Chapter 5 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin spent another morning dragging his mother out to ride, and in spite of herself, she almost bloomed in the fresh air and sun. Temmin began to wonder if perhaps he should stay, but after breakfast, alone in his study, his vows to the Temple convinced him otherwise. Donnis would be here any day, and with Neya's Day so close he couldn't ask for further leave. When Donnis came he would be easier in his mind. He would make sure she continued prying Mama from her rooms into the wider world.

The mirror above his mantel wavered. He looked up to see Teacher in the Tower Library, hands open in inquiry; Temmin mimed a welcome, and Teacher swirled into the room. "Shall we hear more of the story today, Your Highness? It is our last chance for now. I have seen Lady Donnis. She arrives this afternoon. You may return to the Temple this evening."

"Oh. Well, it's for the best, I suppose."

"You are less enthusiastic than I expected. Are you concerned about your mother, or does another matter weigh on you?" Temmin hesitated. Teacher added, "I have never betrayed a confidence of yours, sir, nor will I ever."

"No, you've always been true to me, even when it's made trouble for you," sighed Temmin. "I'm having difficulty with my vows."

"You wish to leave?"

"No, no, but it's increasingly difficult." Temmin began to pace. "There is someone at the Temple…"

"Someone with whom you are in conflict?"

Temmin laughed. "It'd be easier if I were. I could manage that."

"Oh. Someone with whom you are in love, then. You find this troublesome."

Temmin nodded, eyes on the floor as he paced in slow steps. "It's against our vows and training. Only the love we should hold for everyone is allowed. Loving someone specifically, any exclusivity, jealousy--those emotions are not allowed."

"May I venture to ask upon whom your heart has settled?"

"No," snapped Temmin, "you may not. I will say only that--that it's the worst possible thing that could have happened, with the worst possible person, and I don't know how to make it stop."

"Have you talked with the Most Highs? Senior staff like Barik and Glaes? Allis and Issak?"

Temmin shook his head, loosening strands from his heretofore neat queue; they fell across his eyes and he pushed them back. "I can't tell anyone at the Temple. I don't want any consequences to fall on her--this person." He blushed.

"Ah," said Teacher.

Temmin realized he'd revealed himself and cursed inwardly. "There are times I wonder if I have learned anything at all in that pink heap as my father calls it."

"The Lovers' Temple of all places knows how to deal with such feelings. You must ask for help."

Temmin stopped in his pacing and peered at his counselor from beneath the stray strands once again crossing his face. I'm not altogether sure I want to deal with these feelings. He pushed the thought away with his hair. "I'll think about it. In the meantime, take my mind off it. Tell me more about the girl." He crossed to the library table; the old book sat where it had been left the day before. Temmin wondered why Harbis hadn't put it back on the lectern. That accursed valet must have known he'd want it on the table, damn the man. Temmin smoothed his fingers over the cover, opened it, and let himself fall in.

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