Disclaimer: Any characters or places that you recognise all belong to the literary genius of Tamora Pierce.

(-a/n- Hello! It's been quite a while since I wrote fanfiction and I've been having a nice break, in which I've been very busy with lots of schoolwork and plotting my own novel… This fic is an idea that I've had for a very long time, but just never had time to write 's a bit different to what I've written before, but I hope that you will enjoy it all the same…This fic will be based on several songs, the main one being Fallen by Sarah McLachlan, as I find that music is great fuel for the imagination. Please read the song lyrics, and hopefully in time you'll see how they fit with the fic.

As ever please review, it really does encourage me to update sooner.

Confusedknight xx

Fallen by Sarah McLachlan

Heaven bent to take my hand
And lead me through the fire
Be the long awaited answer
To a long and painful fight

Truth be told I've tried my best
But somewhere along the way
I got caught up in all there was to offer
And the cost was so much more than I could bear

Though I've tried, I've fallen...
I have sunk so low
I have messed up
Better I should know
So don't come round here
And tell me I told you so...

We all begin with good intent
Love was raw and young
We believed that we could change ourselves
The past could be undone
But we carry on our backs the burden
Time always reveals
in the lonely light of morning
in the wound that would not heal
It's the bitter taste of losing everything
That I have held so dear.

I've fallen...
I have sunk so low
I have messed up
Better I should know
So don't come round here
And tell me I told you so...

Heaven bent to take my hand
Nowhere left to turn
I'm lost to those I thought were friends
To everyone I know
Or they turned their heads embarassed
Pretend that they don't see
But it's one missed step
You'll slip before you know it
And there doesn't seem a way to be redeemed

Though I've tried, I've fallen...
I have sunk so low
I have messed up
Better I should know
So don't come round here
And tell me I told you so...

It was the end of the King's Tournament, which took place every two years at the end of summer and the crowd milled about in happy expectation, waiting for the King to present the trophy to the tournament champion. It was a knockout tournament, in which everyone from commoners to the Crown Prince was eligible to compete. The only rule of the tournament concerning entry was simple; the King and his Champion were not allowed to take part. The rounds were held over a period of two weeks and from each match would emerge a winner who would make their way into the next round. In each match the winner was the person who could make the other competitor yield. Every year their were many hundreds of entrants and the matches in the first few rounds were normally short, one person being experienced and the other a low ranking solider, or commoner who had just entered for fun.

As the tournament progressed however, the matches were longer, opponents more equally matched and skilful. This year the tournament was being organised by Lord Wyldon of Cavall and Sir Gareth of Naxen the younger, both of whom had been washed under by the amount of organising it took to run such a large tournament. Fortunately many knights who were too old to compete, had offered to oversee the matches and check that no foul play occurred.

Now, at the end of a very long and busy two weeks, King Jonathan IV stood looking hot and bothered, next to his Champion Alanna. The Lioness was still not on good speaking terms with the King and looked thoroughly bored of waiting around. She was itching to talk to the tournament winner, discuss swordplay and even challenge her to a friendly duel. Raoul stood behind them with Gary and Lord Wyldon, who were both waiting patiently for the presentation.

After what seemed like an age, the signal was given and as the King stepped forward a hush fell over the huge crowd.

'Citizens of Tortall,' he began 'Friends from abroad, all who are gathered here today, we are proud to present a sum of one hundred gold nobles to the winner of the King's Tournament.'

At this declaration a massive cheer emerged from the excited crowd. The sound died as suddenly as it had come, as the crowd split in two, allowing a woman to walk to the platform where the King stood. She had light-brown hair, although the top was more blonde in colour, bleached no doubt by the same sun that had tanned her skin. She was dressed simply in plain shirt and breeches, a well-used sword hanging at her side in a plain scabbard. Her gaze was level, and her face was devoid of any emotion. The King had to admit to himself that this woman intrigued him; he had certainly not expected someone so young or indeed even a woman to win. As he watched she reached the front of the stage, seemingly ignoring the crowd that was jostling for a better look at her and climbed up the steps onto the platform.

To Raoul, the whole proceedings were getting very tedious; he had been standing in the sun for a long time now, first to award the archery Champion and then to receive his award as Champion of the Joust, again. Now he just wished that Jon would give the woman her reward, and let them all retreat into the shade and cool of the palace. Just then the proceedings took an interesting turn.

Jon had just requested that the warrior kneel, as was custom, so that the warrior could pledge their allegiance to the King and receive their reward. But the woman had said in an even tone,


Raoul had to hide a smirk at Jon's flabbergasted face, and he took a closer look at the female warrior who had just defied the King. He thought personally that it would be good for Jon to be taken down a peg or two, but in front of the crowd that was gathered, listening intently, now was not the best time for it to happen.

'I think I must've misheard you?' said Jon, trying to keep his voice calm and light.

'I said no,' replied the woman in a bored voice, not looking directly at the King.

Raoul admired the woman's courage, she was either extremely brave, or extremely stupid.

The King was now getting over his initial shock and was starting to look annoyed and a little angry.

'Your name Lady Warrior?' he demanded, struggling to keep his voice even. 'As your King I command you to kneel. You owe me your allegiance…'

After a pause the woman replied, with a hint of bitterness in her voice, 'Keladry of Mindelan...and I owe you nothing.'

For a moment she stared directly into Jon's eyes, her hazel eyes blazing so fiercely that Jon almost stepped back. Then she turned on her heel, dodged the guards that stood nearby, jumped off of the platform and sprinted away.

There was instant uproar, mainly because the Tournament champion had just insulted the King and disappeared. But the few who understood the full significance of those words stood still in absolute shock. Keladry of Mindelan. The girl who tried for knighthood. Missing presumed dead. And now tournament champion.

Jon ran his hands through his hair despairingly and Alanna was filled with a savage triumph that the Mindelan girl had become a fine warrior after all. Meanwhile, a group of squires were all talking excitedly, except Nealan of Queenscove who looked as shocked as Gary felt. Lady Ilane of Mindelan was weeping into her husband's shoulder; their daughter was alive, after all these years.

Raoul did some quick calculations in his head; the girl must be about fifteen. Gods above she looked far older than when he'd last seen her, three and a half years ago. He shuddered. He didn't think that he'd ever forget…and judging by the horrified looks on Lord Wyldon and Domitian of Masbolle's faces, he didn't think they'd ever forget either. How could he, Dom or Lord Wyldon face her after what had happened?

He glanced around at the shocked or happy faces, wishing that he could feel happy that she'd returned, instead it had bought to life what he'd been trying to forget for over three years. And guilt lay heavy on his heart, they had failed her, the Crown had failed her, the justice of Tortall had failed her. And at that moment he could fully agree, she owed Jon nothing.

(-a/n- Intrigued? I hope so. Next chapter I'll be going back to the beginning (when she gets kicked out) and filling in all the gaps.)

Confusedknight x