Temmin

Chapter 14 Part 10 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin headed toward the stables for his morning ride. He'd been trying the gentle approach, encouraging Alvo to come to him rather than forcing the issue, but it had been almost two weeks. Temmin didn't have time to wait for Alvo to come around. He had to get behind him and push.

He found the stocky young man in Jebby's stall. "How fortuitous. My horse and my best friend, just the two I want. Fetch a horse, Alvy, we're going riding."

Alvo froze midway through taking off his cap. "Your Highness, I have work to do."

"Balls to that. Saddle up. This is not a request." Alvo stomped off. Sometimes, thought Temmin, a man must use the tools at his disposal, and rank was such a tool.

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Chapter 14 Part 9 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

What Temmin hated most about leaving the book's spell was its lingering after-effects; the wounds, fear, hatred, even love and desire took time to dissipate and always left him confused and disoriented. "I'd wondered how magic worked in battles. I mean, if it were me, I'd just stand out front with you and let 'em have it. I guess it doesn't work that way."

"No," said Teacher, "otherwise we would own more of Inchar than we do. Your father has no magic in any event, and my magic has been greatly eroded over the centuries."

"Eroded? Eroded how?"

Chapter 14 Part 2 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

A gentle throat-clearing came from the doorway to his bedchamber. "Not feeling sneaky today?" said Temmin, keeping his head on the pillow.

Teacher came into the room. "I am never 'sneaky.' I am circumspect."

"To be sure," said Temmin in a flat voice. A long silence fell. "Well?" he finally said.

"I am here to resume the story, if you wish it."

"I should burn that Pagg-damned book," growled Temmin.

"It will not burn, but you are welcome to try if you think that might alleviate your pain. You may not believe me, but I am here to help you."

Temmin put a forearm across his aching eyes. "Some help."

Chapter 14 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

The first day of Winter's Ending, 992 KY

To Temmin's surprise, Amma's Day comforted him. He watched the farmhands herd the Estate's cattle, sheep and goats between the two sacred bonfires and helped the stablehands do the same with the horses, leading his own Jebby through himself; Alvo worked beside him but said no more than "A blessed Amma's Day to you, Your Highness." Temmin wanted to shake him.

As Duke of Whithorse it was also Temmin's duty to walk with the Reggiston Temple's Senior Mother through the cleaned and shining stables, poultry yards, goat sheds and pig pens blessing the animals. Every barn cat that could be found, every sheep dog at its master's heels received the Mother's Blessing.

Chapter 13 Part 9 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin scrambled back from the book, knocking his chair over in his drive to get away. He knotted his fingers in his hair and pulled to keep himself from screaming, but a choking sob broke through. "How--how dare you--!"

"I told you, when I chose this story I did not know what would happen to your mother," said Teacher, arms folded behind.

"Uncaring, unfeeling whoreson!" Temmin shouted. "Pagg damn you, you bastard, you block of stone! You don't even remember your own mother! Get out of my sight!" Teacher didn't move. Temmin charged, and hit the wall of air he'd unconsciously expected. He staggered back. "Coward! Drop your shield! Fight me like a man, damn you!"

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?"

Chapter 12 Part 10 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Tennoc's new power crackled in Temmin's hair and skin as he left the story; shadow pain stabbed at his side. "It never occurred to me Tennoc would get magic when he crossed the border."

"It never occurred to him, either. He knew both Dunnoc and Kenver had magic, but Kenver's was limited--blocking the spring at the siege of Maalig took all of it. Dunnoc was stronger, but men's magic is tied to the lands they control. Just the Heirs of Tremont held more even then than the kings of Kellen ever did. Were Dunnoc to ride into Whitehorse, his magic would vanish in any event, just as Tennoc had none in Kellen."

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Chapter 12 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Once he arrived in his sitting room, Temmin called, "Hullo, Jenks, are you here?" No answer. His mother's influence extended to his rooms at the Estate, more to his taste than his grand apartments at the Keep: brighter and more open, the furnishings nimble--lighter and less formal. Few books graced the shelves here, and those that did contained the finer points of equine management, exciting Cavalry stories, or both. Ranged among them were his schoolbooks--most with near-pristine bindings, some with uncut pages.

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Chapter 12 Part 2 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

He scratched at the scabbed-over stitches at his temple and then at his nape under the long, nagging queue he'd grown at the Temple. He'd had time to think and still hadn't figured the Alvo dilemma out. The last time they'd been together for any real length of time was almost two years ago, when he'd gotten roaring drunk and pawed Mattie in the hedge. Nausea and guilt shuddered through him, worry chasing close behind. He wished he knew where she was now so he might set things right.

Chapter 12 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Whithorse Estate, Whithorse
The final week of Winter's Beginning, 992 KY

With the family in mourning all royal celebrations and parties were canceled for the next year, and the City's leading lights of course followed suit; the social season thus ended two spokes early, to the despair of more than a few mothers looking to marry off daughters who were aging by the minute. Ellika, who would normally never hide herself at the Estate at this time of year, didn't care a bit. She spent her time in the Great House's cozy nursery fussing over Anneya with Lady Donnis.

The wet nurse brought from Tremont City lost her milk, to general alarm. "How does one find a wet nurse, Cousin Donnie?" fretted Ellika.

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