DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of Tamora Peirces Characters, HOWEVER, Lily, Sarra, and Lamalas/Tathar are MINE! insert evil laugh

oh, and if you're wondering why Lamalas/Tathar's name is like that, I can't decide which one sounds cooler...I want ur opinion...hmm..Tathar..Lamalas...so hard...

enjoy! -the "Authoress"

"Lily! Come on! We're gonna miss our plane!"

"Coming! Just hold on a sec!" Lily hollered down the stairs as she rummages around looking for her other shoe. Lily and her friend Sarra had been at a horse show in London, England.

"Lily, I'm gong to call a cab alright?" Sarra called up, dragging her trunk towards the door, just then a muffled yelp came from upstairs, a moment later Lily tumbled down the stairs. Shaking her head in disbelief over her friend, Sarra continued dragging her trunk towards the door. Lily ran around the house gathering up clothing that had somehow gotten scattered around the house. An hour later both Lily and Sarra were standing in front of the airport. Lily adjusted the strap of her backpack before setting off towards the gate, Sara right behind her. With only one mishap where Sarra's spurs had set off the metal detector, both girls boarded the plane easily. Soon they were both flying over England, watching London disappear behind them. The rolling hills of England were replaced with the gentle waves of the Atlantic Ocean, along with the occasional wisp of cloud drifting by the window. In almost no time at all, Lily had drifted off to sleep.

"Do you think we should wake her up?"

"Should we go get Numair?"

"Nah, just let her sleep."

Lily groaned and rolled over, her entire body ached. She slowly opened her eyes, trying to blink the sleep out of them. Her head spun, she groaned again, and sat up, holding her head.

"Guys! I told you to be quiet! Now you've woken her!" Lily looked around, she was lying in a bed, which surprised her, and the last thing she remembered was falling asleep on the plane. If she was at home, she should've remembered the plane landing and the cab ride back to Sarra's place. Looking around with more interest (as she was no longer light-headed and her vision had cleared) she realized that there was NO WAY that she was at home, or anywhere she knew for that matter. There was a small group of people leaning over her, when she had sat up they must have backed away, because they were all standing about three feet away from her bed. There were about five of them. Rubbing her head, Lily examined all of them. Three of them were girls. The one on her right had long wavy, fiery red hair that tumbled down past her shoulders. Next to her there was a girl about her age. She wore her brown hair tied back in a leather strap. A young silver dragon was curled at her feet and numerous birds were on her shoulders. Around her neck she wore what looked like a claw on a leather strap. Next to her was a very tall, extremely handsome young, man. His cropped black hair was tousled. He wore a royal blue tunic that brought out the sapphire coloring of his eyes. Next to him was an equally beautiful woman. Her raven, black hair was pulled back in a braid that ran down her back ending at her waist. Around her head she wore a fine gold circlet. The woman's emerald green gown wrapped around her body, flattering her curves, and brought out her bright green eyes. Next to her was another young man. He was considerably younger than the others. He looked to be about 20. He had blondish hair that was also tousled, and fell into his sapphire blue eyes. He was not as lavishly dressed as the others. Instead he wore a conferrable tunic and riding breeches. All five of them were staring at Lily in wonder. Finally the red-haired woman stepped forward.

"Glad to see you're finally awake." She said smiling, kneeling next to lily's bed. "You gave us quite a scare! You've been out for three days." Lily stared at her dumbfounded.

"What?" she asked, looking at everyone in turn, "I don't mean to be rude or anything, but would anyone mind telling me where I am?" Lily sat herself up on the pillow, looking pointedly at everyone. The redhead smiled and shook her head.

"I'm sorry, I should've introduced everyone" she stood and pointed to the young man with the blonde hair "that's Lamalas/Tathar Calmcacil, he's our stable hand" she pointed to the woman next to her, with the dragon around her feet. "That's Verliadaine Samalin, or Daine." She pointed to the tall man next to her "This is His Majesty King Jonathan, or Jon, and His Queen Thayet. Oh and I'm Alanna." She finished. The king looked jokingly over at her.

