A/N: *looks guilty* No of course I'm not writing another story... of course not... why would I be that mean?
FINE! I am. I thought of this plot while lying in bed on holidays... Hope you like :D Slight OOCness, not too bad... I don't THINK. Facts probably aren't too accurate, haven't read the books in a long time.
Set after Lady Knight, Kel has come back from New Hope and is spending some time at the palace... (Neal and Yuki are married, obviously)
Secrets I Should Have Known: Chapter One: ... How is this possible?!?!?!!
"Lady Keladry!" the small messenger boy called, trying in vain to get the lady's attention. "Lady Keladry!"
Neal tripped backwards and fell. Kel triumphantly stabbed her practise sword towards his neck. "I win," she said, her tone satisfied.
Neal rolled his eyes. "Yeah... maybe only for the... FIFTH time? Are you done using me as a practise dummy yet?"
"It seems I am," Kel replied, gesturing to the messenger, grinning. "Thanks, Neal."
She walked towards the messenger, leaving her sweat-coated opponent sitting on the ground, mumbling violent curses.
"Message for you," the boy informed her respectfully. "Lady Ilane wants you in her palace rooms. She said to come at once."
Come at once? Kel thought in confusion. What could have happened for her to want me... at once?
Her mother had arrived at the palace in the early morning and taken up rooms near Kel in the palace. Kel's father was taking care of accounts at Mindelan.
"Lady Keladry?" the messenger asked.
"Oh!" Kel jumped slightly. "Ah. Yes. Thankyou."
She rummaged in her pockets and absent-mindedly handed the small boy a gold coin. The boy grinned, grabbing the coin eagerly, and went running away.
"Bye Neal!" Kel yelled, beginning to jog up the large hill to the palace. "Thanks!"
The dusty knight, still lying on the ground, merely groaned in response.
Kel was turning the corner into the corridor of her rooms when she crashed into a warm object. "Sorry!" she apologised quickly, horrified. "I wasn't looking..."
She looked up at the face to see familiar, sapphire-blue eyes.
"Hi, Kel," Dom flashed his teeth in a very white smile.
Kel felt the familiar sensation of her heart speeding up slightly, much to her embarrassment. A mature knight, having a covent girl's crush. How ridiculous. "Hey, Dom," she replied, grinning back at him, trying her best to seem casual and unaffected..
"I haven't seen you in ages," Dom commented lightly. "Hey, why don't we go riding or something after lunch?"
"Sure," Kel agreed hastily. "Sorry, Dom, I have to go see my mother... I'll meet you after lunch?"
Dom nodded. "See you then, Kel."
"Hello, mama," Kel greeted her mother, smiling. "What causes you to call me urgently?'
Her mother kissed her on her cheek, her expression carefully controlled, and gestured for Kel to sit down in a chair. Kel did so, watching her mother expectantly. Ilane sat in a chair opposite Kel, a small, delicate table seperating them.
"Have some tea," Lady Ilane poured out some Yamani green tea into a small, delicate cup. Kel accepted gratefully. Fencing with Neal might not have been a great challenge, but it still made her thirsty.
"Thanks," Kel sipped the cup and looked back up at her mother. "What did you call me for?"
"Kel... I have... news," her mother paused, the Yamani training that all the Mindelans had had causing her to show no emotion.
"News?" Kel repeated, puzzled. "What kind of news?"
Her mother rested her chin in her hands, staring at her daughter with an expression horribly like concern. Kel swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry. What had happened?
"Kel... when you were a baby, we didn't expect you to want... this," her mother gestured vaguely. "Knighthood, I mean."
Kel didn't see where this was going. "Yeah..." she responded uncertainly.
Ilane of Mindelan took a deep breath, and to Kel's complete shock, closed her eyes.
It must be something terrible... Kel thought wildly. Her mother rarely showed sadness or pain.
"Please, mama, just tell me," she begged urgently.
"Kel... you're betrothed." Ilane opened her eyes.
Whatever Kel had expected, this certainly was not it.
The delicate Yamani teacup hit the ground and shattered. The clatter echoed around the silent room.
Neither of the two women even looked down.
