Some things that you should know before you read it are that it is an
Imzadi fairy tale, set in umm, well, fairy tale times. The first part is a prophecy.

I own nothing, but the plot and place names are my own, so are my own characters. I promise to put
riker, troi, picard, crusher, lwaxana and ian back in the box when i have finished playing.

Please review and let me know what you think and if I have made any mistakes.

Title: Tearful at the Falling of a Star
Rating: R


The Lord of Demara, Ian, was holding a festival, at which the King
and Queen of
Valda, and their son of seven months were present. Valda was a great
kingdom in
which Demara was a second capital. During this feast Lwaxana, the
Lord Ian's wife,
gave birth to a daughter, concerning whom, Glyn the druid uttered a
prophecy. He
foretold that the new-born child would grow up to be the most
beautiful woman that
had ever walked the earth, but that her beauty would bring much toil
and death
between Valda and Bezin. Bezin was an untrusted and evil kingdom. At
this some of
the warriors demanded that the babe should be killed, but the King
John-Luc refused,
and said that she would be raised with his son of seven months,
William, Crown
Prince and heir to the throne of Valda. Then Glyn said `That is well
my lord, for the
babe will fall in love with your son and bear him an heir'. And so,
not long after the
festival, the Lady Deanna, as the babe was now called, was taken to
live at Valda with
Prince William.

Chapter 1

"William! Deanna! Come back here now!" Cried Beverly, Queen of Valda,
wife of
King John-Luc and mother to William, Crown Prince and Heir to the
Throne. Muffled
giggling could be heard from somewhere near her.

"Deanna, please, your mother and father are going to arrive soon!"
Beverly said.
Suddenly from around the corner came a little girl who had long dark
hair and dark

"Here I am Aunt Beverly!" Deanna said "My mummy and daddy be here
soon?" she
asked as Beverly took a hold of her hand.

"Yes, Deanna, they are going to be here very soon. Where is William?"

"Here I am Mummy!" came a voice. Beverly sighed and looked at Deanna.

"Will. Stop hiding. My mummy and daddy are going to be here soon!"
Deanna said.
From around the corner that Deanna came from, William appeared.

"There you are, William, come on we have to get you dressed
properly." Beverly said
as she took a firm hold of her son's hand. Although he was a
wonderful boy, and she
would do anything for him, he was always running around and hiding at
the most
inappropriate times. Most likely it was because he hated having to
wear his formal
clothes and having to sit still. Most of the time only Deanna could
convince him to do

"Do we have to Mummy?" William whined while looking up at her with
his great big
blue eyes.

Hiding a smile Beverly said "Yes, William, now hurry up or we will be
late." Sighing
William was pulled along by his mother.


"Mummy! Daddy!" Deanna's voice echoed across the castle's courtyard.

"Little One!" Lwaxana, who had just dismounted from her horse, cried
and hugged
the little girl who had just run into her arms. "Oh! You have grown
so much!" she

"Daddy" Deanna said as she reached for her father. "Little One!" Ian
said and took his
daughter from his wife. "We missed you Little One" he said.

"I missed you too daddy." Deanna whispered, as she settled more
comfortably in his

"Lwaxana, Ian, tis a joy to see you again." John-Luc greeted them
both warmly, as
Beverly and Lwaxana greeted one another.

"Hello Uncle Ian" said William, who although dressed in formal
clothes as befitted
the occasion, had somehow already managed to get them muddy and his
crown was
lopsided. How his son who had only been wearing the clothes for about
five minutes
could have done this was a mystery to John-Luc. It must come from
Beverly's side of
the family he decided. He was sure that he had never been this much
trouble as a

"Hello Prince William" Ian returned his greeting.

"Daddy, can I say hello to Dragon?" Deanna asked. "Of course Little
One" Ian said,
turning so that Deanna could pet his horse. She was the one who named
him, for when
she had first seen the horse it had been a cold morning and as the
stallion had snorted,
it looked like smoke was coming from him, so Deanna had named the
horse Dragon.

While Deanna was greeting Dragon, and asking her father questions
about him,
John-Luc turned his attention to his son. He bent so that he could re-
adjust William's
crown, which William tolerated with a sigh. He did not understand why
he had to look
so neat and tidy all of the time, just because he was a prince. All
that would happen is
that the women in the great hall would tell him how `sweet and
adorable' he looked.

"Come on William, lets say hello to your Aunt Lwaxana." John-Luc
said, as if he was
guessing what his son was thinking.


"Come on Little One, lets get you into bed." Ian said. "Not sleepy
Daddy" Deanna
protested, but then her mouth opened to deliver a huge yawn. Smiling
Lwaxana, who
was sitting next to her husband, who in turn had Deanna sitting on
his lap, said "Yes
you are my little one." Deanna to tired to argue merely rested her
head on her father's

"Where Will?" Deanna asked tiredly. "He is going to bed too, look"
Lwaxana said,
nodding at a similar scene that was happening with William and his
parents. Both of
the children were tired from the feasting and festivities that had
been held to celebrate
the Lord and Lady of Demara's arrival.

Walking out of the great hall they followed John-Luc and Beverly to
Deanna's rooms.
"Night Night Will" Deanna said half asleep to William. "Night Night
Dee", William
replied as his father carried him into his room.

"Night Night Mummy, Night Night Daddy." Deanna said as she was laid
on her bed.
"Good Night Little One, I love you" Ian replied as he tucked her
in. "Sleep well, I love
you Little One." Lwaxana said. "Love you too." Deanna said, just
before she drifted


Ian was just about to enter his chambers when he heard someone call
his name.
Looking up he saw Beverly coming towards him. Smiling he asked her
what he could
do for her.

"Is Lwaxana awake?" she inquired. "I believe so." Ian
responded. "Could you and
Lwaxana meet myself and John-Luc in his study?" Beverly asked.
Replying that they
could, Beverly smiled at him. Returned her smile and very curious and
bit concerned
to what the King and Queen could want, Ian entered his chambers.


Entering the King's study, Ian and Lwaxana were curious and slightly
concerned as to
what their friends could want. Accepting the seats that they were
offered, but
declining to wine, they became more concerned by the serious
expressions on Beverly
and John-Luc's faces.

"Is everything all right?" Ian said at the same time his wife
asked "Is Deanna all
right?" He smiled softly and looked at his wife, while gently taking
her hand in his.

"Yes, everything is all right." John-Luc replied, taking a sip of his

"Deanna is fine also" Beverly added, and watched how both Ian and
Lwaxana relaxed
at that news, "although what we need to speak about concerns her" she

"But everything is all right though?" Ian asked "She is all right?"
came Lwaxana's
worried voice seconds later.

"Yes, yes she is fine, all is well." This time John-Luc replied. He
loved Deanna as
much as he did his son.

"Then?" Ian let the word hang in the air. Sighing Beverly said "she
is nearly six."
Although this confused Ian, Lwaxana understood immediately. "It is
the age when a
girl must leave her home and learn how to be a lady."

"Aye, it is." Beverly said. There was a heavy silence.

"Could she come to Demara?" Lwaxana said at last. Sighing John-Luc
and Ian
exchanged glances.

"My love," Ian began, "there have been reports that Bezin is closing
in on Valda's
western border. It would not be safe for her there." He continued
softly. "I know,"
Lwaxana said "I just hoped. . ." she lowered her head, afraid that
she was going to cry.
Ian put his arms around her and drew her close.

John-Luc took Beverly's hand within his own and looked at her. He
could not imagine
what it must be like, to have to leave your child behind, to not have
everyday filled
with their presence. . . Suddenly realising something he spoke. "I
fear for William
should Deanna leave."
His son and Deanna had always been very close to one another, knowing
if the other
one was in pain or hurting, and knowing where the other one was at
all times. They
had a way of silently talking to one another that sometimes vexed
people to no end.
Maybe it was because their fates were intwined, for if the prophecy
was true then
Deanna would become his daughter-in-law.

"Why does she not stay here?" Beverly asked. Seeing their startled
faces she
explained, "She is already away from her home, and I could her how to
be a lady, for
then she and William need not be sperated."

"You would do that?" Lwaxana barely whispered. "Yes, I would be more
than happy
to, for William is not the only one who has become attached to her."
responded, smiling at her husband. John-Luc returned her smile, but
then turned and
looked at Ian. Sighing softly he nodded. "Then it is settled." John-
Luc said. "Deanna
will stay here."

Chapter 2

The court of Valda was having a feast when they heard the news. The
King and Queen
had just returned from putting the Prince and Lady Deanna to bed,
when the
messenger came, bringing with him the disastrous news. Mud
splattered, and looking
like he had not rested in days, he went straight to the king.

"My King, I bring you an urgent message from the Lord of Demara."
Taking the
message from him, John-Luc broke the seal and quickly read the

"Double the guard around my son and the Lady Deanna, now!" That was
his first
reaction upon seeing the message. One of the Captains of Valda sprang
away to do his
bidding. Aware of the curious looks he was getting, John-Luc ignored
them. Just like
he ignored the concerned and worried look, and the questions, in his
wife's blue eyes.

"I regret to announce that this feast has to end early, but it is
necessary." Were the
next words that John-Luc spoke. Taking Beverly's hand, and leading
her out of the
hall, he paused only just before the doors, telling his chief advisor
that there was to be
a meeting in the council chamber's in half of an hour. He did not
stop until he reached
his study.

Only when the door was closed did he let his true emotions show.

"John-Luc? What is wrong? Why did the guard have to be doubled on
William and
Deanna?" Sighing, John-Luc tugged on her hand gently, bringing her to
him, so that
he could hold her in his arms. "Lwaxana has been kidnapped by King
Richard." At
her shocked gasp, he looked down at her.

"Why?" She asked.

"I do not know, my love. She was taken five days ago. They would have
been an easy

Nodding, Beverly thought that they would have been and easy target
indeed. Ian and
Lwaxana were travelling to Valda to vist Deanna. "Are they sure it
was Bezin?" She
asked. "The message says that Lwaxana was taken while the party was
being attacked
by solders from Bezin. Ian says that he is continue to travel here."

Again, nodding, Beverly leaned against him, shocked. How had solder's
from Bezin
managed to get past their defences? Why did they take Lwaxana? Surely
if Richard
wanted ransom then it would have been better to take Ian.

"When is Ian due to arrive?" She asked instead of the questions that
she knew
John-Luc had no answers to. "Tomorrow sometime" he replied "It
depends how many
wounded they have" he continued. Sighing Beverly said "What do we
tell Deanna?"
Looking up into her husband's hazel eyes she realised that it was one
of the questions
that he had no answers to.

Chapter 3

"And what do you have to do?" John-Luc questioned.

"If me or Will see anyone we do not know, then we need to tell you,
Aunt Beverly, or
one of the guards." Deanna replied, looking up at him with her big,
dark eyes.

"Yes that is right Deanna. You and William must not play outside
today. You must
also let myself or your Aunt Beverly know where you are." John-Luc
continued. It
was the day after the news came that Lwaxana had been kidnapped. he
wanted to
make sure that both William and Deanna knew what they were to do if
Richard made
a second attack.

"Do not worry, Daddy," said William "we know what to do." His son
Smiling slightly at him, John-Luc turned back to Deanna.

"Your father is due to arrive this afternoon sometime. I will let you
know when."
Nodding, Deanna seemed tired he thought.

"We will be in the library, Daddy." William said. Mustering a smile
for them,
John-Luc stood from his kneeling position while William and Deanna
left, and looked
at his wife.

"You handled it well." Beverly said.

Snorting softly, John-Luc said "Is there a good way to handle telling
someone that you
love as daughter, that their mother has been kidnapped?" Beverly did
not reply, for
she knew he expected no answer.

"I will be in the library with William and Deanna" was all she said.
Taking her in his
arms, he kissed her gently. "All right, be careful." Nodding, Beverly
left the room.
Although he did not tell her, he had also doubled the guard around
his wife. If Richard
had taken Lwaxana, then he might take Beverly too. Sighing, John-Luc
was pulled
from his thoughts as a pageboy reminded him there was to be a council
on the current


As Ian dismounted there was only one question in his mind, and on his
lips before he
had taken one step.

"Deanna?" He asked. "She is safe, my friend, she is well." John-Luc
assured him.
Sighing in relief, Ian let himself relax for seemed like the first
time in years. In the
days after his wife had been taken, his mind had been plagued with
worries. Both for
his beloved and for his precious daughter.

"Where is she?"

"She is in the library with William and Beverly." Nodding slightly in
response, Ian
seemed distracted, John-Luc thought. Of course that is what happens
when your wife
is kidnapped by your kingdom's enemy, he thought sarcastically.
"Come my friend, I will take you to them. Then you must tell me what
happened on
the road here." He said instead, as he did not think Ian would
appreciate his earlier


Sighing as he looked down at his daughter's sleeping face, Ian found
himself thinking
how much she looked like his wife. He had been surprised when Beverly
John-Luc had put William in the same bed as Deanna. At first he had
thought it was
because they could have the guards situated around a single room, but
Beverly had
surprised him by saying that William would leave h
is chambers and go through the castle's secret passages to Deanna's

"When we wake up, we always find that William has left his chambers
and has come
to Deanna's." She explained, smiling slightly. "It seems that they
take comfort from
it." John-Luc continued.

It was a brief respite at the end of a tiring day. Ian had spent the
afternoon with
John-Luc and his Captain's explaining what had happened that fateful
day, and trying
not to run to Deanna every five minutes to make sure she was safe.
His Captain had
done most of the talking, as he had been knocked unconscious in the
early stages of
the attack, and so did not know until he had woken that his wife had
been taken.
Saying a silent prayer for her safety, Ian leaned over and kissed his
daughter on the

"Good night, my little one, may your dreams be sweet." He whispered.
Deanna stirred
slightly and squeezed his hand softly. Knowing he had to leave, but
hating having to
go, he reluctantly left the room.


"Ian! Wake up!" Was the urgent call. "Ian!" The voice said once more.
Blinking open
his eyes, Ian saw John-Luc standing over him.

