Chapter 12 Part 6 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Temmin returned to the dinner table that night, tensed for a confrontation. Instead, his father ignored him, giving him no more than a cursory "Good evening" and a withering look the one time he spoke. Sedra and his mother watched them both, while Ellika chattered on. Temmin supposed Fennows took his dinner in town; he didn't bother to ask.

After dinner, when the women had retired, Harsin left for his own rooms after one silent glass of port, bolted back and the empty glass deposited on the table. Temmin told himself he didn't care, drank his own glass and joined his mother and sisters in the Small Sitting Room.

"Small" at the Keep meant smaller than the Grand Salon where hundreds of dignitaries and large receptions might be entertained, but larger than the average cottage; it was considered a private room, for the family's use alone. Books and portraits of Temmin's ancestors lined the walls. Despite its high frescoed ceiling covered in gilt and Gods, it had a cozy feel to it, especially in the circle of warmth around the fireplace where the women sat with their handwork; Ellika picked fretfully at her embroidery and Ansella knitted a little silk reticule, while Sedra drew in her sketchbook. At his entrance, Sedra stuck her pencil at a non-regal angle behind her ear.

He could see from their faces that news had traveled fast. He wasn't surprised his mother knew--his father probably spent half the morning berating her for not changing his mind. His sisters hearing of it surprised him. "I saw the envelope that came for you this morning, you see," explained Ellika, so excited her hair seemed curlier.

"I thought it best not to bring it up around Papa," murmured Sedra.

"Can we not talk about it?" he said, folding himself up on a footstool by Ansella's chair. He leaned his head against her knees.

"No, sweetheart, we don't have to," she said, brushing his hair back from his forehead. Ellika deflated in disappointment, but returned to her haphazard stitching; Sedra plucked the pencil from behind her ear and resumed sketching. Mama's familiar perfume of chamomile and roses mingled with the scent of the lavender sachet she used in her wardrobe, wafting faint from the violet silk of her dress. It reminded him of quiet nights in the nursery when he and his sisters were still small: Mama and Nurse knitting and mending, Sedra reading aloud, Ellika playing at paper dolls or stitching, and Jenks cracking nuts by the fire, all at peace with the world and each other. He should be ashamed of himself for this longing, but Temmin longed not for his boyhood as much as the peace with the world he'd had at the Estate. He closed his eyes, listening to the gentle voices, the soft but determined scratch of Sedra's pencil, and the tiny, comforting click of Mama's steel knitting needles, and knew this rare, restful moment would have to carry him through his increasingly complicated life for a long time to come.

Upstairs, the King paced his study; Winmer stood to one side, notepad at the ready as always, and to the other stood Teacher, white hands folded before the long sweep of black robes and the severe black suit beneath them.

"He spent two hours in the chapel last night? Gods," said Harsin. "I don't suppose he was meeting a girl there? That little housemaid? No? Luck is failing me."

"He told me he was praying, Your Majesty, on the advice of Neya's Embodiment," said Teacher.

Harsin groaned. "He said the Gods called him, but I didn't know he believed it!"

"The Gods?" said Winmer; he cast an accusing eye on Teacher, who returned it so coldly that Winmer looked away and shuddered. "Regardless whether he feels divine inspiration," the secretary continued, "there is still hope he might be turned away from his present course."

"Let him go," said Teacher, brows lowered.

"So you've advised," retorted Harsin. "We disagree, and we order you to stay out of it from now on. I would send you to your library for good, but I need you, and you know it. Now, Winmer, give me hope."

"Hope dusts the downstairs rooms, and wears a white cap on its curly little head," smiled Winmer.

"That maid?" snorted Harsin. "He's too timid to do anything on his own."

"Perhaps we might give him a little push, then, sir," said the secretary.

"He's furious," said Temmin to Jenks on Ammaday morning as he tugged on his riding boots. Paggday had been difficult; a usually pleasant day off had turned into a constant reminder of his father's anger, every glance falling like a blow to his forehead.

"You knew he would be, Your Highness," Jenks answered, laying out the prince's morning clothes on the dressing rack. He stepped back to survey the effect.

"You're not still mad, are you?"

"No, no, Temmin. I never can stay mad at you for long," said the valet.

On his ride, Temmin pondered how nice it would have been to have Jenks as his father instead of Harsin. Harsin was forbidding; Jenks was not. Jenks approved of him; Harsin did not. Harsin had been absent most of his life, coming to the Estate twice a year. (He overlooked the times when his father came, with no fanfare or preparations, whenever the children or the Queen took ill.) Jenks, on the other hand, had always been there, a presence as constant and reassuring as his mother's.

