A/N: Thanks to Isha for betaing this! Don't forget to visit Goldenlake at fiefgoldenlake dot proboards dot com! Reviews appreciated :)
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The whole room was frozen in silence. Raoul chuckled to himself for a moment, until he realised he was the only one laughing. The rest of the Court looked scandalised.
"What is wrong with you?" Kat hissed at him.
"Is... is this not a joke?" Raoul whispered back, as his cheeks started to turn red from embarrassment.
"I'm going to kill you when we're out of here," Kat threatened. She turned back to the monarchs and curtseyed. "Please forgive my brother, Your Majesties," she said loudly, "He was simply wishing me good luck. It is... an old Marenite tradition our family chooses to follow." She smiled brightly.
King Roald was the first to recover. "Ah, of course, Lady Katrina. I had forgotten the custom, myself. Welcome to Court." He nodded his head in dismissal to them.
Kat silently dragged Raoul towards Alanna, Gareth and a few other people around their age. When they reached the group, the other young nobles stood there awkwardly for a few moments.
Eventually Gary spoke. "Well, that was most unusual," he remarked. "Lady Katrina, may I introduce His Royal Highness, Prince Jonathan?" He gestured towards a dashing young knight to his left. The knight looked Kat over with great interest as she curtseyed to him.
"I do say," he began, "there has been quite a lovely crop of young ladies arrive here tonight. I cannot wait to discuss art, literature, and philosophy with them, and then ask them about their feelings!" He beamed at Kat.
She looked at him weirdly. "Right, you're on my 'to do' list as well," she muttered.
Alanna flounced up to the Prince. "Your highness, I do love to dance... if only someone would ask me..." she trailed off, hopeful.
Jonathan looked grave. "Lady Alanna, I would ask you to dance, but I am restricted by my belief that physical exertion takes valuable energy away from our minds."
Kat couldn't take it any longer. "I'm leaving," she announced to the group, and strode out of the Great Hall, Raoul a few steps behind her.
"Er, Kat," he called after her. "I'm, er, sorry about before." Raoul winced as she turned around and glared at him.
"Good. You can make it up to me tomorrow." She replied.
"Tomorrow?" he asked, almost fearful. "What are we doing tomorrow?"
She smiled at him serenely. "Teaching Lady Alanna how to be a knight."
As they walked off, plotting, neither of them noticed a young noblewoman silently watching them from the shadows.
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The next morning, Kat and Alanna met Raoul out in the training yards. It had been raining overnight, and the fields were quite muddy. This didn't deter Kat though – after all, she wasn't the one who was about to learn how to be a knight.
"What are we doing out here?" asked Alanna. "It's so dirty!"
"Mmm," was Kat's only reply. "Raoul, have you got all the stuff?" she called.
He turned. She could see that there was a large pile of assorted knight gear sitting on the ground beside him. "Everything I thought we might need."
"Need for what?" Alanna asked. "What do we need that stuff for?" She clapped her hands. "Is Sir Raoul going to give us a demonstration?" She fluttered her eyelashes at him.
Raoul looked at Kat. "You haven't told her yet?"
Kat shrugged. "I figured it would be better to tell her away from the Palace. Less things for her to blow up, et cetera." She turned to Alanna. "Long story short is that you weren't supposed to go to the convent but come here and become a knight. Now everything is messed up and I have to fix it. Sir Raoul here is going to teach you how to be a knight." Kat stepped back, ready to shield herself from Alanna's famous temper.
Alanna looked confused. "I am a lady now though. I don't want to be a knight anymore."
"Yes you do," Kat responded soothingly. "Now, Raoul here is going to teach you how to tilt. Or something."
"No thank-you." Alanna replied politely. "I don't want to get dirty."
Kat watched her for a moment, wondering what to do. Finally, she had an idea.
"RAAHHHHHHH!" Kat yelled suddenly, as she ran and tackled Alanna into the mud. The two girls tussled about for a moment, with various squeals and curses heard until finally,
"YOU. RUINED. MY. DRESS!" Alanna screamed murderously. "I'M GOING TO KILL YOU."
Kat scrambled out of the mud, sprinting to hide behind Raoul.
Alanna pulled herself up, and stalked over to the pile of weapons. She pulled a staff out of the pile, and advanced on Raoul and Kat. "THIS DRESS COST FIFTY NOBLES AND TOOK THREE WEEKS TO MAKE." She screamed. "NOW IT'S RUINED."
Raoul's eyed widened at the advancing mud-covered noble woman. He quickly picked up his weapon, and began to back off. "Now, Lady Alanna, I'm sure your dress can be fixed. Mud just washes right off, plus-"
"NO IT DOESN'T!" Raged Alanna. "PREPARE TO DIE!" She swung her staff at Raoul, who blocked it easily.
"You have an, er, talent," tried Raoul.
"GRAHHH!" was Alanna's feral reply.
"I probably should have warned you that she has about six or seven years of anger pent up," commented Kat, as she ducked a wild blow from Alanna. "That's not very chivalrous!" She called to Alanna, ducking another blow. "Good luck!" With that, she turned and ran for the safety of the castle.
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After Kat had bathed and changed into a clean gown, Kat went in search of Prince Jonathan. His behaviour last night was certainly peculiar, and she was determined to get to the bottom of it.
She knocked on the door to his chambers. "Prince Jonathan? It's Lady Katrina."
The Prince opened the door. "What can I do for you?" He asked politely, adjusting his spectacles. "I'm terribly sorry, but I'm in the middle of a thrilling read on agriculture statutes of the 3rd century, and I really must get back to it."
Kat stood there for a moment, aghast. "You have a girl outside your room, and instead of inviting her in, you tell her to make it snappy so you can get back to a law book?" She asked, disgusted. "What is wrong with you?"
Jon blinked at her, considering what she'd said. "Er... Would you like to come in, Lady Katrina?"
"I would like to come into your room, Your Highness!" She replied loudly for all the servants to hear, before strutting into his room.
He closed the door behind her. "What can I do for you, my Lady?" he repeated, watching as Kat rather rudely poked around his room.
Kat was examining the bookcases lining his wall. They were crammed with books. "Since when did you read?" she asked, adding "Where are your weapons?"
Jonathan was struggling to maintain his polite mask. "My squire Thom and my cousin Duke Roger provide me with an assortment of books. I am exceedingly well read." he bragged.
"Mmhmm," Kat replied. "How often do you entertain ladies in your room?"
The Prince was shocked. "That is a rather personal question!"
Kat looked at him squarely. "You're a virgin, aren't you?"
"Sex is for-for love, and stuff." Jonathan stuttered. "You are so forward, Lady Katrina!"
Kat sighed. "Jon, I have been sent on behalf of-of the Gods" she explained. "They want you to be more princely."
"A prophet!" Jon exclaimed. "I have a book on the subject!" He dove to a bookcase in the corner and began digging around.
"Your Highness, no." Kat dragged him back from the bookcase. "No more books. No more scrolls." She glanced around the room. "This junk is going to have to go. And I'm going to find a lady friend for you, and get this mess fixed up."
"A lady friend?" Jon sounded terrified.
"It's what the Gods want!" Kat reassured him. "Now, what sort of lady would you like me to set you up with?"
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