In the Hand of the Goddess is a fantasy novel by Tamora Pierce, the second in a series of four books, The Song of the Lioness. It details the squire- and knighthood of Alanna of Trebond, who has hidden her real sex in order to become a knight.
Alanna, now squire to none other than Prince Jonathan of Conte, has to protect her knight and friends through their first war with Tusaine. She slowly learns more about her gift, using it primarily to heal, and continues to hide her true gender while both George and Jon have fallen in love with her. She continues to be suspicious of and protect her liege from his cousin Roger, on the way to her becoming a knight.
While camping in the woods on her way back to Corus from an errand, Alanna's campsite, set up under a willow tree, is discovered by a small black cat whom she names Faithful.