"What? What is it? Is it Deanna? Is it Lwaxana? Are we under attack?"
He was awake
and instantly on his feet.

"No, no Ian. Deanna is fine. So is Valda. We are not under attack."
reassured him.

"Then?" Ian questioned, wondering why he had been woken in the middle
of the

"A rider has just come from our mid-western border," John-Luc
said "He brought this
with him, it was found four days ago." He continued, handing Ian an
unopened letter.
Ian took it from his hands. On the front had been written `To the
Lord of Demara,
from King Richard of Bezin'. With trembling hands Ian broke the seal
started to read.

"Well?" John-Luc said after he had finished reading it. "What does it

Barely whispering Ian told him. "Richard says that he will release
Lwaxana, if I agree
for Deanna to be his wife."

Chapter 4

"What are we going to do?"

That was the question that Edward La Forge asked, and John-Luc knew
that it was a
question that everyone was thinking. After the letter had come from
Richard, with his
demands in it, he had called an emergency council meeting. Edward La
Forge was one
of his best Captain's, and his son, Geordi, was friends with both
William and Deanna.
Ian was present, although he seemed to be frozen in a state of shock
after reading the
demands. Beverly was also present, for he found his wife often
included invaluable
insights, that the Captain's and Councilmen did not see.

"I do not know," John-Luc said at last, "but I do have an idea." He

That seemed to unfreeze Ian enough to ask "What is your idea?"

"Alas! My friend, I fear it is little but the choice between two
evils." John-Luc hated
to destroy the hope that had sparked to life in his friend's eyes.

"You cannot ask me to chose between my wife and daughter!" Ian cried.
He knew as
well as John-Luc that the councilmen would say to let Richard do as
he willed with
Lwaxana, for in their view she could be replaced. But he also knew
that to give
Deanna to Richard would not avoid a war in any case.

"I am not asking you to," John-Luc said. "But time is running out,
and as I see it, my
plain is the only way." He continued softly. Sighing deeply, Ian
nodded for him to

"I propose that we have a compromise." John-Luc began.

"A compromise?" One of his councilmen said in disbelief. "Sire, you
know as well as
I do that King Richard will not settle for a compromise." he

"You have not heard the rest of my plan yet." John-Luc berated him.

"What is your plan John-Luc?" Ian asked.

"We cannot hope to attack Richard while he is in camp, for it would
be an act of war,
and we do not have the strength to fight him. Yet." Ignoring the
frowns, he continued.
"I propose that we agree to his demands. In Part."

"You cannot do this!" Ian shouted, bolting from his chair. "You
cannot give Deanna
to him!" He continued.

"Peace Ian! Peace! I have not yet finished." John-Luc said.
Reluctantly Ian sat down,
but continued to glare at him. John-Luc could not blame him. He could
not imagine
having to chose between Beverly and William.
"As I said, I propose that we agree to his plans - in part. I suggest
that we send a rider
under a flag of parley with a message saying that we will meet his
demands, but if
Lwaxana has been harmed, then they will be dissolved."

"You said that we were going to have a compromise." Ian said coldly.

"Yes, we will make the agreement to let Deanna be his wife, as long
as he waits until
Deanna is sixteen."

"Then you would take my daughter away from me when she is grown?" Ian
was on
his feat again.

"I did not say that we would fulfil the agreement." John-Luc said.
The whole room
was plunged into silence. "By the time Deanna is sixteen, we would be
able to have an
army that could fight, our defences would have been repaired fully,
and we would be
able to fight Bezin." John-Luc finished.

Edward smiled slowly. "Lull King Richard into a false sense of

"Exactly." John-Luc said.

He then turned his attention back to Ian. "What say you, my friend?"
He asked.

"You never intended to let Deanna to be his wife did you?" The
realisation slowing
dawning on him.

"No" John-Luc said. "You think that Beverly would let me do that? By
that time
William will be sixteen too, nearly seventeen, and be able to fight
for Valda. Do you
think that he would allow Deanna be taken from him? Nay, he would
fight to the
death before Richard had her." He continued.

Snorting softly and shaking his head, Ian sat down. "All right" he
said at last. "Lets do

Chapter 5

"Are you sure you have everything?" John-Luc asked.

"Yes, father," William replied, rolling his eyes, "we have more than
everything." He
continued. The next day at dawn, William and Deanna would leave their
home and
start to travel to Demara. Deanna was going to learn the ways of
Demara, and Ian was
taking William, Geordi and Conn into his service, so they could learn
the arts of

"Huuummmmm. I will have one of the servants check the bags, just to
make sure."
John-Luc said.

"Father, you have checked them yourself at least five times while I
have been present,
I have checked them four times, and so have Geordi and Conn. Please,
Father, we
have everything we will possibly need." William said.

Sighing, John-Luc slowly nodded. He knew that he needed to accept
that William was
no longer a child. Already his son was the same height as him, and
his first proper
sword was as long as John-Luc's own, and as heavy. "All right then my
son, let us go
and join the festivities."


Stopping in front of the door William leaned against the wall,

"Do not worry William! Just think of all the fresh air that you will
get tomorrow as
you ride on your horse. Oh yes, there you will be riding along with
your horse jerking
you all the time. . ."

"Deanna. You. Are. Not. Helping."

Wide eyed innocence was the expression on her face when he finally
opened his eyes.

"Well, I told you not to drink so much did I not?" She questioned as
she opened the
door to her chambers.

Sighing William said "Yes, yes you did. I surpose that you will never
let me forget
this will you?" He asked as he too entered her chambers. He all ready
knew what her
reply was going to be.

"No!" She cried happily from behind a screen, as she changed into her
bed clothes.
William started to do the same. She emerged a few minutes later with
a wicked grin
on her face. He shock his head, wincing when the room started to spin
around him.

"Come to bed Will." Deanna said, amusement in her voice.

"Hummmmmmm. Your are right as usual. Now get some sleep, we have a
long road
tomorrow." He knew that Deanna was worried and a little scared about
going to
Demara for the first time, and living with her mother for more than
six weeks.

"Good night Will." Deanna said snuggling up to him under the covers.

"Good night Dee." He replied, kissing her on the forehead.


"Good bye, my son. Take care of yourself." John-Luc said the next
morning. Dawn
had broken two hours ago and Deanna and William with their escort
were about to

"Good bye father." William replied. He knew that he would most likely
not see his
parents, nor his home for the next three years, so this good bye
would be a long one.
Beside them Beverly was saying similar good byes to Deanna.

"Ready?" William asked Deanna softly.

Taking a deep breath, she nodded slightly. Taking her hand he helped
her mount her
horse. After making sure she was comfortable, he turned to his own
horse and
mounted. He nodded at Geordi, who blew a horn, signalling there
departure. Slowly
walking the horses forward they left. William, Crown Prince of Valda,
looked back
only once.


"Here, my lord, have this." Geordi La Forge said to William.

"Geordi, how many times have I asked you use my name?" William said
as he took
the food from him. They were seven days out from home, and seven days
to Demara.

"I do not know, my lord. But I do know that it would not be proper

"I am never going to convince you otherwise am I?" William asked.

"No, my lord."

Shaking his head, William sighed. There was something wrong. It was a
feeling that
had steadily been growing inside of him for most of the day. Nothing
was wrong with
him, he was certain. . . Deanna??? The answer hit him so hard that he

"My lord? Are you well?" Conn, who had just sat down near him

Ignoring him, William jumped to his feet, and used the sense that he
had always had
of Deanna to find her. She was by the horses, most likely grooming
her own, he
decided, as he made his way across the camp.

"Deanna?" He called out as he saw her at last, leaning against her
horse. Tiredly she
looked up at him, but the shine in her eyes was gone, and her hair
was stuck to her
forehead. Cursing himself for not noticing that there was something
wrong with her
before, he was by her side in an instant.

"Will?" She barely whispered, resting her head on his chest. He put
his arms around
her, forcing her to lean against him.

"I am here Dee, I am here." He soothed softly. She moaned.

"Will." She whispered once more, just before she went limp in his

Chapter 6

Light. Bright, Blinding Light. Deanna winced and closed her eyes. In
the distance she
could hear voices, saying something . . . saying her name?? There
they were again . . .
Will? Groaning, she tried to open her eyes again, and this time was
greeted by darker
light. She could see something over her eyes . . . a hand??? She
groaned again.

"Deanna . . . can you hear me?" Will's voice.

"Will?" She whispered - or tried to. Her voice would not work. The
voices started
talking again, and the hand was removed. Deanna closed her eyes,
wanting to retreat
back into the comforting darkness. Something was pressed against her
lips . . . a cup?
Sighing, she let the liquid into her mouth, but turned her head away
when she had had

"Deanna?" Will's voice again. "Can you open your eyes for me?" He
Moaning, she opened her eyes to see Will's face just above her own.
She was
rewarded by a brilliant smile.

"Are you in any pain? Do you know where we are? Can you remember what
happened?" Blinking Deanna tried to remember. Groaning slightly, she
licked her lips
before answering.

"The camp?" Her voice was came out cracked, but William understood.
It was

"Yes we are at the camp. Can you remember what happened?" He asked

"I remember . . . the horses . . . feeling dizzy . . . then nothing."
She frowned as she
said the last part.

Nodding William exchanged a glance with Edward La Forge. It had been
two days
and two nights since Deanna had fainted, and everyone in the camp
would be relived
to know that she had finally woken up. As they had expected no
difficulties in getting
to Demara, they had not brought a healer with them. Geordi's father
was the closest
thing they had to one, and even then it battle wounds, and not fevers
that he knew
about. Deanna moaned again, redirecting William's attention back to
her. Deanna's
face was pale, and yet flushed with fever, her hair lank, and her
eyes were glazed.
Sighing, William took her hand in his, knowing that she wanted
answers to what had
happened to her.

"I found you by the horses, I believe that you were grooming your
own, when you
fainted. That was two days ago, when your fever arrived." He
explained to her.
Nodding wearily, she closed her eyes.

"My Lady" said Edward La Forge, speaking for the first time, "Are you
in any pain?"

Sighing, Deanna spoke without opening her eyes. "My head" she

"Anywhere else?" He questioned further.

Deanna groaned. "When I move."

"All right. . . try to get some rest." La Forge said.

Blindly seeking for William's hand, Deanna squeezed it slightly when
she found it.

"Go to sleep, Dee." William said, bringing her hand up to his lips,
and softly kissing
it. "I will be here when you wake up, I promise." He continued.

Sighing slightly, Deanna let the darkness claim her once more.

Chapter 7

When Deanna woke again it was dawn. In the distance she could hear
the birds
singing, and some of the horses neighing. In the shadows that were
still holding court
in the tent, she could make out the form of William, asleep on a
chair by her bed, his
hand encircling her own. Looking around, she could see that a table
had also been
placed by her bed, and on it no doubt, were potions to try to dispel
her fever. Sighing,
she returned her gaze to William. She did not know how long she
remained like that
before Edward La Forge entered the tent.

"My Lady! You are awake! How do you feel?" He asked her, while moving
the still sleeping William, to help her to sit up. He poored some
water from a jug into
a cup and handed it to her. After she had drunk enough, she gave it
back to him.

"I feel about the same as I did last time. How long have I been
asleep?" She asked.

"You last woke yesterday afternoon. Do you remember?"

Deanna nodded slowly. "I think so. Is he all right?" She said
gesturing towards

"I believe so, my lady. He has been very worried about you, as we all
have been. The
King and Queen should arrive in the next eleven or twelve days." He
said while
putting his hand against her forehead.

Deanna nodded again. She thought that William would have sent word to
his parents
as soon as she had become ill. Her Aunt Beverly was the best healer
in all of Valda,
and if any one could cure her, then she could.

"Try to get some rest, my lady. I fear that you will need all of your
strength to fight
this illness." Edward said as he helped to lie down.

"If you need anything, just call, the guard will get it for you."

Smiling her thanks at him, she returned her gaze to William's
sleeping form.


Deanna grimaced as the poison that the cook was passing for soup was
once more
forced into her mouth. Groaning, she glared at the hand that held the

"No. More." She said firmly.

"But Deanna, it is such a lovely soup!"

She redirected her glare to the head of the person who was holding
the spoon.

"It. Is. Poison."

William laughed, but on the inside he was not nearly so carefree.
Deanna's fever was
still clinging to her body, and now she was hardly eating. But, he
admitted ruefully,
the soup could hardly be classed as food. If he could not stand the
smell, then he
dreaded to think what it tasted like.

"All right. No more - for now. Later you must eat Deanna. You need to
keep your
strength up."

Sighing, she replied "I know" as he helped her lie down.

William rose from where he had been sitting on the side of Deanna's
bed, to give the
remains of the breakfast to the guard. Deanna's tent had been
separated from the rest
of the camp to try and stop the illness from spreading. Sighing
softly, he turned
sharply when he heard Deanna coughing. He was by her side
immediately, stroking
her hair and whispering soothing words to her. After what seemed like
a lifetime to
the both of them, Deanna stopped coughing.

"Has this happened before?" Edward La Forge, who was standing behind

Deanna was still getting her breath back so William answered. "No. It
has just

Edward sighed. "It seems then that this illness is progressing to the
next stage." He

"Prince William, I beg you to please tell me if you begin to feel
ill. It is highly likely
that you will be the next person to get this illness." Nodding in
William returned his gaze to Deanna. Bowing slightly to his Lord and
Lady, Edward
left the tent.


"You should not be here." Deanna whispered.

"Oh? And where else would I be?" William responded. It was a few
hours after
Deanna's first coughing attack, and she had had some more, but none,
thankfully, as
worse as the first.

Sighing, Deanna closed her eyes. Her fingers gently traced the lines
on his right hand.
She stopped when she touched the intricately wrought ring that was on
his fore finger.
It was a ring that many noble men had worn before him. The ring was
one of the rings
of Valda, that the Crown Prince of the land had always worn. She wore
a feminine
version of it, far less elaborate, that showed her to be the heir of

"You are the Crown Prince of these lands, and your father's only
heir. If you should
fall then there will be no one to take your place, and the line of
Kings will be broken."

