A/N: Here we go again with this fic that everybody has been saying that I should finish. Well, finish I shall, with a much better way of telling it as well as an actual thought out plot. Even I amaze myself that I can research.

This is a complete reworking of Rekindled, with a brand new title to go with it! yay It will have generally the same characters and some of the plot of the original, only better (hopefully). Should you feel the need to suffer and read the original Rekindled, be my guest. Also, this fic will have Christian references and prophecies, though I am not Christian (I'm atheist). I have only researched the basic stuff of Christianity, plus, I have all these friends who believe in God, so not much to worry about, lest I unintentionally insult them or any of you believers of God (no mocking tone or insult intended). But I would do that anyway XD, unintentionally. Personally, I think religion is a waste of time. Seriously, why would any sane person waste a perfectly good Sunday going to church while you can sleep in?

Death's Due

Chapter One: News of Scanra

By: DarkDracon0

Corus, the capital of the great kingdom of Tortall, was bustling with activity as the late autumn temperatures began to set in. Commoners were preparing for winter as nobles began to shop for an onslaught of parties and balls that was traditionally during the colder seasons. Unbeknownst to many, Lady Knight Keladry of Mindelan was silently suffering the attentions of her own maid, now turned seamstress and dress designer.

Lalasa flitted back and forth from Kel to a small wooden desk, writing down measurements and shooting out suggestions in such a rapid pace that Kel didn't even have time to consider before Lalasa either shook her head or made agreeable sounds.

'At least she's happy,' Kel thought, her arms starting to ache from lack of movement. 'If only I didn't have to go to that blasted party. I could be doing so many other things, productive things...' Her train of thought was interrupted when Lalasa started jerking the measurement tape around her body and pinning yards of cloth to her body. Kel sighed inwardly. "My lady, hold still!"

"I'm trying. You know, do you think I could show up at the ball and then quietly slip out unnoticed at the opportune moment without anybody noticing? I mean, I was only knighted three years ago -"

"With the dress I'm making for you, everybody will notice if you suddenly disappear."

"What? If you don't make it too flashy or noticeable, I could easily get out and actually do work. I have reports to write and check supplies and –" Lalasa sighed. Her lady was still the same. Overworked and overstressed with no time for a social life. Again. She only wished that Lady Kel could at least find time for a man. Gods only knew she needed one.

The bell on the door gently chimed, followed by the sound of boots thumping on wooden floor. It was Neal.

"Damn me if it isn't cold outside! Oh, hello Kel. Getting a dress fitted?" Neal, who was engaged to Yuki and to be married midwinter, was still giddy with the thought. "I just came by to see if Yuki's dress is almost ready. Can I-"

"No, Master Neal, you cannot see the dress or the design." Neal almost sighed with disappointment, knowing that any attempt to see the dress was futile. And even if he glimpsed it, Yuki and Lalasa would probably beat him half to death, then have his father erase his memory. But it'd probably be worth it, he thought, grinning.

"So you're going to that ball next week, Kel?" Kel gave a grimace. "Yes, obviously. Raoul would love nothing more than dragging me along so that he doesn't suffer alone. Maybe I can hide behind the curtains with him," Kel said, thoughtful. Neal chuckled.

"I thought you liked the balls."

"I do, it's just that I have so much work to do. I'd rather get that done then go frolicking with the rest of the court."

"Frolicking?" Neal laughed again.

"It is what most of the court does. Wastes time."

"My lady should find a man amongst all that wonderful frolicking," Lalasa said, dryly. Kel reddened. Neal grinned and threw an arm around her, nearly dislodging all the pins. Kel puffed, unable to move as her arms were still held out and stuck with pins and the weight of Neal's body.

"Yes, Lady Knight. You must find a man soon. We're starting to think that you're going celibate." Neal shuddered.

Kel, arms threatening to fail her and make Lalasa go mad should she dislodge any of the pins, straightened and tried to bear Neal's weight. "Such a frightening thought?" She shook her head in mock disappointment. "Men are such basic creatures."

"But of course. It's why you seek to guide us weak of will males into the way of the righteous and all that is holy," Neal said, poking fun. He tucked his hands into his pockets.

"Fat load of help that's done for you. You still make cow eyes at the other ladies." Neal tired to stammer out something. Kel rolled her eyes.

"Yes, Neal, of course. Yuki is going to stomp that out of you once you're married."

