carefully reading the letter sent to me by His Majesty I regret
to inform you that the conditions set down in it are unacceptable to
me and my family. I will be seeking training from another source.
While it may not be my first choice, hopefully I will still be able to
help those in need of protection from people stronger or more powerful
than they. Please inform His Majesty that the salve for his
conscience was rejected and he may come to regret it in future years.
Keladry of Mindelan

Two days later Keladry of Midelan was packed up and boarding a ship headed for Pirate's Swoop. The good-byes exchanged looked formal and stiff but it was only her Yamani training which kept Lady Ilane from crying at the farewell for she knew it would be a long time before she saw her youngest daughter again.

In Corus, Lord Wyldon of Cavall requested a private audience with His Majesty King Jonathon. "Well my lord, have you had word from Baron Piers?"
"No, Sire, Lady Keladry replied herself. I thought you should read it and perhaps send a copy to the Lioness to prove that we did not prevent her from training." The king raised an eyebrow and took the offered letter. After reading it her sighed.
"Thank you, my lord. I think I will keep this for now. You may leave. I'm sure there are many important duties you must carry out before the first day of formal training."
"Yes Sire."
Once Wyldon had left Jon read the letter again. He'd had a feeling his decision would come back to haunt him. He looked up as the door from his private chambers opened. When he saw Thayet there he sighed, "You know, I believe that being a tyrant with absolute control might be a much better way to rule a country."
Thayet smiled, "Rough day?"
"Yeah. I think I should have just let Wyldon resign when that Midelan girl applied to be a page."
Thayet's face lost its smile, "While I will always be grateful to him for saving Liam, Jasson and Liane's lives I'm afraid I must agree with the name Baird's son has given the training master. He is a Stump. A Stump stuck in mud for that matter."
"Well what's done is done. However since fairness is required I must give the same option to all the females who apply to become pages."
Thayet sighed unhappily. "And as long as you do that Alanna will stay away from Corus and getting information from George will be like pulling teeth from a lion."

A few days later the ship which had left from Midelan was forced to stop in a small cove several miles from its destination to make repairs after running aground on hidden rocks. None of the very busy crew noticed when the small figure left the captain's cabin and no one noticed later when the same figure leapt over the rail and disappeared into the forest. When the ship docked in the harbor at Pirate's Swoop a week later the solemn eyed captain personally delivered luggage to the castle and requested a meeting with the lady of the manor.

When the short stocky woman entered sweating and carrying a naked sword the captain gulped and hoped the bad tidings he brought would not bring the now sheathed sword down on his neck. "Milady...I...ah...I bring... ah... bad news regarding Lady Keladry of Mindelan."
When the face in front of him remained impassive the man gulped again and pressed on in a rush, "We ran aground on some rock sever miles down the coast and Lady Keladry was above board taking some air when the boat tilted to one side and Lady Keladry was thrown onto the rocks. We retrieved the body but by the time we found it, it had also been discovered by sea scavengers. We thought it best to give her a sea burial." The woman looked only slightly annoyed that the girl who had been sent to her for fostering was dead.
The woman let out a sigh, "Well I suppose I must now write to Baron Piers telling him she's dead. What a bother. What was the girl's name again?"
"Ah... Keladry, Milady."
"Thank you captain, you are dismissed."
"Ah... Milady, what should I do with the luggage?"
"Oh, leave it here. I'm sure we'll find some one who wants it." The captain left. It was clear to him now why the lady had preferred to run away than live with the Lady of Pirate's Swoop. He dreaded going back to Mindelan so after he sold his cargo he looked for a contract that would take him further north.

In the room he had just left, the Lady of Pirate's Swoop smiled, "You can come out now Kel and George. I know you're there." A panel on the side of the room slid open and the Baron of Pirate's Swoop walked out with an unrepentant grin, followed by Keladry with a rather satisfied expression on her face.
"I'm glad he came to tell you personally because with your act and the reason I gave for running away he'll pity me and not tell anyone what he thinks is the true story."
"So now Keladry of Midelan is officially dead," said George.
"Yes," said Alanna, "And now what should we write to your parents?"
"Well we'd best tell them the whole story so they can put on a proper show but we should tell them not to tell anyone else, not even the family." A look of regret passed over Kel's face, "I think the only people I'm going to miss besides Mama and Papa are Anders and all my nieces and nephews." Shaking her head Kel said brightly, "Well, when do I start training?"
"As soon as your instructors arrive."
Seeing Kel's quizzical look Alanna sighed, "It's a long story but I'm only going to teach you swordsmanship. I'm told that others will come when they're needed. In the meantime would you like to get your trunks and take them to your cottage?"
"Yes. May I borrow a horse?" "Yes, of course." Kel left and Alanna and George watched as she carried the luggage to the stables.
"It's a hard path she's chosen."
"Aye, but you survived your path, she'll survive hers."

