Chapter 5 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin left the book uneasy. "They never leave you alone, do they?"

"Elaborate, please," said Teacher.

"Well, plots and plots and more plots. Is any king ever safe?" He ran his hands through his hair to scratch his scalp; his queue's fastening fell to the floor again. "Pagg damn it, and this thing takes forever to tie. I'm still not used to it, I like my hair shorter."

"The Temples are conservative in all things, sir. And to answer your question, no king is ever completely safe. There are always those vying for power, especially in the days when the Tremontine kings wielded magic directly. Now one might say the competition is for me, as strange as it sounds."


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.

Chapter 4 Part 10 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

No matter how vivid a dream might be, it could never match the book. It immersed Temmin so thoroughly he could not remember being anyone but a miserable pregnant girl running from her own father. The winter cold faded from Temmin's bones as he came back to himself. He shook out his arms to make his shivering stop. "If I were…being…a person in the book, and that person died, would I die too?"


Chapter 4 Part 6 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin came to himself, still feeling Lassa's delight in fashionable clothes and freedom. "She reminds me of Elly," he said.

Teacher echoed his smile. "Lassanna of Whitehorse could be said to be a spiritual sister to the Princess, yes."

"But why is her story important? It's not real history, is it?"

"The History contains the forgotten stories, especially those of the Kingdom's women--your family's women in particular. Did you know anything about Emmae before you heard her story?"

All the kings of Tremont--Temmin had the entire line memorized all the way back to Temmin the Great. But the queens? No, unless they brought substantial holdings or benefit to the Kingdom. Ilhovin the Peacemaker married a princess of Sairland and cemented the final truce between the colonizer and the once-colonized at last, for instance, but he didn't know her name. In marrying Princess Emmae, Warin the Wise secured Litta for his son Gethin the Third, but Temmin hadn't known her name or her story until Teacher told him last year.

"All right," Temmin admitted, "if you say it's important, then we start with her, and I'll find out what her connection is with Temmin the Bastard at some point, I suppose." He closed the book and began to rise from his chair when a thought took him. "Teacher, is there any news about my sister Mattie?"


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.

Chapter 4 Part 2 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

For the first time in almost a year, Temmin found himself at loose ends. His ride with his mother took up part of the morning, but they were back by breakfast. He was not allowed to leave the Keep or its grounds. He might go to the stables. At home, the Estate's stablehands welcomed and then ignored him, treating him as a sort of honored comrade. At the Keep he made the men uncomfortable and formal; it turned a pleasure into a pointless exercise. Given time, he could have won them over, but he didn't have time. He would be at the Keep just a week.


Chapter 4 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Ansella suffered in ways Temmin didn't understand. Yes, she had loved Ibbit, but Ibbit had proved false. Ibbit wanted Temmin dead. She wanted his father dead. Oughtn't Mama to be more angry than sad? She stayed in her rooms, avoiding both the morning room and the dinner table. Miss Hanston swore she ate, but "Her Majesty is in a kind of mourning, sir, and that's a fact."

Chapter 3 Part 8 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin woke the next morning to someone moving through his room. "Jenks?" he called, sitting up and ruffling his hair.

From beyond the bed-curtains came a level voice he recognized as Gram, his father's valet. "No, sir. I'm tending to your needs until my nephew Mr Harbis arrives this afternoon." Gram opened first the bed-curtains then the draperies, letting the gray winter light creep apologetically past the valet's square shoulders into the bedchamber.

Temmin flung himself down on the pillows again. "Harbis? Oh, Pagg's balls," he muttered to himself. He'd had to put up with Harbis as his valet last year when Jenks was called away. The elegant man was irritatingly good at his job, his sole flaw being that he wasn't Jenks--Jenks, the dispenser of advice from fashion to horses, more a father to him than the King. The gravel-voiced ex-cavalryman had been Temmin's personal servant since he could remember. The year they'd spent apart had been busy enough that Temmin hadn't had time to miss him much, but here outside the Temple he felt his old friend's absence greatly. "Gram, your nephew is all very well and good, but I'm not going to be here long enough to need him!"

Chapter 3 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin dropped his fork, tried to catch it on the way down to the floor and nearly knocked over his wine glass. "I'm sorry--what?"

"All that fancy training, and you didn't know Ibbit is Mama's lover?"

"I...I grasped it when I came home tonight. How long have you known?"

Sedra slowly shook her head, keeping her eyes on the amber liquid swirling in her glass. "About five years now."

"That's almost as long as Ibbit's been Mama's religious advisor!"

"Oh, she started in on Mama almost immediately."

Temmin sat back against the couch cushions, his supper forgotten. "How did you know?"

"You're not the only one with a talent for observation. And Ibbit left a love letter Mama wrote tucked into a book she lent me," she added sheepishly. "I think she wanted me to know for some reason."

The two siblings stared moodily, Sedra into her snifter, Temmin into his food. He cut a hunk of cheese, topped it with pickled onion and mustard, and ate it while Sedra took another long sip of her brandy. He swallowed and said, "What I don't understand is why."


Chapter 3 Part 6 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

As he strode down the corridor to his old rooms, the thought of the next day's breakfast reminded him he'd had nothing to eat. He would order a tray once he'd changed into warmer clothes. He opened the door to his study.

The fire had been lit, as had the lamps. Everything appeared just as it had the night Teacher had spirited him away to the Lovers' Temple almost a year ago, right from under his father's nose: the moss green velvet sofa; the wing chair he never sat in; the wuisc, brandy and barisha decanters lined up on the sideboard; the tea table by the windows; the heavily-laden bookcases; the globe atop the long library table. One new thing now inhabited the room: a lectern he recognized from the Tower Library, Teacher's own study. Atop it lay a familiar book bound in ancient Tremontine red leather. The faded gilt lettering on its front cover read, An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom.

The book. The magic book that had changed his life in so many ways.



Get an exclusive free ebook from the world of the Intimate History! Exclusive content, contests, new releases and more.