A/N: A small, intriguing piece. Also gives some background on the Roan Skies Province found in my story, 'Before the Crown'.
The Knight and The Thief
For as long as he would live, the knight would never forget that night. He had eaten dinner with his Lady Diane and her father. They had been jubilant, the thief commonly known as the Lady Luna had been caught earlier that week and would be hanged at sunrise. The knight had been uncharacteristically quiet, which he had hastily explained was because he was tired after a long day's work. Soon after dinner ended the knight slipped out of the house. He went to straight to the prison.
The thief known as Lady Luna was waiting when the knight walked in, her copper eyes watching from the shadows of the cell. "Your still as predictable as ever," she greeted him with a smug grin.
The knight smiled wryly in return. He had long gotten used to the thief's banter. "You're especially cheerful on the eve of your end," he told his friend and enemy matter-of-factly.
"I knew this day was coming for a long time. Now that its here, there's not much left to think about." Lady Luna chuckled. "At least you'll never be able to find my bow."
"Sir Felix doesn't have it then?" The knight hadn't believed the knight who'd caught the thief when he said he claimed Lady Luna's famed moon bow as a prize. "I knew it."
The thief toyed with a rock with her foot. "It's a fine way to repay me for saving his life in battle, locking me up to be killed."
The knight grimaced and his heart fell. Lady Luna had done so much for his country… she should have been recognized as a hero and not sentenced to death as a swindler. The thief had fought alongside the knight against foes who's only purpose was destruction, she had helped bring order back to the country, she had put aside her own desires when the situation the called for it, and because she had done all of this in her own way and broken a few laws in the process, she could never be recognized for it.
"I know what you're thinking, stop thinking it." The thief's eyes met the knight's. "Everything I did was my decision and I knew they would never thank me for it."
The knight cast the thief a haunted look. "It's not fair nor is it right," he informed her, his voice barely more than a whisper.
"I always knew what I was getting into." The thief walked up to the bars of her cell.
"I'm not saying that you didn't, but for it to end this way? Its not right." The knight sighed heavily, his thoughts spinning in pointless circles.
The Lady Luna ran a hand through her hair. "I've been thinking." Her voice was suddenly soft. "There's something I want you to do for me."
"I know the king knows you've done great services for him and considering his recent territory gain, I know how he's going to reward you. In the citadel they build for you, will you give me a room? I don't want anything that actually has to do with me in it, but just represent life at its best, life at its worst, and how it is at current moment." The thief sat down on the ground. "I don't care how you do it."
"You speak as if we're actually friends and I'm going to do what you say." The knight uttered his old jest, causing the thief to smile broadly.
The Lady Luna snorted. "My dear dove, you know exactly how deep our relationship goes."
The knight joined the thief on the ground and reached through the cell bars to grasp her hand. "While I'm at it, do you want me to have a ballad written in your honor?" He half-joked.
"That would be pleasing." The thief tapped her finger against her chin, feigning deep thought. "Just write me as some sort of bird, a raven perhaps."
"'Ey you!" The jail keeper on duty yelled at the knight. "You're time's done. Get outta here."
The knight released the thief's hand and solemnly stood up, every inch of him yearning to stay with her. He walked slowly to the door, his footsteps echoing drearily through the dismal prison. When he reached the portal to the outside world, the knight stopped with his hand resting on the doorframe and looked back. The thief still sat on the ground, the grey dress she'd been caught in pooled around her. For a ruffian on the wrong side of the law, she was beautiful. The Lady Luna had fewer scars than most in her line of work. The knight had witnessed firsthand her agility and deftness and knew few knives or other weapons could catch her. The thief was paler than most, but that was due, the knight had always supposed, to the fact that she worked under the moon more than her sun. Her hair was a light indigo, at least that had been the last color she'd dyed it before being caught. In actually the thief's hair was pitch black, the knight was still fathoming how she managed to dye it. The Lady Luna's eyes were her most amazing feature. The knight didn't dare look into the orbs he'd so often described as pools of coppery fire.
That night, by leaving the prison the knight felt like he was betraying one of his closest friends and, somewhere deep inside, he knew he was.
"Stop dallying!" The jail keeper roughly pushed at the knight, but was unable to get the stronger, bigger man to move.
