Chapter 16 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin rose from the book oddly comforted. "He let the boy Ardunn live? He didn't change his mind once they were in Tremont?"

"No," said Teacher. "Tennoc took Ardunn to Marsury, where he became quite the pet of the Lady Inglatine. At Marsury he trained with the Brothers and Guardsmen, served with distinction against border incursions to the far north of Barle and the Leutan border, and married Eselda, the youngest of Temmin the Bastard's daughters by Cariodas. He was never allowed to return to Kellen, but was given a holding in northern Barle. Ardunn was the first Marquess of Hawksfield, and took the name Anamma."

"Anamma? But they're still at Hawksfield--I have Anamma cousins!" exclaimed Temmin.

Teacher nodded. "Ardunn is your ancestor, just as Tennoc is. Ardunn was a charming man, perhaps the most charming of all your ancestors. I enjoyed his company very much the rare times he was at court."

"What happened to Gwynna? And Cariodas?"

"Gwynna was recognized as Royal Mistress, a court position until relatively recent times. She and Queen Cariodas never saw one another again, the Queen staying at the Keep and Gwynna staying at Marsury with Lady Inglatine until that good woman's death. She was very old when she died--eighty-three. Queen Cariodas died young, of bleeding. She had not even reached the age of fifty. One day when her moontimes were coming to an end, her moon began and never stopped. Some suspicion fell on the King, and on Gwynna."

"They didn't hurt her, did they?"

"Oh, no, no. Tennoc sincerely loved her in his way. The Sisters acquitted anyone of wrongdoing in her death. Tennoc and Gwynna both mourned her for a solid year, and when her bones were ready for the royal chapel the King had her skull set with rubies--when next you are there, look for it. Queen Cariodas was a kind, gentle woman." The royal chapel in the Hill was the last place Temmin wanted to visit, but he knew when his mother's bones were taken there he would have no choice but to look for Cariodas. "In some ways, Cariodas was the stronger of the two women," continued Teacher. "She bore a great deal, but so did Gwynna. Gwynna came to court after the Queen's death as Royal Mistress. The King would have married her but she refused even then. They lived together until Tennoc's death in the year 112. She outlived him by two years and died in the reign of Andrin the Second."

"And Yellow Hanni?"

Teacher smiled. "Even I do not know what became of Hanni der Geelt. Tennoc looked for him in reflections the rest of his life. Wherever Hanni was, it was not within the borders of the Tremont of that time. I like to think he returned to his home country and died in some plump Leutan woman's arms a very old man."

Temmin returned a faint glimmer of Teacher's smile, thinking less of Hanni's fate and more of Tennoc's journey. He wanted his own revenge, badly. How many nights had he lain awake imagining the moment when he caught Ibbit? Then again, Tennoc knew where his enemies were and had the power to take reprisals. Temmin knew his enemy but not how to get at her, nor did he know how many more of Ibbit's kind there were. The only way to make sure was to slaughter the entire Sisterhood, sweep their clergy clean and start the Temple over, let damnation fall where it may. It's what Tennoc did in Kellen before Gwynna stopped him, after all. "Love stopped Tennoc from killing Ardunn, and the sons of the other lords," he said at last.

"He loved Gwynna more than he loved revenge," said Teacher. "There is always something more worthy of love than revenge, Temmin. Remember that if nothing else."

The remaining days passed quickly. Temmin said his goodbyes on the eleventh, kissing Lady Donnis, his grandmother the Dowager Duchess and his sisters big and small. He'd made one last attempt the night before to coax Alvo into coming with him, but the groom almost ran away--just like the last time he'd left, thought Temmin. Even so, he told the stablemaster that Alvo should be considered the man's second in command and successor in the stable yards. "No fear o' that, sir," said the man, "Nollson's the steadiest young 'un I've got, which is no surprise knowing 'is family, Estatesmen all the way back. T'wouldn't be surprising if a Nollson helped build t'old place," he added, jerking a thumb toward the Freehold.

Though he could not call himself a happy man, as he boarded the train to the City Temmin was a steadier man than he was on arriving at Whithorse. He returned with only Jenks and Fen Wallek; just as Fen had predicted, Arta refused to leave Anneya. "How could I be leavin a little babe like that to starve?" she'd exclaimed.

"There are others what can feed it!" grumbled her husband the morning of departure.

"'Who,' not 'what,' Mr Wallek," Jenks growled back.

"Who, what--who cares, I want my wife!" said Fen, throwing his hands in the air.

"We'll keep you busy, Wallek," said Temmin. "She'll be with you before you know it."

Temmin settled back into the royal car's red plush seats and brooded on Alvo's absence. At least Jebby was returning with him. Small comforts--perhaps they'd add up. The Lovers' Temple waited as well, but it was a double-edged comfort at best.

He thought of Tennoc, longing for his Gwynna and knowing he could never have her. Temmin longed for Allis and knew he could never have her, either. Gwynna reminded Tennoc of his humanity and stopped him from damning himself. Allis could stop Temmin from doing anything except loving her, and while he longed for her love in return, he knew it would damn them both if she did.

Comments

MeiLin's picture

Most High

The cause of Cariodas's death actually happened to me. Obviously, I survived, but back in the day most women didn't. I had no idea such a thing was possible until it happened.

The stablemaster's right: a Nollson did help build t'old place, though we won't see that story; it's well before the History began.

I am pondering what became of Hanni der Geelt. Some day I may find out.

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