Hey, all.

I'm putting this on (permanent) hiatus. I just...I've started multiple drafts, and it doesn't work. For one, I'm not that interested in Tamora Pierce anymore (I haven't even read the latest Beka story--and I loved her when I first read it). I typically read...well, quite honestly, only Naruto and Bleach now, if I read at all. Otherwise, I'm busy with the real world (oh, the horror). Tamora Pierce is one of the lower books on my reading list (I would read it, but I simply don't have the time). The likeliness of me finishing this story?....like...less than one percent. Seriously.

Also, I realized how this site has an awfully weird format now. Really? They split up Tamora Pierce into, "Immortals" "Song of the Lioness" "Tricksters Series" and "Beka Cooper Series"? Kel doesn't even get her own category (if she did, I couldn't find it)? And "Circle Opens" "Circle of Magic" and "Will of the Empress"? Okay, I get splitting up Tortall and Emelen/the Circle...but splitting them up WITHIN the categories? It's mind-boggling and annoying. It was great when they were all together, but now it's just mixed up. I couldn't even find it until I typed in everything imaginable. And that took a while.

So, with this, goodbye. I realize there's an awfully lot of you with me on author alert, story alert, or story favorite. I'm really honored by that. And I'm really sorry I couldn't continue this. I'll use the age old line--"It's not you, it's me." There's been many reviews (in general, also) asking me to update or continue. And...I'm going to have to say "No." If you happen to follow the Naruto or Bleach fandom, there's a slight (very, very, very slight) chance there will be a few one-shots, but the most likely thing is that I'll just leave entirely. I'm sorry for all those that actually wanted an update.

I'm posting as far as I got on the next chapter (besides the random outlines I drew out...there were quite a couple). If anyone wants, I could put up what I had in mind (the outlines and family tree, providing I can find it). Otherwise, this is the last post.

A week later Kel once again began to pack her belongings. Yuki, observing quietly, looked bemused. "I don't see why you will not allow a maid to help you."

Wryly, Kel answered, "The last few times I've allowed others to pack, my stays at my new 'homes' have always been temporary. Hopefully, if I change my routine, I will be able to abstain from packing for at least a year."

"If you speak of tomorrow, the rats in the ceiling will laugh," Yuki quoted.

"I do this in hopes that they won't laugh," Kel replied. "Or, at least, they wait in their laughter."

Yuki shook her head. "I somehow do not think that is the reply the proverb intends. As it is, I doubt you will stay for more than three months, with how active the Court is."

Kel shrugged, closing the lid of the chest as she finished her task. "I am still eleven, Yuki. It means that I will not appear at Court for at least another four years. Are you to remain here for training as a lady to a princess?"

Standing up, Yuki murmured her agreement. "It will be long before we meet once more, Keladry of Mindelan." The older girl bowed, her eyes smiling. "May Sakuyo's dice roll once more in your favor."

"Thank you. I wish you luck in your assignment, though I do not think you will need it." Kel slid open the screen door, gesturing for Yuki to precede her.

"I look at it this way: the experience will be useful no matter what. Either I will receive practice in dealing with my future mother-in-law or my mistress will be generous and wise."

Kel laughed. "Well, with that outlook you surely will not be disappointed whatever the outcome. I do expect to see you the elegant lady of a cultured and benevolent princess in four years time, Yuki. I would be able to boast of knowing the much sought-after Lady Yukimi."

Yuki nodded gravely. "I will be sure to meet your expectations, then," Yuki replied, her eyes twinkling. A bell tolled in the distance, signaling the end of the two girls' conversation. Yuki looked at Kel, bowing. "It is time for both of us to part, then. I will see you in four years time?"

"In four years time," Kel affirmed as she bowed as well.

"Goodbye, Kel." With Yuki's last words, the two girls parted ways.

Continuing down the corridor, Kel did not stop until she reached the courtyard outside. She had been waiting for only a brief moment before Izanami arrived. Kel bowed quickly before looking up to see Izanami drawing symbols in the air.

"We will take a gateway to the island that houses Hagiku lands. Once arriving, the rest of the journey will be by land. Do you hold any objections to this?"

Kel shook her head. "It would be my honor to do so, Lady Hagiku." With a nod, the lady gestured for Kel to enter the silver portal first. The young girl was briefly surrounded by lights before she felt solid ground under her feet. Even then, Kel felt as if her head was spinning, and by the time she regained her sight, Izanami was standing calmly by her side.

"The longer trip has a greater effect on most people," the woman stated. "I apologize for that, but there is no way of preventing or predicting it."

Kel nodded shakily, still slightly nauseous, as she looked around. They stood in a small clearing surrounded by trees. Before Kel could explore more of the area, she heard a soft snort and turned to see a light gray mare at her right. She lowered her head to nudge Kel's hand. "She's beautiful," Kel breathed as she offered her hand.

"Her name is Tsuki. She is yours, now." Izanami stood next to another mare, and gestured for Kel to mount up.

Kel could see the main complex of House Hagiku as soon as they cleared the forest. She was unsurprised to see that, while each person outside bowed briefly in respect as Izanami passed, there was no line up of bowing Yamanis. After all, Yamanis were expected to be efficient in their work.

As the two entered through the gates, Kel almost sighed in admiration. Yamani gardens were known for their beauty, and those in Hagiku's main complex were no exception. The five great families of the Yamani Islands owned over double the land of a normal Tortallan noble, and each family had investments in the most lucrative businesses and trades of the island. Most of the families lived in magnificent palaces, and House Hagiku's palace was one of the oldest and most stunning. "It's beautiful," Kel breathed out.


Kel flushed slightly when she realized she had voiced her thought aloud. She turned to see Izanami gazing not at the palace, as Kel had been, but at the land and people outside the walls surrounding House Hagiku. "Yes," Izanami repeated. "It is beautiful."

Signing out (sorry),

Scribbling Death