DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT TAMORA PIERCE! THIS ALSO APPLIES TO ALL FURTHER CHAPTERS Thanks guys! :)
Ok! A big hello to everyone who has been waiting for my sequel to Granddaughter to the Lioness, I hope that you will like this! If you haven't read the first part of this, I would suggest it cos this may not make much sense otherwise – cos I can't really be stuffed to explain all about her at the start of this, it kinda gets boring, plus I know that u guys would rather me get on with the story… so here goes.
OK last thing – this is 3 months after Adalia was knighted.
Chapter One: Balls and Boredom
"GET BACK HERE OR ELSE!!" The shriek ripped through the palace in Tortall, and momentarily there seemed to be a general halt in conversation as nobles and servants alike paused and cringed at the all too familiar voice, the all too familiar scream.
The Lioness, face black with rage, stomped out of her room. Scattering the lingering servants and scaring off the nobles, she was a woman on a mission. Even past her prime, the Lioness was able to strike fear in the hearts of each and every person that was unfortunate enough to arouse her infamous temper. It didn't matter that she was currently attired in a soft violet dress, no one could mistake the fact that Tortall's first lady knight was on the war path.
"EEEKKK!" Screamed the unfortunate 18 year old that was currently the subject of her grandmother's temper. She was racing down the corridors at breakneck pace, using her crow side to escape from Alanna's wrath. At that moment, it didn't matter that she could, in fact, best her grandmother in a duel or a running competition, she was afraid for her life.
Alanna, unfortunately, heard the shriek and set off running in that direction.
A few moments later, the young woman burst into the mess hall, frantically searching for somewhere to hide. In a split second decision, her face melted into an aloof grin as she calmly – albeit swiftly – sauntered over to her fellow knights and friends.
Her friends had heard Alanna's scream, and noticed the urgency with which their entertaining friend had burst into the mess and were curious as to why Alanna was chasing her this time.
While Adalia was walking over to them, she gained quite a few curious looks that she either ignored or didn't notice. Her friends scrutinised her violet eyes which were currently glinting with a mixture of horror and amusement. Her raven black hair was pulled back messily into a pony tail, and she was wearing breaches and a shirt – the standard attire for a lady knight. They also noticed the small shield shaped badge that was displayed on her shirt – proudly supporting a somehow mischievous crow on a violet field, surround by a distaff border.
As Adalia paced toward her friends, she couldn't help but notice their barely concealed amusement.
Her best friends were all knights, and they included two of her year mates - Dameon of Naxen, tall and wiry with light blue eyes and dark blond hair that was cropped short, and Kaden of Trebond, the shortest of her knight friends with dark hazel eyes and rumpled bronze hair. A year older than her were Charlie of Masbolle, his sapphire eyes curious, his dark brown hair hanging messily to his shoulders, as well as Kula of Queenscove, the third girl to try and succeed to attain her shield, with her emerald eyes unable to conceal the amusement that her face didn't betray. Daniel of Goldenlake and Malories Peak, who took after his father in massive height but had his mother's eyes and temper, and Nathan of Olau, his deep brown eyes confused, were two years older than herself. All their eyes on her was more than a slightly disconcerting feeling, but she was more than used to it by now – this would happen every time during there page years when they would suspect that she pulled a prank on their training master, Lord Padraig.
(Anyway) As Adalia casually settled herself into a chair next to Daniel, and they all noticed that she was careful to be out of sight of the doors. She grinned and fluttered her fingers in greeting exclaiming, "Hey guys! Fancy meeting you here!"
Daniel raised an eyebrow in amusement, and said exasperatedly, "Adalia, what have you done this time?"
Adalia did an accurate impression of shock and put a hand to her mouth to conceal a grin, "Whatever are you talking about?"
A few of them snorted but Kula raised an eyebrow, "Come on, just tell us. Or else we'll go get Alanna."
Adalia flinched and changed her expression to a pout and mock whined, "Awe that's not fair Kula."
