Okay, this is my first real fic. Please: no flames? But still I would really like your opinion, so please R&R

I don't own anything, it all belongs to Tamora Pierce..

This takes place in Kel's third year as a squire…


Chapter 1: Sickness

There was a knock on the door, "Kel! Are you in there?" another knock. She
swung her legs out of her bed and suppressed a yawn. Looking around, it took
her a few seconds to remember where she was. Then it came back to her: the Own
had made a stop at this Inn. Because of the weather, Raoul had ordered all of
the soldiers to stop in this town. Kel had her doubts about the real reason;
she knew Raoul was just trying to get to the castle as slowly as possible. He
never liked formal parties, and right now he could look forward to quite a few
of them.

"KEL!" She quickly got to her feet and swayed for a moment. Why was she
feeling so dizzy? "I'm coming!" she yelled back. She quickly got dressed, and
opened the door, "Yes?" she asked. She clung to the door for support, and
hoped that she was just dizzy because she got up too quickly, it was known to
happen - she hoped.

"Hello sir" she said to her knight master who was standing outside the door.

"Are you alright?" Raoul asked a bit concerned. "I'm fine" she said, and
smiled to prove it.

"You don't look fine" he said, "But if you say so, then I trust you… I've
just received a letter from the king. We are to travel to the Scanran border,
we're needed".

"No castle? No formal parties?" she asked. He smiled, "No, isn't that just

We leave for the border at noon. I would like you to be packed and ready by
then", he turned away and walked down the hall.

She closed the door behind him, and walked to the privy. Did she really look
that bad? She splashed water into her face, and looked in the mirror. She was
pale, and her eyes were bloodshot. She had to concede that she did in fact
look terrible.

I just need some breakfast she decided, yes, that's it: breakfast.

She slowly stood up; the dizziness wasn't so bad; when she moved very slowly.

She worked her way outside her room, and downstairs.

She forced herself to stand up straight, she wouldn't let whole third company
see her walking like an old aunt after all.

She barely ate breakfast; most of the meal was spent starring into her

She wasn't in the mood for talking, when some of the soldiers tried to start a
conversation with her, she just muttered something, and gazed down at her
porridge again.

She excused herself and went to her room. The first thing she did was to throw
herself upon the bed. She felt just as terrible as she looked but she still
had to get her things packed. Her light-headedness didn't disappear after
eating as she had hoped for.

Luckily she hadn't unpacked many of her things, so packing up wouldn't take
that long.

She yawned, and moved so she was lying more comfortably.

A knock on the door ripped Kel from her sleep. "What?" she mumbled. She
wrapped a blanket around herself and walked to the door. "What is it?" she
asked, "Did you just wake up?" Raoul asked. She nodded, "Yes sir". Raoul
lifted an eyebrow, "Then I suggest you start packing right now, we're leaving
in less than an hour". It took a moment to sink in to her exhausted brain,
then she realized what he had said. "What!" she almost shrieked. How long did
I sleep?

Kel rushed inside her room, but the act made her sway with dizziness. She
could tell that Raoul was about to say something, but she interrupted him,
"I'm fine, just a little sleepy that's all". "Well just get packed, okay?"

"Of course sir, right away sir" she answered, already in the process of

Raoul shook his head, but left her alone to pack her things.

Kel quickly finished packing, but she still needed to get Peachblossom and
Hoshi ready. She almost ran down the stairs in her haste to get to the
stables. The speed made her vision go completely black for a moment. She
stroked Peachblossom's neck, "Hey boy". She was one of the only people who
could ever have hoped of doing that without losing a finger or two. Most
people preferred circling far around her testy mount than getting to near

Now where did I put your saddle? She was standing outside Peachblossom's
stable when a fresh wave of dizziness made her head reel before her vision
blacked out once more. Only, this time she didn't recover; she fell into adead faint.

I hope you liked it!

Thanks to moonlight2007 for beta-reading and helping me improve my story!

- Warrior-by-heart