KEL AND FRIENDS READ FIRST TEST

A/N and Disclaimer: This story is set two weeks before Kel becomes Raoul's Squire. As anything you recognise is probably Tamora Pierce, whom I am not, so it is obviously not mine.

Prologue – Finding the books

Ever since Nealan of Queenscove had become a squire four weeks ago, He had started spending as much time as he possibly could in the library. This was largely due to his uncertainly on whether he would get an active or a desk knight as his knight master, if he found one that is. Despite his love of reading, Neal was hoping for an active knight to choose him, as he wanted to learn how to best protect the country and, although he would never say it in front of her, how best to help Kel along the path she was currently on. He could easily tell that, if she lived long enough to, Kel was going to change the whole of Tortall, if not the world, just by being herself. Unfortunately, trouble had a habit of crossing paths with Kel, and this made Neal concerned as to whether Kel would live long enough for her to shine. After all, in the last four years that Neal had known Kel, she had, with the help of her sparrows, led a Spidren hunt, led their friends in a skirmish against a group of bandits and less than two months ago climbed the outside of a rusting tower, that was tall enough for pages who failed to jump off of the top of the tower to commit certain suicide.

And yet, the majority of the conservatives of the Tortallan court still felt that females had no place as knights. Neal wished he could smash all of their heads together, or that he could make them see what he saw, that he could make them see the truth. He did not realise how quickly his wish would come true, in a roundabout way. He was researching both famous and important fights of the past, trying to get a feel for the different styles of strategies and tactics. While looking for a book he was yet to read, he spotted a book clearly labelled SQUIRE. While it was not a surprise to see a book about a squire in the section of historical fights of the past, he wondered which squire the book was written about. He could think of at least four people who had done enough something amazing enough as squires to have a book written about their exploits. He pondered as to which it was for many minutes, arguing with himself over which was the most likely, but eventually he realised he would never find out unless he read either the book or the summery, and for time reasons, he chose to read the summery. Imagine his surprise when the summery read;

'When Kel is chosen by the legendary Lord Raoul to be his squire, the conservatives of the realm hardly think she's up to the job. Kel earns respect and admiration among the men, as well as the affection of a fellow squire.'

It was all he had to read before he flipped to the first page of the book with writing on it. However, his excitement both fell and grew when he read that this was the third book of the series. It fell because he was not sure if the library had the earlier books, and grew because he learned there was also a fourth in the series. This meant that there were two books, if he could find the second, which were clearly about future events.

It took him an hour and fifteen minutes to track down 'first test' and 'page', and another and a half to finally find 'lady knight,' by which point he was almost giving up hope that the book even existed. However he was left questioning how long ago these books were written, as though Squire looked like it had been read recently, all three of the other books were coated in at least a centimetre of dust; in fact lady knight looked to have be covered in at least five .In fact he had found them in the back of the library in the archives which were all but forgotten about, as the area had seldom been visited since the Conté's took the throne over four-hundred-and-fifty years ago.

He had just opened first test to start reading when the bell rung to tell him it was almost ten and that he only had fifteen minutes until lights out. 'Damn' he cursed softly, before quickly checking out the books and running to his quarters. It didn't take him long to get ready for bed, and he had managed just before lights out. However, he was unable to get to sleep until gone midnight

The next morning he woke up to a knocking on his door; it was Kel waking him up because breakfast started in half an hour. He got ready as quickly as was humanly possible, before opening his door to allow him to see when Kel was ready to go. This occurred half a minute after he opened his door. Then the two went down to breakfast together.

It was only when he got halfway through breakfast that he remembered the books, and so, with far more energy than Neal usually had in the morning, Neal told Kel, Cleon and Merric, and Roald the only other friendly squires that were currently in the palace about the strange books he had found. Cleon and Merric wanted to read the book, while Kel and Roald were curious but unsure as to whether they should both read and trust the books or not. Neal pointed out that the first two books were written about the past and as such Kel would be able to tell them very quickly if they were accurate. Reluctantly, Kel agreed and the group agreed to meet up after dinner to begin reading them.

A/N OK that's it for the first chapter. The start of them reading the books should be posted by next Friday.