Unwavering Devotion

Chapter One- By Her Side

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I thought I'd mention, their ages would be something like: 38 (Lyndis), 39 (Hector), and 40 (Kent). I couldn't find any info on their real ages, so I'm assuming that Hector and Lyn married at ages 19 and 20.

This chapter consists of mostly flashbacks.

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It wasn't as if he hadn't seen it coming, because he had. Within two hours of knowing the Lady Lyndis of Caelin, he, at least, had admired her. Like his partner back then, Sain, he could see her striking beauty, but unlike Sain, he could see more than the way her hair shone in the sunlight, or the color of her skin.

She hadn't been the best swordsman when he saw her fight for the first time, but he could remember being a little shocked, in a good way. A woman, beautiful in both body and form, was holding her own against several bandits twice her size. She might have been small in stature, but her spirit more than made up for it. There was most certainly something intriguing about it.

Before he knew it, he was hanging onto her every word… Every breath she took was one he was ever so thankful for. When she would ask his advice, or confide in him about the silliest little things… it made his day. His heart longed for her, but his mind knew better. Even when Sain told him that he should perhaps make his move on his Lady, he hesitated. He knew something that Sain did not.

But he dared not tell his slightly older friend.

Lord Hector was also in love with her.

It certainly wasn't hard to see, he thought, but somehow, a lot of people missed the mark completely.

He was not a jealous man by any means. He was her knight. She was his Lady Liege. And no matter how much he ached for her, it wouldn't be right. It would never be right. He knew it, but he could do nothing for the way he felt. His heart had chosen her, far above him. Always beautiful, always kind. He could only but follow her, to be there for her, no matter what happened.

Leave her? Never. He had tried, once.

"My Lady," he had said, his voice worn. But when she had looked up at him, a smile on her face, he had faltered.

"Oh, Kent," she'd answered. "I have something to ask of you… I know you're always here for me when I need you. Could you help me for a moment?"

His heart had melted almost instantly. He could not bear to leave her if he didn't have to. He had sworn to protect her. His feelings meant nothing concerning that oath.

Some would have called him weak, because he had given in so easily, but his resolve was but a thin curtain that hung over his heart, and it took only a mere look, and a few words to convince him to stay (though he had never told her that he was leaving).

So he had stayed. Even now, he couldn't regret it. He couldn't simply wish it away, or go back in time to see what would have happened if he had told her, that very day, "My Lady, I love you."

There was no going back… he could only move forward. He had noticed the glances Lord Hector threw to his Lady, and it made him heartsick. He was no match for the broad-shouldered, handsome Lord of Ostia. When Lyndis had asked him why he stood by her always, he had sealed away his heart, telling her that it was his duty.

He had to say it. 'She could do so much better than I,' he had thought as she had walked away that evening, silent and confused.

While Hector could offer her everything, he only had his love to offer her, and a part of him knew that it would never be enough. 'She deserves better,' he told himself, over and over again.

When she had thrown herself in his arms, not long after their victory, a smile on her face, eyes dancing with joy, he had been confused.

"Oh, Kent!" she'd exclaimed, her cheeks rosy in the chilly autumn air. "Hector has asked me to marry him! I'm so excited!"

He'd mumbled out a congratulations, but his heart had already sunk in his chest, like pirate's plunder to the bottom of the sea. He had wondered if she would have told him if she had known how he felt about her.

She was happy, though. His Lady was happy, and that was all he needed to be happy, himself. He had attended the wedding, one of the friendly faces who watched with a neutral expression, though inside, he had been crying.

In the room he shared with Sain in the barracks that night, he had shed a few silent tears outwardly.

"Kent," Sain had said, his voice unnaturally serious. "You can not keep doing this to yourself. Three years is enough."

It would never be enough. Every moment he did not see her, he was lonely. Every moment she was with him, he felt like a traitor, to both himself, and his oath as her knight.

He did not heed his friend's words when his Lady Liege asked him if he wished to make a place for himself in Ostia, as a friend, and as her knight. He had hesitated for a moment, but the thought of never seeing her again left him chilled to the bone, and he had agreed.