Sighing William took a hold of her hand in his.

"And you are you father's only heir, and should you fall then the
line of Demara will
be broken."

"It will not matter as much. The line of Demara is not as old as the
line of Kings. They
will be able to find a replacement."

"No they will not." William responded sternly. "It would matter

"But. . ."

He stopped her with a finger to her lips.

"Deanna, I would rather die than live in a world that does not
contain you."

"But. . ."

"No `buts' all right?"

"All right?" He repeated more firmly when she did not respond.

Sighing, Deanna reluctantly nodded, knowing that she could not win
this argument.

"Good" William said.

She closed her eyes again. This illness was taking her strength away
from her far more
quickly than she would like to admit.

As if sensing this William said "Get some sleep, Deanna. You need
it." Squeezing his
hand as he entwined their fingers, she was asleep within minutes.

Chapter 8

William sighed. He looked at Deanna. She was incredibly pale, and yet
her face was
flushed with fever. She was cold sweating now. He sighed again and
closed his eyes.
It was two days after she had first started coughing, and when she
had woken this
morning she had a sore throat. He had managed to convince her to eat,
only to have
her bring it all up again. She was sleeping now, and he prayed that
her dreams were
peaceful. Although she did not say it he knew that she was almost
constantly in pain
now. At the moment he was lying in her bed, idlely stroking her hair
and trying to
resist the urge to sleep. It seemed to give her comfort to know that
he was there, next
to her, holding her.

Sighing, he moved so that he could reach the table next to her bed.
Now where were
they? He knew they were there, for he had seen them before. . . Ahhh,
there they were.
When he had them firmly within his grasp, he lifted them from the
table, and moved
so that he was once more facing Deanna. He reached out towards her
and brushed a
stand of her hair away from her face. He reached out with his hand
that held the
hairbrush, and started to brush her hair. Gently, so as not to wake
to wake her, he
untangled the knots that were the result of lying in bed for six days

Six days, he mused, as he continued to brush. The messenger bird that
he had sent
when Deanna had first become ill should have arrived home yesterday.
He prayed that
his mother would come quickly - for all their sakes. He had not said
anything to
Deanna, or for that matter, Edward La Forge, but he knew that he was
starting to
become ill. Sighing once more, he realised that Deanna's hair was now
untangled. Now for the more difficult part. How to braid Deanna's
hair, without
waking her, and with her facing towards him. His only choice, he
concluded after
some moments consideration, was to try to move so that he was facing
her back.

Trying to be as quiet as possible, and at the same time trying not to
upset the bed too
much, he clambered over her. He froze when she stirred slightly, but
she did not wake.
Sighing - this time in relief, he tucked the cover around her again,
and started to braid
her hair. When he was finished, he tied it with a ribbon. Deanna
rolled over, opened
her eyes, and smiled at him. He returned the smile. She whispered
what he thought
was a `Thank you', but, because of her throat, she could not speek
properly. Still
smiling at him, she snuggled up close to him. He in turn wrapped his
arms around her.
He heard her breath lengthen, and he knew that she was, once again,
asleep. Kissing
the top of her head, he too closed his eyes, and was instantly asleep.


When William woke again, it was the next day. Blinking, he looked
around the tent.
Deanna was still sleeping in his arms. He looked at her closer, there
was something
different about her. . . if only he could see out what. Then, he
realised - on her neck
was a scarlet rash. Drawing in a deep breath, he traced it with his
fingers. It went from
her neck, down her shoulder, and finished - as far as he could tell
at her armpit. He
swore softly.

"Such language, my prince."

Jumping slightly, he looked up to see Edward La Forge.

"You have been asleep for nearly a day now." Edward said, believing
that the look
him William's eyes was asking him that question. "You too, my lord,
have started to
become ill, and I am sure that. . ."

He stopped when he saw the rash on Deanna's throat.

"How long has that been there?"

"I know not. I only know that it was there when I woke, and it
spreads to her armpit."

"I see." Edward said in grave voice. He placed his hand on Deanna's
Sighing, he then placed it on William's forehead.

"You are not as hot as her - yet. Tell me how do you feel?"

"Tiredish. Why?"

"Can you continue to bath her?."

"Of course" He said.

"Thank you, my lord. If you see any other rashes, tell me."

"I will"

Nodding, Edward left the tent. He returned a few moments later with a
bucket of
clear, cold water, and several pieces of cloth. Thanking him, William
waited until he
had once more left the tent before looking at Deanna again. Sighing,
he reached for
one of the cloths and started his task.


"Read to me." The cracked voice started William, for he thought that
Deanna was still

"Dee! You are awake! How do you feel?"

Wincing, she groaned. Squeezing her hand softly, he was about to rise
when she
stopped him.

"You are ill." She barely whispered.

"Only a little"

"You are ill because of me"

"Do you remember what I told you?"

Sighing, she closed her eyes.

He rose, and walked, a little unsteadily, to the other side of the
tent. He picked up a
book from inside one of her bags, and touched something else as well.
Smiling, he
picked it up too. When he was once more lying down he said "Look what
I found."

She opened her eyes slightly, and gasped when she saw he held.
Smiling softly, he
handed her the teddy. She took it from him, and hugged it to her
chest. She closed her
eyes, and when she opened them again, he could see the gratitude
shining in them. He
simply smiled, opened the book, and began to read.


"How are they, father?" Geordi La Forge asked. It was night time, and
all save the
guards were gathered around the camp fire. Edward, Geordi and Conn,
however, were
huddled together in a small cluster away from everyone, for Edward
knew that he
would the next to get the illness. Indeed if not for his son's and
Conn's stubbornness
and loyalty to the Prince and the Lady Deanna, then he would not even
be talking to

Sighing, he said in a mere whisper "The Lady Deanna worsens. She is
warmer than
before, and now she has a scarlet rash. Prince William, however, is
just beginning to
become ill. He has a fever that I fear will worsen also."

Geordi and Conn exchanged uneasy glances.

"But they will be all right?" Geordi questioned.

Edward closed his eyes, and let his head fall. "I do not know, my
son. I do not know."

Chapter 9

`Please stop!' Is what Deanna wanted to scream, but she could not.
Edward's hand
was firmly covering her mouth, and William was holding her upright,
so there was no
escaping this torture. She knew that what Edward and William was for
her own good,
but there was no reason for it to hurt this much! Her body lurched
forward again, her
stomach trying to get rid of its contents, but Edward would not let
her be sick.
Frustrated, she felt tears come to her eyes, and her shoulder's shook
with a sob.
William tightened her hold around her, and whispered soft words of
comfort and
encouragement in her ear, as he had been doing for what seemed like
an eternity.

"Is there not something else we can do?" William asked as Deanna's
body shook with
another sob. The reason they were doing this was because Deanna
needed to have
liquid inside her, but her stomach was not co-operating, and when
Edward had given
her a drink to try and settle her stomach, she had thrown that up too.

"There is only one other thing." Edward said, his voice grave.


"We try to bleed to fever out of her." William looked up sharply, and
Deanna froze
within his grasp.

"What?" William said again - this time in shock.

"We can try and bleed the fever out of her. I would much rather wait
until the Queen
is here, for she knows much more about illnesses than I do."

Blinking, William tried to comprehend what Edward was suggesting. His
first instinct
was to resist any treatment that would involve hurting Deanna in any
way, and yet,
that was exactly what they were doing now. He knew that bleeding
someone was seen
as the only way to treat people who had an infection or had been
poisoned, but he also
knew that people had bleed to death because their healer had not been
able to stop the
bleeding in time.

Suddenly, Deanna's body lurched forward again, and William
immediately started
whispering in her ear again. When she had stopped, her body could not
take any more,
and she slipped into unconsciousness.

"We will wait until my mother comes." William said.

Edward nodded. As he watched William settle Deanna down on her bed,
he tried to
ignore the voice in his head that whispered `If she lives that long'.

Chapter 10

Beverly urged her horse to go faster. In the distance, only a mere
mile away, she could
see camp fires, that could only belong to her son's camp. Beside her,
John-Luc was
doing the same, and cursing the fact that they could not go faster
because of the
guard's in front of them. They were closer now and so they could see
things more
clearly. If Beverly did not know better then she would say that there
was nothing
wrong, the camp looked so normal. She half expected her son to come
into view with
a grin on his face, Deanna beside him, telling her that they were
both fine. But he did
not. Nor, for that matter did Deanna. As soon as they were within
earshot, she could
hear Geordi La Forge shouting, something that she could not quite
make out. They
moved closer, each step of her horse seemingly taking years, and she
could finally
make out what he was saying.

"My King, Queen! Thank the Goddess that you have arrived. The Lady
Deanna and
the Prince William are gravely ill." This last part he could speak
normally, for they
were now within the camp.

"Where?" Was all Beverly had time for, as she removed the bags from
her horse that
contained her healing supplies.

"There. In that tent." Geordi replied, pointing.

Giving him a breathless nod of thanks, she all but ran towards the
tent. When she
moved the material that acted as a door aside, she stopped dead in
her tracks. Lying on
a bed was her son. He had a cold sweat upon his brow and his face was
flushed with
fever. But it was the person lying in his arms that made her blood
run cold. Deanna
was covered with sweat, she could see it rolling down her forehead,
and she could see
a scarlet rash on her neck, that spread downwards.

"My Lady! Thank goodness you have arrived at last!" Edward La Forge's
voice broke
off her thoughts. She turned and looked at him, and saw that sweat
was upon his brow

"Tell me everything that has happened to them."


John-Luc sighed. He looked up at the tent where his son, wife and
Deanna were and
sighed again. It was day now, and there had been no word as to how
William and
Deanna were fairing. He could not enter the tent for Conn, who had
just returned from
guard duty, told him that it had been separated from the rest of the
camp to try and
stop the illness from spreading. That was last night, when they had
arrived, and now
dawn had come and gone, and the sun had risen. He sighed again, and
was just about
to ask Conn, again, what Geordi's father had said to him about
William and Deanna's
condition the last time he had seen him, when the tent flap was
pushed aside. He was
on his feet immediately as was Conn, and Geordi, who had just risen.
Beverly was
there, and she looked exhausted.

"Well?" John-Luc said. "How are they?"

"They will need to be watched very closely for the next few days, but
I believe that
they are going to be fine."

All present gave a sigh of relief at this news.

"They are sleeping at the moment, but it is Deanna that I am most
worried about."
Beverly continued, moving over to her husband's side, who wrapped his
arms around
her. "Deanna was the one who was first ill, and William caught the
illness from her.
Edward caught it from the both of them, but he is not so badly
effected by it, for he
has not had the illness for as long as they have." She said this to
Geordi, who gave
another sigh of relief.

"But William and Deanna are going to be well?" John-Luc questioned.

"As I said, I cannot be sure, but I believe so. We will find out from
William first if the
cure that I have given them is working."

John-Luc smiled and kissed her hair.

"Forgive me my lady," Conn said, "but do you know what the illness

"It something that I have only read about, but I believe that Deanna
and William both
have Scarlet Fever. It is called that because of the scarlet rash
that appears soon after
the person has become ill."

"But they will both be all right?" John-Luc questioned.

"Yes. As I have said Deanna has the worst of it. Edward gave William
some medicine
to make sure that he did not get as ill as her. Apparently he would
not leave her side,
even though Edward and Deanna both said that he should."

All of the people present smiled at this, for it was well known that
Valda's Prince was
somewhat . . . obsessive. . .about the Lady Deanna's safety.

"William should wake up tomorrow, Edward might wake this afternoon,
but it is best
to leave them now." Beverly said, trying to hide a yawn.

"You have worked your self into exhaustion, my love, come, get some
sleep yourself
now." John-Luc said as he led her to their tent, that someone had
thoughtfully sent up
close to where William and Deanna were. Mumbling something under her
Beverly allowed her self to be pushed down onto the bed, and was
asleep within


As he watched his wife sleep, John-Luc was saying prayers of thanks
to the God and
Goddess. Deanna must have fallen ill at least twelve, no thirteen
days ago now. She
must have been incredibly strong to have resisted it for so long, and
yet Deanna
always did have an inner strength about her. He would have received
the message on
the fifth day that she was ill. When they had received it, Beverly
had insisted that they
go at once, even if it was only a false alarm. They had left the day
after they had the
message, the day Geordi had later told him, that Deanna had been sick
for the first
time. He sighed deeply. It had been torture these past few days,
wondering how his
son and Deanna were, and yet knowing that they could do nothing more
than what
they were doing - riding towards the camp with all speed possible. He
knew that if it
was only himself and Beverly riding, then they would have reached the
camp at least
two, if not even three days ago, but they were slowed down by the
guards, and the
servants. But, he wondered if they would have reached the camp any
earlier. Even if it
had just been Beverly and him, then they still would have been
delayed by the trail of
the supply line. He sighed again. He bent down and kissed his wife's
forehead. He
knew that he should get some sleep himself, but strangely, he did not
feel tired.
Rising, he left the tent where his wife was sleeping, and crossed to
William and
Deanna's, for after he had seen them, he was certain that he would be
able to sleep.

Chapter 11

"Mmmhmmm?" Was William's first response.

"William? ...... hear me?"

`What?' William tried to say, but found that he could not. The voice
said something
again, but he could not make out what.

"William? Please, wake up" the voice said again.


"He seems to be half awake at the moment. How is Deanna, John-Luc?"

Deanna?? There was something wrong with Deanna? William renewed his
efforts to
wake up ten-fold. He moaned again, and the voices said something
else. Deanna, he
had to find out what was wrong with Deanna. If she was in danger and
needed his
help, then he would never forgive himself if she was harmed, merely
because he could
not wake up!


"Mmmmmm" William blinked rapidly, trying to get his eyes to work.

"William! Welcome back my son, how do you feel? Are you in any pain?"