She raised an eyebrow and Adalia sighed and dropped her façade.
"Fine. Shetriedtogetmetogototheballtonight." Adalia said it really fast, to get the worst over with, just like one pulls off a bandaid.
Kula's face was as impassive as a stone as she stared down her stubborn friend, "What was that? I didn't quite catch it."
Adalia cringed and took a big breath, and said the next words extremely slowly, just like one was talking to someone with a brain injury, "She was trying to get me to go to the ball tonight."
Kula rolled her eyes, "Adalia, all knights have to go to the ball tonight. I would have thought that by now you'd have gotten over you're avoidance of formal occasions."
Adalia crossed her arms, "I'm not some air headed court dandy that is at the beck and call of their Majesties. I have better things to do than attend balls where I am looked over like a piece of meat. It is ridiculous."
Kula raised her eyebrows and said carefully, "Adalia, I know that I don't have to remind you, but you've pretty much sacred off all the nobles that do that. For some reason, they don't find it endearing to have you beat them up."
Adalia smirked and said satisfactorily, "I know. But even if they don't approach, I still catch them staring." She then shuddered and added grumpily, "It's unnerving. I never asked to be like this."
The guys were all chuckling, remembering that the infirmary had been packed with those unfortunate nobles, and the running bet on just how much knights Adalia would manage to beat up within certain time limits. That had all happened after the first ball she had attended, during her squire years. For some reason, the idiots seemed to have temporarily forgotten just how strong she was, and they suffered miserably.
Kula sighed, "Come on, you need to back me up. Besides, don't you wanna show off for Rye? He is coming back tonight."
Adalia seemed slightly mollified by this, even though she was already intensely aware that he was coming back tonight. Her face smoothed as she remembered his stormy grey eyes, rumpled brown hair and crooked grin. His full name was Rikash Sàlmàlin, the son of Daine and Numair – he was a strong mage and had inherited a mix of wild magic and regular magic, although it wasn't as strong as his parents. They were extremely close, and had been courting since her squire years. Although it wasn't quite as simple as that, they were still going strong, and were very much in love.
Kula saw Adalia's moment of indecision and hurriedly continued her persuasion, "Come on, Ady. You know it will be ok."
Adalia crossed her arms, scowling at the nickname and logic. Kula sensed a victory and said one last thing, "You may have a chance to beat up more chauvinistic pigs."
Adalia sighed and slumped in her chair in defeat.
Kula allowed an amused smile to spread across her face, as the boys were all mockingly faking astonishment. Charlie, his mouth hanging open, said, "This must be a ground breaking development! Ady is agreeing to go to a ball without divine intervention! Wow."
Adalia scowled and hit the back of his head, saying "Shut up" half heartedly.
Unfortunately, the whole reason Adalia was hiding out in this mess hall burst through the doors, instantly halting all conversation. She seemed to sense where Adalia was, for her head swivelled around, and upon spotting her granddaughter slouched in her chair, she stalked over.
Adalia was cringing under Alanna's wrathful gaze as she stopped right behind her. She built up her mettle and met those ferocious violet eyes with her own, forcing herself to appear surprised. Alanna smiled, but it held no warmth, only satisfaction, as she forced Adalia to follow.
Adalia hesitantly got up and followed her grandmother out of the mess.
Once the doors were closed, Alanna scowled at Adalia and said menacingly, "Adalia. If I have to go to this damn ball then you do as well!"
Adalia put up her hands in surrender, "Fine. But you can't say anything if I beat up any of the pigs."
Alanna laughed in amusement, all traces of her infamous temper gone, "Deal."
An hour later Adalia was intensely regretting agreeing to attend the ball. Alanna, who was beside her, was not looking any happier, even though she was the one to force her granddaughter to attend.