A half hour later, Kel and Neal walked out of Lalasa's shop, both bracing themselves from the cold. Kel absently rubbed at her tired arms as Neal talked of the recent news of the Scanran War.

"From what I hear, the war is almost done though there's been news of another group of mages that's appeared in King Maggot's court."

"A new group of mages?"

"Yeah, and stronger than Blayce the Gallan. A lot stronger and smarter if the rumor is true."

"But the war's almost over. Maggur's true advantage was those machines and we've destroyed those. The clan warlords are supposed to have already turned their backs away from him and a few have already rejected his rule and taken back their land and manpower."

"We all thought so, too, along with the king. Apparently, the mages did some little trick that had the clans' running back together to fight under Maggot. Not good and no war officials' too happy about it either." Kel now rubbed at her eyes.

"Neal, we've lost too many men to the war, especially to the killing devices, and we're starting to exhaust our resources. If the war keeps going, Tortall'll soon lose any advantage over Scanra."

"True enough. All of the knights at court say so as well and can only wait until they receive orders. It's the same with us. All we can do is wait. Or, maybe I'm the one who's going to be waiting, being that you got promoted again," Neal grinned and patted a congratulatory hand on her shoulder. Kel mouthed her thanks.

"It's not really a promotion, since I'm not a soldier. I just get more men to order about."

Neal raised a brow. "If we count all the men you get to command, you'd be in the same level as a Major now. Impressive, considering that it's been three years since you were knighted and green when the war started. The pages and squires now scramble to get a glimpse of you should you be strolling along counting the supplies again." Kel laughed.

"Oh, I doubt that. The more conservative peers and sons of peers of the realm still sneer at me. And you know the more conservative you are, the more prejudiced."

"No, the more conservative, the more you need to get that stick out of your ass." They laughed together and soon entered the palace gates. Fellow knights and servants waved them hellos and cheerful greetings, friendly as ever. "Still, you're a bit of a walking legend. First Lady Knight to go through all that training without hiding her sex has shot up the military ranks in only three years. It would have made the Stump gnash his teeth if he still didn't like you."

"Maybe."

"Oh, you know it's true," Neal replied, both stepping through the large wooden doors and into the palace courtyard. "I'm feeling a bit hungry, care to go get something to eat?" Kel shook her head. "No, I have to look over some figures. I'll meet you in the practice courts if you like, maybe in an hour?" Kel offered.

"Alright, meet you there." Kel waved him good bye and quickly walked to her room. Her room was in a new separate wing that was specifically set aside for officers. Most of the rooms were bare and Spartan, though there was the occasional maid or manservant who tried to lighten the atmosphere by adding a trinket here and there.

Her own room was indeed very bare and plain, something that mildly annoyed her. Like the more thoughtful servants, she tried to add some color into the room by setting her lucky cats on the top of the fireplace. There was a large writing desk by the wall and a bed by another. The windows were slightly opened, making the room cool. The draperies were also open, letting in the afternoon sun.

She slipped off her jacket and tossed it on the bed, making her way to the writing desk. Upon it were several figures she had yet to attend to. She sat down and quickly began to work. She was done with nearly half when her mind began drifting again. She sighed. Her mind had begun to wander a lot lately. Leaning back on the chair, she tapped her quill on the desk, thoughtful. She could hear the sounds of horses and people, even a few birds that were late in their migration to the south.

It was all comforting, peaceful. Like home. The distant thud and crack of practice swords and staffs came to her ears. The calls and yells of both pages and trainers echoed through the palace grounds.

And it was all so different from the battlefield. She knew that she shouldn't think about it. That the more she thought of the men she killed and the men she had lost would haunt her, day and night. For the good of the realm and all who are innocent and don't deserve to be caught in between two warring countries, she thought.

But ever since her mission to destroy Blayce had been over, she had been restless. She hadn't noticed it, but she felt as if she were waiting for something. Not just orders or something horrible, but as if there were someone or something coming to her and all she could do to quicken the meeting was to wait. It annoyed and bothered her all at the same time. What exactly was she waiting for? And why did it feel that it was of the utmost importance, more than anything, including the war itself?

One week later

First of the Winter Balls

The dress Kel wore was comfortable, thanks to Lalasa. Had it been made by any other seamstress, it would have been tight and unbearably hot. A deep russet red, her favorite color, the dress was elegant and fashionable according to the current style. At least that was what Lalasa had said. Kel wouldn't have known either way. She'd been away for too long.