"What? After all that, you're just 'Alanna'?" he smiled and looked at lily "That's the first woman knight in over a century, and my champion. Lady Alanna of Trebond and Olau." Alanna looked over at him, and punched him lightly on his shoulder.

"Why do you always insist on introducing me?" she asked, "You know I don't like formal titles. It doesn't feel right." Lily looked from Alanna to the King in bewilderment.

"That still didn't answer my question" Lily told everyone. She glanced around the room again, looking at everyone in turn. Alanna opened her mouth to answer, but Lamalas/Tathar interrupted her.

"You're in the kingdom of Tortall." He said, his soft voice was strangely soothing.

Lily, who had looked over at Alanna, now turned and locked eyes with him.

"I really don't mean to be rude, but that's not very helpful." Seeing that Lamalas/Tathar wasn't going to say anything she went on "I mean, I haven't even heard of Tortall!" Lily's sudden outburst started a chuckle out of Lamalas/Tathar. His laugh reminded Lily of a horses whinny. This time, Jonathan spoke, cutting off Lamalas/Tathar.

"You're in the kingdom, my kingdom, of Tortall. Lamalas/Tathar found you just inside the royal forest. He brought you to me. You really scared us; we thought you might never wake up." Lily looked back at him pointedly

"Well, I'm up now, so what I'm I supposed to do?"Jonathan looked over at Alanna, they must have silently agreed on something because she walked over to Lily, and knelt next to her.

"We'll have to test you to see whether you're a spy or not." She said

"But I'm not!"Alanna smiled,

"You'd be surprised about how many people we catch saying that." She winked at Lily, nodded to Jonathan and left the room. Lily was now utterly confused.

"Spies?" she asked' "you guys are serious, aren't you?" Lamalas/Tathar nodded. Lily lay back down and sighed. "Life used to be simple" suddenly she remembered. The plane…what happened? And then, Sarra! Lily sat back up so fast her head spun, "Sarra!" she yelled urgently, what happened to her!" Lamalas/Tathar just looked at her like she was crazy.

"Who?" once again, his voice made Lily calm down a bit

"Sarra, there was another girl I was with, did you find her too?" Lamalas/Tathar shook his head.

"You were the only one".

"Oh" She lay back down. Something had happened while she was on the plane, she just didn't know what. Lily soon drifted off into a fitful sleep.

When Lily woke again, she was alone. Sitting up in bed, she looked around. There was a table in the corner of the room that she hadn't noticed before. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she tried to stand. She ended up having to grab the bed post for support. Shaking her head to clear it, she glanced down at herself, only to find that she was no longer wearing her old, torn blue jeans and wrinkled t-shirt that she had the day she left. Instead she had on a simple tunic that fell down past her knees. Walking carefully over to the table, (she was still somewhat lightheaded) she looked at what had been laid out on it. There was a pitcher full of water and a basket of rolls next to it. Also on the table was a light blue sash that was made of the same cloth as her tunic. Lily grabbed the sash and wrapped it around her waist; it was so long that it could reach around twice before she could tie it off. Lily took a roll and bit into it, only to find that they had been filled with meat. She finished it hungrily before taking another. Flattening her hair quickly, Lily adjusted her sash and attempted to open the heavy wood door that was the only exit to the chamber she was in. After several moments of frustrated pulling Lily managed to open the door a few inches. Wedging herself between it and the wall, she somehow managed to squeeze through. The door swung shut behind her. Its old iron hinges creaking quietly until it shut against the stone with a soft thud. Lily looked around at the hall she was standing in. Its grey stone walls flickered in the faint light that was being cast by the torches that were hung on them. Small, dark shadows danced across her face as Lily walked up to one of the torches. Looking closer at them, she saw that the brackets were in fact small lions. Their front paws outstretched, as if attacking. Their heads rested against the back of the torch, mouths open. Lily reached out to touch one of these bronze creatures, but snapped her hand back a second later, as if she had been burnt. Turning away from the miniature lions, she looked down the hall before breaking into a light jog. Her sandaled feet making muffled taps on the cobblestone floor.

