Chapter 4 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2
Words bloomed on the pages, and Temmin's stomach tightened in anticipation. Pictures took the place of words. He looked down as if from a great height at a butte rising high between two rivers converging to its south. The western river sparkled green and light in the sun; the eastern one was wide, and dark as a shadow.
The southern side of the butte sheered off, steep and foreboding; to the north it sloped away into a boundless forest and up into the foothills of a great mountain with three peaks. His viewpoint descended to a stone fortress built into the butte's highest point. It overlooked a bustling settlement crowding the confluence of the two rivers; smoke from its many chimneys made a cloud. Seven tree-covered hills rose in the city, each topped with what looked like temples in various stages of construction; one had a flat white boulder atop it that Temmin recognized as the Father's Rock, an ancient shrine to Pagg. The eighth was the largest, a black rise hulking to the south and west, alone in a forest.
A familiar tower rose high above the butte, though shorter than Temmin knew it now; its base bored into the living rock and thick stone walls with their own towers surrounded it. A road so wide six men might ride abreast cut its way through the snow-covered forest away from the fortress--it was the War Road. This was Tremont Keep.
The sun slid behind the Altenne Mountains to the west, and suddenly Temmin was moving fast through the sky, swooping down and down towards the Keep; he flinched as he passed through its stone walls into the chamber still known as the Great Hall. Though Harsin used the Great Hall now for only the most solemn state ceremonies--there were larger rooms by far to be found in the Keep today--in the book the huge chamber brimmed over with music and dancers. Bright tapestries covered the cold gray walls, servants carried great trays of food to overflowing tables, and everywhere people laughed.
Bright pennants fluttered from the heavy rafters just as they did now--no, some were missing. The green and white of his own dear Whithorse, the russet and gold of Barle, and Tremont's own dark blood red and gold hung beside one another, but where was Corland's pennant? Litta, Belleth, Alzeh, Kellen? The conquered princes of Inchar? Not even the yellow and blue of Valmouth could be seen. Temmin realized this must be a long time ago, longer ago even than the last story he'd been shown--near the kingdom's founding. Teacher's voice began again.
A willowy young woman appeared among the dancers. She wore a dress of Whithorse green trimmed in silver fur, a silver brocade belt slung low on her slender hips. She was slipping through the forms of a dance he didn't recognize, two long lines with the men on one side and the women on the other, bows and curtseys, turn and turn about; the dancers' fingers barely touched. The young woman's straight ash blond hair hung loose to her waist, and ribbons of the same brocade as her belt pulled it back from her face. Her eyes were gray and laughing, and she seemed to be enjoying herself immensely. She seemed to be no older than he was, perhaps younger. He liked her immediately.
The view turned toward an older man with the same gray eyes glowering from the sidelines at the young woman.
The unhappy man seemed to pull at him, and Temmin's self dropped away.