A/N: OK, spent a looooonnnngggg time writing this, so please READ AND REVIEW!!!
Disclaimer: see the name of the site - fanfiction. So I am obviously a fan(no, not the spinny kind that makes breeze) I do not claim any of the characters, BUT the plot is mine.. so nah-nah-na-boo-boo
Prince Roald of Conté sat in a plush armchair in his father's study. His father, Jonathon of Conté, sat behind his desk scanning a map of the land near the Scanran border. He sighed and rolled up the parchment, storing it within one of the many drawers in his desk.
One of the great oak doors that led to Jonathon's study opened just as the drawer clicked shut, and in walked Alanna of Pirate's Swoop, Trebond and Olau, the King's Champion, Tortall's very own Lioness.
"Good evening Roald." She nodded at him in greeting, and he did the same in return. He took those moments to examine her appearance, and found that something had taken quite a toll on her.
There were gray hairs where there had been none before, and there were wrinkles forming on a previously smooth face. Dark bags [under her eyes] caused her face to look sallow. The emotion held in her eyes was something that scared him more than anything else. Despair, disappointment, and tiredness were all present. Though he could see a small bit of anger and frustration, it was nothing compared to the usual fire in the eyes of the Lioness.
It was all because of this stupid war. No one was happy anymore - Owen hadn't even said "Jolly" for months now.
She turned her attention to her King.
"We lost five more today." She took a seat in one of the chairs in front of Jonathon's desk.
He nodded sadly in reply, and looked into her eyes.
"This war is a nightmare." His voice was hoarse from many sleepless nights.
"Alanna, I need you here with me. I can't take this much longer, you're the only one that can help me."
Forgotten, Roald stared at both of them, observing the exchange. His father's eyes were filled with something that he was unfamiliar with. He had only seen that emotion in his father's eyes once. So long ago, when he was just a little child...
"Papa, can you tell me a story?" 5 year old Roald sat in his bed, staring at his father with big, blue eyes. His sister, Kalasin, had run over from her room and now sat next to her brother, staring at her father as well.
"Please, Papa!" Her little voice made him smile, and Jon settled down on the bed as well, and begun his story, a strange emotion filling his eyes...
"Once upon a time there was a prince, who-"
"Is this story about me Papa?" Roald asked.
"No son. Now, where was I? Oh yes," He cleared his throat and begun his story again.
"Once upon a time there was a prince, who had many friends, including a young woman who was keeping a very big secret from everyone else in court. This prince found out her secret, but he promised not to tell."
At this, both Roald and Kalasin had put one chubby little finger on their lips and made a shushing noise.
"As time went on, the prince and the woman became best friends, and gradually they fell deeply in love with each other. As their relationship progressed, others declared their love for the woman, and yet she stayed true to her prince.
"You see, this woman was no ordinary woman."
Both children shook their heads, and said things like 'Nuh-uh' and 'No way'.
"She was intelligent, with a fiery temper, and she was so full of passion and caring for others that the prince loved her so much he felt his heart would burst.
"But one day her secret was revealed and she fled from the palace."
Both children gasped, and Jonathon hid a smile under his hand.
"She ran into a Bazhir tribe, who adopted her into their tribe. She became a shaman, and taught herself extraordinary magics,"
A bit of blue fire sparkled in his hand, dancing in the air. He closed his hand, and all trace of magic was gone.
"and then took on three students, who she taught to become shamans.
"Then, one hot day, her prince showed up for a visit. They greeted each other calmly, but as soon as everyone else had left the tent they, er.. they hugged! They hugged each other as if they thought they might never see each other again.
"But as they say, every good thing comes to an end. The prince proposed to the woman, and she asked for more time. When the prince was to return to the palace, he asked for her bags to be packed and her horse readied for riding back to the capital, taking her answer for granted."
Jonathon sighed, thinking of his grave mistake in the past. He looked at his children, who did not seem to like the turn the story was taking.
He himself wished things could have gone differently, but he had never told anyone the full story before, and it felt good to get it off his chest.
"She was angry at him. Very angry. She refused to go back to the palace with him, and they both said some rather harsh things that they didn't mean. She ran into her tent, fuming, while the prince, who was also extremely angry, rode away on his horse.
"The prince then began to court a princess, to show her that she didn't matter to him anymore."
"The swine!" Kalasin looked livid.
"The woman was extremely upset, yet the prince had no idea of this. She went to a friend of both her and the prince, the King of Thieves, who had previously expressed his love for her. She found great comfort in this friend, and before long they became lovers."
Roald coughed 'slut', which earned him a whack on the head from his sister.
"Good for her." She said, causing Jon to smile.
"He treated her well, and was caring and supportive when she needed it the most.
"The prince's conquest, on the other hand, had turned out to be a complete airhead, who was cruel to others yet thought that the prince didn't know.
