Title: Cowardly Lessons
Rating: R, (Rated for sensitive subject-matter)
Warnings: Deals with the molestation of a child. NOT graphic.
Summary: She had always been able to protect everyone but herself. She was ashamed, how can a knight be such a coward? Oneshot
AN: This just wouldn't leave me alone, so I had to write it. This is my first fanfiction, so all constructive criticism is more then welcome :) I'd like to know how I can improve. Let me know if its too hard to follow, I hope its not.

Cowardly Lessons

You want to be a knight? Then I'll give you a lesson about being a knight.

She twirled her blade faster, in the most complex pattern dance she knew. Trying vainly to chase away the whispers of memories. That had been the first time it had happened, and she had been too scared to do anything. She pushed harder, angry at herself.

You know what these little lessons of ours are for, don't you? You could never be a knight.

She spun herself around, throwing all of her energy into it now. Hoping to go so fast that the words would get lost, unable to come back to her so that she could forget. That had been the sixteenth time, four whole months. She slashed upwards furious with him, her own brother.

It's because you're a coward.

She moved her feet faster still. It wasn't going away this time, and these words more than any other had always stuck with her. Those words that had been whispered softly into her ear on the thirty-first lesson. Eight long months, the longest of her life. She hadn't fought back, not once. She twirled on the spot moving her glaive downwards, ashamed of herself.

You know it's true, that's why you don't say anything. You know it's true…and you like it.

At five years of age Keladry may have been a coward, but she didn't like it. No matter what Conal said she did not like it or want it. She felt his hands move downwards, under her skirts. He had brought her to the tower this time, her favorite place. Her favorite place which he would now ruin, like he had so many other of her favorite places. It was her fiftieth lesson, one full year. She was five now, had been for a couple months. Should she let him destroy her happiness this year, like the last? She was a coward, he said so. What could a coward do to stop him?

He forced her onto her knees. Her whole body trembled, terrified. She closed her eyes, but she could hear him undoing his breeches. She wondered if the Lioness had ever been this afraid. And with that thought she did something she had never done before. She opened her mouth and bit down as hard as she could. She jumped up and started for the door, intending to go to her mother.

Neal saw her standing in the middle of the practice court, breathing hard. Smiling to himself he crept up behind her and

tackled her to the ground.

He was too big; she couldn't stop him as he lifted her up. He carried her over to the ledge and held her over it, dangling her by her feet. She thought he was going to drop her, and she screamed.

Neal jumped off of her immediately, startled by her screaming. Not entirely sure what to do he crouched beside her and put his hands on her shoulders.


She looked up into the worried eyes of her best friend and stopped screaming; only just realizing that she was doing so out loud. Her body shook in the aftermath of her memories. She was embarrassed, how could she let Conal do that to her now? Years later, and she was still a coward.

"Kel?" Neal asked softly, concern tinting his voice. "I'm sorry; I shouldn't have done that…"

He had never apologized.

"No, no. I'm sorry Neal, I wasn't…wasn't paying attention."

He wasn't convinced. "Kel...You know that if you ever want to talk, I'm here. You're my best friend." Looked searchingly at her, trying to figure out what was wrong.

She gave him a small smile, before letting her mask fall into place. "Don't worry about it Neal, I guess I've just not been sleeping properly. I've been worried about New hope, winter's coming and…" She trailed off.

You're a coward because you will never tell anyone, and that's why you could never be a knight. Knights are not cowards.

But she was a knight, the first known Lady Knight in years. She had worked hard, so hard to get to where she was today. Maybe it was time to stop. Stop being a coward. She was a knight, and the Protector of the Small. It was time she start standing up for herself, and never let anyone call her a coward again.

"…Actually Neal, there is something. Can we talk in private?"

You're wrong Conal, she said as the waited for their parents to bring them back into the room mere hours after the balcony fiasco as they called it. You're wrong.

Let me know what you think!

-Queenscove's Girl