Why was the voice worrying about him? And just what was wrong with
Deanna? He
tried to reach out to her through their sense that they had always
had of one another,
but to his disgust found that he was too weak.

"Deanna?" He whispered through his cracked lips.

Above his head, John-Luc and Beverly exchanged a smile. William was
awake and no doubt he would soon be back to his normal self - after
all he was
already worrying about Deanna.

"She is fine William, she is well." Beverly assured him.

"Mother?" This time it was whispered incredulously.

"Yes, William, I am here, and so is your father. He is looking after

William sighed. He knew that now his mother was here everything was
going to be all
right, and his father was keeping Deanna safe, so she was going to be
all right too.

"The illness?" He whispered next, as his mother gave him water.

"It is nearly gone William. Both you and Deanna are going to be fine."

Sighing William opened his eyes more, and found Deanna being cradled
in his fathers
arms. He tried to rise to take her from him, but found that he could
hardly raise his
head, let alone his body.

Smiling, his father placed Deanna gentley next to him, and William
wrapped his arms
around her immediately.

"We only took her out of the bed when you started to wake up. We did
not want you
to wake her."

"She is going to be all right?"

"Yes William, she is going to be fine." Beverly said.

"Mother, when did you get here?"

"We arrived two days ago now. It would be the fifteenth day or so now
that Deanna
first became ill."

Sighing, William closed his eyes, trying to fight against the
darkness that was closing
in around him.

"Go to sleep, William, your body is still recovering" his mother said.

"Wake me, when she wakes up" he said drowsily.

"We will - I promise"

William smiled, and within minutes was asleep again.

Chapter 12


Smiling, William repeated his question "I said, Dee, are you all

"I think so. What time is it?"

"Dawn broke about two hours ago now. You have slept soundly through
the night."
William said, reaching out to stoke her hair away from her face.

"And you?" At his look of confusion, she spoke again, "did you sleep

William smiled, "yes, I slept well." It had been two days since he
had woken to find
his mother and father at their camp. Deanna had woken shortly after
him. They were
both going to be fine, his mother had told him. Yesterday, they had
begun to travel
again, but this time with a difference. Instead of riding horses,
both he and Deanna
had to ride in a wagon, for they were both far too weak to be riding.
In fact, they
should still have been in bed, his mother had told him, but the need
for supplies and
safety drove them to Demara.

"Are you hungry?" William now asked Deanna.

"A little"

"I believe that we will be stopping shortly, to refresh the horses,
you can get
something then."

Smiling, Deanna snuggled slightly closer to him under the blanket
they shared.
"Thank you" she whispered.

"For what?"

"For being you."


"Here, my son, is where we shall leave you, once more." John-Luc
spoke. It was later
on in the day, and John-Luc, Beverly and the troops that had come
with them were
leaving to return home.

"And try to not to injure yourselves or catch any more fevers for the
remainder of the
journey, please." Beverly added.

"We will mother." William said, while smiling ruefully.

After the farewell hugs had been exchanged, Beverly and John-Luc
mounted their

"Fare thee well, my son, Deanna." John-Luc called.

"And fare thee well, father, mother" William replied.


"My Lord, Lady, you may wish to see this." Conn's voice interrupted
the conversation
that William and Deanna had been having. They were still travelling
in the wagon, for
Beverly had left strict instructions on what they could and could not
do, even through
William had spent most of his time trying to escape from the `prison'
as he called it.

"What it is Conn? Is there anything . . ." The rest of William's
sentence was left as he
drew in a deep breath. Beside him, he felt Deanna move, so that she
too could see.

"Demara" William barely breathed.

On top of a hill, he could see the castle, lit with the fire of the
sunset, and it truly was
an intimidating sight. He suddenly felt very alone in the world and,
for the first time
on their journey, found himself feeling homesick. At first there had
been no need, for
the journey had felt like an adventure, and when Deanna had become
ill, all of his
attention was focused on her. But, now, seeing Demara for the first
time, seeing how
much it looked like his own home, brought a rush of homesickness, and
a wish for his
parents to be at his side.

"Yes, my Lord. We should reach there tomorrow." Conn said softly. "We
are setting
up camp here tonight." He continued, before moving away, and letting
the curtain that
was hung in the wagon fall, veiling the sight.

William moved back to where he had been lying before, and looked over
at Deanna.
She looked as if she was going to be sick again.

"Come here, come on." He whispered, holding his arms out to her, arms
which she
gladly fell into.

"It will be all right, Deanna. Everything is going to be fine." He
whispered over and
over into her hair, while he let her cry silently into tunic. When
her tears had been
spent, he tilted her head up, and wiped away her tears.

"Will. . . I do not think I can do this" she barely whispered.

"I know," he said, "It is scary is it not? But Dee, we have to. The
people here, they
will be no different than the people at home, your mother and father,
they are nothing
to be scared about." His words comforting both Deanna, and him.

She managed to smile bravely. William squeezed their hands
together. "I will be here
Deanna, I will not let anything happen to you."

"I know. Thank you, Will."

Smiling at her, he reached down kissed her forehead, then drew the
curtain back so
they could see their future home again.

Chapter 13

"How do you feel this morning?" William asked, as he handed Deanna
her breakfast.

She gave him a nervous smile.

"I have been talking with Geordi and Conn" he said, while starting to
eat his own
food, "They say that we may ride into the city - as long as we ride
together" he

"I would like that."

"Good." He said, giving her a brilliant smile. "We would have to ride
Marcan, of
course." He continued, naming his horse.

"That would be fine. As long as I get to say hello to Mona. Geordi
says that she has
been pinning for me."

"Of course, Dee."

Smiling gratefully at him once more, she continued to eat, hoping
that her stomach
would keep the food down.


William looked up from where Conn was busy lecturing him on what he
could and
could not do whilst riding, just in time to see Deanna step out of
her tent. She looked
incredibly beautiful, but also scared to death. She was wearing
formal clothes, like he
was, a crimson dress, with long sleeves, and tiny silver stars
studded with jewels,
about the hem lines. She also wore a silver tiara, nestled in her
dark hair, that had been
cunning wrought so that it too had tiny stars on, the symbol of

"My Lord?" Conn questioned, tearing William from his thoughts.

"Yes?" He said, whilst trying to appear innocent.

"Have you heard a word I have just said?"

"Of course!" William replied.

Conn just snorted in response.

"My Lady! How are you feeling today?"

"I am feeling much better, Geordi. Thank you for asking." Deanna
replied. She had
slipped the mask into place that no one could see through, no one,
save for William
that is, and judging by the look that he was giving her, it appeared
that he had not lost
his ability to read her like a book.

"You should mount first, my lord" Geordi's father was saying, "then
the lady

Nodding, William mounted Marcan, then settled as far back into the
saddle as he
could, to make room for Deanna. As soon as he was settled, Deanna
mounted, and he
put his arm around her, while his other hand held the reins.

"Comfortable?" He questioned. At her nod, he tightened his hold on
her. "Everything
is going to be fine, you will see." He whispered so that only she
could hear. She
squeezed the arm that held her in response, just as Edward La Forge
gave the order for
them to move out.


"It is like a smaller version of home." Deanna whispered as they
entered through
Demara's main gate, to the cheers of the crowds that had gathered
there, to see the
Prince of Valda and the heir of Demara for the first time.

"Yes, it is." William whispered in response. They were winding
through the streets
now, starting to make the climb up to Demara itself, where Deanna'
mother and father
would be waiting. They smiled at the crowds that had gathered to see
them, as they
passed them by. Closer and closer they got to the castle, and the
crowds became those
of the more wealthier people, and those of noble blood, rather than
those of the
peasants that had lined the way before.

Eventually, they came to where Ian and Lwaxana stood, waiting for
them. William,
unnoticeable to any, squeezed Deanna's waist to reassure her that
everything was
going to be fine. Edward was dismounting now, as their escort came to
a stop. Conn
appeared out of no where to help Deanna dismount, and William
followed moment
later. Reaching for her hand, he held it as they made there way to
where Ian and
Lwaxana stood.

"Prince William, welcome to Demara" Ian said. Protocol demanded that
he great him
before he could greet his daughter, no matter how much he wanted to.
After William
had acknowledged him he moved to Deanna. "Deanna, Little one," he
said now, as he
enfolded Deanna in his arms. "Father!" Deanna greeted him, as she
leaned into his
embrace. "Little one!" Her mother cried, as she pried her away from
her husband.
"Mother!" Deanna greeted her. After the initial greetings were over,
they moved
inside the castle.


Deanna was in her new room, unpacking, with her mother chattering
away to her,
telling her that she should really be letting the servants be doing
these things, when
she was called away on a urgent matter of household affairs. As soon
as she had left,
Deanna let the dress she was holding up fall back down again, as she
collapsed onto
the bed. She had had to stifle a sob when she had walked in, for the
room was
modelled as closely as possible to her room back home, bringing
another tug of
homesickness. As she rolled over, and took the tiara out of her hair,
she realised with
a start, that this was the first time that she had been alone since
she had first become
ill. Whenever she had woken up, Will was always there, and while she
was not
complaining, for she had needed him, both when she had been ill, and
as she was
recovering, but it was nice to be alone, with just her thoughts for
company. Sighing
softly, she closed her eyes, and almost before she knew what was
happening, she was

Chapter 14

"Are you sure that the illness has completely left you both?" Ian
asked as he and
William walked down the hallway leading to his new chambers.

"Yes. Mother would not have let us travel otherwise," William said,
in what, Ian
thought, was a tone of voice that indicated that he had had this
conversation before.
"Mother has given Conn a letter for you, to let you know what we can
and cannot do."
William continued.

"That is good."

"Has this ruined your plans for my training?"

"No. We will just have to take things more slower than before, that
is all. You will
need to regain your strength slowly, but that is no matter. We were
going to have to
take things slowly before anyway, to see how skilled you are with the
sword and
bow." Ian assured him.

"Good. I am glad."

By now they had reached the door to Deanna's chambers. Ian was just
about to knock
when William stopped him.

"What is it? What is wrong?" He asked.

"She is asleep." William said simply.

Ian just nodded. "Well then, I had best go and get that letter from
your mother then. I
will leave you to settle in. These are you rooms, just next to

With a nod of thanks, William entered his chambers.


The first thing Deanna became aware of was the softness of the
mattress underneath
her. It was such a luxury to have one after weeks of lying on the
hard ground. The next
thing she became aware of, was the heaviness of her dress. Had she
fallen asleep
without changing into her night-clothes?

"Deanna?" A whispered voice said.

Groggily, she opened her eyes, to see a sight that had become very
familiar to her.
William was sitting on her bed.


Smiling down on her, William answered her question. "We are in
Demara. You must
have fallen asleep just after we arrived.

"Oh God!" She said, bolting upright.

"Shhhh! It is all right." William was quick to reassure her.


"Deanna you are recovering from an illness that very nearly cost you
your life! Of
course you are going to be more tired than usual. Not even you can
suddenly become
completely healthily again in just a few days!"

"You are not as tired as I am, yet you had the same illness." She
said, while moving to
her trunks, to pick out a suitable dress. "What time is it anyway?"

"I did not have the illness as badly as you did. And it is around
evening. There is to be
a great festival for us. It will be starting in a few hours."

"You should have woken me."

William just shrugged. "You needed the rest, Deanna" She opened her
mouth to
protest, but he cut her off. "Besides, it will be a late night
tonight. I brought you food,
if you are hungry." He offered.

"Let me guess. If I do not eat it then you will pester me until I do

William gave his best innocent expression.

"Oh no you do not! You cannot fool me with that look of yours!"

"Then you will eat it?"

"Only because it pleases me, my lord."

"Oh, but of course, my lady!"


The Great Hall of Demara was filled as far as the eye could see with
people. The
nobles were engaged in polite conversation, and some people were
dancing. This was
the sight that greeted William and Deanna's eyes as they entered.
Instantly, the
conversation and dancing stopped, and the people started to bow.
William, dressed
once more as Valda's prince, returned the greetings, by inclining his
head to them, as
they made they way to the high table, where Ian and Lwaxana were
sitting. As soon as
they had reached their seats, next to Ian and Lwaxana, and had sat
down, the
conversation and dancing resumed, but far more lively than before, as
the people
talked about the prince and lady.

"William, Deanna, tis an honour to have you here." Ian said.

"Thank you, Lord Ian" William responded. "It is an honour to be here."

Inclining his head to the man sitting on Lwaxana's left, Ian
spoke. "I would like you
meet Lord Gart, and his daughter, Chandra. Gart is my steward, which
is why you
have not meet him before, as he needed to stay here and look after
Demara for us."

Inclining their heads to them, William and Deanna looked, as best as
they could
having to look around two people to see them.

"With your permission, William, we shall start the festivities." Ian

"Of course"

Smiling, Ian rose and the crowds of people were silent once more. "I
hereby declare
that these festivities have started!"


"May I have this dance?" William asked.

Smiling at him, Deanna rose from her chair and placed her hand into

"How are you feeling?"

"A little overwhelmed. You?"

"You mean when most of the women are not chasing me around?"

Deanna tried, somewhat unsuccessfully to hide her giggles.

"Fine then," William snorted. "I will laugh when the men are
following you around
like lost puppy dogs."

"They will not do that."

"Oh? Why not?"

"They are to frightened of you."

"Frightened of me?"


"And here was me thinking that they were frightened of your father!"

"They are frightened of him too." Deanna acknowledged.

"You are truly feeling all right? Not too tried?"

Rolling her eyes slightly Deanna nodded. "I am fine." Seeing him
about to press her
even further, she continued. "I promise to rest if I feel tried, and
I will be retiring soon.
Just as you should."

William nodded, for he could not deny that he too was becoming tired.

The dance ended, and they stepped away from one another, oblivious to
the looks that
people were giving them.

"Are you thirsty?" She nodded. "I will get us something to drink
then. I will be back
in a minute."

Smiling at him, Deanna watched as he made his way through the crowds,
trying to
avoid the women who insisted on mobbing him.