There were several knights present, many flirting and drinking, happy to be home from the war. Since it was winter, the Scanrans would retreat back into the mountains and wait out the cold until spring thawed the ice. For now, she could at least enjoy herself, no matter if she longed to be in her room, practicing with her glaive. Either way, ball or practice, she wouldn't think about the feeling of foreboding or waiting.

She smiled as she saw Neal and Yuki stare at each other, entranced. They fit.

That was also she thought when she saw them together. She was happy for them, she truly was. Finally, Neal would spare her his bad poetry and near constant sighing and mooning over some new court beauty. Yuki was good for him and they both could make the other laugh. A perfect match.

She started when she felt a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, there." She turned to see Dom, dressed in a dark green tunic and white shirt. "Dom." She smiled at him, happy to see him well.

"How is our resident Lady Knight? You know how the Lioness flees every winter to avoid the balls and the cold."

"I'm better, thanks. More things to juggle now, but I manage. What about you and the rest of the Eighth Company?"

"All safe and sound." He grinned. "After that little adventure with Blayce, most of them are happy to be here. Or at least somewhere where there's drink and women everywhere."

"That sounds just like them. By the way, where is Raoul? I thought he had to at least attend the first ball."

"Oh...well." Kel nodded briefly and knew exactly where he was.

"At least he's not behind the curtains," Kel said, smiling at the thought of where her former knight master was.

Dom grinned back. "And now that I think of it, where is Meathead?"

"Behind you. And Sir Meathead is what I am, even you with your tiny brain could have remembered," Neal mockingly sneered.

"Hello, Sir Meathead," Dom replied, grabbing Neal in a headlock and rubbing his knuckles on the top of his head. "And look, now you're all growed up with fiancé. Who'd have thought that any woman with a single working brain cell would have married you?"

Neal said something that was muffled against Dom's arm and broke free of the lock. Quickly smoothing his ruffled hair back on his head, Neal made a rude gesture at Dom. Dom reciprocated, grinning.

"So, Kel, have you heard of that plague in Tyra?"

Kel shook her head. "No, a plague? That's new." Dom nodded.

"Yeah, sprang out of nowhere, that's what everybody says. It's only a small one. The palace healers were talking about it. The healers in Tyra are most keeping it contained, so that it doesn't spread. Oh, it'll probably wipe itself out in a few more weeks, no worries. It's doubtful that it'll even touch Tortall. Small stuff."

Kel looked at some of the decorations on the walls, watching the way the candles, protected by mages to keep from blowing out, play on the walls. Noise and the smell of rich food and drink floated through the large court. It seemed almost surreal. Like a dream.

She remembered that she was in the middle of a conversation with Dom, nodded absently. "That's good to hear. I forgot to mention, but there's a famine in Scanra." Dom raised his brows. "Oh?"

"It would seem that the winter has come early in Scanra and they didn't have enough time to prepare and gather for their winter stores. I just got the news yesterday, at a meeting of officers. They're not happy, since raiders will most likely hit us the hardest for food."

"I haven't heard the news. How is it that you know things before I do, now?"

Kel shrugged. "According to Neal, I'm a higher position, therefore entitled to know before most other people do."

Dom sighed and wondered if Kel knew just how much power and rank she now held. Doing that refugee camp assignment from Lord Wyldon and taking down Blayce had done wonders to her reputation as an officer of war as well as to prove that she was one of the best that Tortall had to offer in war. Though she was still considered green for a knight, she was well-respected and he no longer heard anymore comments from men about her own competence and credibility; which was a relief, since he, or his men, didn't have to get into as many fights to defend her honor.

Dom said, "It's strange that Scanra would have a famine."

Kel cocked her head to one side, curious. "Why? After all, they are in a war, so they wouldn't have as much food to feed the commoners, and Scanra is naturally mountainous, which prevents any farming at all. You already know that's the reason why the prey on other villages; to survive."

"No matter how late or early the winter season arrives, the Scanrans are usually prepared for it. They're supposed to be quite used to the fickleness of winter. It really is strange that they wouldn't be prepared," Dom shrugged.

"All the more reason why Tortallans hate them so much. Neal also mentioned some group of mages in King Maggur's court. They did something, made the clans come back to Maggur to resume the war again. Know anything about it?"

"Heard of that, did you? Even if you didn't, I would have told you anyway." Dom lightly scratched at his chin. "I don't know much other than the rumors, but they did something that resembled what Blayce did. Bring back the dead."

Kel's eyes widened. "What?!"

