Title: Steady Erosion

Fandom: Tamora Pierce/Protector of the Small

SMACKDOWN Competitor: Wyldon

Summary: Wyldon is stone and Kel is water.


"We can't have you falling asleep, Keladry," Wyldon said as he threw another branch on their small fire. After bandits had attacked them en route to Northwatch, he'd been lucky to find a cave not too far from the road. Kel had taken a severe blow to the head, after which she still managed to kill her opponents. "If you have a concussion the worst thing to do is sleep."

She yawned sleepily. "I wish you had the Gift and could heal me," she murmured.

"Gods, I wish I did, too." He settled himself against the wall. "Tell me about the Yamanis."

Kel realized that he wanted her to do the talking so she would remain awake. "You would like them," she began. "Yamani warriors are stoic and obedient. And they train as dutifully as you do."

"That explains you a bit," he said with a chuckle.

"I guess it does," she replied, smiling. "The warrior class trains from childhood. They're forced to endure all conditions, all elements – even sitting completely still in the pouring rain – to be certain they're steadfast. Like many of them, you have a lot of stone in your personality. It's good for a knight."

"Stone?"

She nodded; it made her head throb. "The Yamani feel that personality types are based on different elements. You have combinations, but every person is predominantly one type."

"And I'm stone, you say."

"Yes. You have too much stone – it makes you rigid and unyielding."

"So, it is undesirable?"

"Not at all," Kel insisted. "People with stone are precise, and they can be perfectionists. Even it they're set in their ways, they bring something great to the lives of other people. Being stone is what makes you such a great knight, sir."

"But…?" he prodded her, sensing there was a flip side to this.

She giggled sleepily. "Too much – even of a good thing – can be bad. If you don't have water to weather stone, some who is stone becomes too harsh, too obstinate. When I first met you, I thought you needed lots of water."

"I see," Wyldon said, frowning. "And what are you?"

"I'm water," she replied instantly. "Idealism is the heart of water. And calm."

"That certainly sounds like you." He paused, reflecting on her previous words. "It looks like I need you in my life, Keladry." He took her hand in his own, hoping she would understand the significance of his action.

"I think you do, too." She squeezed his hand.