Authors note: I am writing this for my horse, Shane, who died recently. He wasn't mine legally but I loved him. I do not own any of Tamora Pierce's characters.


He was gone. Gone forever.

That was all that was going on through Kels head. It had been a Scanran attack. She had ridden out on Peachblossom. They had just begun to drive them back when it happened. An arrow had come, seemingly out of nowhere, and it hit Peachblossom. He fell, hard. She had twisted out of the way just in time to avoid being crushed. She had taken up a defensive position over him, but the battle was already over. The arrow that had hit Peachblossom had been the last arrow fired. She had bent over him to see what could be done, but he was already dead. She had remained there until Neal had come for her.

Now however she had to set aside her grief. She had to be strong for everyone. She could continue to mourn for Peachblossom in private. She carefully blinked away her tears, set her shoulders back, and pulled up her best Yamani face before walking into the mess hall.