"My lady?" A voice questioned.

Deanna looked up and saw the blonde beauty who her father had said
was named

"Lady Chandra, please sit."

"Thank you my lady."

"Please, call me Deanna."

"As long as you do the same"

"Of course!"

"Was there something that you wanted to talk to me about?"

"No, my father thinks that I should talk to you, for we are the same
age, and there has
never really been anyone my age around here."

"Ahh, you father wishes for us to become friends then! I must admit
that I am grateful,
for I too have not really had many female friends."

"Well then, it seems as though we are well matched!"

"Deanna" A voice broke in on their conversation. William was standing
over them.

"William!" Deanna said, while Chandra rose from her chair and

"Lady Chandra is it not?"

"Yes my lord"

Deanna caught William eye and gazed at him steadily, while Chandra
watched in awe
as they seem to have a silent conversation. Eventually, William
nodded and sat,
bidding her to do the same.

"Please," Deanna spoke, "tell us about Demara."

She spent the next hour or so describing Demara, the surrounding
towns and villages,
and also telling them the best places to go for rides, where they
could get the best
views of Demara from, and the lay of the lands surrounding Demara,
until she
eventually said that they must join her for a ride and that she would
show them the
best places to go.

"Thank you Lady Chandra, I certainly know much more know then I did
William said, "But for know I am afraid that we must retire to our

"I am sorry, have I bored you?" Chandra asked.

"Not at all!" Deanna said, "In fact you have quite inspired me to go
riding with you
tomorrow, but, and you must forgive us. . ."

". . .we are both still recovering from the illness that we had on
our journey here."
William finished.

"Oh! I see, well, I should very much like to show you both around
when you are both

"Thank you, I shall hold you to that." Deanna said, as William helped
her to her feet.

"I hope that you enjoy the rest of the evening." William said.

"Thank you my lord." Chandra said as she curtseyed to them.

They smiled at her, as they left, and Chandra followed them with her
eyes until they
had left the hall.

Chapter 15

Deanna jumped, startled at the rumble of thunder that echoed around
her chambers.

"It is all right, the storm is a long way off"

She smiled and snuggled closer to William, trying to get warm.

"Will we still be able to out riding today?" She asked.

"I do not know, we will have to see."

It was a week after they had arrived at Demara, and her father,
mother and Chandra
had agreed to show herself and William around, just as Chandra had
promised when
they had first arrived. Another rumble of thunder echoed around the
chambers, louder
this time, and Deanna turned so she could see William. She could just
make out the
outline of his face and body in the strange, pre-dawn light. He
shifted slightly, getting
comfortable in the new position. A sudden flash of lightening
illuminated the room,
bathing everything in a white glow for barely a second.

"How far off is dawn?"

"I am not sure," William replied. "I would think no more than a hour
at least" he

Nodding, she moved so that their foreheads rested together. He smiled
at her, and they
spent the rest of the storm in silence.


"Good Morning Prince William, Lord Ian, Lady Lwaxana, Lady Deanna,
Chandra." This was the lengthily list of names that Conn said, as he
saw the nobles
enter the stables. William smiled at him, moving to his horse, Deanna
smiled also, and
said "Good Morning", before moving to see her horse, stopping briefly
on the way to
pat William's horse, Ian, Lwaxana and Chandra just nodded at him as
they passed
him. They were going to go on a tour of the local landmarks around
Demara, and Ian
was saying that he wanted to stop in the nearby villages, to see if
the storm had caused
any damage. Conn and Geordi, as well as some other guards were
joining them.

While Ian, Lwaxana and Chandra waited for the stableboys to bring
their horses to
them, William and Deanna were saddling their own. Soon, they were all
gathered in
the courtyard, and were ready to leave. There were subtle differences
between the way
the Demarans conducted themselves and they way that William and
Deanna acted,
Conn observed. For example, he was certain that the Lady Lwaxana's
gown was new.
Also, the Ladies Lwaxana and Chandra both wore jewellery, and both
they and Lord
Ian wore small crowns.

Lady Deanna and Prince William on the other hand wore clothes that
Conn new to be
old, and even if he had not known that the mud spatters on the
bottoms of their cloaks
were a sign. Lady Deanna did not wear any jewellery, save for a ring
on her hand that
Conn knew to be one of the rings of Demara. They also did not wear
any crowns of
any sort, although it would have been their royal privilege to do so.
He had also
observed that the Demarans were more likely to use their servants,
whereas Prince
William and the Lady Deanna were not. It all made for fascinating

Also joining them was Lady Wendy, someone who claimed very often,
Conn knew for
she had reminded him of it everytime he happened to be in the same
room as her, to
have royal blood. If Conn had not had more training from his father
then he would
have burst out laughing at her more than once. Today, she was wearing
so many
jewels, and such a heavy dress, and a extremely elaborate crown on,
even more so
than the Lady Lwaxana's, that Conn marvelled that she could move at
all, let alone
mount a horse. But apparently she could.

As soon as she was mounted she purposely started to move her horse
closer to where
Prince William's was, and had very nearly made it there when Geordi
moved so that
she could not come any closer. Conn, who was riding next to the
prince, saw him
breath a sigh of relief when he saw that she had been apprehended by
Geordi. Conn
had heard the prince and lady Deanna talking the night before, and he
gathered that
William had spent most of his time in Demara trying to avoid her.

"Of course, it is such a difficulty having royal blood, it is an
extreme hardship, but,
someone has to do it." Wendy's high voice echoed throughout the
street, as did her
equally high pitched laugher. William winced, and Deanna sighed.
Then, suddenly,
William straightened and a glint came to his eye, a glint that Conn
knew only too well.
William caught Deanna's eye and she smiled in response. By now the
party had made
it to just outside the gates to Demara, and just as Conn was about to
speak, William
and Deanna moved as one, and suddenly they were not there anymore,
and all that
remained of them was the sound of hoofbeats in the distance.


When they returned it was nearing nightfall - and they did not come
alone. William
dismounted first, and moved so that he could help Deanna dismount,
mindful of the
precious bundle that lay in her arms. He smiled at her, and she
returned the smile,
truly happy for the first time since they had left home. Two
stableboys had just taken
their horses from them, when Lwaxana and Ian, with Geordi and Conn
just behind
them appeared. Ian appeared to be a mixture of anger and relief that
they were back,
while Lwaxana rushed to her daughter and encased her a hug, asking
her if she was all
right. While Deanna was busy answering, Ian approached William and
raised one

William sighed "I am sorry" he barely muttered.

Ian had just been about to respond when a shriek echoed throughout
the courtyard.

"What is it Lwaxana? What is wrong?" Ian questioned frantically.

"That is the reason why we are so late" William said.

"Oh! the poor darlings!" Lwaxana said, once she had gotten over her
shock. She
reached forward and gently touched something that Deanna held.

Ian walked forward to see what is was that Deanna held in his arms
that had effected
his wife so. When he saw what his daughter was holding, he felt his
anger fall from
him. Cradled in her arms, wrapped up in William's cloak, were five
tiny puppies.
They were so small that he guessed that they could only have been
born within this
day at least. They were making tiny whimpering sounds, searching for
a mother that
was not there.

"We found them under a tree next to their dead mother." William
whispered quietly,
gently stoking one of the puppies, who then tried to suckle from his

"We could not just leave them there father" Deanna whispered, her
eyes misting with

"Bring them in. I am sure that we can a new mother for them." Ian
said softly, his
heart melting at the sight of the puppies and the tears in his
daughters eyes.

Deanna smiled gratefully at him. "Thank you father."

Chapter 16

"William! That is not fair!" Deanna yelled.

"Why? You have three of them and I have two! What is fair about
that?" He
responded. The `them' in question were the puppies that they had
rescued several
weeks ago. They were now grown enough to leave their adoptive mother.
There was
no question of the fact that were staying with William and Deanna.

Elwyn, one of William's pair, suddenly darted forward and jumped into
arms. Seeing her triumphant smile, William sighed. Conan, his other
puppy was
sitting at his feet, looking up at him with his dark eyes. Helpless,
William looked
away, only to have Conan following wherever he moved his eyes.

"All right! All right! You win!" He said, defeated.

As Deanna giggled, Elwyn darted out of her arms, and into William's.
The other
puppies, seeing that attacking him looked fun, soon followed Elwyn's
lead, which
only made Deanna laugh even more.

"Deanna! Help me!"

"Why? Has the brave prince been defeated by five puppy dogs?"

"Deanna" William growled from underneath the puppies, who were now
chasing one
another over his body.

Still giggling, Deanna moved forward and gently picked up Bec,
Connla, and Credne,
her puppies.

Someone clearing their throat made both William and Deanna jump
slightly. Turning,
they saw Conn standing slightly away from them. He immediately found
being attacked by the five puppies.

"Prince William, Lord Ian requests your presence in his study." He
gasped out from
under the bodies of the puppies.

"Thank you, Conn. Have fun!" William said as he passed.


Knocking on Ian's door, William found himself wondering what it was
he wanted. He
had not done anything wrong, apart from hiding from Wendy at every
opportunity he
got, and his training was going well, so he was at a loss as to why
Deanna's father
would have called him.


Opening the door, William stepped inside Ian's study.

"Ah. William, please sit."

Accepting the chair, William asked why he had been summoned.

Sighing, Ian placed his wine goblet on the table.

"As you may, or may not know, I received a report today from one of
the border
outposts. They have said that they have seen an increase in the
number of Bezin
`wanderers'." The `wanderers' were no more than spies from Bezin.

"I had a council meeting, and myself and my captains agree that there
should be some
kind of border patrol. And I have agreed to lead them."

Pausing to take a sip of wine, Ian studied William's reaction. In his
eyes there was a
mixture of excitement, concern and . . . sadness?

"That is why I have called you here. Do you wish to join me?"

"I would very much like to." William began. "But, I will need to
discuss it with Conn
and Geordi, are they invited also?"

"Of course"

"I will also need to talk to Deanna. How long will we be gone?"

"As we will go along the complete length of our border, it will take
about two and
half to three years to complete."

"A long time." William said. After a short period of silence he spoke
again. "I will
need to think about it, Ian. When do you need an answer by?"

"I will be leaving in two weeks, So, next week."

Sighing, William nodded.

"Does Deanna know?" He asked.

Ian also sighed. "No. I would like to tell her myself. . ."

"Of course."

"Think about it, William."

"Thank you." He said, as he rose from his chair. He certainly had a
lot to think about.
He knew that this was probably the only chance he would get to see
his country
properly before he became King, and a part of him was desperate to
accept Ian's offer.
But the problem was, could he live without Deanna for that long?

Chapter 17

"You are leaving." It was not a question.

"Yes." William paused and found, for the first time in his life, that
he had no words to
say to Deanna.

"When do you go?"

Her back was still turned to him as she watched the sun set from her
Tentatively, he stepped forward.


"I see." Her stance was stiff, and he gently reached forward and
stoked the sleeve of
her gown.

"Deanna . . ."

"Do not, Will."

"I have to go." He barely whispered.

"Of course you do." She replied evenly.

"I would like for you to come too, but the situation is too

"Of course. It is too dangerous to let a woman go, but it is not too
dangerous to let the
Crown Prince and one of the most powerful Lords in all of Valda go."

"Fine. You wish for me to stay? I will do so."

"And then have me go through the torture of knowing each day that the
only reason
that you remain is so that I am not lonely? Nay, I can not do that to
you Will." She
said as she turned and finally faced him.

He reached out for her, and brought her into his arms, kissing her on
the forehead.

"I do not wish for our last night together to be spent arguing." Her
quiet whisper was
muffled against his chest.

"I know. Come on, you can help me pack."

She smiled bravely at him.

"Deanna, this is not going to be forever."

"No. It will just feel like it."

He sighed, and nodded, allowing her that.

She looked down, and when she looked up again, he saw that she had
hidden her
emotions behind a mask, one which he had always able to read through,
always, that is
until now.

"Are you sure that you are going to be all right?"

"Yes Will. I have my mother and Chandra and the puppies to keep me

"I am going to be taking my two along with me."

"I had thought as much."

"I feel some what . . . guilty. . . to be leaving you behind
with . . .Wendy." He said the
name as if it was a poison.

Deanna smiled softly. "That is all right. I think she is afraid of
the puppies any way."

"Ahh! So there is a way to stop her from following me! All I have to
do is make sure
that the puppies never leave my side!"

"That is why you are leaving is it not? So you can escape from her!"

"You have guessed my plans!" He said, while noting that his attempt
to lighten the
moment had worked. She was smiling again.

"Will. . ." The playful tone of her voice was gone, replaced with a
serious one.


"Promise something?"


"Promise me that you will look after yourself?"

"Of course."

He bent down and kissed her hair.

"I am going to miss you. . . so much."

"I know. I am going to miss you too."

She sighed, and he knew that she was trying to keep her tears back.

"Deanna, we will still remain in contact. I will write you a letter

"It will not be the same."

"I know."

He hugged her even tighter.

"Come. I need to pack. Do you still want to help me?"

He could just make out her features in the now dark room as she

"Come then." He said, as he entwined their fingers.

Taking a deep breath, she squeezed his hand, and was relived when he
squeezed her
hand back.

Chapter 18

Dawn broke over the horizon. Deanna could now see her father and
William far more
clearly. Most of the nobles of Demara were gathered to see their Lord
and Prince
leave. Deanna sighed, and looked down at her feet. She had made a
promise to herself
that she would not cry.

"Come here, my little one." Her father spoke. Deanna looked up,
startled, to see her
father standing in front of her. He gestured for her enter his
embrace, and she did so.

"I will keep him safe for you." He spoke, the sound of his voice
muffled by her hair.
She broke away so that she his face.

"Thank you, father. Stay safe yourself." She said, while desperately
trying to fight
back the tears,

"I will, my little one." He smiled softly at her, then leaned forward
and kissed her

"I love you, little one."

"I love you too, father."

He gave her one last hug before moving away to say a final goodbye to
his wife.

