I do not own any of Tamora Pierce's characters nor do I make any monetary profit from writing this story. I write this simply out of personal interest and fun. Thank you and please enjoy.

Chapter 1

Dreams and Songs

Kel didn't know why she came. Watching Cleon marry Lady Gisele was like putting salt on an open cut. It hurt, especially when she saw how beautiful Gisele was, how when Cleon looked at her Kel saw that look in his eyes, the one she thought would only be for her. But no, he loved Gisele now, not her.

When Cleon said his vows Kel felt her heart rip for the hundredth time, he had called Gisele his Heart, his Soul whom he loved and would treasure forever.

Kel felt a hot burning in her eyes as Cleon and Gisele kissed to seal their new marriage. Kel had to gulp numerous times to keep down the tears that threatened to overflow onto her cheeks.

Kel knew that if she began to cry she wouldn't be able to stop for some time, and she'd be damned if Cleon and Gisele saw her cry, not over a boy, no.

Kel put her Yamani mask on and slowly her tears were gone and all she felt now was a deep rage at herself, Kel was angry at herself for letting herself get upset about this. She was over him, she no longer felt the love she did before as a squire.

Perhaps it was the whole secrecy that made it so exciting.

She cared for Cleon, she wanted him then, but Kel blamed her raging hormones for that. Now, it was more of a feeling of whether she would ever fall in love. Truly in love, she had gotten over Neal and Cleon after a little distance. That wasn't love.

The ceremony ended and she walked out of the Chapel with the other guests.

Kel sipped the fruit punch she was given by one of the servants. She watched the newly wed couple feed each other, Gisele giggled when Cleon accidentally hit her cheek, Cleon smiled and chuckled while he wiped it away, kissing her lips softly afterwards.

Kel couldn't take it anymore! It either repulsed her or saddened her, she couldn't decide.

She put her cup down and turned to leave.

She saw Neal with Yuki watching her with worried looks, Owen and Merric was watching her too, she ignored them all and left the room without another word, she wanted to be alone.

She should feel happy for Cleon, he cared for his new wife.

And Kel no longer loved him, but once again she thought, 'Will I ever fall in love? Will I get married?' Kel was able to not think about it because she told herself she had to focus on getting her Shield. But now she had her Shield, she had New Hope to look after and all.

But now she had free time since the occupants of New Hope was thinning and the danger was dying. Shaking her head she realized she was very far from Kennan.

Kel could see ruins in the distance and even though Peachblossom was still okay, he was after all a warhorse and could take much more, Kel wanted to be alone right now.

The ruins were quite beautiful; on the walls that still stood you could see traces of pictures. The primary colors were red and yellow; there were some orange here and there though.

Kel un-tacked Peachblossom and gave him some snacks she always carried with her. "Let's rest here for a bit."

In her dreams she felt very warm, too warm. All she could see around her was clouds, clouds and more clouds. Then Kel was floating above New Hope, her new home. She was a knight now and so it was the place she guarded with her life. Suddenly she was standing at a lake.

All around her was mist but she could see through it, she saw someone on the shore. Joren. He looked as if he was searching for someone. "Hello!" He called out "Kel!"

She surprised herself when she tried to go to him but found she was stuck, looking down and saw to her amazement she was standing on the waters surface. She was walking on water! Keladry.... She turned around to face the source of the voice. Her eyes widened. It was a Phoenix! Its golden eyes glowed and it's fiery mane blazed.

Kel gulped and saw it open it's golden beak to speak Keladry... my heir...

Kel sat upright panting 'What the hell was that!?' Kel looked around her and saw the wall again. Red, yellow and orange, this was a ruined temple to Phoenix, the Immortal Commander of the Gods.

Kel walked up to the wall unsure of what would happen. Tracing the face of the fiery warrior she was entranced, suddenly the pictures eyes blazed Keladry! Phoenix's face flashed in her mind as she felt a burst of blinding pain rip though her. Kel couldn't help it, she screamed.

Upon waking Kel saw nothing but white. Looking around she saw a white cloth surrounded her bed. "I'm in a hospital" Kel realized. "Hello!" she called out.

