Chapter 17 Part 5 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

"You are growing more magically sensitive, the first Tremont in 358 years to do so," said Teacher.

"What do the sigils mean? Are they the same as Emmae's? They don't look exactly like hers, but very like."

"Charms against the getting of children, yes. Maeve--the Traveler Queen--bestows them on the Lovers' Embodiments--permanent ones--and temporary ones on the Supplicants. The next time you see Anda Supplicant, pay closer attention. You will see one almost exactly like Emmae's. If the other clerics can afford one, and she likes them, Maeve gives them marks as well."

"What happens if she doesn't like them?"

"She takes their money, and in time perhaps a child will come."

"Oof," said Temmin, ruffling his hair. "I'll be getting a sigil, too, then?"

"You will not. You are in the direct succession. Neither you nor your father may ever carry one. It is Pagg's Law."

"Pagg's Law!" Temmin exclaimed. "Who has time to read that thing but the Fathers? It's as thick as my thigh. So what--what happens if I get someone with child?"

"Then congratulations would be in order."

Temmin gawped, then shut his mouth in consternation. Fathering children at the Temple had never once entered into his considerations. "But what happens? Do I acknowledge him--or the mother? How would I even know? Wait--you'd know!"

"I would know the moment you became king about any sons you might have, but no sooner, and I would never know your daughters. Do not waste too much time on this. You will be taught many ways to avoid getting children. Now, more importantly," said Teacher, an avid, almost greedy expression stealing over the usually placid face, "what did you learn last night?"

"Oh," said Temmin at this abrupt shift. "I can't talk about it. I tried."

"She showed you nothing?"

"She showed me many things. I don't know what they mean, but every time I try to talk about them, I can't." He wilted in the face of Teacher's obvious disappointment, and then remembered. "But She did say to tell you something."

"Tell me something?" said Teacher. An unaccustomed flush came to the pale cheeks. "Tell me what? Please, Temmin, tell me."

"She said to tell you it's time."

"That is all?"

"That's all."

"That...that is enough," said Teacher, sinking down onto the one stool in the Library.

Temmin realized he'd never seen Teacher sit on anything other than a table top. "What does it mean?" he said. "Time for what?"

"Time for something I have waited for, waited a very long time. I have been waiting for you--or the one who would be you. I hoped you were the one, but I was not sure. You still might not be the one, but if it is time..."

"You make no sense. The one for what?" he said impatiently. "Please stop speaking in riddles!"

"In this matter, riddles are all I have," answered Teacher. "Just as you cannot speak of certain things now, so I cannot speak of certain things." The pale silver eyes, cold and powerful, looked through him; Temmin shuddered. "I am made of secrets, Temmin. And now, so are you."


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