Chapter 12 Part 10 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Tennoc's new power crackled in Temmin's hair and skin as he left the story; shadow pain stabbed at his side. "It never occurred to me Tennoc would get magic when he crossed the border."

"It never occurred to him, either. He knew both Dunnoc and Kenver had magic, but Kenver's was limited--blocking the spring at the siege of Maalig took all of it. Dunnoc was stronger, but men's magic is tied to the lands they control. Just the Heirs of Tremont held more even then than the kings of Kellen ever did. Were Dunnoc to ride into Whitehorse, his magic would vanish in any event, just as Tennoc had none in Kellen."

Temmin stood and stretched as Tennoc's pain faded along with his power's disturbing, exhilarating onslaught. "I bruised a rib once, but breaking one feels infinitely worse. Why did Dunnoc turn so quickly against Tennoc? He loved him like a son."

"In politics, there is no such thing as love," said Teacher, still leaning on the mantel. "Dunnoc's fear was not unreasonable--Tennoc was the Heir to a neighboring kingdom that dwarfed his own--but his response was. Had Dunnoc left things alone, fostering the boy would have forged strong bonds between Kellen and Tremont. Had he married Gwynna to Tennoc, or taken one of Tennoc's half-sisters as wife for Kenver, things would have gone much differently. Dunnoc was fifty-nine, not an ancient man but of an age when his strength was failing--and he was falling ill to the shaking sickness. Sick men often grow fearful, especially men who pride themselves on their physical prowess. As their bodies begin to fail, so their belief in their own power begins to fail, and they blame their women, yes, and others around them. Dunnoc was one such. He feared Tennoc, and he feared losing his wife's affection. The two were intertwined in his mind."

"I see impotent men at the Temple all the time," said Temmin. "It's a chore to teach some of them anything--they can't get past the anger. The Lovers say it's shame. We see many women with scars from such men." Temmin looked out the window. Beyond the courtyard he could just see the hedge alley leading to Meadow House, and the outskirts of the stable yard. "I could never treat someone I loved like a thing."

"Never is a long time, Your Highness."

Temmin turned back and smiled over his shoulder. "And I suppose you'd know."

"I suppose I would," said Teacher, but Temmin got no answering smile in return.


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