Disclaimer: I do not own the creative rights for, or make any profit from, any of the characters or works relating to Kristen Britain's Green Rider series. This is just a personal tribute to them. Reviews welcome.

Chapter 1:

A slow thud drummed in Karigan's ears. She lay alone and weary, trapped in a pitch black stone prison. After thrashing and screaming herself into a paralysis of shock, all she could feel was her heartbeat tolling like a death knell in her ears, the only cruel reminder that she was alive, for now. A single tear tracked down her face, for the first time she cried only for herself, for her unknown future never to be realised and a sorrow deep inside of her that she felt so alone.

Another single tear ran down the hard, angular cheek of a man, bent low over his desk. His head in hands, his amber hair, distressed, hung too long across his brow.

'No, Laren… it can't be true.'

Laren Mapstone, captain of the green riders stood pale and straight, her hands trembled behind her back, her head bowed.

'Say something Laren, please, there must be a way that…' Zachary looked up his glossy blue eyes staring through his friend and close adviser, searching, hoping.

'I'm sorry Zachary. I'm so sorry.'

She placed an envelope on the table softly, it was addressed to the King in Karigan's linear untidy hand. She then turned abruptly and quickly walked away from him unable to maintain her composure. As she reached the study door she paused and turned back, the king was still looking at the place where Laren had stood, he stared as if in a waking dream.

Laren didn't know what was worse, delivering such terrible news to her king or having to live with herself for a thought she couldn't shake, that beyond her own feelings for Karigan, or Zachary's, perhaps this was the only way that the King could move on and make a new life with Estora. A new hope for Sacoridia? Gods what a price. Through the tears that she couldn't stop she noticed a movement between the rays of traitorous bright light flooding the study and then saw Fastion like a black shadow behind the king, his hand on Zachary's shoulder, his face hidden from view. Laren left the room, her slow footsteps echoing in the corridor, aware that something would forever be changed now that Karigan was gone.