Dom nodded. "That's what the rumors are. Except they didn't contain any spirits of any sort in those devices, or else the spies would have reported back. It's really only a rumor, not much to go on to get all worked up. Maybe all the mages can do is conjure up some food and supplies for the poor louts. Then again, this could be just another piece of fiction they made up to scare us."

Kel wrapped her arms around herself, suddenly feeling cold. More necromancy? Bringing spirits back from the dead? She shuddered. She briefly wondered if the Chamber of the Ordeal would call to her to stop it again. The thought was cut off at the sound of a herald's booming voice

"Marquis of Helvete!" A man appeared between the great doors and Kel suddenly felt strange. His face was shadowed, but she could see that he was dressed in plain black breeches and white shirt. He wore a black tunic over the shirt and on the left shoulder was a family shield. It showed a snarling black dragon with golden eyes that were slit and breathing blue and silver flames on a red background. Clutched in one of the dragon's claw was a large sword and in another was a set of scales, the kind that was to measure money and trade items that were sold by weight. On the dragon's head was a crown.

"Kel? Kel, are you alright?" Kel jumped. "What?"

Neal looked at her, concerned. "You went still and pale all of a sudden. Are you alright?"

"Oh, I'm fine. Just a little cold," she said. The man had stepped into the light and she saw him. His eyes were the same shade as the dragon's, she thought absently. He had a thin, aristocratic nose and prominent cheekbones. His hair was black, bangs nearly hanging over his eyes. His jaw and chin was chiseled, reminding her of the god-like statues many of the palace artists made that were popular among the nobles. And he looked so familiar to her. But she was sure that she had never seen him before, not with that kind of face.

"Neal."

"Hmm." He was watching for Yuki.

"Who is the Marquis?" He turned to her, interested. "You want to know about Helvete?"

"Yes." She wasn't looking at Neal, but at the Marquis, her eyes trained on him.

"Well, there's not much to tell. Old family, very old, dating farther back than the Contes if the rumors are true. The new head of family, the Marquis, keeps to himself, hardly ever showing up at court. He's a quiet one. The Helvete land and estate is one of the largest, and richest, in all of the Eastern Lands and the family is supposedly related to nearly all of the nearby royal families, including our own king. I don't really know. Father's mentioned them a time or two, but even he doesn't know much."

"What's his name?" Neal turned to Kel again, surprised. "What?"

Kel never took her eyes off the Marquis. "What's his name? Surely you must at least know his name."

"Why so interested?" Neal inquired, curious.

"No... Just wondering. I think I've seen him before. I'm not sure. Maybe it would help if I knew his name."

Neal raised a brow. "You think you've seen him before? I doubt it. He's never shown up in court, no matter how much the king wants him to, and I don't believe he's ever been anywhere nearby when you were at Haven or New Hope."

"Neal, what's his name? I'm sure I've seen him before." It was really only a half-lie.

"Umm... I think it was Dante. Yes, Dante de Thanatos."

A/N: Oh wow, that took me a while to write. Kept thinking and thinking what I was going to write. Anyhow, read and review. I really do want to know if I've gotten any better at writing. So constructive criticism is widely welcomed. I think I made Lalasa a bit OOC since I last read the PotS series quite a while ago; I recently skimmed through Lady Knight to figure out Kel's character a bit more. I guess I'll probably have to read through Squire as well.

Oh, and I just got a new laptop!! YAY!! To whoever or whatever force that actually got my mother to buy the laptop, I will be your sex kitten for life. LoL, yessiree, this laptop is a Toshiba Satellite A55-S326, brand spanking new, straight out of Best Buy on a lovely Sunday morning. Of course, it cost a minor fortune, but then, I didn't pay for it. Now, I could go on and on about the attributes of this sweet thing, but I don't think anybody wants to hear it ;) Now, the laptop is a Windows XP Home Edition and with an Intel Pentium M processor 725 and a LCD screen of 15" and is a Centrino – (Dante walks by, sees that the author is raving about the laptop again and drags her away).

Dante- "My sincere apologies to all readers. The author is safe and sound, quiet as well now that she is under the influence of two heavy-duty sleeping pills. She will awake in 16 hours time and quite well and chipper. I must now leave you, as the author is now starting to drool and mumble in her sleep again. She is threatening to kill me off by chapter five. I must sedate her further before she decides to do this. Thank you. I hope you enjoyed this chapter." (Bows and exits with a flourish.)