AUTHOR'S NOTE Hey everyone! This is my first fanfic, and after going through maybe around ten edits, it's done. Fire and Brigan have always intrigued and inspired me, because of how their relation was spurred. For a while I thought I was the only one who found sadness beautiful, but just knowing other writers have the same thoughts is incredibly reassuring. All credit for the scene and characters go to Kristin Cashore! Please R&R (no hate please) and let me know how I'm doing! More chapters to come!


Brigan never intended to fall for the Lady Monster. It had always been second nature for him to keep his guard up from the beastly terrors infesting the Dells, and Fire was no exception. He had seen what her father could do. Cansrel had single-handedly destroyed the Dells, killed hundreds of innocent men, and bewitched his way to the crown. His power to control the minds of those surrounding him had forced many children, including himself, to become grown men and women well before the dolls and army toys were outgrown. Brigan knew Fire was just as powerful as her father, if not more so. Cansrel's legacy had become such a part of his life, and with it occupying his mind so much of the time, it was bordering on an obsession. Brigan had believed for many years that it was his mission alone to prevent the loyal soldiers he had under his command from falling for the monster's cunning act.

As they rode horseback alond a narrow mountain ridge, Brigan wondered what would happen when they reached King's City. Having no doubts in his mind that his brother would have an immediate attraction to the Lady Monster, Brigan realized that it was up to him to defend the peace of his homeland. Without question, Brigan knew it was well within Fire's abilities to seize the throne. There was no way the offspring of his would-have-been murderer could be allowed to drive the Dells and Southern Pikkia back into chaos. The kingdom couldn't survive two consecutive reigns of terror in its present condition.

The small band of warriors stopped in Roen to rest up. Brigan's mother wished for a private session with Fire over tea, so Brigan decided to journey to the library in order to pass the time in an efficient and productive manner- it couldn't hurt to do some brushing up on the country's history. Brigan also didn't want to admit it, but he had had enough with taking strategies or mulling over food rations for the army, and it was highly unlikely anyone of utmost importance would spend a clear afternoon in a dark cavern filled with books.

The library stood proudly at the end of a corridor flanking the east side of the courtyard. Its mahogany doors embellished with carvings of wolves and firebirds gave way to a massive room lined floor to ceiling with an impressive array of books. Most of the tomes were dusty and old with broken bindings, especially the top tiers that were only reachable by a rickety ladder leaning against the sturdy shelves.

Brigan meandered over to the section of journals and primary resources that lay in a large glass cabinet by the far wall. They were kept under lock and key, sitting pristine in their crystal coffin. Brigan reached for his set of lock picks and easily fit a few metal rods into the keyhole, causing the doors to swing open with a creak. He rifled through a stack of journals recorded by Nax, the late king of the city his brother now governed.

The papers were thin and weathered, the edges crumbling under Brigan's pale fingertips. They were written in the Dellian language, a series of thick strokes and curves. the ink had faded to a dull gray pallor. Each notebook was bound in a soft blue leather, presumably from the hide of one of the many monsters that roamed Brigan's homeland. Taking the notebook he had been searching for back to a candle-lit table, Brigan sat in a high-backed chair and fingered the pages gingerly. Opening to page two, he read.

"I fear my enemy draws near. He has been gathering forces in Pikkia, and two of my spies have vanished. Our numbers are getting feverishly low. My son must be kept safe since I have not a doubt in my mind that Cansrel means to kill me, and I will have the need for an heir. My time will be up in a year's time at most... An old, blind gypsy woman in the marketplace tells me I have much a reason to fear for my own life. As she waved her trinkets and wailed in foreign tongues, I saw before me a vast wasteland. No castle topped the mountain, no cottages dotted the fields. She told me of this future and of how it would be so if an heir does not come forth and pull the country into its days of glory once more. I fear the worst. For if Nash is deemed unsuitable, the throne is no place for an illegitimate child."

Illegitimate? Brigan sat back in his chair, his hand stroking his stubble with confusion. He was a bastard's son? For all his life, Brigan had been raised in the royal family for all his life, learning fighting techniques from Nash's instructor and dining with Clara and Garan. When he set up traps for his siblings, he was not harshly punished, merely scolded and sent to his room. So why would Nax include such a statement in his private records? A dull ache swirled around in Brigan's stomach. Closing the journal carelessly, Brigan collected his things and stormed off to Roen's quarters for some answers.

