A/N: I've had this sitting around for years, and figured I may as well publish it.
Piercefic 08 is a Tamora Pierce fanfic competition running throughout December, with awesome prizes up for grabs. See .com/piercefic/ for details.
Five things that never happened to Roger of Conte
The sound of his leather soles gently slapping the floor with impatience echoed throughout the silent room. Jaw clenched, Page Roger of Conte kept his eyes on the wall in front of him. His fellows were in their afternoon classes, undisturbed by the whims of women. He sighed, clearly bored. Normally Roger would have welcomed a disturbance to his routine, particularly when it involved him being excused from classwork. However, he thought to himself, if he had wanted to sit in a bare room and wait for other people to do things he would have become a clerk. As it were, the Queen had been in labor for almost two days now. Surely she was almost done?
A sharp glare thrown by Gareth of Naxen settled him again. Roger resisted the urge to sneer at the highly strung Duke. It was not worth the punishment work the Queen's brother could assign him, as the newly appointed Training Master. Roger resigned himself to relishing every time the increasingly powerful Duke was forced to bow to him. After all, he was the Heir. For the moment, at least.
His uncle, King Roald, paced the floor in front of the door that connected to the Queen's chambers. Roger squinted, looking for evidence of the rut he was convinced was going to appear on the polished wood from all the pacing. The floor was already beginning to look scuffed.
Suddenly, the door flew open.
A woman entered, hastily bowing. "Sire."
Roger watched distastefully as King Roald stood quickly and asked, "Well?"
"Her Majesty has borne a royal daughter. Praised be the Gods."
The young man's eyes widened with shock. Quietly, Squire Alexander of Tirragen asked, "You want me to do what?" The last word dripped with repulsion.
Duke Roger studied him for a moment. He had not thought the boy to be such a fool. "Alex, it is a simple process. Think of it as… restoring the kingdom's order. The way nature intended it to be." He paused, drawing out the implications of his assessment. "Remember. You will have no more competition. You may be the best swordsman, for now. But how much longer will you continue to best Squire Alan?" He licked his lips, hoping his gamble would pay off.
Alex stood, bowing jerkily. "I am not interested." He turned, striding from the room with his head held high.
Purple eyes gazed into deep blue ones. "You want to be my friend?" Alan of Trebond repeated.
Roger moved even closer to the Squire. "I can give you things you never dreamed of." His face was scant inches from Alan's. "Accommodate your utmost desires." He continued. The Duke swelled with pleasure as Alan drew a surprised breath. Roger eased his lips over those of the younger man.
He folded his arms resentfully. The emerald coloured silk itched uncontrollably. Heavily jeweled embroidery pulled at his sleeves. Stiffened material restricted his movement. The Conte Duke was most certainly not comfortable. Nor was he impressed.
"You fool!" Roger hissed angrily. "Look at me! This is appalling. How could you let something like this happen?" Venom dripped from his every word. "The Duke of Conte-"
Thom of Trebond smiled lazily at him. "Careful Delia. You had better watch those manners. One might think you shared more than just your body with him. Of course, things can happen when you dabble in another sorcerer's magic." The Master paused. "Things can go… awry."
Roger blazed with a myriad of colours as the court watched, transfixed by amazement. The magic of the land mingled with the orange of his gift as the priest and priestess lowered the crown onto his head.