Disclaimer: I don't own the Protector of the Small Series
Kel mentally cursed herself for not paying closer attention to Nallryn's directions. The servant passages were a maze of halls and she had yet to find one door that lead to the outside.
After spending hours rummaging through the crates with her belongings in them, she had lost all track of time. Dinner had probably already been served, not that anyone would miss her. Still, it would look odd that the lady of the manner was not present. Not that the time hadn't been well spent. She had found her glaive, shield, armor and many other of her belongings that Joren had insisted on removinmg once they had wedded.
Turning down another passageway, Kel sighed when she ran in to a dead end. At her rate, she would never get out. It didn't help that she had to hide every time a servant passed by.
Running her hand over the wall, she was half tempted to try and break it. The walls were weak and allowed small cracks of light to run through from the outside. Kel could tell that she was next to the main receiving room. Two servants were intimately locked in each other's arms in the corner of the room. Kel stepped away from the wall. She didn't want any one to know that she had been using the servant passages.
"The nerve of that woman." Came a familiar voice. Kel started towards it.
"She still dreams of him, you know. Cleon. Was that his name?" The voice asked. Kel jerked slightly. No one knew that she still dreamed of him.
"It doesn't matter." That was Joren's voice.
Kel turned down several corners until she stopped next to the library.
"You're attracted to her." The voice accused. Looking through the cracks, she spotted Joren and Lavina standing in the open office off to the side of book cases.
"Don't be ridiculous." Joren scoffed.
Lavina was dressed in a white and blue chore gown with slits on both sides of her legs and sleeves that hung wide and loosely on her arms. Kel was surprised to see Joren fully dressed in his knight's armor with his shield and newly restored sword.
"Why did you stop my spell?" Lavina whined, circling Joren. Her arms glowed with a sickly green pale light. Kel watched in fascination as the two blonds faced each other. Joren raised his sword and swung hard at the lady.
"If you had just stood aside, then we would be rid of her now." Lavina added bitterly. The ground beneath her began to glow until it became too bright to see. Joren flinched, halting his attack and Lavina charged him. Scraping her hand against his chest plate. The impact of the force sent Joren skidding back several feet. Kel was shocked to see that the green from Lavina's hands had left an electric current shaped like claw marks across Joren's armor. The power of it had broken through the metal. Joren frowned and shook off his daze.
Kel licked her lips in anticipation. She had never seen Lavina's gift before. It was painstakingly obvious that the icy woman had more than just the simple magic to heal. Although Kel noted that Joren's arm had been relocated and was in prime condition.
"Yes, she would be dead now and so would my son. That is not something I will allow. Kai is my heir." He reminded her sternly, swiping at her with his sword. Lavina pouted and pranced away.
"If she were dead than you would be free to wed me as we were intended. I could just as easily give you an heir." Lavina whispered suggestively, leaning forward. Joren took that as his initiative and slammed into Lavina with his shield. Crying out in disdain, Lavina twisted and fell to her hands and knees, leaving her back wide open for Joren to attack.
"Yes, I'm sure the rest of your parents would be thrilled for you to wed a disgraced knight. Or have you forgotten the reason why your father withdrew the arrangement?" Joren asked bitterly.
Kel frowned at their words. She had never thought that Joren would have had a betrothed. The shame from the chamber's ordeal must have stained his reputation so badly that the marriage plans had dissolved.
"My family is no longer an issue. I have learned much in your absence. I can give you anything you desire. Wealth, power or glory – just name it. You would be happy with me as your lady. Imagine it!" She exclaimed. Pushing against the ground, the lady jumped back up and twisted around and grabbed Joren's hands and raised them happily. An undercurrent of green lights sparked from her limbs into Joren's. Annoyed, Joren yanked his hands back.
"The time for imagining is over. What would you have me do with Kai? He's a Stone Mountain, just as I am." He demanded crossly.
"Cull him." Lavina suggested. Joren growled.
Kel fought back the instinctive anger at their conversation. She needed to get Kai out before it was too late. Joren was a monster and Lavina was evil.
Silently she watched as Lavina bent down and pushed her hands onto the ground. The green light from her limbs shot into the ground and spread out like a lake of magic. The light twisted and danced all around in sharp, bright sparks. When the current spread to Joren's feet it shot out at him, literally pushing him into the air.
Kel released a breath she didn't know she was holding as she watched her husband plummet back to the stone floor.
"The woman means nothing to you. Why should her son?" Lavina demanded, moving to stand over him.
"Get out. This discussion is over." Joren snarled. He made a wild swipe at the icy blond woman, but he was still weak from the last attack. Lavina pranced out of his way, making him miss by several meters.
"Is this how you repay me after everything I've done for you? Or have you forgotten that it was I who brought you back to life after the Chamber Ordeal?" She hissed, raising her hand and shooting the green energy out as if it were a bucket of water. Joren used his shield to protect him from the attack.
"Silence." He roared, throwing his sword directly at the mage. Lavina relented her magical attack to dodge the sword. Kel noticed that the blond was unable to keep a constant on her power when she had to move. Springing up, Joren threw his shield to the ground and slammed himself into his cousin. Kel watched in fascination as the two struggled against each other.
"You have no right to interfere. I have my own vendetta, after all. She killed my master." Lavina hissed. Joren grabbed her hands and forced them inward so that she couldn't attack him without hurting herself.
"How easily your own foolishness makes you forget. The crown is still wary of you. Your relations to Scanra makes all of Tortall naturally suspicious. All of your actions are watched now." Joren shouted. Abruptly, their struggling ceased. Lavina stared at her opponent, captivated.
"I knew you cared of me." She licked her lips and boldly leaned in, effectively kissing Joren into silence. Kel watched solemnly, something heavy and numb settling in her chest as she watched Joren kiss the blond. Was this how he felt when he had found her with Cleon?
Several minutes later, the two broke apart for air. Joren pushed Lavina away.
"Enough!" He barked. Lavina scoffed.
"Why the sudden hesitation, afraid we'll be caught? Your wife already knows of us. See," Not taking her eyes off Joren, Lavina raised her hand and aimed it in Kel's direction. Her hands started to glow green. Before the lady knight could react, a blast of twisted magic sprung forth, knocking straight through the wall and into Kel's hideaway.
Everything came crashing down in the glowing, green spell. It hurt, fire and ice all at once. It dug into her, tearing and ripping everything. Gasping, she forced herself to her feet. Shaking, she made her way into the library prepared to confront the two of them. Her eyes failed her then and she found to her horror that once the magic settled into her, she couldn't control her muscles. Abruptly her knees buckled. She started to sway forward but something caught her before she fell.
"You're too generous." Lavina sneered, her voice was far off and fading. Then Kel's world went black.