A nurse popped her head behind the curtain. "Oh! You're awake! How're you feeling?"

Kel got up slowly "Yes. I am quite fine ma'am. Where am I?"

The nurse smiled "In my home of course!"

Kel smiled uncertainly "Of course."

The plump lady rubbed her hands together "Let's just have a look see at your burn and if it's okay, you may leave."

Kel blinked "Burn?"

The nurse laughed softly "Yes ma'am. The one on your hand."

Kel looked at her right hand, nothing, then the left, a bandage. "Oh."

The nurse slowly began to unwind the bandage, "Yes, it doesn't look really fresh but it should be looked at, thankfully the burn wasn't infected and- OH!"

Kel looked at her hand. "What?"

The nurse showed it to her, there was a symbol burned into her flesh at the back of her hand. It looked like a circle wreathed in flames going up her wrist. 'My good God! The phoenix's symbol!'

Kel looked at the nurse "Well, that's odd. That wasn't there yesterday," she said inspecting the burn "Hmmm, I can't seem to understand what it means My Lady."

Kel gulped 'thank Mithros for that.' Kel faked a laugh "Oh that? That's my family symbol. A bit crude I know. It's fine though" she lied.

Inside the symbol felt fresh, not quite as painful but not a very pleasant feeling either.

"I should go."

The plump lady chuckled "You're welcome to stay miss, I want to check up on you're burn every now and then."

Kel thought for a minute, she couldn't let the lady see it too much, she might figure out what kind of mark it was. Plus, she promised a certain young boy she wouldn't leave; he might consider a sudden and long disappearance leaving. "I really must go I apologize"

The lady smiled "Well my lady, I see you must, I won't keep you, just wash your burn out as much as you can with fresh, cold water" she instructed wrapping her hand again, "And I'll pack a few extra bandages and some slave for the burn just in case, don't forget to wash the bandages you've already used."

Kel nodded along and thought 'wait a sec! Where's Peachblossom?' "Um, ma'am?"

The nurse looked up "Yes? What can I do for you?"

"Did you happen to find my horse?" Kel asked biting her lip.

"Oh my! That gelding of yours, yes he's here, almost bit off my husbands fingers he did." Kel blushed deep red 'after all their kindness too' "I most apologize. He doesn't tolerate anyone besides me and three others."

The nurse smiled "So it seems. He's waiting outside for you."

Kel nodded and bowed "Thank you very much ma'am, and please, thank your husband for all his generosity as well."

She smiled, "I will tell him." Kel turned and left the small house.

Kel found Peachblossom tied outside to a tree, "Oh!" Kel went to untie Peachblossom.

"I wouldn't go near that Satan Horse if I were you miss."

Kel turned and saw a boy with blond hair that fell to his shoulders and framed his beautiful face. "His name is Peachblossom and he's my horse, devil or not."

Kel went up to Peachblossom and untied him. Stroking his mane Kel saddled him up. She heard a low whistle, turning she saw the beautiful blond still there watching her.

"Is there something you need?" Kel asked turning to face him.

"No, just watching you my lady. I have never seen a beautiful lady tack a horse as well as you that's all."

Kel frowned "I'm not beautiful, I don't know what you're trying to pull."

The blond sighed, "May I know your name at least?"

Kel climbed onto Peachblossom "Keladry of Mindelan."

The boy smiled "Thank you Beautiful."

With that he turned and strode away, Kel thought for a moment, there was something startling about those blue gray eyes, something Kel saw before but couldn't remember from where. Shaking her head she turned and rode out of the town.

Kel, without thinking, began humming a little tune, soon though Kel found little lyrics to sing with it

"Pick up the pieces of my shattered dreams

Tell me I am strong... um..."

Kel paused, she knew she'd heard the song somewhere before but she can't remember from where. It was there, the melody, the gist but not the song. It was frustrating 'Where had that come from? It was so familiar.' Shaking it off as Kel stroked Peachblossom's mane and hummed the little tune, but still no words came to her mind.

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