Alanna of Trebond is still masquerading as a boy as she serves as a squire for Prince Jonathan, who knows her secret (being a girl). George Cooper (the king of thieves) also knows her secret, along with Raoul. Gary doesn’t know of course. Myles of Olau guesses, but no one else suspects. In the woods, she is sheltering under a willow during some rain (a spider landed on her hand at one point, and she shook it away quickly, because she hates spiders). During this time, first a cat with purple eyes like her own appears, then a tall female stranger. The stranger turns out to be the Goddess, and Alanna is her vessel. She helps Alanna confront her three hidden fears (in a way), they are about the Chamber of the Ordeal, learning to love, and Duke Roger of Conte, Prince Jonathan’s cousin.
The cat is there to protect her, according to something the Goddess said. Before she left, she pulled an embre from the fire and gave it to Alanna, it was cool, and there was even a hole around the top for a chain to be run through it. Then the Goddess left them. Alanna eventually names the cat Faithful, and finds that he can talk to her, though it sounds like he’s meowing to others. The emberstone is able to show Alanna magic that is happening around her (she learns this much later in the story), and she learned it when Demon Grey attacked her (his mate lay dead, they were wolves by the way). Anyway, when they died, Alanna was holding the emberstone, she saw the orange of Roger’s fire on the two dead wolves, and realized he’d placed magic on them.
And while this goes on, Alanna finds herself suspicious of Alex, who used to be Roger’s squire (before that, they were friendly rivals, after that… things changed), especially after he tries to kill her in a practice court when there’s no one to see. Luckily, Faithful brings Myles. At a later point, when they were ice skating, Alanna fell through the ice and almost drowned, like she had almost drowned when she was five. Alex had bet her that she couldn’t skate around the pond without falling down, and the area where she’d fallen through was salted, so she was even more suspicious. George gives her a kiss on her way back to the palace one night (while her arms are full so she can’t beat him off), then sends her on her way cheerfully.
Later, when they have to go fight Tusaine, Alanna becomes friends with a man called Big Thor (or just Thor). He had been a blacksmith before, and was very nice. He helped calm Alanna down whenever Gem Tanner “sharpened his tongue on her”, suggesting she was a royal spy at points. Later, when there was a surprise attack, Gem said Thor betrayed them, Alanna found Thor and discovered that it was Gem who was the traitor (which she didn’t have trouble believing). Then, seeing as he couldn’t be saved, she used her magic to help him get to the Black God faster (the Black God is the god of death in Tortall). She slept for three days after that.
When she was on sentry duty, she got kidnapped by Tusaine, and despite their orders not to go across the river, Jonathan led a rescue party across the river and saved Alanna. He kissed her not too long after this, and after that they became a couple you could say. The interesting thing is, while Jonathan did this after the war, George had come on the day she was going to leave for it to tell her that he loved her, and he wanted to marry her. Of course, she treated that the way she usually did, saying she wasn’t going to marry etc. etc. He just told her that he could wait. When she came back, she asked George’s mother to teach her how to act and dress like a lady. She discovered that when she was dressed right, she looked pretty (she wasn’t as pretty as the two girls breaking almost every guy’s heart at court, but she was still pretty). George and Jonathan saw her dressed like that, and Jonathan was the first to recover. XD I had to laugh at George’s reaction.
Alanna survives the Ordeal and becomes a knight (seeing as no one other than her friends know she’s a girl, she doesn’t have a distaff on her shield, showing she’s a lady knight). Of course, Gary is in on the secret now and thinks it’s a good joke (which is how Jonathan said he’d react). Her brother Thom presents her with her shield (he’s the youngest sorcerer, the youngest who’s passed the mastery test at least), which has the symbol of Trebond on it. Of course, he’s put some magic on it so that when the right thing is done, a lioness rampant appears instead.
When she finally decides to poke around during the feast that night, she discovers why the queen doesn’t seem to get better. In Roger’s workroom there is a fountain, and in it is a wax doll that is made to look like the queen, the details are washed away thanks to the water, but it’s still her. And then there’s also a little bag, inside are figures of herself, the Provost, Myles, and a few others, because they were in the veil, that reveals why Alanna seemed to lose interest in Roger’s doings every time she was on the brink of doing something. The only reason she was able to go through with it this time is because there was a tear in the bag. After revealing Roger, he claims his right of trail by combat, and they fight. Alanna is revealed as a girl, and then she has to kill Roger.
Her task done, she goes to adventure for awhile, saying she will return soon enough. And then she gallops off on her mare, ready for almost anything. It’s a very good story, but probably not one you’d want to give to the children to read. 😉 Some of the stuff isn’t for their eyes or ears quite frankly. Alanna is a favorite character in here, but so are Faithful and Myles, and Raoul of course, I have always liked his character. ^_^