'I will stay by your side, always,' he'd sworn silently to himself.

As he packed to leave, his friend tried one more time.

"Kent… you're killing yourself. This is going to eat you alive. Please, reconsider."

He would not be dissuaded. He was Lady Lyndis' personal knight, always there for her when she needed him.

When she found out she was with child, he was one of the first to know. He couldn't help but wish that it was his child, and not Lord Hector's, but… she was so thrilled, she fairly glowed, and he could not bring himself to feel anything but happy for her.

She had only been able to bear but one child, and though the kingdom of Ostia wondered about it, and questioned the lack of children, he himself had decided that Lilina was a handful on her own. She carried so many traits from both her parents; a perfect combination. He could remember spending many days watching the girl play in the gardens as he wondered silently to himself what it would be like to have a child of his own. If she had been his daughter instead of Lord Hector's, would she be more like him, or more like the Lady Lyndis?

He supposed that he would never know.

His Lady would always tell others what a wonderful man he was… how loyal, and kind, and honest… "I could not ask for a better friend," she had said to him, once.

But he was not at all what she thought. She would be horrified if she knew that he dreamed of her often… murmuring her name in his sleep as he dreamt of pressing heated kisses to her neck. In his dreams, she was Lyn, his Lady in every way. She would kiss him back, her hands tangled in his auburn hair, love shining in her eyes.

He always woke up ashamed of himself.

Forgive me, My Lady, My Liege.

Forgive me, My Lord.

Hector, who gave him everything he needed and let him do as he pleased. His Lord treated him so well, and yet… he could not help but lust and pine for His Lady.

He was not jealous of Lord Hector. Only sad that the other man had been in a much better position to take care of Lyndis compared to him. He was a kind man, and he treated his Lady well… No, he could never be jealous.

No matter how many times he had beaten his heart back, it kept limping towards her, like an abused dog. Loyally devoted, no matter how many times it had been trampled upon.

"Kent, I'm worried about you. It's been ten years… Can you not let her go?"

No. Never.

"Kent… are you sure this is what you want for yourself?"

No…

Yes.

"Lady Lyndis is what matters… Not I."

With every fiber of his being, he loved her. He loved being there for her, he loved being needed by her, and he loved every little thing about her. Her clothes, her hair, her eyes… the smell of her perfumes, and the way her mouth curved into a delicate smile whenever she saw him.

It gave him hope that he meant something to her yet. Even if it was not what he wanted… if it made her happy, he was content.

She meant everything to him.

"You should leave… Ten years is too long to pine for someone just out of your reach."

Sain had paid him a visit, and he had confided in his old friend that he often dreamt of his Lady.

"Kent… Oh, my old companion… you were always the levelheaded one! What has happened to you? You used to spout off all that knightly-duty babble, about how she was too good for you, and how, as her knight, love was forbidden."

'It's not as if anything could ever happen...' he'd thought.

"It's not as if I have anyone, or anything else in the world," he had replied instead.

"But Kent! You're wasting away here… I can see you aging beyond your years every time I come to see you. I implore you, please, leave this place…"

"I cannot."

He could not tell his friend that, between the dreams he had of loving the Lady Lyndis, he had dreams of his leaving her behind, only for her to be killed. The dreams were so real, that they frightened him more than anything. It was his biggest phobia; that he would fail as a knight- and as a man who had sworn to be there for her always- and leave her to die.

"Don't do anything foolish, my friend…"

A brave knight who rode his horse into battle fearlessly, time after time was terrified of leaving the Lady Lyndis alone with her more-than-capable husband, and a castle full of guards.

He wondered if he would die this way… alone, longing for her the way he did.

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Several years ago, on a rare occasion, Serra had paid a visit to the castle.

"Kent, I can't believe you're still here! It's been so long since I last saw you… Where are your wife and children? I would love to meet them!"

He had lowered his eyes to the ground in embarrassment. There was no wife, and certainly no children. He had never done so much as court a woman before, but he wouldn't tell her that.