Adalia had endured poking, prodding, makeup and a whole other series of unspeakable horrors to be deemed acceptable for the formal event. Fortunately she had vehemently refused to wear a corset, and obviously remembering that last time, when she had pulled a dagger on the poor maid who had attempted to force her into one, she was grudgingly allowed to avoid that. At that time, she had been trying to hide her beauty, but thanks to divine intervention – which was almost insufficient – she had been forced to attend a ball. It was the Goddess's fault – Adalia had been conscripted to change the conservative's minds, in which had been successful. Now all she wanted was to be left alone.
Unfortunately (to her), Adalia had looks to rival a young Thayet, which was apparently part of the reason that the Goddess had chosen her to change the conservative's minds – her still being seen as beautiful demonstrated that lady knights were just as eligible as the regular court lady… even though Adalia herself goes to lengths to avoid suitors – besides Rye, of course.
Suited out in a floor length violet gown, Adalia was scowling and grudgingly allowing herself to be led into the banquet that would take place before the dance. She reluctantly took her seat, slightly comforted by the fact that all her friends were at the table as well.
The eating part went by practically painlessly, due to the easy conversation and joking on their part. Unfortunately, this meant that the dancing came quickly, and before she realised it, Adalia was being swept with her friends into a large room. She made her way to the wall, carefully avoiding all eyes that lingered on her.
With her back safely to the wall, she allowed herself a sigh of relief – and then she heard her friends break into laughter. She opened her eyes and narrowed them at her friends, all of which were watching her in amusement. "Oh sure. You all have fun at my expense. Just wait till I get you out on the practise courts - see if you'll be laughing then." She threatened.
Instantly they quieted, all traces of humour gone at the thought of being forced to duel with their friend. Since she was half crow, Adalia was scarily strong and fast, which made her a formidable opponent… and that's putting it lightly.
Adalia grinned satisfactorily, and then decided to lighten the atmosphere, "So, have you guys been assigned anything to do? It has been three months since I've been knighted, and the King doesn't seem to have any interesting missions – he's just been sending me with the Own. Talk about boring."
Kula shook her head, "Adalia, you've been bugging Roald so much that he hasn't had anything big worth sending knights out after – it's good that we have peace, but there seems to be nothing besides border patrols for us to do, which we have all accepted. I think he sends you out with the Own just so you don't terrorise the court."
Adalia smiled sheepishly while Charlie and Kaden chuckled – they had been in the castle the day she had decided to have fun with the nobles… let's just say that blue was a very common colour, and not on hair. Of course, non of this was ever linked directly to Adalia, and it added to a growing list of unexplainable occurances.
"Well, you can't expect me to do nothing. Flick, my very own Evil Personal Shang, has had me helping to train the pages, but that only takes up so much time… I became a knight for adventure, not for hanging around the palace getting out of shape."
Charlie raised his eyebrows in disbelief, "Adalia, you've practically been living at the training courts – I don't think there is a knight left in the whole palace that you haven't faced and beaten – you've even been going out and consorting with thieves, just to get new opponents."
Adalia scratched her chin, "What can I say? Granddad introduced me to some of them and it is interesting watching all their power struggles. A few of them are truly working for the good of the people – I like the current Rogue." She raised her eyebrow at Nathan, who was suddenly preoccupied. Kula watched this exchange with interest.
Dameon cut in, "Ady, you shouldn't be consorting with thieves, you're a noble."
She shrugged indifferently, "We're all people."
He sighed but didn't say anything.
All of her friends but one had gone to dance, leaving Adalia and Kula on the sidelines. Adalia was tense, and was glaring at some of the nobles that seemed to be continuously watching her. Suddenly she muttered to Kula, "Do you mind if I go beat up that guy over there? He's looking at me creepily."
She started to stomp off purposefully, but was stopped as Kula grabbed her arm. "Adalia, don't. He's going away. You beat him up last time, remember?"
Adalia looked back at Kula confusedly, head cocked to the side, "I did?"
Kula rolled her eyes, "Adalia, you've pretty much beaten them all up at one time or another, let it go."