Lily didn't know how long she walked through the endless halls. After what had felt like hours, she noticed that around the corner a small strip of light fell across the floor. Making each stone cast harsh shadows on the one next to it. The light was bright, not the flickering glow that was being cast by the torches lining the walls. Following the light Lily found that the hall had several small windows in it. Slowing her pace she stopped. Looking out of one of these windows, Lily saw what she assumed was a training ground. The same blonde haired man whose laugh had reminded her of a horses whinny was working with several of them. He stood in the center of a fenced yard, four or five horses around him. He was gesturing with his hands and pointing to different spots in the yard. His hair occasionally falling into his eyes. He would then stop, brush it out of his face then continue. Occasionally one of the horses nearest to him would lean forward and shove him with its muzzle, causing him to whorl around. The culprit (a large strawberry roan) would snap his head back and attempt to appear innocent. This made Lily grin to herself. She turned away from the window and after more frustrated pulling on yet another door walked out into the sunlight. The sudden, blinding glare forced her to squint her eyes and hold a hand up against the sun. Blinking furiously to clear her vision, and force her eyes to adjust, Lily made her way over to the training yard. Dropping her hand away from her eyes, Lily leaned up against the rough wooden fence. Lily watched as the large strawberry roan nipped at the back of the young mans head again. When he whirled around, shaggy hair flying out Lily finally recognized him. It was Lamalas/Tathar. She waved gaily at him.

"May I?" she asked, gesturing towards the gate near the other side of the yard. Lamalas/Tathar nodded slightly and Lily un-wrapped her arms from the fence post. After wrestling with the gate for several moments, she finally managed to open the gate and slip inside. When Lily turned around from re-locking the gate, she was greeted by five muzzles being shoved at her. She tried to give each horse attention, while trying to squeeze between them to reach where Lamalas/Tathar was standing. He must have noticed that his animals weren't going to let Lily through anytime soon. Lily saw him gesture with his hand towards the other side of the yard. The animals hesitated for a moment, deciding weather or not they should listen, before trotting away obediently. How on earth did he do that? Lily thought to herself. When she looked up from brushing dust off her tunic (the horses had managed to stir up a lot). She found that Lamalas/Tathar was watching her intently. His ocean-blue eyes wide and staring. Lily stopped and stared back. Lamalas/Tathar immediately looked away, embarrassed that she had caught him watching her. Lily grinned and glanced at the horses over Lamalas/Tathar's shoulder. They were standing, glaring at her, just waiting for Lamalas/Tathar to leave so that they could sneak over and start pestering Lily again. Pulling her eyes away from the strawberry roan that was looking murderous, she turned her attention back to the young man standing in front of her. "How did you make them do that?" she asked, "that was really amazing, I wish my horse would learn things like that."

"They listen to me." Lamalas/Tathar said his voice almost a whisper. He turned to face her again, no longer watching his horses. "Come on" he said, "Meet the group". Lamalas/Tathar walked over to where the small herd was waiting. His soft, linen shirt wrinkling as he moved. There is something about him… Lily thought but I just can't put my finger on it. Lamalas/Tathar was now being mobbed by his horses. His tousled hair was being nuzzled around, and permentantly tousaled. Lily could see him laughing, attempting to push them off, and failing. Seeing that she was watching, he gestured for Lily to come over. Grinning to herself, she hesitantly approached Lamalas/Tathar. "Go ahead," he said to her, "they won't bite". Lily glared at him over her shoulder.

"I know that" she said, her voice dripping with indignity, "I just don't know them!" Lamalas/Tathar shrugged, and stroked the horse nearest to him. Lily's eyes followed his hand. Looking at the horse he was stroking, she gasped. The mare was a beautiful palamino. Her coat, although dusty, still shone the color of a sunset. The mare snorted and shoved her muzzle under lily's arm. She complied and began petting the mare's silken nose. Lamalas/Tathar noticed Lily's awe of the mare.

"That's moonlight." He said. His voice almost blending with the quite whinny's of the horses around them. Lily tore her eyes away from the beautiful mare when something shoved her considerably hard from behind. If Moonlight hadn't raised her head and whinnied at that precise moment, Lily would have been slammed onto her face. Picking her self up again and whirling around to see WHO had shoved her. She noticed the red-haired woman standing at the fence. Moonlight had wandered away from the herd, Lamalas/Tathar and Lily and was trotting eagerly over to the woman. Moonlight pushed her head over the top of the fence and gave a long, ringing neigh. The fire-haired woman laughed and dug into her pockets to produce an apple which Moonlight ate greedily. "You are going to spoil her", Lily jumped, and she hadn't heard Lamalas/Tathar walking up behind her. The redhead just laughed and stroked Moonlights face as the mare searched her hands for more.