"Oh no! Kent, how will you ever find an heir?"

He didn't need to say that he had no use of an heir. He owned only what he had with him. Clothes, weapons, and a few trinkets, perhaps. His parents were long dead, and he had no siblings. Serra's visit only served to remind him that, had the Lady Lyndis been his, she would have nothing to her name compared to what she had now.

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He could remember, eight years ago, when news reached Ostia of the Lady of Pharae's death. He had found his Liege in the dried out castle garden, her eyes dry.

"M'Lady?" he'd asked her, his tone neutral, but his heart ever hopeful that she would confide in him.

"I never told her goodbye." Her lovely eyes gazed at him from where she sat on the cold ground. "She was such a perfect person; kind and compassionate. I suppose I don't quite understand why she had to go."

"One never knows why good friends must go," had been his answer, as he knelt beside her. "Perhaps… she is happier now, where she is."

"Thank you," she'd smiled, her eyes glazed over slightly with unshed tears. "I think I needed to hear that. I'm glad you're here."

His heart had soared, then, and he had hesitated as she'd wrapped him in a light hug before jumping to her feet and heading back into the castle.

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Four years after that, he had found her standing near a wheat field just outside of the castle walls. Tears coursed their way down her cheeks, and he knew that something terrible had happened to upset her so badly.

"My Lady?"

His voice had been hesitant, lest he startle her out of her reverie. She said nothing for a moment or two, letting her eyes drift across the fields as the light summer breeze blew her hair around her face.

He wanted to tell her she looked beautiful, but he knew better, and he dared not utter a word about it.

"My oldest and dearest friend," he had heard her whisper as she watched the sky. "I will never forget you…"

He only stood behind her a few feet, his horse's bridle in one hand, and the other at the hilt of his sword. "My Lady, I…" He only bowed his head, eyes closing of their own accord. He knew nothing much of her sadness at the time, though he could feel the sorrow hanging over her like a cloud ready to burst.

Suddenly, she had turned to him, and he could not help but lock gazes with her. Her eyes were dull and still full of tears. "Is this what it is like to grow old, Kent?" she had asked him, though she gave him no time to answer. "First Canas, then Ninian, and now Florina and her entire family… Is growing old all about watching your friends die around you, one by one, to drought, or famine, or diseases, or war?"

He'd wanted to reach out to brush the tears away from her face, but knew that he couldn't. If somebody saw, it would look downright bad for the both of them. Instead, he only watched her, his chocolate eyes reflecting some of what she felt. They had lost more than the few she mentioned… and it was hard, he knew; to see people that you had grown used to seeing and loving, die.

"And Eliwood," she continued. "He's dying of a broken heart."

So am I, he wanted to tell her… But he said nothing.

"I would rather have been the first to go, if that is what growing old is about. Perhaps dying young is a blessing in its own right."

She'd turned back to the wheat field, and he had moved back to watch her from a distance… to give her space of her own while reassuring himself that she would be fine. He had wondered briefly if the wheat grass that blew softly in the wind reminded her a little of the tall grasses on the plains of Sacae.

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Just six months ago, Lord Hector and Lady Lyn had found him in his quarters. He was alone, as always, and their distraught faces told him that something was wrong. Hector had wordlessly handed him a worn envelope, addressed in his name. The postmark date was several months late, but he tore into the letter, nonetheless.

He hadn't wanted to believe what he read, but when he looked into the teary eyes of Lady Lyndis, and the solemn gaze of Lord Hector, he knew the words told the truth.

"I… I'm sorry, Kent. He was… a good man." The large man made a quick exit, obviously upset by the letter, himself.

He had been in shock, sitting there at the wooden desk where he always did his paperwork; the quills and parchments already forgotten.

He couldn't be angry, but it was hard for him to believe that something so…seemingly trivial compared to all they'd been through had taken his best friend down. Gangrene had set into a recently acquired wound, and they'd amputated his leg, but it had been too late.