Opening the door to his mother's breakfast rooms, Brigan saw the Lady Fire chatting casually with the Queen as if they were old friends. Fire had let her hair down, and it spilled over her shoulders in a brilliant wave of flame. Cursing, he realized asking his mother about his true father would have to wait, both for a time where he wasn't on a strict travelling schedule and for a time when the conversation could be private. Silently composing himself, Brigan stooped into a curt bow to the monster and his mother.

"I have come to collect the Lady Fire, mother," he said curtly. Fire immediately started to tie the burlap covering back over her hair, tying a tight knot at the top.

"Surely it isn't time for you to take your leave so soon!" Roen pleaded, as if there was any serious attachment between her and the girl.

"I am sorry, but we need to make haste if we mean to reach King's City safely."

Roen waved a hand dejectedly and Brigan ushered Fire down the corridor hastily but not before shooting Roen a glare saying, 'we'll talk later.' A few tendrils of fiery red escaped from Fire's queer headscarf as they briskly jogged back out to the lawn. As they neared the front grounds where their horses grazed, Fire's servant Mila rushed towards them, out of breath.

"Lord Prince, a fight has broken out among your men," Mila said frantically. Brigan knew it was most likely over the Lady, as such was the main disagreement among his men. Looking pointedly to Fire, Brigan said, "Do you know anything of this?"

Fire shook her head. "All I know is that they don't like me and they haven't hurt my horse."

Brigan didn't even think about her speckled brown mare. In suggesting that there was a real bond between the two companions, he realized there were some things Fire cared about besides herself. His opinion of the lady monster slightly improved at hearing this heartfelt statement.

Rushing outside, they saw a cluster of soldiers throwing punches to a man with greasy hair and yellowed teeth. Something lay on the ground by his feet, a curved piece of broken wood. With a sinking feeling in his gut, Brigan reaized that it was Fire's violin. Fire must have come to the same awful conclusion as Brigan because she was running towards the broken shards, steady tears streaming down her perfect face.

Something that had long slumbered tugged at Brigan's heart as he gasped, balancing himself against a nearby horse. It was as if a beast had awaken within his very being, a hungry longing that had long slept deep within the seven chambers of his heart for so long.

With a cry of protest, both against the men and the monster within, Brigan rushed towards his men, who had acquired some bruises since he left to visit his mother. Pulling the culprit out of the angry throng, Brigan rammed the man's body against the castle wall mercilessly.

The soldier's nose began to gush blood, a bright thick red that streamed into his mouth. As the anger and passion fueled his madness, Brigan tore at the soldier with a vengeance. Dark yellowing bruises appeared over the bags under the man's eyes and the soldier yelped with pain. A sharp crack sounded, signifying a broken rib. After landing hit after hit, the man collapsed against the stone wall in a lifeless heap.

"Please, please stop!" a voice cried. Brigan stalled his foot before it it the man's abdomen. Turning, Brigan saw Fire clutching her horse for balance. "Don't hurt him anymore," she whispered timidly. Brigan sighed and dropped the man's limp body down on the cobblestones.

"Leave him there," he commanded to his soldiers.

Turning back to Fire, his face contorted with unwelcome anguish as he saw her broken body lean in to her horse, violent sobs wracking her slender figure. She held the shards of her father's only gift to her in her tight fists, mourning the loss of an object of so much value to her. Fire cried her heart out, and as Brigan knelt down, Fire came into his arms, holding tightly to his rumpled tunic. Brigan only hesitated for a moment before he hugged her back just as tightly. Wiping her tears on his shirtfront, Fire looked into Brigan's grey eyes sincerily, with an unabashed grace that kept Brigan locked in her gaze.

In that one gaze, Fire told Brigan of her suffering, her dreams and fears, her misery she had held inside her fragile heart for years. It reminded Brigan much of his own sadness, as if he somehow wasn't alone. He could see in her eyes the days she spent barricaded in her room to protect herself from the monsters, and the lack of affection from the father who expected her to be not only strong, but fearless too. He saw those days by the lake with Archer, in which she could forget she was different from the rest of the people living in Brocker's kingdom. Brigan witnessed those fearful monsters barricaded in the metal cells in Cansrel's twisted zoo, and he felt the fear Fire felt when she stumbled upon them. Fire poured herself into him, finding solace in his strong, steady arms.

And finally Brigan tore down his walls. Brick by brick, he let himself be unwound, let himself cry and bleed for her. It was as if he was taking a club to the fortified battlements he had stacked with his own bare hands each day for over half his life, and letting the dam on the other side break loose. He let the strange, forgotten emotion pour into him with a feeling he had locked away for so long. He looked down at her red and tear-stained face and understood.

He loved her.

(c) thornsinmyside 6/25/2012 All Rights Reserved.