Deanna looked down at her feet again. She knew who was now standing
in front of
her, and half of her wanted to hug him and never let go. . .while the
other half was still
stung by his leaving.

"Come here" William barely whispered. She stepped willingly into his
arms and he
hugged her tightly. Deanna buried her head against his chest,
memorising his smell,
and the feel of his arms around her. She knew that he was doing the
same. Eventually,
she broke away just enough to see his face.

"Stay safe for me."

"I will."

She nodded, and looked at the ground again. Against her will, tears
started to escape.
William pulled her back into his embrace, and let her cry silently
into his tunic.

"I am going to miss you, so much."

Her quiet whisper broke William's heart. "I know. I will miss you

They stepped apart, and he wiped the tears from her face. After a few
deep breaths,
she nodded her head, signalling that she was all right. He let his
hands drift down and
he clasped both of hers with his own, never once braking eye contact
with her.

"It is time for us to leave, William." Ian's voice broke them from
their silent study of
each other.

William nodded, reluctantly, and brought Deanna's hands to his mouth,
where he
kissed them, and gave them a final squeeze, before finally letting
them fall.

"Until next time."

"Until next time," she repeated, and raised herself so that she could
kiss his cheek.

Taking a deep breath, William left her standing there alone so that
he could mount his
horse. As soon as he had left, Lwaxana took his place and hugged her
daughter gently.
Seeing his prince and lord mounted, Conn blew a horn, signalling
their parting.
William looked back at Deanna once more, and captured her eyes with
his. After what
seemed a lifetime to both of them, he inclined his head, and rode

Chapter 19

Lwaxana watched her daughter, who was gazing out at the sun set with
unseeing eyes.
It had now been barely three days since her husband and William had
left Demara, and
Deanna was all ready pinning for them both.

"She has been quiet now since they left. She barely speaks a word to
anybody. Most of
the time she just sits with her puppies and stares at nothing."
Chandra said, who was
also watching Deanna with no small amount of concern.

"Tis only to be expected, Chandra. This is now the longest amount of
time that she
and William have been apart. Imagine it, Chandra. He has always been
there, and now
that he is gone, she does not know what to do." Lwaxana replied.

"But we need to do something, my lady. She has barely eaten since
they have gone. If
she carries on like this then she will starve herself!" Chandra

"I know."

"What do you think we should do? The prince would not want to she her
like this, it
would brake his heart."

"This I know also, Chandra. But do not think that this is confined to
Deanna only. I
fully expect William to be in the same situation as she."

Chandra sighed in obvious frustration.

"I have an idea." Lwaxana spoke suddenly, startling Chandra.

"What is it, my lady?"

"You will see." Lwaxana said, while starting to walk towards her

"Tis a beautiful sunset is it not, my daughter?"

Barely murmuring her agreement, Deanna did not move.

"Tis a shame that you seem to have lost all interest in the outside
world, as I was
going to suggest something that I believe you will enjoy." Lwaxana

"Oh?" Deanna hardly whispered.

"Yes. It would be such a shame to waste to bow and sword that have
been specially
crafted for you, but . . ."

"Bow and sword?" Deanna said, speaking aloud, and not in a whisper
for the first
time since William and her father had left.

"Yes. But as it seems that you are not interested. . ."

"Nay, nay, mother I am interested, but I thought noble women were not
taught . . ."

"Nonsense!" Lwaxana guffawed, "After all there will likely come a
time when you are
alone and have no one else to rely upon save yourself, and then you
will need all of
the skills you can get! Your father insisted that I should be taught
after. . ." Her voice
trailed off.

"After you were kidnapped, mother?" Deanna questioned. She could not
much about that time, save for being frightened and scared.

"Yes, after I was kidnapped, Deanna." Her mother now spoke in a much
softer voice.
"Your father decided then that you should also learn how to defend
your self should
the situation ever arise." Which it most likely will, Lwaxana added
on silently. It had
been agreed between her husband, herself, and the King and Queen that
Deanna and
William would be told about the prophecy and Deanna's betrothal to
Richard when
they were older.

"So, do you wish to learn?" She spoke again, trying to rid her mind
of her previous

"Yes, mother. I wish to learn." Deanna replied.

"Good. There is one condition, though." Lwaxana said slyly. Beside
her Deanna

"You will stop moping about Deanna! He would not wish to see you like
this, it
would brake his heart." Lwaxana repeated Chandra's earlier words.

"I will try, mother. It is just that, I miss him so much all
ready. . ."

"I know, little one, but you have to move on."

"I will try mother." Deanna repeated.


"When am I going to start. . ?"

"Tomorrow morning, Deanna, two hours after dawn. Get some sleep now,
little one,
you will need it."

"Thank you mother."

Chapter 20

"Good, good, William. Your aim is improving." Ian praised form where
he stood next
to William.

"Thank you." William said, lowering his bow. It had been nearly two
years since they
had left Demara, and now, after scouting around the southern borders,
they where
moving northwards, before finally returning home.

"You are welcome, William. Soon you will become better than me." Ian

"I thank you again." William responded.

"Come, join us now for our dinner, you have practised enough today."

"That depends on who is cooking." William replied. It had soon become
known who
was better at preparing the meal than who was not. William, to most
people's surprise,
had become one of the better cooks.

"Today, it is Conn."

"Ahhh, that is good then. Geordi did not help him did he?" William
asked is sudden
fear. It had soon become an ongoing joke that whatever Geordi cooked
was either
burnt or poisonous. And especially after what had happened the last
time. . .

"Nay, nay, Geordi did not help him." Ian said, with a light laugh.

"Good. I will be there in a minute. Just let me collect my arrows."


"Ian? Can I ask you something?" William said later that night. He and
Ian were seated
on a fallen tree, taking their turn in watch duty.

"Of course, William." Ian responded.

"Why did Deanna come and live with me and my parents?"

Beside him Ian sighed deeply, and put down his sword that he had been
tending to.

"If you do not want to answer then it is fine. I have always been
curious that is all."

"Nay, William. You deserve to know, but I cannot tell you all, for
Deanna should be
told first. And I believe your parents want to explain everything to
you, and Deanna,
for they made choices, choices that they will want to explain to you
themselves." Ian
said, gazing at the stars. They had always been a symbol of hope for
him, which was
why he had made them Demara's symbol shortly after Deanna's birth.

"Why? Is everything all right? Is Deanna all right? Is she in some
sort of danger?"
William asked, suddenly concerned.

"She is safe for now, William. You have no need to worry. What I can
tell you,
though, is that there was a prophecy made at her birth. A prophecy,
that made some of
the miner Lords ask for Deanna's death." Ian finished with an uneasy
sigh. He would
forever remember the time when he had learnt of the prophecy, and the
look on his
beloved's face, when he had told her.

"What? Why would anyone wish to kill an innocent child?" William
said, distraught.

"They wished to William, because they have grown used to a easy life,
and anything
that makes that life difficult they want to get rid of. Have you not
noticed how no
other lords have joined us? How barely civil they are when we stay in
their castles?
Truly if you had not been the crown prince, then they would have made
us sleep on
their doorstep!" Ian spoke in a sudden rush of anger.

"Aye, aye, I had noticed." William spoke grimly.

Taking a deep breath, Ian continued. "Your father was there, at the
time of Deanna's
birth and so were you and your mother, it was she who delivered

"I never knew that." William said, a hint of smile on his lips.

There is lot you do not know William, Ian thought darkly. "When your
father heard
that they wanted Deanna to be killed, he refused, and said that
Deanna was under his
protection, and that she would go and live with you."

"Is she all right in Demara? The lords?" William questioned.

"They know that if they so much as harm a hair on her head, then they
will face my,
yours and your father's wraith. They would be exiled, and actually
have to work for a
living" Ian finished sarcastically.

"They should be exiled anyway." William said, with anger in his eyes.

Ian smiled in seeing that, glad that he was still as protective of
Deanna as he had ever

"My lords?" A voice said, interrupting their musings.

"Yes Geordi?" Ian replied.

"Your watch is over my lords." Geordi replied.

Frowning Ian looked at the sky. Surely it had just been five minutes
that he and
William had been talking, not an hour! He was surprised then, to see
that the stars had
moved enough for his watch to indeed, be over.

"Thank you Geordi." William spoke, even as he stifled a yawn.

"Good night William."

"Ian" Was he said in response.

As William drew his cloak around him, he swore that if he found out
that anyone had
hurt Deanna while he had been away, then he would kill them, prince
or no.

Chapter 21

William woke with a sigh. Today, he was finally returning home after
being gone
almost three and a half years. Part of him was grateful and excited,
for he would be
able to see his parents again, and look upon his home once more,
while another part of
him was sad, for he knew that he would never again know the freedom
of the past

Once he returned home, he would be surrounded by guards once more,
and he would
probably have to marry within the year, and provide an heir, and
then, before he knew
it, his father would be handing the sceptre and crown to him, and he
would be king. It
was a thought that sickened him.

There was one ray of hope, upon returning home, though - he would be
able to see
Deanna again. Deanna. He smiled softly, thinking of his best friend,
the one person
who knew him best in all of the wide world. He had missed her
desperately since he
had left, and if she was not home, then the first thing he would do
was ride to Demara
and see her. He smiled again, happier this time. Yes, that is what he
would do. He
would ride to Demara and spend the summer there, and then return
home, and perhaps
he could convince her to come with him.. He sighed again, this time
in contentment.

"Stop day-dreaming William." Ian said, cutting into a vision of
Deanna's face as she
saw him again for the first time, and shattering it to pieces.

"Huh?" He replied, stupidly, as he realised that he was, in fact,

Shaking his head at him, Ian spoke again. "We will reach your
father's halls at
mid-morn. Now come, dreaming of it will not make you get there any

Smiling at him, William rose until he rested on his elbow.

"Besides, Deanna will be there." Ian threw over his shoulder, and he
had to hold back
his laughter as William shot out his make-shift bed faster than a
arrow from a bow.


The clatter of horses' hooves as they entered the gates of his
father's castle was nearly
drowned out by the voices for people welcoming their prince and lord
home. William
smiled at them, as he looked around, seeing what changes had been
made since he had
been here last. Suddenly, he was overcome with feelings of dread,
feelings that he was
sure did not come from him. Who then? He wondered, brow wrinkled in
The only person that he had this kind of connection with was Deanna.
Fool, he berated
himself. She was the only person that these feelings could be coming
from. Suddenly,
waves of pain crashed into him, not physical, but emotional.
Something was wrong
with Deanna, he was certain of it. He looked up started, as he
realised that they had
reached the stable courtyard. Had he really been so distracted that
he had not noticed
their accent here? Well, there was no matter know. Dismounting
quickly, he called to
Geordi, who was by his side.

"Geordi, please tell my parents that I will be delayed for an unknown
amount of time,
but that I am well. Thank you." He said, not waiting for an answer,
after all, being a
prince had its privileges.

He left the stables unnoticed in the sudden activity, and headed
towards the gardens,
which were just beginning to bloom before the Beltaine feast to be
held in two days
time. When he heard voices he slowed, for some reason not trusting
them. When he
could hear what they were saying, he felt his blood boil, especially
when he heard
Deanna's name.

". . .and she thinks herself fair when she is hardly worth the
praise." One voice was

"How true, cousin. I have also heard it said that she takes a
different man to bed each
night, and, if perchance, she conceives a child, then she drinks a
foul potion that will
kill the unborn babe." The second voice said.

At that, William could not contain his anger. How dare they accuse
Deanna of being a
whore, and as for the killing of any unborn babes, then they were
obviously deaf, blind
and dumb. Deanna would never kill anything, let alone a defenceless

"I would not advise you to insult the Lady Deanna in my presence,
sirs." He said, his
voice cold.

"Prince William! Your Highness!" The two men spoke at the same time,
shocked to see him there.

"Go to the Lord and Lady of Demara, and the King and Queen, and tell
them what you
have said." William ordered. When they made no indication of moving,
he spoke

"Now!" He said, in a much louder voice than before.

The two men quickly disappeared to do his bidding. Turning his head
slightly, he
regarded the tree that the two men had been talking under. It was a
tree native to
Valda, that, when it was autumn, the leaves did not fall, but turned
gold, and in the
spring the leaves fell, replaced by the flowers. Even now, some of
the leaves fell in a
gentle breeze.

"May I enquire as to why the heir of Demara has taken up residence in
a tree?" He
called, only looking up at the tree in question at the end of his

There was silence for a few moments, but then a soft, musical voice
trickled down to

"No, you may not." It said.

William grinned. "Well then, my lady, I am afraid that I will just
have to climb this
tree and tickle the truth out of you. It would be embarrassing, I

The threat hung in the air for a short time, before the voice
said, "All right. I am
coming down."

William grinned again, as he moved under he tree, ready to offer
assistance if she
should need any, his grin only widening as he heard her muttered
curses. He was just
about to respond when he suddenly heard a branch break, and her heard
her startled
yell. Faster than he thought possible she was falling, and then lying
in his arms, where
he had caught her, the force of her fall sending him to his knees. He
quickly stood, but
did not let her go.

She had, without a doubt, grown into the most beautiful being that he
had ever seen.
Her hair was all tumbled around her, and her dark eyes were wide as
she regarded
him, much the same way he was regarding her. Her hands were wound
around his
neck, where they had come to rest after her fall. Their heads were
gradually moving
closer. Almost before he knew what was happening, his eyes shut, and
their lips
brushed against one another's.

Chapter 22

William smiled at Deanna as they explored the gardens surrounding
their home. They
had not spoken much after they had kissed, but they did not need to.
Even after all
their time spent apart, they still had a sense of one another. Right
now, their bond was
telling him that she was happy, very happy, and he knew that she was
sensing the
same emotion from him. He had missed her terribly while he had been
gone, and now
that they were together again, he did not want to ever leave her side

"I have missed you" Deanna said, seemingly reading his thoughts.

"I have missed you too. But now that I am here, I do not plan on
leaving any time
soon." He vowed, sealing his words with a kiss. She laughed for the
shear joy of it,
and he joined in.