"Glad to see you're feeling better" the woman said, looking over at Lily. Lily just grinned. "It's Lily, right?" she asked, Lily nodded, and the woman continued, "Alanna". She held out her hand and Lily grasped it. They shook once, curtly, before promptly dropping their hands. Alanna glanced at the strawberry roan who had decided to follow Lily and see what all of the fuss was about. "Looks like you've made a friend" Alanna said, gesturing towards the gelding. Lily grinned,

"I'm not sure about that" she said, "all he's done so far is try to bite me" this made Lamalas/Tathar laugh, which in turn, made Lily jump again, as she had almost forgotten he was there.

Alanna turned away from the fence, and called over her shoulder,

"Oh, Lily when you're done, Jonathan wants to talk to you, and Lamalas/Tathar, same with Daine. She said that Stephan got a new cart horse and he's having a lot of trouble with it. I'd ask Nawat, but horses are your expertise." Alanna winked before briskly jogging off.

"What does she mean, 'horses are your expertise'?" Lily asked, puzzled. Lamalas/Tathar just shrugged her question away.

"I should really go and give Stephan a hand with the new cart horse." He looked away,

"Ok…" lily didn't quite understand why he was telling her this. Suddenly, Lamalas/Tathar seemed to come out of his daze and his eyes snapped back to stare at her.

"I can take you to his majesty first though, since you don't know your way around yet." He said, his sapphire blue eyes staring into hers. Wow, Lily thought, his eyes are really blue….then, he blinked, and the spell was broken. Realizing that he had just asked her a question she shock her head to clear it.

"What?" she asked.

"I said, is that alright with you?" Lily was slightly taken aback at his abruptness.

"Of...course…" she said, still puzzled at his behavior. He turned briskly on his heel and began to stride away purposfully back towards the castle. Lamalas/Tathar managed to push the heavy, wooden door that Lily had struggled with, open with ease. Lily stopped and and stared at Lamalas/Tathars receding back in amazment How on earth did he manage that ? the echoing tap of the wooden door against the stone snapped Lily out of her trance. Relizing that Lamalas/Tathar was still walking away, and that she didn't know the halls, she jogged to catch up with his lanky form. The light from the few windows quickly receded and they were both plnged into the flickering light of the torches. Lilys sandled feet were the only noise, Lamalas/Tathar somehow managed to move without making a sound. He lead them thourgh an endless maze of stone halls. Lily attempted to remember where they had been, but she was soon hopelessly lost, and stayed close to Lamalas/Tathar's side in fear of losing him in the shadowy-light. Lily thought of asking him where he was going, but he walked with such athority, and the silence was deafening, she dared not brake it. After what had felt like an eternety, the flickering torchlight began to turn into natural sun again. Lily almost sighed with reliefe. Lamalas/Tathar stopped and turned around to see if she had followed him the entire way. He finally broke the silence that had engoulfed them the entire trip.

« His room is right over there » Lamalas/tathar gestured to his right. « the large double doors, you can't miss them » he inclined his head, which lily assumed was his way of bowing, « now, if you'll excuse me, Daine will probably send something very ugly after me if I'm not on my way. » he smiled, and jogged off back the way they had come.

Lily looked around at her surroudings quiziningly. She hadn't actually been paying attention on her way there. The dark, stne halls that seemed to make of a majority of the castle had been replaced by a high-ceilinged, almost atrium-like room. Or rather, hall. Remembering Lamalas/Tathar's words about the doors, she glanced to her right. Two mahogany doors stood regaly, setting off the off-white stone around them. Bronze inlay depliced pictures from Lily had to assume was Tortal's past, considering she knew nothing of it. Lily had been comtemplating how she was going to enter, the wood was so thick that she was certin that if she knocked, no one would hear it.