By: Manna


War was not the proper time to be making merry. At least, that was how Lance felt—couldn't help but feel, after having seen corpses scattered across battlefields and the broken remains of what had been, not so long ago, thriving communities. So it surprised him one night to find the encampment erupt into chaos, though certainly not the kind that meant he had to find his horse and armor.

It started with a fiddle, and before even ten minutes had passed, other instruments joined in from all across the field where the army had stopped for the night.

Feet pounded against the earth in time with the music, hands clapped, and he just knew that somewhere, soldiers were dancing. (Truth be told, he was a bit afraid to look.)

On his way back to the tents that surrounded the royalty that traveled with the army, he ran into Lady Clarine. She was a striking beauty—a thought he tried hard not to dwell on, for he didn't much care to ponder on impossibilities—and daughter of the famous Reglay family, who did quite well for themselves in Etruria. Oftentimes he had wondered if Lady Clarine missed her lavish lifestyle. He assumed that she did, for how could anyone not miss a bed to sleep in every night?

He was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't notice when the singing had started. It wasn't everyone who sang, but Lady Clarine and those nearby had started singing an old, well-known ballad about a war.

Lance couldn't pretend to know much of anything about singing, as he rarely even hummed to himself, but Lady Clarine's loud voice sounded very off-key. The sound would likely hurt his ears if he stood too close. In the end he supposed it didn't matter. Others who lent their voices to the song seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.

Perhaps Lady Clarine's charisma had never been appreciated in this way before. She looked happier than all the rest, though perhaps it was her natural beauty that made her look that way. He felt the corners of his mouth turn upward just the smallest bit to watch the way the group carried on.

Perhaps war was not a time to make merry, but in the end, he supposed that it helped ease the minds of the men and women who fought for their own lives and for their homelands. They saw horrors on the battlefield that were indescribable. Didn't they deserve a small reprieve, an evening to forget?

"Lance." Her voice next to him almost startled him, but he merely blinked and inclined his head.

"Lady Clarine?"

She flashed him a smile and he wondered for a moment what might happen if he kissed her. A terrible thought, as it was entirely improper, but nothing was more beautiful, he was certain, than a happy woman, and he had never seen her look happier.

"What did you think of my singing?" she asked. Always so straightforward, she was.

"It… It was…" He was always so honest, and he hated to lie to anyone about anything, but could he tell her that her singing closely resembled a dying cat? He looked at those who had sat around the campfire with her and had given their voices to the song she'd started up, and he knew what the truth really was. Their still-smiling faces told him so. "It was beautiful," he said, looking down at her.

Her smile widened, and her cheeks reddened rather endearingly. "The next one will be for you," she insisted, straightening her shoulders and nodding slightly. "You should be happy for it!"

She was a bit strange, but he liked that about her. She was a real lady. "I am honored," he said, and offered her his arm. "Would my lady like an escort back to the fire?"

"That would be wonderful!" She took his arm. "But you must sit with me, all right? For one more song! Because it's for you!"

"Yes, of course, my lady."

Her expression fell just the smallest bit at his words, and he wondered for a moment if he had said something wrong.

He let his free hand touch her arm very carefully, and withdrew it as soon as he had her attention. "It would be my pleasure to sit with you," he tried, and was quite satisfied to see her smile as she held his arm a little closer.


Author Notes:

Did I just write FE6 'fic? This is a gift for FireEdge!