My first Graceling/Fire fic. Enjoy.

Brigan watched his father's old military commander keenly. He had heard great stories about him – from the time before his father had seemingly lost his mind and crippled Brocker forever. Brigan felt a surge of het towards his father – maybe, if he hadn't done so, Brigan wouldn't be forced to take this post now. After all, it wasn't what he wanted.

Yet it was what he had to do, just as he had to summon the Lady Fire to his brother's palace.

His brother. Nash, he thought, with exasperation. They were brothers, yes, but sometimes he felt that they couldn't be more different. Nash had some of Nax's tendencies, as he had told his mother.

And Brigan knew that the king wanted this beautiful lady monster – with flaming hair that was more brilliant than even Cansrel's – close to him for another reason, one that had nothing to do with questioning a prisoner.

Even after what she had done at his mother's, he did not trust her completely. She was still a monster, and Cansrel's daughter.

He bit back a sigh as he watched her looked curiously at Brocker, who looked back calmly before she left. It was curious, this silent manner of speaking that she had.

Brocker watched her walk away, then he turned his sights onto Brigan. "Yes, sir? You wanted to speak to me?" he asked respectfully.

The man regarded him from his post in the chair. "You have no love for that girl, just as you had no love for her father. But sons do not always turn into their fathers – and neither do daughters. You may not believe what I tell you about her – how she is nothing like her father; she is kind and brave and strong. But she is like a daughter to me."

Brigan listened silently, keeping his face a mask even as conflicting feelings swirled up inside him.

"I know the guard you have picked will protect Fire from the men of the army. But they can not protect her from you, so that is what I intend to do. Listen closely, boy."

Brigan leaned forward to hear the man who should be his mentor. "You owe that girl your life."

The mask on his face cracked, and his astonishment and confusion shone through. He rocked back onto his heels in surprise.

"You escaped Cansrel at the beginning. You were clever, I give you that. But he was much older and wilier than you, and he was coming up with another plan to do away with you – an infallible plan. And I guarantee you; you would have fallen prey to it. And Fire – Fire killed him. She killed her own father, to keep you safe, and to keep the kingdom safe."

His jaw dropped before he could take control of his expression once again. "But – Cansrel was killed by a leopard monster that he let out of a cage. It was a suicide."

Brocker shook his head. "She made it look that way. She entered his mind and influenced him to open the cage."

The former commander's gaze was steady and frank. "I though you should know. But she would be mortified if she knew I had told you, so do not let her know that you know her secret. But remember what I said, Lord Prince."

He glanced outside. "And now, you should prepare for your journey. Go safely, Prince."

Brigan understood the polite dismissal, and walked outside, still in a daze as he tried to process all of this.

Perhaps he had judged the lady monster too quickly, he thought. With the new knowledge of this secret, he might learn to trust her yet.

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