The knight glared at jail keeper, hate rising up in him as well as an impossible idea. He reached into his pocket and when his fingers clasped around something small and thin, he smiled. "Just one second," he informed the man in charge of the prison. The knight stalked back to the thief. He crouched down next to her, reached rapidly into the cell, and punched her in the jaw. Then, just for effect, he hissed, "scum," and spat in her face. After that he fled from the prison.
After recovering from the shock of being hit, the thief found a small piece of metal next to her on the ground. She wanted to laugh so badly in that moment, but she covered her mouth so she wouldn't make a sound. The knight had given her a perfect lock pick.
The knight returned to the house of Lady Diane and her father. Without explanation on where he had been, he sat down with his lady and her father for one of their evening discussions. He was extremely distracted though and retired to rooms in the farthest corner of the house he had been given earlier than usual. The thief was waiting when he arrived.
"Avoided the death penalty I see. You will never cease to amaze me," the knight greeted the long shadow near the window.
The Lady Luna stepped into the moonlight seeping in through the window. "When given the means, I always escape. Don't worry." She walked across the room and lifted up the knight's rug. "I only came here for my bow." She retrieved the silvery weapon from its hiding place. The knight smirked at the place the Lady Luna had chosen to hide her most prized possession. He would've never looked there, too caught up in searching for it in the world outside that particular room.
The thief made for the window, but the knight impulsively grabbed her arm. "No! You don't have to keep living this life. I can keep you safe. I can provide for you. You deserve to rest." His words babbled from his mouth of their own accord.
"I provide for myself," the thief retorted. "And you already have yourself a lady."
"I'll leave her," the knight rambled on. "I'll leave everything. I don't want to see you imprisoned and sentenced to death again—"
The Lady Luna sighed. "I cannot allow you to sacrifice your life for mine." She made for the window again.
"At least stay here for one night. Please," the night begged.
So the Lady Luna and her knight spend one night together. When the sun came up, like the moon, the thief was gone. The knight didn't see her again for months and months, but he heard rumors of her foul deeds and snickered to himself in secret at Luna's cleverness and her opponent's idiocy.
When the territory captured from Golden Chickadee in the most recent war was deemed qualified to become a province and dubbed Roan Skies Major Province, the king gifted its lordship to the knight for his heroic deeds in the war. It was the first night the knight spent in his new citadel that he saw the Lady Luna again.
The thief had returned to the knight to tell him that she had changed her mind; she wanted to stay with him. She refused to explain herself, but it was doubtful the knight truly wanted her reasons, he was too happy to see her again.
After little debate, the knight left Lady Diane and married the thief, who had been given a fake noble identity and title. Lady Diane, heartbroken, stricken, and insulted, rashly decided to accept the heir of Fox Forest's marriage proposal and taught all her children to hate the nobility of Roan Skies, a custom that would be passed down through generations and leave the two provinces detesting each other for some time.
The first year in Roan Skies Province was without many difficulties, the knight built his thief a tower, the highest in their citadel, like he said he would back when she was in prison. In the tower there were three windows; one representing the best, one the worst, and one left untouched so the real world could be viewed. The knight covered the door to the room with a tapestry that portrayed the Ballad of the Dove and the Raven, or the song he and the Lady Luna had written together. When she saw the room, the thief could not hide her joy. She spent many days in that tower room and kept her most prized secrets in it.
After some time the thief informed the knight that she was carrying his heir. The knight, after hearing this information, stumbled back into an armchair. "This is great news," he began hesitantly. "But my lady thief, you've never told me your real name. I must know the real name of the woman who's carrying my child."
"Clarisse, my dove knight," The Lady Luna, who would've once paused at such a question, answered without hesitation. "What's yours?"
"You already know it."
"I want to hear you say it."
"Raoul. Raoul Skymarten."
Lady Clarisse, the Lady Luna Thief, smiled. "Such a lovely name."
Nine months later, Lady Clarisse gave birth to a baby, a boy. He was named Elijah Skymarten. For three years the heir of Roan Skies Province lived a happy, innocent life with his parents. Then, not long after his fourth birthday, his parents had had enough of the king's policies and laws, which they agreed with less and less. Raoul and Clarisse Skymarten led their province into rebellion; their defeat came without mercy. The knight and his thief were tried and executed for treason against the crown. Their son, who was too young even to understand what the word, 'rebellion' meant, was spared because of his innocence and raised by Raoul's brother, Lionel and his barren wife, Rowan. Elijah eventually grew up, married the second daughter of the Lord of West Wind Province, Marianela, and fathered a daughter named Eleanora.