K. Ryan

The bruise was ghastly, blues and purples blending together, not even green at the edges, deep and streaking along her thigh, curling away where muscle thinned into the bone of her hip. Alanna eased pale green ointment into the damaged skin. "Barbarism."

"You never tried it?"

"Kel. I'm a swordsman. Besides, no mad gilded emperor had unleashed Immortal Hoardes on us, so there was no cause for such indignity."

"My Lord said something like."

"Even so, it's a mad practise. Fit only for lofty monsters like Raoul."

Kel shifted, stretched her arms and back. "I'm tolerably lofty."

Alanna snorted. "You're different."

"From Raoul?"

Slow, steady breaths. "Neal's right," the older woman murmered. "The longer I know you, the wickeder you are."

"Pass me the bruise balm, my lady? If I'm too wicked to touch…"

"Oh, stop provoking an old woman."

Note: Written for the first round of Goldenlake's SMACKDOWN: A fanfiction fight for Kel's non-canonical hand. Competitor: Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau. Characters are in no way mine. The competition is the brainchild of Goldenlake message boards. They, likewise, neither own nor profit from these characters and/or their geographies.