Chapter 12 Part 9 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2
They approached the Whitehorse border and the River Cobb. Tennoc paused, considering their options. "We'll avoid Crymavon Castle."
"Your mother's cousin is Lady there, no?"
Tennoc nodded, but said, "For all we know, Dunnoc's sent word ahead. If he hasn't, I won't put Lady Flaryn in danger should the King follow us here."
"Cross we at Riverbend Ferry? Supplies at the village we might buy."
"I'd rather not risk the ferry, and we can always forage. A little upstream there's a ford. We'll cross there."
The ford ran deeper than they'd expected, and soon they were soaked to the waist, their horses snorting and holding their heads high. They climbed the bank and entered Whitehorse.
A searing light flooded Tennoc's body. A thousand doors opened at once within him, a terrifying elation rushing through them into his body and mind. His skin tingled and sparked, as if static crawled across it in all directions. He slumped in his saddle.
"Plagues you the rib?" said Hanni. "Stopping for the night, I am thinking."
"No, no, it's not my rib," Tennoc gasped. "It's something else. I can't…I don't know what it is. I'm all right. Give me a moment." The crawling power reached his scalp, and his hair stood on end. Confusing strength filled him--a fiery power beneath his skin. "We can keep going."
"You may, but I, Hanni, cannot." The servant bullied his master into a copse a decent distance from the river, where they made camp.
Hanni unsaddled the horses and collected green wood. "Is best I can do with no leaving you." He got it sputtering and smoking as best he could, and advanced on Tennoc. "Time it is for rib bandage."
"Please don't fuss over me," said Tennoc, wearily sinking down to sit on his saddle before the fire. "I'm all right, I just want to be let alone for a while."
"Nay, nay, flay me alive your mother would, and I since your boyhood have tended to you." Hanni got Tennoc to his feet again and made to remove his wet tunic.
"I said stop," yelled Tennoc, wincing as pain crackled in his side.
The little sputtering fire roared up, flames licking high into the sky; the two men leaped back. Tennoc's strange feeling of power diminished and sang at the same time. The fire sank back into its ring of stones to spit smoke at them. They stared. "Did any of those branches have pitch on them?"
"Nay, sir," said Hanni, eyes so wide the crow's feet around them disappeared. "King Dunnoc I have seen do something like, and Prince Kenver."
"That's magic, Hanni. Are you saying Dunnoc's near?" said Tennoc, hand on his sword hilt.
Hanni stared hard. "Nay, sir. I say, we are in Whitehorse."
"What does that have to do with any--" Tennoc broke off. Power had surged into him as soon as they'd crossed the ford onto dry land.
"Tremont is bigger than Kellen. Lots bigger, sir," said Hanni soberly. "More powerful here than King Dunnoc you are even as Heir."
Tennoc dropped back down onto his saddle in shock. "I'm really the Heir."
Hanni eyed the sputtering fire. "Think you to do it again, sir? I, Hanni, damp clothes hate."
"I'm not sure I can do it without setting us both aflame."
"Eh," sighed Hanni, "it is not to rely on magic, then. You I think will be fine. I go find drier wood."
Left alone before the smoky fire, Tennoc rubbed his eyes and steepled his fingers over his mouth. He bore Tremontine magic. Would that he could keep it from killing them both before someone taught him how to use it.