Two days later Kel visited from her small cottage for tea with Alanna. "Who ever is pulling strings is sitting mighty high." Alanna raised an eyebrow in inquiry.
"How so?"
"I didn't think anything would induce Nariko to leave the Yamani Islands short of a command from the Goddess but she's here and she says that she is going to continue my glaive, staff and hand to hand combat beyond that of a Yamani court lady." Occupied with her thoughts Kel did not see Alanna choke on her tea.
"Also my other teacher would like to know if I have free access to your library."
"Of course you do. How many times must I tell you, you're a part of the family now."
"Did you send the letter off to my parents?"
"Ok, well Si-Cham had a list of books for me to look for in your library. See you later." Alanna stared after her ward, glad she had not had tea in her mouth that time since she certainly would have sprayed the room with it. She pinched herself and yelped proving that she had not dreamt that Kel had said that Si-Cham, who'd been dead at least a century, was teaching her. Alanna decided a visit to the cottage was in order so when Kel returned with a stack of books Alanna offered to help carry them.

When they reached the clearing Alanna saw a tent off to one side and looked inquiringly at Kel. "Nariko prefers sleeping outdoors to becoming soft by living inside. Master Si-Cham is living in the cottage's guest room." Kel and Alanna both had their hands full so Kel banged on the door with her elbow, "Si-Cham, can you open the door, my hands are full." The door was opened by a man who looked like Si-Cham, but was much younger than the Si-Cham Alanna remembered.
When the man saw Alanna he smiled and said, "Ah... there will be some explaining to do now."
Kel just looked at them, "You know each other?"
"Long ago Kel , long ago."
"Oh well then I'll leave you two to catch up. Which book should I start with, Master Si-Cham?"
"Did you find Immortal Traditions?" Seeing the nod he continued, "Good, start with the chapter on spidrens please."
Once Kel left Alanna found her voice, "Si-Cham, is that really you? I thought you were dead."
The man smiled, "And so I am but Kel needed a scholar with an open mind and a vast knowledge of history."
"I was going to ask Myles."
"Yes, well, since Kel is not at the palace Myles is needed even more."
"Did the Goddess tell you who else was coming?"
"Well there is a problem finding heroes who are recent enough not to have lost their memories and taste for life in the Black God's Realm."
"Why don't you look like you did before Josiane killed you?"
"Why would I choose to come back in a body that was too old to ride a horse and creaked on cold nights?"

The year passed quickly and George's contacts in the palace reported trouble in the pages' wing. One boy had fallen down a set of stairs in the teachers' wing and had been severely concussed, causing his withdrawal from training. Another boy withdrew from training after a "severe beating from person or persons unknown" since the page would not name his abusers.

Daine and Numair left the palace to spend time at home. Daine brought with her a large war trained gelding which had been severely abused. She was having trouble getting him to trust anyone but her. One day the gelding, whose name was Peachblossom wandered into the clearing where Kel lived. The horse and girl seemed to understand each other and Daine was convinced to leave the horse in Alanna's care when she returned to the palace.

Towards the middle of the summer, Eda Bell sent word to Alanna that Raoul, the King's Own and the pages out on their summer training had been surprised by a group of spidren they'd been hunting. Several pages and members of the Kings Own had been injured and 1 page and 6 soldiers had been killed. The woman who had been taken from the nearby village had been long dead by the time the nest was found and destroyed. Kel occupied her time with glaive, staff and hand to hand combat with Nariko, sword work with Alanna and languages, literature, mathematics (which she showed an aptitude for) and the cultures of the tribes, countries and immortals living in and around Tortall with Si-Cham.