"Betrothed?" Kel whispered, her mouth barely moving. "How... why?"
Outside, her face was smooth.
Inside, her world had come crashing down.
Betrothed... who? ... this means... children... giving up being a knight... whoever he is won't approve of me being a knight... I don't get a choice of who I marry...
And in her mind's eye, a picture of Dom flashed, before she quelled it swiftly.
"I'm so sorry, darling," Ilane murmured, her face pained. "So sorry... but we didn't realise..."
"Who?" Kel croaked, her voice hoarse with shock.
"I can't tell you," Ilane replied sadly. "When you were but a baby, and we were living in the Yamanis, a... family approached us. They wanted to betroth their youngest son to you, as of course we were fairly well off and a respected family. We agreed, thinking that it would be for the best."
Kel licked her dry lips, feeling oddly sick. How could this happen to her? "Continue," she whispered.
"We heard from the family only once more. They sent a pleased letter, thanking us for agreeing to the betrothment. They promised that we would forever have good relations... We didn't hear from them ever again. When you wanted to become a knight, we agreed, because we thought that they had broken off the agreement without telling us. But today..." she paused faintly, her voice trembling ever so slightly. "Today, I recieved a letter from the lord and lady of the family. They stated that as you were now nineteen, you should now be ready to be married to their son. There were no comments about you being a knight, nothing of that kind, nothing but informing us that we should expect to see you married before next Midwinter."
There was a long silence.
"Kel?" Ilane asked finally, her Yamani composture once again regained.
"Yes... I just, I just need to think... when can you tell me who it is?" Kel asked, running a visibly shaking hand through her sweaty hair.
"I don't know," Ilane replied. She was seriously worried about Kel- she had never seen her daughter this upset before. "Darling, are you-"
"Mama, I need to go and think," Kel interrupted, standing up in one swift movement. "I'll... I'll see you later."
She practically ran out of the room, the door slamming shut behind her.
Ilane stared at the closed door, anxiety wracking her.
Neal hummed an absent minded tune as he strolled through the corridors to his and Yuki's rooms. He was looking forward to dinner that night, apparantly there would be roast potatoes and beef...
He entered the passageway in which Yuki and his rooms were and stopped abruptly.
A shaking figure fumbled with a key, jiggling it up and down ferociously in a door lock. "Open... just open!!" the figure was chanting feverishly.
Shock took over Neal. He had never, ever seen his best friend in such a state. "Kel, what's wrong?" he asked gently, walking up behind her and placing a soft hand on her shoulder.
Kel looked up, startled. Amongst her stress at trying to get into her room, she hadn't heard him coming. "N-nothing, Neal. I'm fine. Just... tired."
Neal gently took her hand off the doorknob and unlocked the door to her room. Opening the door, he pushed her lightly inside, and shut it firmly behind him.
He turned around to find that she had sat wearily on the bed, her face a pool of emotions.
"Kel," he repeated. "What's wrong? Please. Tell me the truth."
Kel shook her head. She didn't want Neal knowing her... situation, and she certainly didn't want anyone else- namely his wife, Yuki and his cousin, Dom, knowing either.
"Please, Neal," she managed. "Just... go. I'm fine. I just need to be alone."
If there was one thing Neal didn't lack, it was persistance. "I'm not leaving you, Kel. Not while you're like this."
She tried to smile at him, but failed dismally. "See? I'm fine!" she told him firmly.
Neal snorted faintly. "Yeah... I can tell."
"Please," Kel begged. "Go. I... can't tell you now. I... I promise that I'll tell you when I can."
As if I'll have a choice whether to tell him or not. It's going to be pretty obvious what's wrong when my engagement is announced, Kel thought bitterly.
Neal eyed her suspiciously, but nodded his reluctant consent. "Alright. Kel- it'll be fine."
He left with a comforting squeeze to her shoulder, leaving the lady knight with gratitude for having such a friend, but mainly with horror at her engagement- to someone she didn't even know.
A/N: Muahahaha. first chapter :) Annnnngsty.... LOL! okay... sorry... kinda hypo right now..
Anyway, review and you shall have my eternal gratitude as well as you will HOPEFULLY get a chapter soon.