Alanna goes to her father's funeral. Quite Angsty.

Alanna looked down into the ground where her father, Alan, was being lowered. The words that Maude read from the book in a monotonous tone fell on deaf ears. The squire felt quite ready to spit on her father's grave and dance on it once it was filled up.

No one would blame her because for years, he had neglected her and he had been ready to force her into the convent, oblivious to her own emotions.

But she wouldn't – couldn't –spit on his grave. She wasn't going to dance in joy at the loss of the obstacle of a father.

Instead, her eyes stung with unwanted angry and sorrowful tears, held back by their stubborn bearer. A lump formed in her throat and she knew that she wouldn't be able to stop the downpour once it started.

But he was nothing like a father to her! Why did he matter to her so much that tears were forced through her eyes at his death? He was never the one who had taught her how to blacksmith nor was he the one holding her hand as they hiked through the woods and over the river. The man in those memories was Coram.

Never Lord Alan.

His nonchalance at his children's existence had been the thing that helped the switch work but every advantage had its own bitter end.

The squire clenched her jaw in rage. You were supposed to be there for us, she wanted to yell at the dead corpse in the casket.

"Alanna, would you like to say any words?" Maude asked her. Her name made her cock her head. That was right. She was supposed to say a few words. But she didn't want to speak for all she had to say were words of his failure at filling in the gap that their mother had already left when she'd died of childbirth. And instead he dug it deeper so that they may never be relieved of that hole.

Thom handed her a lavender handkerchief for the tears that she hadn't noticed trailing across her cheeks. "You don't need to if you don't want to."

Alanna looked up into her brother's eyes. They held sorrow as much as hers, perhaps more. But he'd never tell anyone. He saved deep emotions for the sole person he loved and the only person who could read his emotions: Alanna.

He had changed greatly in body and mind. It was a sad thing to see everything placed in front of you to observe how different it became. But change was inevitable and could only be adjusted to.

The squire accepted the cloth. "Thank you."

Without warning, she threw herself at her brother, wrapping her arms around his lanky form. He was surprised by the impact but he eventually settled and put an arm around his sister. "All will be alright, Alanna." His tone was soothing –or a modest attempt at being soothing.

She buried her face in his shirt and wept the flood of hot tears as quietly as she could. She didn't care about the servants' protests at the sudden outburst when she started cursing her father.

"He was supposed to be there for us! He was supposed to be our father. But instead he drowned himself in grief and sunk into his scrolls and books. Never once did he take his nose out of them to give us any notice!" Her voice was already muffled by Thom's shirt but it became even harder to hear once she started speaking in deadly soft whispers, so soft that only Thom could make sense of the words.

"He was supposed to be the one hoisting me up on Chubby the day I learned to ride. He was supposed to be the one giving me my shield with the Trebond arms in bright paint, holding my hand up to the world in pride of me, his daughter. But no, he had to die before I could even show him that I'm worth more than just sewing or just his glances when I'm telling him to look."

A sniff made her look up. "You're crying." It was true. Thom's eyes glistened with tears.

He grunted, still not wanting to show that he was crying although it was plain to everyone present that he was. "It's your fault." His voice was laced with false hate.

She stood and straightened, wiping her face with the cloth. A change in subject seemed like the ideal way to go. "Will you be looking over Trebond in father's absence?" The girl put on a good show. If there wasn't a damp spot on Thom's shirt and her bloodshot eyes, no one would've guessed that she had been sobbing moments ago.

"I'm afraid not." Her brother pulled her into a tight hug. "I'll be gone by dawn tomorrow. Coram'll take care of the fief. I'm sure he'll do a fine job."

Alanna pulled back. "Coram?" Disbelief hung in her raspy voice. She knew that it couldn't possibly last forever but the aspect of Coram being more than a week's ride away made her anxious. She'd miss him terribly and after the funeral, it seemed like a bit much to take in for her.

"I can't stay here. I've got to keep up with my studies."

Of course, she thought bitterly. So much like father.

She looked down, face sullen. "Very well."

And the gravediggers did their job, sadness in their eyes. No words were said, only sobs and silence.

A reception took place after the funeral. It didn't last long for Alanna. She stayed to eat but it was so dull that her thoughts simply wandered back to her father. She spent her time practicing with Lightning, where she could let out her anger in a much more courageous way than crying into someone's shoulder.

She wore black when she said good bye to Thom upon his departure the next day. "Gods all bless, brother. And be careful. Only Mithros knows what's out there."

She gave him one last hug before he mounted and trotted along the dirt that they had once ridden together three years before, starting their individual endeaors.

The squire stayed one more week to help Coram get settled, occupying herself by practicing with her sword.

The day of her departure, she said farewell to Coram indoors for if they said good bye outdoors, she was positive that she'd look back and that'd certainly tug her heart to make her stay put. He took her into a bone breaking embrace. "Take care, lass. And may all gods bless."

"All gods bless." For a moment, she thought that she was going to start crying once more but she didn't have the tears. Sweat had used most of her moisture when she'd practiced earlier. "Good bye, Coram. And good luck."

"I'll be fine." He pulled back and held her at arm's length, a broad grin on his lips. "I hope you have a wonderful time as Jon's squire. If he does anything out of bounds, come straight to me. I'll be sure to drag him back into those bounds."

Alanna swatted at him. "He won't do any such thing."

"If you say so." He kissed her forehead. "Go. Before I insist on keeping you here."

And so she went out to mount Moonlight. "Let's go girl. We're going back home."

Her mare neighed at the aspect of leaving the currently dreary place filled with black and grays. She trotted gaily down the dirt path, happy to see that her master was wearing the old blue, white, and gold of the Conte line.

Don't get her wrong. She was still mourning. But that didn't mean that she had to announce it to the world by wearing such drab colors.


She had to keep her head held up and her stubborn chin in the air. She was a warrior and nothing could bring her down.

(A/N) Hm. Semi-Canon little fic. Hope you enjoyed! Please review. They're absolutely lovely and the button to do so is right down there! ^_^

Warmest Regards,