Forgot to do this in the last chapter... DISCLAIMER: I do not own the Secret Country, Feren, Fence, Agatha, or any one or thing else you'll recognize from the Secret Country Trilogy. I do own Briseis, the plot, and... well, you get the idea.

AN: Sorry if my... King James?... use of 'thou' 'thy' 'thine' 'art' and... well, you get the picture... aren't correct. You can correct me if you want, I won't be offended, but I won't change it either. It's not like anybody's reading this (or if they are they aren't reviewing-which is why this is only the second chapter! -hinthint).


Briseis stretched and yawned. Peering out her window, she concluded it was near mid-day. Not as much sleep as she would've liked, but it was enough. She sprung from her bed, and donned a dress from her pack; a plain white dress that clung to her upper body and arms, but flared out past her hips and elbows. However, her sleeves had slits in them, so the excess of material didn't get in her way too terribly much. The gown had a scooped neckline, and-as she filled it out rather well-only showed the tops of her bosoms.

Briseis was not one for frills and lace and other such trivials, she'd much rather just keep it simple. Quickly, she washed her face from the rose water on the vanity, tugged a brush through her hair, and swept it up, leaving her bangs and a small, perfect curl on her left side in front of her ear down. Pleased with the results, she hurried from the room, hoping she'd run into Agatha or somebody who could give her directions to Fences tower.


With an exasperated sigh she slumped to the ground, her back against the stairwell wall. Why in Shan's mercy does this blasted man have to have so many steps? She had tried to count, but had lost track of how many there were. She was resting on the stairs now not because she was exhausted from the physical labor, but from the sheer innumerable amount of steps she had been climbing. Mayhaps they don't take kindly to strangers, she mused to herself. Which, of course, was ridiculous. How could stairs not like someone?

But then again, these were no ordinary stairs.

With a huff, Briseis stood up again, and began half-running up the stone steps. Upon rounding a corner, she came face-to-face with a chest, clad in a blue tunic. Instantly, her eyes jolted up to meet a pair of shocking green eyes surrounded by a mass of hastily cut, short brown hair. It is amazing what the brain can proccess within the span of a few milli-seconds, she thought, realizing this was Fence even while she started to fall backwards from surprise. With a, "Oi there!" Fence quickly lunged forward and grabbed hold of the front of her dress, pulling her to him once she was close enough. They fell-Briseis foward and Fence back-on the stone steps. Quickly, she scurried to her feet, offering her hand.

"Oh so, so sorry! I should have been watching where I was going, oh, are you alright?" She gushed, on the verge of tears. The man hopped to his feet, clasping her hand in both of his, immediately grinning at her and assuring her he was fine.

"My dear Lady, fret not! I am unharmed," He looked up off to the side, "It appears your dress did come turn out half as lucky."

She looked down. A fist-sized strip of cloth was hanging down in the middle of her bodice from where he had grabbed her instinctively. She hastily smoothed the piece over her breasts, crossing her arms over it.

"I-oh-it's-well-"

"I can mend it for you, though you may want to come back up to my room." Silently she agreed and followed him up the last bend in the tower. Of course, the stairs worked for him, she thought wryly.

After doing a mending spell-while looking away, of course-he turned to her.

"If I may be so bold as to inquire, my Lady, who art thou..?"

Straightening her back, she looked straight at him, "I am Bresis, from Feren. You came to Feren four or five summers ago. Mayhaps even six. I was a girl then, thirteen at the youngest. I did not get to meet you personally, but I'd heard great things about you, and saw some of your magic. Ever since, I've been wanting to come and learn from you, if you'll have me." A calm, confident mask was plastered on her face, but inside she was a bundle of raw nerves.

Fence just gazed at her for a while. The seconds seemed to bleed slowly into minutes and melt even slower into hours, though it was only for a total of seven minutes Fence thought to himself.

"Sits the wind in that quarter?" Was his only response. Breseis lowered her gaze, examining the rug. Of course he wouldn't want to teach her, stupid, foolish, young maid she was. Did he even remember Feren? He had hardly stayed there, and only that once. Her thoughts were whirling around in her head like a tornado, destroying one hope after the next. Fence again broke the silence.

"Thou knowst I have had an apprentice? And thou must be dedicated and study? And obey my every order without question, lest it result in harm for thyself or others?"

Staring him in the eye, Briseis replied "Yes. I'm rather determined, and can be stubborn, especially when learning. My family found fault with it, saying a woman should not be so strong-minded nor strong-willed. I believe the only reason they allowed me to come beg your teachings is because they knew there's no hope for me; I will always be this way. After all, they've tried many years to..." She cut off, and cleared her throat. He looked at her with his piercing eyes.

"My dishes need washing. Make sure each set is in its' own stack." With that, he stepped up the stairs leading to only he knew where. Her lips formed themselves into the line of determination she was known in Feren for as she walked over to the tub that was the sink. She stifled a groan as she realized she would have to go fetch water to boil. And with that, she began looking around for a bucket.