"…Kent…" his Lady had her hands on his shoulders, softly rubbing them. "I'm so sorry… I wish it weren't so…"

His mouth could form no words, and he only laid his head upon his desk, letting it rest on his arms. Lyndis moved one hand to the middle of his back, and the other to his auburn hair. She said nothing about the tears she knew he was shedding… she only stayed there, a comforting presence.

'Oh, Sain, my friend…' he could remember thinking. 'You surely were my boon companion… but why did you have to go and leave me?'

He could still see his friend beside him on the battlefield. Despite being an overeager flirt most of the time, Sain had always been there for him when he needed him; whether it was to take care of an enemy that he'd not seen, or to offer moral. In his mind, he saw the green armor, bright in the afternoon sunlight, as he laughed with the tactician and the three young Lords.

And he couldn't help but feel like he hadn't really been Sain's boon companion at all, because when his friend had needed him the most, he hadn't been there.

Not in the least.

He wondered how things would have turned out if he'd followed Sain's advice from the beginning.

"…Sain…"

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Earlier in the morning, he had been packing his few necessities. He was ready to go to war with his Lord. A part of him wanted to go, and another part of him wanted to stay. He would be needed in the war, he was sure.

As he was putting the last of his things into a satchel, a shadow fell over him from the open doorway. When he glanced up, he could see the bulky frame of Lord Hector standing there, arms crossed over his chest.

"Kent," he said. "You can stop packing, now."

Confusion filtered over his face. "Pardon, my Lord?"

"Just Hector… how many times do I have to say that?" The look on his face was one of slight irritation, though Kent knew he meant nothing serious by it.

"I'm sorry… Hector. Old habits die hard, I suppose."

"Hmm… well, as I was saying… you needn't pack, Kent." A calloused hand went to his blue hair, tousling it a bit. "While we could use you immensely so, I would rather you stay here… and watch Lyn. I…" He lowered his hands. "I think she might need you."

He wouldn't pretend that he completely understood what the man was telling him, but no matter… he would do as he was commanded. "As you say."

"Thanks, Kent. And… take good care of her, will you? I trust you… You're a good friend."

When he nodded his consent, Hector left, leaving Kent beyond confused. Was he expecting an attack on the castle in his absence? He sighed, and started to unpack. He would be sure to find out…that was certain.

A part of him was disappointed at not being included in the army that was going to fight… and with a start; he realized that it was because, should he fall in the battle, his problems would be over.

The other part of him was glad that he was still Old Reliable, always there to be the protecting, though not so valiant these days, knight. As he put his things away again, he felt better about the whole situation. At least he would not be breaking his oath to leave his Lady… and he knew, as long as he was there, he would do his best to make sure that the horrors he saw in his dreams concerning his Lady's death never came true.

He wouldn't leave her side for even a second while Lord Hector was gone.

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Author Notes:

I hope it wasn't too…er…angsty. Kent doesn't seem to have a really high opinion of himself, to be honest, and he seems the type to blame himself for things that really aren't his fault.

Have you ever loved someone, but you knew that you couldn't tell him or her, no matter the reason why? If you haven't, it might be harder to understand Kent, but if you have, then I'm sure you sympathize. That fight within yourself to stop loving them, but every time things start going better for you, they do or say something that has you head-over-heels for them again. It's a real struggle. For the second time in my life, this has happened to me. The last time, I pined for a guy for four years. This time, it's going on just over two years.

Kent will not try and steal Lyndis away. He's much too honorable for that. The Lady of Pharae, by the way, is Ninian. I might have botched up the tenses a bit, but most of it was "past" past, and I didn't want to put "had said, hadn't said, would've said, etc, because it got old after doing it for only a little while, and it's rather stressful on the eyes to read.

More to come within a week, hopefully. Hector's departure, the war, and we can't forget about Kent and Lyndis… what will become of them? Find out in the next chapter!

Also, I started a writing journal over on LiveJournal. If you want to see ideas for upcoming stories, check out the link in my bio. You can comment or email me to let me know what you think of them, if you want.

Again, constructive criticism is greatly appreciated! Please review and let me know what you thought; especially how this chapter made you feel.