"The prince left the airhead, and when word reached him of his friends' relationship he became extremely jealous, and depressed. He had lost the love of his life."
Kally looked like she was about to cry.
"On top of things, the prince's mother had recently died, because she had been very ill and had never fully recovered. Shortly after, his father died, and the prince was left in misery.
"But if that was not enough to put the poor prince through, he also would now be the King of an entire realm.
"The woman had left the King of Thieves, for he had business to attend in the city, and she wanted to go on adventures, and she did just that.
"On her travels she met the Shang Dragon, and they had a brief relationship, but he feared her magic and so it would never work. She also found two friends, a beautiful woman who was the foreign equivalent to a princess, and her bodyguard - a woman of the realm's native tribes. On her travels, she acquired an item that would greatly aid her realm in times of need.
"On her return, a friend told her of the trouble in her home, and how the prince needed her at the palace.
"When she arrived, the prince was extremely happy, but when he saw her he knew it could never work between him and her - she would never want to be Queen, not even for him.
"She set him up with her beautiful friend, and the princess and prince liked each other a lot. It was nothing compared to his love for the woman, but she would have to do.
"The woman fought hard during his coronation, as did many others. Her brother died, as did the Shang who she had previously been involved with.
"The prince then proposed to the woman's beautiful friend, knowing that it was his duty to the realm to produce an heir. The woman he loved no longer loved him as she once did, and just the thought of that made him upset. But he knew he had to be strong, that he had to move on. He had proposed to her on several occasions, after she had returned and she had said no."
"Why?" asked Kally.
"She knew it wasn't meant to be. And she didn't want to be queen, because she thought it would be bad for the people." Jon sighed.
"The woman left for the Bazhir once things had settled a bit at the palace, and her beautiful friend rode out to the desert to see if she would approve of the wedding.
"While the beautiful woman was gone, the prince made a vow:
'I will always love the woman that I know I cannot have.' he said
'If she married me, she would lose everything that she has worked so hard to achieve, and I love her so much that I cannot force her to do that. Perhaps we were destined to suffer lives apart from each other, but I vow to you, my one true love, that we will be together in out next life, and if not then, then the life after, or the life after. But we will be together again, my love, even if it takes an eternity.' his voice was hoarse with emotion as he spoke.
"A few weeks later, the woman announced her engagement to the King of Thieves, who was working on changing his occupation. The prince married his betrothed, and the woman married hers. Yet up until this day, the prince, now King, is still madly in love with the woman.
Kalasin was crying on her brother's shoulder.
"Stop it! You're getting my nightshirt wet." he whined.
Jonathon hugged his daughter, his eyes misty as well.
"It's OK darling, it was only a story."
"A really, really sad story! But it was really good Papa!"
Roald hid a yawn, and he lay down. Kally lay down beside him, and stuck a thumb in her mouth.
"Now Kally, you must stop sucking on your thumb. Ah, she's sleeping already. Goodnight Roald."
His father left the room, and the story was stored away, perhaps he could tell his own children the story someday.
Roald snapped out of his reverie, and suddenly something he had never realized dawned on him. The prince was his father, and the woman-
"Roald, if you want, you may leave. Me and Jon are just going to go over some war tactics. Of course, you are more than welcome to stay." Alanna's violet eyes bore into him as she looked his way.
He looked at his father, and once again saw the emotion that he seemed to save for Alanna. But now Roald knew what it was.
His father was in love with Alanna.
King Jonathon loved the Lioness - his best friend.
And that was what Roald had thought of them, of their friendly flirtations and teasings. They wanted something that they couldn't have - each other.
The idea should have disturbed him, or made him upset for his mother's sake. But instead he felt sorry for both of them, especially his father.
To love, but to know that your duties had to come first? Roald supposed he could find himself in that same position someday, and that made him feel compassion for his father.
His father needed Alanna. Thayet was his wife, but Alanna was his strength. He had called her his sword arm, but Roald thought that he meant in a purely friendly way.
But a sword arm was support, even when all else failed you your sword arm could still bring you peace. If you lost your sword arm you would be... dead.
And he supposed that was how his father felt - dead inside. And yet, he had shown them - him, his siblings, and his mother - tremendous amounts of love.
Both Jonathon and Alanna were staring at him,for he stood in one spot looking back and forth between the two, not saying a word and hardly blinking.
He came to a decision. It was time for secrets to be told, time for his father to find out if his friend shared his emotions - and Roald was sure that she did.
Roald wasn't sure what would happen after everything was told, but things couldn't keep silent forever.
He walked forward and spoke quietly, staring into the eyes of his father.
"I think it's time you told Aunt Alanna a story, about a prince who made a vow. And if you don't tell her, I will."
A/N: YAY! I wrote something! Now I'm wondering.. to continue or leave it as a stand-alone..? Opinions please!!! REVIEW!!