Disclaimer: I don't own Fire Emblem. I just like playing with the characters.

Summary: FE7. Three years after Nergal's defeat, Marquess Caelin falls genuinely ill, instigating a new set of political complications. (Kent/Lyn blanket scenario. With a plot!)
Pairings: Kent/Lyn, possible mentions of others
Rating: T

Notes: LOL I'm supposed to be on hiatus, which is obviously the best time ever to get ideas. This has actually been in planning for uhh almost three years, but I never quite figured out how to piece everything together. Until now. Sooo, things you should know: 1.) "Wherever I May Find Her" refs a Simon and Garfunkel song. 2.) The chapter titles, however, are (mostly) loosely inspired by The Back Horn songs. 3.) This fic is kind of the evolved version of "The Spaces in Between", which was originally mostly a sounding board for my ideas and not a serious endeavor. Basically, I'm getting off my ass to flesh out an actual plot using some of the ideas I developed from Spaces, most of which never made it into written form anyway. Partly because I like the backstory I concocted for Kent too much. (FE has a serious lack of positive mother figures! They're all dead or otherwise missing, or die at some point, except, arguably, Eleanora.) 4.) This is multichapter. Complete notes will be posted at wariskind on LJ when the whole thing is done, not on a chapter-by-chapter basis. 5.) I'm REALLY supposed to be on hiatus.

Most importantly: 6.) this fic is nonlinear, i.e. it jumps around in time, i.e. it's a mystery more in the sense of "what happened?" rather than "whodunnit?" And I mean like really really jumps around in time. For no real reason other than the fact that I enjoy being evil.

Also, this is dedicated to Qieru and Manna, who have been hankering after this fic for quite a while. XD


Prologue: Look to the Stars

The night before her grandfather died, Lyn dreamed, once again, of the plains.

That first year in Caelin, she had dreamed so often that many mornings she woke expecting to smell rabbit meat stewing in the crisp air, hear the gentle murmur of her parents moving about the ger. Her fingers would reach for the thick, soft furs which they had all three of them huddled under for warmth in the long winter months, only to find white quilted blankets in place of furs, and wood and stone closing in all around her in the silent hours before dawn.

She had not cried. Those were happy memories, and happy memories should not, must not be stained by tears. Nor did she think the lady of the castle was supposed to weep for reasons no one else could understand, especially in front of the staring, ogling servants who passed in and out of her chambers each day. That much, at least, she knew. A warrior's grief, too, was confined to the circles of his clan, among the brothers who had lived and fought and died alongside him.

In the end, the dreams had faded, along with her memories. It was not that she wanted to forget, but she did. New memories replaced them, new words and new faces.

Perhaps it made it easier for her, to remember only that she was the granddaughter of Marquess Caelin, and not a child of the plains.

o-o-o

Long grasses tossing in the wind. The rich, earthy smell of loam filled her nostrils. She threw back her head and found that her hair was unbound, whipping back like a horse's mane. She laughed and ran forward, unthinking. There was someone she must meet, the wind told her. Someone she must find.

But the plains stretched on and on without end, and no matter how hard she ran, the sun stayed in the same position overhead. Tears of frustration welled in her eyes. She wiped them away fiercely with the back of her hand, and continued to run.

The sun set, and darkness spread across the land. She could not see any familiar landmarks. Where was east, where was west? Where was south, where was north? Fear struck her then, a childish terror she had not experienced since she had been three, and had wandered away from the safety of the ger, away from the encampment where her tribe had settled for the long winter. Like a little lamb wandered away from its herd.

"Ada?" she whispered into the sudden, eerie stillness. She crouched down, hugging her knees, hungry and weary and cold.

There was no answer.

"Ada?" she called out again, voice trembling. And yet still there was nothing, not even the sound of a howling pack in the distance.

The fear overcame her. She broke into heaving, soundless sobs, though no tears flowed down her face. Her chest felt strangely heavy.

She remembered, vaguely, the old tale of the great she-wolf laying herself down to die.

Only then, in the darkness, did she see the flicker of movement in the distance. She quieted down and waited, uncertain if she were hunter or hunted.

As the figure neared, she realized suddenly that it was human. And yet not human, for she could see no face in the darkness. Even then she knew already who it must be, and why he had come.

"Ada, oh Ada. Is it really you? I --" She could speak no further. Her father's strong arms encircled her in an embrace.

"My daughter, my Lyndis, my little filly. Why have you come to this place?"

"I am lost, Ada," she whispered, and clutched at him desperately, fearing that he would fade into shadow and mist once more. "I am lost, and cannot find the way."

"Shh, shh," he murmured, clucking at her in the way he had always used to soothe his horse, or to comfort her when she was upset. "There always comes a time when one loses their way."

"But what should I do?" she cried. "Everywhere I turn lies a trap or a false turn. Ada, I -- I'm so scared."

"Do not fear, my child. Father Sky and Mother Earth are with you, always. The spirits of the land are at your side. Listen for them, and they shall come."

"But I miss you," she said, quiet and quivering. "You, and Ama, and..."

"I know. I know. I have missed you too, my little filly... But the paths of Sky and Earth are filled with meetings and departures alike. And now we have come, once more, to the parting of the ways."

"Don't go," she choked. "Don't leave me."

He looked at her sadly. Sadly, she knew, though she could not see his face.

"Everyone must leave, sooner or later, Lyn." Already his voice was drifting away. "Have you forgotten? Look to the stars..."

The stars. In her fear and sorrow she had forgotten. She tilted her head to the night sky, gazing at that dark expanse embedded with glittering lights. Black. The color of charred grass. But the stars oriented her, sang to her her place in the universe. Front to the south, back to the north; left to the east, right to the west. And she at the center of the world.

The stars blurred into a mass of light. She collapsed onto the grass, and imagined that she was a wolf, howling her grief to the sky.

o-o-o

When the servants came to wake her with news of Lord Hausen's passing, her face was already stained with tears, though she could no longer remember why.