Disclaimer: Not mine. Inspired by Tammy's response to a question about Joren I read somewhere. She said there were other boys in the family but Joren was the "bright star".


Rather Unexpected

Summer

The last thing Squire Brecon of Stone Mountain expected when he woke that morning was to be conversing with the Lady Knight Keladry of Mindelan, yet there she was leaning causally against the fence of the practice yard.

"You joust well." It was a simple statement. She wasn't surprised, nor did she seem particularly impressed.

"Not so well as you." He said with a slight bow, his reply half bitterness and half pride. His palace trained manners and the fact that he was being complimented by a knight known for her jousting could not completely overcome his family anger. After all how did one converse politely with the woman who 'single-handedly destroyed the family's future'? Evidently younger sons had not factor into his father's vision of the future of Stone Mountain. But now it was up to him to restore what Joren had lost.

"I could help you with that. I was planning on taking a squire anyway."

He stared at her. Truly there were very few things she could have said that would have shocked him more.

"I'm certain you've had other offers." She said, perhaps regretting her offer already. Was she trying to escape?

"No. No, I haven't. High risk, I'm sure you understand." he kept his voice even and detached, mimicking the tones he'd heard all his life. "Father tells me I should be expecting an offer soon though." A lie - the last letter he'd received from home at been four months ago, written by his mother begging him to come home.

"Well then, I shall look forward to seeing your name in the lists." she offered him a hand to shake.

Brecon stared at her outstretched hand. "Wait."

"Yes?"

"When should I move my things?"

Her smile was genuine. They shook on it, while she instructed him on his new living arrangements.

He was neither his father nor his brother, but perhaps he could be the great hope for Stone Mountain. Brecon smirked. At least he might succeed in pushing his father to an early grave.


"Whatever is wrong with you, my friend, is no small thing." Sir Nealan of Queenscove said, rather loudly, while he sat with his best friend in her study. "In fact, I am certain many of my former colleagues at the University would be greatly intrigued. Perhaps I shall propose a study!"

"Shut up, Neal." There was no detectable annoyance in her voice.

"Honestly, Kel, I only let you out of my sight for a couple months. Why?" he flung his arms wide for emphasis. "Why do you insist on doing everything in the most difficult manner possible?"

"I'm not sure I know what you mean, Meathead," Kel replied trying to keep her expression stoic, failing, but hiding her smile behind her glass of cider; she'd never admit it, but sometimes she missed Neal's dramatics.

"Firstly, you insist on being a knight." This earned him a pair of raised eyebrows. "Secondly, you refuse to simply ignore hazing like the rest of us; thirdly, you adopt that gods-awful, man-eating monster insisting that it is a horse..."

At this point she was trying to tune him out, and figure out for herself why she had done it.

"... ninthly, you attempt to rescue the refugees ALONE..."

He was digressing into a full-blown rant as only Neal could manage.

"I wanted a squire."She said, more to interrupt him than anything else.

"Ah, yes, so you chose the young man whose older brother attempted to sabotage your training at every turn, until the day he died, whose father would like nothing more than to see you chopped into little pieces and fed to crows, and whose entire family has likely sworn to hate you and yours forever. Perfectly sane, Mindelan."


His knightmistress would tell him that listening at doors is unbecoming. Not that she expressly discouraged him from continuing the practice, but it was more like she was implying that it was frowned upon to be caught, at least the was the most convenient interpretation for Brecon. Also, it was too tempting to resist when Queenscove was asking the very questions he had so long too. After only a few weeks in her service he felt he knew very little about her personally, and wished to rectify that as quickly as possible. He had agreed to four years with this woman, and he would not be held at a disadvantage.

His reasons for agreeing were still a mystery. The Lady did not seemed to beable to give no more logical a answer than he was. It was not the wisest choice - for either of them. But it had certainly gained him attention; many he passed in the palace halls regarded him curiously. There would be no positive attention form home, though. If the mildly horrified reactions of his friends would only be a foreshowing of his father's.

Queenscove was proposing a toast now.

"To the next four years. May we all survive them, remaining wits intact."

I'd drink to that. Brecon thought.


A/N: This was originally just a drabble, but I had some reviews asking for more, so I tried. I've polished it up a bit and extended this chapter because Neal wanted to have his say. If I follow it through the four years of being a squire, it will be about 15 chapters. All input is welcome :)