"Come, tell me of your adventures." She requested, looking up at him
with big dark
eyes that he could never refuse.

He laughed again, and started to tell her. "It was amazing, Dee,
seeing all those places.
We started by going to Lake Keltar," he said, naming the lake near
Demara, "then we
headed south, and journeyed along the border, before starting to head
north again. We
journeyed as far as Lake Egron, before starting to head home. It is
very beautiful there.
I will have to take you there one day."

She smiled at him. "I would like that" she said quietly.

"Good" He replied, and kissed her again. When they pulled apart, he
spoke again.
"What have you been doing all this time? And how is Chandra?"

Deanna sighed. "Chandra is fine, they all are."

"They all are?" He questioned.

She sighed again, and looked away briefly, before returning her gaze
to him. "Chandra
married about six months after you left, Will."

"Married!" He said, shocked.

"Yes. Do you remember one of the guards called Teb?" At his nod she
"They married and now have a little girl."

"They have a child!?" He said, even more shocked than before.

"Yes, Will. Even Wendy has one."

"Wendy is a mother?"

"Yes Will."

"I see." He said, although he was not sure if he did.

"You have been away longer than you realise."

"It would seem so."

Deanna could feel his keen gaze upon her.

"Do not worry! I do not have a child hidden away!" She said it
jokingly, but she could
see that he was not taking it that way.

"Deanna. . . about what those men were saying before. . ." He started

"You believe what they were saying is true?" She asked him in

"As you said, I have been away for a long time"

She said at him, in total shock. "I cannot believe this. I thought
that you would of all
people would trust me."

"That is not what I am saying"

"It sounds as if it is!" She returned, as she started to walk away
from him, not wanting
to cry before him.

"Deanna!" He called after her, walking quickly to catch up with
her. "Deanna" he said
again, as he caught her arm.

"What?" She said as she tore her arm from his grip, and turned her
face away, trying
to hide her tears. He reached out and turned her faced to him, but
she refused to meet
his eyes.

"Dee. . ."

"You wished to talk to me, prince?" She said, in a steady voice, that
cost her much.

"Do not call me that. You have never called me that."

"As you said, prince, you have been away for a long time. People

"Do not do this." He whispered.

"Do what, prince?"

"Damn it Deanna! I am sorry all right! Please do let me lose the only
person who truly
knows me over an argument."

At his words, she could no longer hold back her tears, and sobbed
suddenly. He
brought her into his arms, and soothed her, murmuring nonsense into
her hair. After
she had recovered, she pulled back slightly, and he took the
opportunity to kiss her
forehead, her nose, and then finally caught her lips in a deep kiss.

She smiled softly. "Will, I. . ."

"Shhhh" He placed a finger on her lips. "You are lonely." He
whispered softly.

She nodded, and bowed her head ashamed. "It tis awful of me, I know,
but. . ."

"Dee," he cut her of gently, "everyone around you has a child! No
wonder you feel

She gently placed her head on his chest, where she could listen to
his heart beat.
"Everyone is at least betrothed, or carrying a child. I have not even
had any suitors
come to ask for my hand." She whispered so softly he could hardly
make it out.

"Maybe you do not need any." He spoke quietly.

She looked up at him, her gaze enquiring.

"I have been thinking about it a little while now Dee. I heard your
father talking to
Geordi's. He said something about telling you `when the time came'. I
am not sure
what he was talking about, but it would make sense if we were
betrothed." He finished

"You think that we are betrothed?" She said, barely above a whisper,
her eyes wide.

He nodded.

She broke into a soft smile. "I would like that."

"So would I."

She laughed gently, and he kissed her again.

"Just one thing" he said. At her expectant face he continued "never
call me `prince

She laughed and kissed him.


Chapter 23

William smiled down at Deanna as they entered the castle. They had
retreated inside
after Deanna had told him that there was going to be a feast
celebrating his and Ian's
safe return.

"I am sorry." Deanna said suddenly.

"For what?" William asked confused.

"If I had not been in the gardens then you would have meet your
parents by now." She

"If you had not been in the gardens then we would not have been able
to do this." He
whispered, as he barely brushed her lips with his. "But come now, I
know that you
have missed your father."

She smiled at him, and they continued there journey onto John-Luc's

"I do not understand why. . ." Lwaxana's angry voice came through the
door. William
raised an eyebrow, while Deanna stiffened in surprise.

"My love. . ." Ian voice came through the door, which was suddenly
cut off by the
barking of dogs, which seemed to throw themselves against the door
with a thump.
When that failed to make the door move, they started to scratch at
the door and whine,
which turned into more barks as the door was suddenly opened, and
five dogs rushed
out and attacked William and Deanna. Deanna laughed at the dogs
antics, while
William grinned.

"Little one? Is that you?" Lwaxana's voice came through the doorway.

"Yes mother." Deanna replied.

"Well, do not stand out in the hallway! Come inside and great your
father!" Lwaxana
responded, glancing anxiously at her husband. How much had she heard?

"Yes mother" came Deanna's voice again, followed shortly by her body.

Beside her, Lwaxana felt Ian tense, and gasp inaudibly. She stared to
wonder why
when she realised - she had seen Deanna every day for over three
years now, and had
grown accustomed to her great beauty, whereas Ian had last seen her
before she
reached womanhood. William, who had followed her daughter in, had
also noticed
how beautiful his childhood friend had become, she realised. She
sighed softly, and
exchanged a glance with John-Luc. `The prophecy is at work already'
his eyes seemed
to say. She nodded in reply, before turning her attention back to her
husband and

"Father!" Deanna was saying, with a joyous smile on her face.

"Little one! I can hardly recognise you." Ian said, drawing her,
drawing her in for a
hug, which she eagerly returned.

"I have missed you, father" Deanna said, unshed tears shining in her

"I have missed you too little one." Ian responded, giving her another

Beside them, more reunions were taking place.

"Mother." William said, also hugging her.

"You have grown much, my son." Beverly responded.

"Indeed you have, William. I am suddenly felling very small." John-
Luc remarked
before pulling William in for a brief hug. William just laughed in
response, before
turning slightly, and smiling at Deanna, who returned his smile.

"Deanna tells me there is to be a feast?" He questioned.

"Yes. In fact we had better start to get ready for it." Beverly

There were nods, and the two families started to make there way to
their chambers.
When they had reached them, Deanna kissed William on the cheek
outside of her

"I will see you soon." She said.

"Of course." He replied, also kissing her on the cheek.

She smiled as she closed the door to her chambers. William quickly
retreated inside
his own, while their parents exchanged glances. Oh yes, the prophecy
was most
definitely at work.


Chapter 24

Deanna sighed as she looked at the seemingly thousands of dresses she
had to choose
from for the feast celebrating her father's and William's safe return
from their three
and a half year patrol. There were red dresses, blue dresses, green
dresses, white
dresses, silver dresses, purple dresses and then dresses with or
without Demara's
symbols of stars. She sighed again in frustration.

"Wear this one", a voice behind her suddenly said. Deanna jumped,
startled, to see
William holding a dress out.

He was every inch the prince now, she thought admiringly, as she
studied him. He
wore a midnight blue shirt that perfectly matched the dress he was
holding out to her,
save that whereas his shirt had tiny golden suns on, the dress had
tiny silver stars. He
was wearing black leggings, with the softest suede black boots, that
hugged his legs to
just below his knees. Every strand of his hair was neatly combed into
place, glistening
in slight waves until it ended, just brushing his shoulders. Upon his
brow was a
exquisitely wrought crown, made from the finest silver and gold, and
on his right
forefinger, the ring of princes shone brightly.

Deanna swallowed, and looked away. Never had she felt inadequate in
presence before, but now, seeing him standing in front of her like
some hero of old,
while she wore only her underclothes, it made her feel . . . unworthy.

She felt his concern through the bond they had always shared, and saw
from the
corner of her eye him drop the dress into a nearby chair, and then
coming toward her,
and gently raise her chin so that he could look into her eyes. She
swallowed again, but
had no chance to react in any other way, because she was suddenly in
his arms and his
lips were on her own. When he finally pulled away, she was trembling,
and breathless,
from his kiss that had been barely there, yet so full of feeling.

When he spoke his voice was low, and the look in his eyes
intense. "You will always
be perfect to me, Deanna, always."

Still trembling, she reached out to him, and he gathered her in his
strong arms, letting
her fall against his chest, where she listened to his heart thumping
wildly. She closed
her eyes, and squeezed him suddenly, and was relived when he squeezed
her back.
She did not know why, but she had a sudden feeling of unease, as if
she should
treasure this moment forever. She hugged him tighter, and he returned
her embrace,
and she knew that he was feeling the same. After a lifetime they
pulled part slightly, to
look into each others eyes, but then he was kissing her again, and
she was responding
to his kiss, knowing that this would be one of her moments of true


Deanna yawned tiredly as she changed into her sleeping garments. The
feast was still
going on, although most people has retired now. She was sure that her
mother and her
Aunt Beverly had noticed that there was something different between
her and
William, from the looks that they had given each other when they
thought she was not
looking. Deanna sighed lightly. She did not think that they would
oppose if she and
William married - after all if nothing else, it would strengthen the
ties between their
two houses. Sighing again, she decided that she had had too much
wine, while she
moved around her chambers, blowing out the candles. Just as the room
was plunged
into darkness, she felt a presence behind her. Startled, she turned,
only to find herself
face to face with William.

Deanna sighed again, this time in relief. "Would you please STOP
doing that?"

"Sorry" He said, but she could tell that he didn't really mean it.

She shook her head in exasperation.

"What do you want anyway?" She asked as she moved towards her bed.

Silence was her only answer.

"Will?" She questioned softly, trying to make out his form in the

"Nothing . . . I just wanted to say . . . goodnight." He replied,
with a lot less certainty
than usual. He moved forward, and gently pulled her into his arms,
and kissed her

As he pulled away, he heard her voice, barely above a whisper.


"Yes?" He asked in a equally soft voice.

Her voice was now so low he had to strain to hear it. "Stay?"

He sighed deeply in relief. "Of course."

"Thank you"

He grinned at her. "Come on, then." He got into the bed first, and
held up the covers
for her, smiling as she snuggled up to him, seeking his warmth.



"I am glad you are back."

"So am I Dee, so am I."


Chapter 25

William woke slowly, enjoying the softness of the mattress and the
warm body in his
arms. Deanna was still sleeping, but he did not begrudge her. In
fact, it gave him time
to just look at the great beauty that she had become. He wondered
briefly if that had
anything to do with the prophecy that had been made at her birth, but
before he could
think any more on it, Deanna stirred in his arms, and opened her
eyes, smiling up at

"I have missed this" She spoke quietly, still half asleep.

He laughed lightly. "So have I."

Deanna smiled again, then resettled herself on his chest.

"You know that I think?" He asked, a wicked glint in his eyes.

"No." Deanna said, shifting again.

"I think you just missed using me a pillow."

She laughed at that. "Why my prince! How did you guess?"

Now he laughed. "A prince knows everything"

A indignant snort was his only response.

"Well, now I am going to have to get my payment for being used as a

"Your payment????"

"Yes. I believe that I am one of the best pillows around. So I have
to have some sort
of payment. I will take yours now."

"I believe you will have to..." The rest of her sentence was cut off,
as he seized her
mouth in a passionate kiss, and rolled them so that he was on top of
her. When they
pulled apart, they were breathing heavily, and their hearts were
pounding in their

...Pounding in their cheats...

Deanna gasped in realisation.

"Deanna? What is it? What is wrong?" William's voice was full of

She tried to speak, but nothing came out.

"Deanna?" William's voice, panicking now.

"Our hearts beat as one," she barely whispered.

She heard William gasp above her.

He knew as well as she did that only people who were soulmates shared
the same


He reached down and cupped her face in the palm of his hand.

"It makes sense." He said in a awed whisper.

She nodded, slowly, then a brilliant smile came across her face,
identical to the one
that William's


She laughed for the sheer joy of it.


Deanna and William were getting ready to leave for their picnic. They
were going to
go to one of their favourite spots from their childhood. Deanna was
finding it
increasingly difficult to hide the fact that she and William were in
a more romantic
relationship than anyone thought.

"We will be gone most of the day." William was telling his father.

"All right. Look after yourselves." John-Luc responded.

"We will father!" William replied, as he helped Deanna onto her horse
mounting his own.

"We will be back at sundown!" Deanna called to her parents, who had
John-Luc and Beverly.

"Stay safe!" Ian entreated.

They disappeared, their laughter echoing in the courtyard.

"We should tell them tonight, before it becomes even more difficult
for them."
Beverly said softly.

"No! Please, give them this one day of happiness." Lwaxana begged.

John-Luc sighed. "We will tell them first thing on the morrow."

"Thank you." Lwaxana whispered.

"I can only hope that they forgive us." Ian said, voice choked with

"So do I, my friend, so do I."


"Your archery has really improved, Will. I can remember before, you
could hardly hit
a tree!"

William rolled his eyes. "Thank you for reminding me."

"You are welcome! I remember when you almost hit your father in
the. . ."

"Right! That is it!!"

William started to chaise Deanna around the tree that they were
having their picnic
under. He easily caught up with her, and gently wrested her to the

"Will, please. . .Stop!!!" She squealed as he tickled her.

He paused to consider a moment. "Nuh uh."

"Will!!!....All right!!!.....Please, I am sorry!!"

"I will accept you apology" He grinned wolfishly, and kissed her.

They lay quiet for some time.



"Did my father ever mention anything to you about my birth?"

"Why do you ask?"

"I know that it is tradition that children be sent to foster with
others, but usually the
parents wait until the child is at least 5, but my parents sent me
off straight away. I just
wandered if my father had ever mentioned anything to you about it,
that is all."

"He mentioned something, once." William said gently. Deanna looked up
at him
quickly, so he continued. "Your father said that there was a prophecy
made at your
birth, and that the content of it was such that some of the warriors
and minor lords
wanted you to be killed, but, my father refused, and took you under
his protection.
That is all I know, but I had a feeling that Ian was not telling me
everything. The only
other thing he mentioned, was that my mother delivered you, and that
I was there too."

