Battlefield
By: Manna


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01: The Eyes Have It

In the grand scheme of things, love ranked…rather low. They were at war…sort of, and they marched and fought and sweated and stank and sometimes bathed, but not very often, and most people were too tired to care about finding a life partner, let alone on the battlefield, because the very next day they could die, and then…what would the point be in finding them to begin with?

Despite it all, a few had found a special someone.

Lyndis found herself inexplicably attracted to Kent. She wasn't sure how to tell him such a silly thing, and had kept it to herself, choosing instead to let things take a more natural course. He was a knight of Caelin, and as such, felt a sense of duty toward her and her safety; she had no qualms about letting him stay near her in order to fulfill that duty as he saw fit.

However, there was a specific mercenary pegasus knight that she had noticed hanging around, and she couldn't say that she liked it at all. She kept her senses alert.

After many days of observation, Lyn understood one very important thing: Fiora seemed to fancy Kent.

(At least, she was certain that was how the phrase went in Lycia; hadn't she heard Serra say it once? In Sacae, it might have been said that the pegasus knight "had eyes" for him, and eyes did she have! She was always staring at him in her free moments, watching him… Lyn wondered how she ever had time for anything else.)

It was a terrible turn of events. Terrible! Absolutely terrible.

Shaking her head, the young lady of Caelin turned away from the sight of Fiora watching Kent. The knight seemed completely oblivious to it all, but it didn't surprise Lyn at all; he was quite unused to the attentions of women.

Her revelation about Fiora rested against her shoulders like the yoke of an ox, and the bright sunlight of the following morning did little to lighten her burden.

During the daily march, she chanced a peek at her—her? Caelin's—redheaded knight. Perhaps she ought not have been so surprised to find that Fiora liked him. He was quite dependable, handsome, and, well—she flushed—nice. Lyn looked away before he could catch her watching him, but she couldn't help but notice that a specific other person's eyes were also looking in the same direction.

Hmph.

Well, the woman could look as much as she wanted; nobody could tell her that she couldn't.

But… She sighed and dug her heels into the side of her horse to walk a bit closer to him. Not too close as to be suspicious, but close enough that she'd be closer than Fiora. Why did such a thing come to mind? Once she was closer, Lyn herself could not answer that question…but she did feel a bit better. The weight on her shoulders lessened.

It wasn't until the following evening, when she happened to see Fiora touch Kent's arm while she spoke to him that she understood everything with startling clarity.

Lyn herself had chosen not to tell Kent how she felt about him. Fiora had made no such decision. She doubted that the other woman would declare her love so boldly, but that didn't mean that it was impossible. She bristled at the thought.

She didn't care that Fiora was her best friend's sister.

She steeled her gaze and squeezed her fingers together into a tight fist. There was no way that she would let another woman, no matter how pretty, or capable, or smart, take Kent away from her.

But Kent was not someone easily won. She had tried to get close to him, and had never gotten far. (Each small step was a victory, but with her latest realization, those steps were only those of a wobbly-legged toddler.)

Lyn loved him, and for a million reasons, but…she couldn't just come out and say it. It would be so sudden that she was sure the results would be disastrous at best. No, she needed to get close to him, first. Closer than she was, at any rate. He always stood near her physically, but mentally it was as if he purposefully distanced himself—not only from her, but from everyone.

He still used a title with her name.

It would take some time to grow closer to one another, and at least her attempts would give him some kind of a warning before she confessed. (What would Sain say? That his heart would give out? Lyn was sure that it would if she walked up to him and admitted that she cared for him that very moment.)

She shoved a spoonful of soup in her mouth; it had gotten cold during all her musing.

She needed a plan.


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Author Notes:

Trevor X and New Paladin made me do it. It's their fault. Blame them.