Harsin

Chapter 11 Part 2 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

The chief midwife came into the Queen's sitting room, where Ansella's daughters and husband waited. Her face formed a professional mask, but the moment the woman entered Ellika knew. From the Queen's bedchamber came a newborn's wail and the sobs of women. The midwife cleared her throat. "The Queen…the baby is fine, healthy and whole, but I'm sorry. The Queen is gone."

A shocked silence fell. Ellika's insides dropped to the floor. "Gone? The Traveler Queen said she'd be all right!"

"No, she said it was up to Mama," said Sedra. "It was her choice. I didn't know this is what she meant! Mama chose the baby. How could she--how could she leave me!" Sedra fled from the room, crying.

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 16 Part 4 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Steel glinted against Arta's throat, and in Temmin's imagination red bloomed against the white of her skin. But here and now, the steel wavered ever so slightly. He cast about for anything he could draw upon for guidance. He thought of Jenks: "Who are you more afraid of? The Gods, or your father?" Now that he feared for two innocents, not for himself, he wasn't sure.

Chapter 16 Part 3 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Freshly bathed, Temmin pulled on his new Temple garb--red, the color of the postulant Lovers, a happier, somehow less serious shade than the official Tremontine red garb he wore the last time he was at the Temple. "Will I see the Holy Ones again before tomorrow?" he asked over a late supper with Anda in the Supplicants Chamber.

She put her wine glass down and replied, "No. You won't be seeing them until it's time to draw down the Gods tomorrow night. It's not at all an easy thing, you know, Tem."

"Allis says it's something like being a puppet."

Chapter 16 Part 2 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

The urgent conversation appeared to be one-sided from a distance, but on closer inspection, both parties were fully involved, a small pulse in the King's jaw the only sign of increasing tension. "Master yourself, Corland. What do you mean, Temmin's lovers are a sham?" said Harsin, keeping the smile on his face.

"I mean, he's pulled the wool over your eyes!" hissed Corland. "He still qualifies! Your son means to take Supplicancy!"

Chapter 16 Part 1 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

The Keep's servants slept little the week before Neya's Day. All the rooms, even the bedrooms in the Old Residence Wing, were turned out and prepared for guests who might or might not be staying. As they did at the turning of every spoke, the maids received new pinafores, and the footmen new shirtfronts. The maids beat every carpet, brushed every curtain and tapestry; the footmen, under Affton's hypercritical eye, polished every piece of silver, every candlestick, every brass doorknob, grand entrance and mudroom alike, even though their sheen already blinded the onlooker.

Chapter 14 Part 1 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Yellow and blue banners flying from Lord Valmouth’s city residence proclaimed His Grace was in town. The crest of the City’s social season began next week at Neya’s Day, and lasted until the season ended on Nerr’s Day, the first day of Summer’s Beginning; everyone of note in the Kingdom would be in the City for that last spoke of gaiety.

Chapter 13 Part 3 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Temmin's charge down the Temple steps caught Mardus off-guard. "Your Highness," he called as he ran after the Prince, "I was in conference with the captain of the Temple's Own--I thought we were here for the day--"

"There's been a permanent change of plans. You won't need to talk with the Temple's Own for some time yet, if ever," said Temmin in a thick voice. "Where's my horse? I want to get out of here."

Chapter 12 Part 6 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Temmin returned to the dinner table that night, tensed for a confrontation. Instead, his father ignored him, giving him no more than a cursory "Good evening" and a withering look the one time he spoke. Sedra and his mother watched them both, while Ellika chattered on. Temmin supposed Fennows took his dinner in town; he didn't bother to ask.

After dinner, when the women had retired, Harsin left for his own rooms after one silent glass of port, bolted back and the empty glass deposited on the table. Temmin told himself he didn't care, drank his own glass and joined his mother and sisters in the Small Sitting Room.

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