"Oh." She responed, and he could tell that she was not sure what to

"I wish that I could tell you more but..."

"No! no, you have told me more than I knew. I only knew that I was
taken to live with
you and your parents. I always wandered if my parents truly wanted me
or not, given
that they seemed so eager to let me be taken away."

"Deanna, your parents love you very much."

"I know, I know now, but for a 6 year old, it was difficult."

"My beloved" He murmured, and pulled her close for a hug. They stayed
like that for
some time until she pulled away. There were tears in her eyes.

"Dee, never doubt that your parents love you very much." He took a
deep breath. "I
love you."

Deanna looked at him started. He had told her that he loved her
before, of course, but
that had always been in friendship, not like this. This was the kind
of way that a man
loved a woman, a romantic love.

"I...I love you too." She whispered, almost stumbling over the words.

The smile that lit up his face was the most beautiful sight that she
had ever seen. She
felt her own smile spread across her face. They laughed together,
softly, enchanted by
each other. William hesitantly reached out, and cupped her cheek.
His thumb
brushing over her lips.

"Deanna...." He said in a tortured whisper.

She reached out and mirrored his action. He shuddered beneath her.

"Will....make love to me."

He stopped breathing, and gazed at her, a question in his eyes. She
nodded, trembling.
He leaned forward and kissed her, gently lowering her to the soft
grass beneath them.
Soon the sounds of their lovemaking joined in with the sounds of the
nearby forest


Chapter 26

Deanna and William were just entering the courtyard of the castle, as
the sun slowly set. They had spent the day on the edges of the forest
that was near the castle, making love. They dismounted from their
horses, and left them in the care of the stable boys. They both had
just entered that castle when John-Luc called out to them.

"William, Deanna, we grew concerned when you did not return."

They paused before him, and William spoke "We lost track of time,
father. I am sorry."

"It is alright." John-Luc responded.

William nodded, and gently steered Deanna towards the stairs that lead
to their chambers.

"Are you alright?" This time it was Beverly who asked, having appeared
from seemingly no where.

"We are fine. We are tired, that is all" Deanna responded.

"If you are sure…"

Deanna's reply was a curt "Yes" as they continued up the stairs.

John-Luc and Beverly traded a concerned look.

"Are they really alright?" John-Luc asked, knowing that out of the two
of them, his wife would be better at deciphering their strange behaviour.

"I don't know. I think we may have made a mistake in not telling them
before. Their hearts are going to be broken."

There was a silence for a long time.

"Do you think they made love?" John-Luc's question was quiet, just
above a whisper.

Beverly nodded forlornly. "John-Luc…" She started.

"We will deal with it tomorrow alright? It is late, come." He said, as
he placed his arm around her waist.

Beverly nodded, and tried with all her soul to believe that everything
would be alright.


"Dee, what is wrong?"

"Nothing. I am fine."

"Deanna, you are not fine. Tell me what is wrong?" William's voice was

Deanna sighed, and turned, so she did not have to look at him. They
were in her chamber, in bed, and the closeness that they had shared
during the day had disappeared, and she knew it was her fault.

"Do you regret what happened?" William asked quietly.

"No! How could I? It was the most beautiful thing that I have ever
experienced." She responded quickly. She turned to look at him, and
was surprised at how vulnerable he looked. Deanna sighed, and sat up,
hugging her legs to her chest, and resting her head on them. Beside
her William moved and placed his arm around her shoulders, moving
closer to her.

Deanna sighed deeply. "I am sorry." She turned her head to look at
him. A intense blue gaze meet hers. She sighed again, and looked away.
He cupped her face with one hand, and moved her body so that she was
sitting in his arms. She felt his love and concern through the bond
they shared, and snuggled closer to him. After a long time, she pulled
away from him and looked at him.

"I…I am feeling…anxious for some reason that I do not know Will. I can
not explain it. I…"

William placed a finger on her lips. "It is alright. I understand."
Deanna had always been sensitive to the emotions of others, and their
parents for some reason where all anxious recently. He gently kissed
her. "Does that make it better?"

"Yes" She replied in a breathless whisper. She leaned forward towards him.

"Good" He murmured, before capturing her mouth in a passionate kiss.
Deanna moaned, and all feelings of anxiety were forgotten as he
lowered her to the mattress.


William and Deanna were walking down the hallway to the chamber where
they broke their fast. William was distracted, and kept looking around
as if something was wrong, why, Deanna did not know, but she could
sense the same anxiety that she had during the night, before William
distracted her. She blushed, and was glad that there was no one else
around. When they reached the chamber, they were both surprised to
find it almost empty. Apart from Geordi and Conn, no one else was there.

"Where are our parents?" William asked, as he served himself and Deanna.

"A messenger came with urgent news…" Conn started.

"I understand." William interrupted, before starting his food.

Conn nodded, and he and Geordi shared a glance. They both started the
grin, and Geordi leaned back in his chair. Deanna and William gazed at
one another, slightly alarmed. Whatever they were up to, it was not good.

"Alright, out with it." William ordered.

Conn started laughing, and Geordi could barely contain his own humour.

"You have both been chosen to take part in the festivities." He
managed to get out.

Deanna stared at them as if they had both lost their minds, while
William raised a eyebrow.

"And this is so humours because…?" William enquired.

"Because the parts you have been chosen for, are that of the Goddess
and God!"

Deanna flushed a deep red, while William could only mange a "Oh".

Geordi let his mirth show. After a few moments William began to grin.
He turned to Deanna, who was still blushing faintly, and pulled her up
to him, kissing her. The cheers from their companions made Deanna
flush again, and William grin.

After some moments, Conn and Geordi were able to control themselves.
Deanna continued eating her food, which was somewhat difficult given
that William was not letting go of her hand. A person clearing their
throat startled them all.

"Mother! Come, join us." William invited.

"No, thank you William, I have already eaten. Deanna can you come to
my study? I have some things I need to discuss with you."

"Of course."

William kissed Deanna's hand in farewell, and she kissed him on the
cheek, both knowing that for some reason it was not wise to show too
much affection in front of Beverly.

As soon as Deanna had left, William turned to Geordi and Conn. "Why
have all the guards disappeared?"

Geordi and Conn exchanged glances again.

"I am afraid we can not tell you that, my lord." Conn sad reluctantly.

"On who's orders?" William questioned sharply.

"Your fathers. I suggest you take it up with him." Conn replied.

"I will do so." William said as he got up, and left the room.

Deanna was incredibly curious as she and Beverly walked down the
hallways to her study. She wondered why she had been called away in
the middle of breakfast, and why her Aunt was so anxious. She hid it
well, but the feelings that Deanna had been sensing had intensified.
In a shorter time than she thought possible, they had reached
Beverly's study. Deanna was surprised to find her Uncle and parents
inside also. The feelings she was sensing suddenly grew even more, and
if she had not sat down at that moment, she would have fallen to her
knees. After several deep breaths, she was able to control the storm
of emotions, and look at her parents in question. To her surprise it
was not they who started talking, but John-Luc.

"How is William?"

Deanna blushed slightly, "He is fine. He is having breakfast."

"I see. Are you going to take part in the Beltane celebrations?"

"Oh, yes, yes I am" she said blushing slightly again. She decided to
keep secret what part she was playing, as she wanted it to be a surprise.

"Deanna…there is something we have to tell you." Lwaxana said slowly.
She leaned forward and took Deanna's hands in her own.

"Tell me…tell me, what do you know about your birth?" The question
startled Deanna, but she answered none the less.

"Well, I was taken here, for safekeeping, that was all I knew. William
told me some more yesterday though…" she trailed off, but continued
after her mother nodded encouragingly. "He said that you, father, had
told him that there was a prophecy made at my birth, the contents of
which, made some of the minor lords…wish for me to be killed. He said
that was the reason that you took me in, Uncle. He also said you had
helped deliver me, Aunt."

"Yes that is all correct. We have…decided that you are old enough now,
to know the contents of the prophecy. Please always know Deanna, what
we all love you very much." Her father said.

"And I love you." Deanna murmured, suddenly feeling very scared.
"The prophecy said… that you would be the most beautiful woman to have
walked the earth….but that your beauty would bring great toil and
death between Valda and Bezin." Lwaxana said quietly. She heard Deanna
gasp, but continued on. "Because of that, some of the minor lords and
warriors wanted you to be killed, but John-Luc refused, and made you
his ward."

Lwaxana paused a moment letting that sink in. "There was another part
of the prophecy….' seeing Deanna's distracted nod, she begin the part
of the prophecy that she new would shatter her daughter's already
broken heart.

"The prophecy also said that… that you would fall in love with
William…and bear him a heir."

Seeing the look of utter disbelief on her daughter's face was enough
to make Lwaxana's heart brake, but she knew that there was still more
to come.

"Because of the prophecy saying that you would be so beautiful, King
Richard of Bezin wanted you for his own. That is why he kidnapped me
when you were little. He said that if we did not give our consent to
your betrothal to him, then he would kill me. Your father had no
choice… he had to let you be betrothed to him, in order to let me
live. Richard will be arriving later today to marry you."

"No!" Deanna whispered.

"Little one" this time it was her father.

"No!" She said more forcefully this time, and she fled, distraught.

William was questioning a solder before going to see his father when
he suddenly felt…strange. He was not sure what the strange feelings
were, but they gave the impression that the ground had just been
yanked from under his feet. As he was distracted by this, he let the
relived solder go. He heard someone running towards him, and had the
shock of his life when he saw it was Deanna. She was a mess, her hair
all around her and tears streaming down her face. William immediately
brought her to a halt, and started showering her with questions.

"What has happened? Has someone hurt you?"

She looked up at him, the eyes that he loved so much stormy and full
of tears, before struggling to get away from him. He would not let
her, demanding to know who had hurt her, and still she struggled. He
was just about the pick her up and carry her to her rooms when a
different solder came running up, a look of terror on his face.

"My Lord!! Bezin's banner has been sighted on the horizon!!"

"What?" William replied incredulously. He felt utter dread rush though
his body. Bezin was here? How was that possible? How had they had got
so close without any warning? And how could they possibly defend the
castle with all the solders having disappeared? Deanna used his moment
of distraction to escape him. He swore and looked after her.

"Go, I will tell my father."

"Yes, my lord."

William ran down the hallways searching for his father. He finally
found him near his mother's study.

"Ah, William, come inside a moment will you? We need to talk."
John-Luc said as if everything was right in the world.

"Father, there is no time for talk, Bezin's banner has just been
sighted n the horizon!"

"Yes, I know."

"You know??" William was incredulous again.

"I invited them." John-Luc said as if it was the most natural thing in
the world.

"What???" Had his father gone insane?

"William have you seen Deanna?" Lwaxana interrupted, tears on her face.

"Well, yes, but she ran away and…"

"William. Sit down we need to talk." John-Luc said again.

Sometime whilst he was in shock, he must have walked into his mother's
study without realising it. "About what?"

"William," Ian was speaking now. "Do you remember that I told you
there was a prophecy made at Deanna's birth?"

Dazed by the sudden change in subject William replied distracted "Yes,
but what…?"

Ian interrupted before he could continue. "Well… we told Deanna about
it… and as you have seen, she did not take it well."

"That is a understatement" Lwaxana muttered darkly.

A uncomfortable silence fell upon them.

`The prophecy said that Deanna would be the most beautiful woman to
have walked the earth…but that her beauty would bring great toil and
death between Valda and Bezin. That is why some of the minor warriors
wanted her killed." Ian said, finally breaking the silence.

William opened his mouth to speak, what he didn't know, but his father
held a hand up for silence.

"There is more. After I had proclaimed that Deanna was my ward, the
druid came out with another prophecy. He said that she would fall in
love with you, William, and bear you an heir." John-Luc finished for Ian.

William sank down into a chair stunned. So this must have been what
the feelings were about, he thought half aware.

"William that is not all." His father again.

"How much worse can it get?" William muttered under his breath.

"Do you remember when Lwaxana was kidnapped?"


"Well… King Richard said that if we did not promise to give Deanna to
him when she was of age to marry…then he would kill Lwaxana." Ian said.

"You what??" William said, rather inelegantly.

"That is why he is here, to marry Deanna." His father explained quietly.

"What?" William said again, louder this time.

"But William you don't understand…" His mother started.

"Oh I understand plenty. You have just ruined our lives, what else is
there to understand?!" He shouted angrily. He stormed out the room,
only half hearing his mother's pleas for him to wait, and to Deanna's,
where hopefully, he could be of some comfort to her, and possibly to
him as well. If the prophecy said that Deanna would fall in love with
him…He had to find her. Now.

He entered her rooms, only to find that she was already gone, her
riding outfit and weapons absent from their homes in her chambers, and
the dogs had disappeared. He swore softly, and quickly exited her
chambers, to run to his own to get his own weapons and change quickly.

He ran down to the stables, and saw that, unsurprisingly, Deanna's
horse was gone. He swore again - this time directed to his parents,
and took his horse, mounted and rode off, just before what seemed to
be most of the population of Bezin arrived, judging by the long trail
of people he could see from looking back briefly on the hill by his home.

William paused after escaping, and wondered where Deanna would go. He
let his horse wonder where it would, his thoughts going round his head
like a whirlpool. He was, then, somewhat startled to see that he that
he was at the tree just outside the forest that he and Deanna had made
love at the day before. Was it only a yesterday? It felt like a small
lifetime ago.

He heard sobs, and knew that she was there. He dismounted and hurried
to her. Deanna looked at him fearfully, tears running like rivers down
her cheeks wondering what he was going to say that would ruin her life
further. The dogs that they had taken in as puppies were curled around
her, some trying to comfort her. He said nothing, but sat down next to
her and let his eyes do the talking for him. He opened his arms to her
and she flung herself into them with desperation, and clung to him
like she would never let go.