"Fine." Adalia said reluctantly, glaring once more at the man and turning her back on the room. It was then that she noticed her friend seemed a little off. "Kula, whats wrong?" She asked bluntly.
Pink seemed to creep over her best friend's face, and she tried to avoid her eye contact. "Nothing. Nothing at all."
Adalia examined her friend's features. In order to avoid eye contact her head was turned upwards, because of Adalia being almost half a head shorter. She looked stunning in the emerald dress – it seemed she had not been as fortunate as Adalia and had been forced into a corset. Adalia put a hand to her own chin and scrutinized Kula's expression, trying to decide what could be wrong.
Suddenly, a thought occurred to her, "Kula, you aren't courting, are you?"
Upon seeing her friend's delicate blush deepen, she realised that she had hit something. Adalia raised a questioning eyebrow at her friend, who was suddenly looking longingly towards the exit. Adalia lowered her voice, "Who is it? Who do you like?"
Kula's eyes were frantic as she searched for a way out, as well as looking around to see that they couldn't be overheard. Adalia nodded in understanding, "You don't have to tell me, don't worry. Just, if you want anyone to talk to, know that I'm here. Kay?"
Kula relaxed and said, "Thanks, but it's nothing."
Adalia nodded, even though she could tell her friend probably needed to talk. It was just then that someone slipped an arm around her waist. She shrieked and grabbed the offender, twisting the arm so she could see her attacker.
What she was met with was a very amused Rye, wincing at the grip she had on his arm. Instead of dropping it, she hissed, "What are you doing, surprising me like that? Seriously, you wouldn't have liked the next place I was going to kick you – you know better than to sneak up on me when I am at a ball!"
He made a show of yanking his arm out of her grip, his face turning to a teasing pout, "But I was so enthralled with your beauty that I couldn't help it! Ady, aren't you glad to see that I'm back in one piece?"
She rolled her eyes and swatted his arm, "Ever the Player. But don't think that gets you off the hook – you're just lucky I realised it was you, else you'd be stuck in the infirmary! Oh, and one more thing – why do you insist on calling me Ady?"
He was smiling, patiently waiting for her to voice her objections. "Why not? Now, are you done, or do you want to rant some more? Because you are really wasting time, here."
Adalia shook her head, an amused smile playing on her lips, and said simply, "I'm done."
Rye nodded his head, "Good." He lent forward then, and kissed her tenderly. After a few moments they broke apart, vaguely noticing the low wolf whistles from their friends.
The ball was still going on around them, so Rye led her out to dance. Adalia caught glimpses of her friends, dancing with some of the court ladies. There was one interesting thing to note, though – Adalia couldn't help but smile as Kula danced with Daniel. She had an idea of why Kula had been nervous before… and she also noticed that Daniel seemed to pay more attention to Kula than was appropriate towards a friend. 'Maybe there is something to it.' She thought. 'It would be nice if they discovered that they liked each other that way… but who knows?'
The rest of the night seemed to go faster – how Rye managed to make something so boring fun, Adalia would never know, but before she knew it, they were excused.
Rye grinned roguishly at Adalia, and she nodded firmly in answer to the unasked question. His eyes smouldered, and he carefully wrapped an arm around her waist, and decidedly led her out of the ball room.
A/N: Well, who knew that I'd ever get this chapter finished? YAY! Well, I hope you guys liked it, and next chapter the interesting stuff begins. I know I said I wouldn't give a background, but I guess it just wrote itself. If anyone read this and hasn't read Granddaughter to the Lioness, please please please read that one first, otherwise this probably didn't make much sense. I guess the last thing I'll ask is if people would leave a review, just tel tell me if they think I should keep writing this – I know there was no action, I just thought I should update on what's happening. I'll give you one hint to the future of this – take note of Ady's boredom, cos it's gonna lead her into a whole lota trouble, which will NOT be strictly confined to Tortall – ya that right, the crow will be flying the coop, off to cause trouble in some of the other lands. So ya, thanks all!