Chapter 13 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Meals at the Estate were still catch-as-catch-can; no one seemed up to being in company. Temmin and Jenks sat in his drawing room over a cold luncheon of cheese, fruit, ham, a loaf of good bread and a dish of pickles; the Estate's own dark amber ale foamed in mugs before them. "How is your pupil coming along?" said Temmin.

"Young Mr Wallek I believe has come far enough to spar with you, sir--if you've kept up your form at the Temple?"

"Of course I have. All of the men train with the Temple's Own regularly. We have to be in good shape, and not just for…that," he finished. Anything involving the Lovers' Temple made Jenks squirm. He didn't hate sex; he hated talking to Temmin about sex. "It comes in handy. There are times when we have to restrain petitioners," continued Temmin. "The Temple's Own are good fellows by and large. Some were once Brothers--mostly washed-out postulants."

"I shouldn't think they'd be much use in a fight if they washed out of the Brothers."

"Oh, they're plenty useful in a fight. They left the Brothers because they like women."

"Ah." Jenks took a deep, embarrassed pull on his beer.

Temmin watched him in wry amusement; love for the big man filled his broken heart. "Oh, Jenks." He stopped, compressing his lips in hopes of holding back tears. He'd cried quite a bit in the days since his mother's death, some days more, some days less, and tears often surprised him like this. Just as the gruff-voiced cavalryman's companionship helped him bear his sorrow, it also compounded it; his love for Jenks was bound up in his love for Whithorse, and both were bound up in his love for his mother.

Jenks reached across the table and laid a hand on his charge's shaking shoulder. "Eh now, Temmin, eh now," he murmured in a thick voice.

When Teacher returned, Jenks had just finished clearing the table: "Wallek will be attending to this soon--but I refuse to relinquish your wardrobe." The colonel gave the black figure a cautious nod and exited.

Teacher took up the familiar post by the mantel and took in Temmin's red eyes. "It comes and goes, does it not?"

"I look forward to the day when it just goes."

"Will your mother ever fade from your mind?"

"No," said Temmin in a shocked voice. "How could she?"

Teacher nodded. "That is why it will never leave completely. Grief will strike you down at times until the day you die. Something will remind you of her, and it will all come back, sometimes as sharply as the first day. The greatest mercy is that those times will become further and further apart."

Teacher had lived a thousand years, thought Temmin. "Do…do you still cry over your mother?"

Teacher's eyes dropped to the book on the table. "I cannot cry. Else I would never cease."

Temmin wondered if Teacher meant an unwillingness to cry or an inability. "Perhaps we should begin."

Teacher hesitated. "I chose this story some time ago. I had no indication of what would happen between then and now."

"Meaning what?"

"Meaning the story may become difficult for you to hear."

Temmin waved a hand in dismissal, and the book's pages began to fill up.

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