Jenks loved him; his father did not, he told himself.

He ate breakfast in his room, avoiding the tension of the night before. When Teacher entered the study, Temmin already sat on the green velvet couch, the old red-bound book on his lap. "I want to sit here today. It's more comfortable."

"To be sure," said Teacher in mild surprise. "There is no real reason to do otherwise."

"So, how bad was it with my father?"

"I have been ordered to 'stay out of it' from now on," replied Teacher. "I can no longer advise you on the subject in any capacity. Just remember what I have told you in the past. That is all I may say."

"I don't need any more advice anyway," Temmin said confidently. "He couldn't have been too mad--he didn't lock you in your room!"

A small smile wavered on Teacher's lips. "He threatened it. But he knows I have endured long periods locked in my room over the centuries. By now it makes little difference to me, and my counsel and support are more valuable than satisfying his pique."

"Did Hildin really lock you in your room?" asked Temmin. He was done thinking about his father.

"Only for a little while. Are you ready to continue?"

Temmin slid a hand over the book's cover and opened it. The blank pages blossomed into words, then pictures, and finally swallowed him up.

Comments

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

If only I believed that that the Gods were vengeful! Harsin and Winmer should also "stay out of it", as it is NOT their decision to make. *walks off grumbling about people who stick their overly large noses where it doesn't belong*

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... but they certainly are able to intervene, even drastically so, if you stir them up enough. What remains to be seen is how miffed the Lovers are at Harsin for continuing to keep Temmin out of their Temple after having called him.

At least Winmer has the excuse of being an atheist, but Harsin certainly knows better than that.

Whimbrel's picture

Petitioner

(He overlooked the times when his father came, with no fanfare or preparations, whenever the children or the Queen took ill.)

I'm glad to have read this part -- for some reason, I really don't want to think Harsin wanted his kids to be total strangers to him. And it's nice to know he showed the occasional little bit of concern for Ansella, too.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

...than anyone gives him credit for, including Harsin.

Whimbrel's picture

Petitioner

Seems like Teacher would give credit where credit was due, if anyone would. *suddenly feels... not really sorry for Harsin, but lonely for him, if that makes sense*

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I don't know if it comes through in this book as much as it does in the next, but being King is a lonely job.

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

Whimbrel, where did you get that avatar? It amuses me so!

Whimbrel's picture

Petitioner

Aw, isn't it a treat? From somebody over on livejournal, but they didn't know who made it either, and I couldn't turn up anything on any picture match sites, alas.

"How can you read this? There's no pictures!"

"Well, some people use their imaginations." Wink

MeiLin's picture

Most High

...are one of the most fun things about this site.

BTW, if you didn't know, any of the MLM icons/avatars on this site can be downloaded and used anywhere on the net. PLEASE! Biggrin

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

I didn't know that. I may have to use the one I have for here in other places! (I'm dysthymic, which literally means "not amused".)

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

I have thought chibi you was adorable since you started using it on twitter. Blum 3

Whimbrel's picture

Petitioner

...but now that I do, I'll need to borrow a couple -- always did like that Sedra one. And were there any for Anda, or Senik? *goes and looks*

MeiLin's picture

Most High

...but I can make some. Or anyone can--just send the icon to me first, please, before you use it, and it'd be nice if folks made them available for everyone to use. Also nice if people say, gee, what's that icon of? and you say THIS AWESOME BOOK OMG GO BUY IT! Biggrin

Whimbrel's picture

Petitioner

...since you've got a book to work on and real life stuff and all. Also, graphics programs are fun! I'm always looking for an excuse to go messing around in Photoshop, so I kind of ended up making multiple Seniks and Andas -- can I send them to you as attachments on the the contact page? Will it let me do that? Or would it be better to make a weblink to them?

MeiLin's picture

Most High

The email is meilin @ the domain of this website. Smile I'll put them up here. yay!

Whimbrel's picture

Petitioner

...on their way!

Add new comment

Full HTML

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Potential spoilers can be hidden between [spoiler][/spoiler] tags to hide them by default.
  • Link to goodreads API results with: [goodreads_function selector parameters]. Example: [goodreads_get_isbn_reviews work-original_title 1430209895] or [goodreads_get_gid_reviews reviews_widget 1430209895].
  • Textual smiley will be replaced with graphical ones.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
Get an exclusive free ebook from the world of the Intimate History! Exclusive content, contests, new releases and more.