To Temmin's dismay, his mother's religious advisor joined the royal party at dinner. At Whithorse, Sister Ibbit lived at the Temple of Venna in Reggiston and never dined with them, but tonight Ansella seated the priestess to her left and Temmin to her right. Looking up from the soup, he caught Ibbit staring at him in contempt, and wondered if he'd have to endure her half-hearted religious instruction at the Keep. He'd managed to out-and-out skip most of it, with Ibbit's approval; her open hostility led him to avoid her as much from personal dislike as boredom, and she seemed to share his feeling.
The next day hurt. "It's called a 'hangover,'" said Jenks as he bustled around the room packing Temmin's last things. "The first one's the hardest. Come on, Your Highness, ass out of bed. Serves you out for drinking in the first place."
"Go away, Jenks. I'm not going," said Temmin.
"Balls to that, and up you go, young sir. I've only got two hours to get you into a state fit to be seen by your mother, let alone smelled. Drink this," he ordered, thrusting a glass filled with a viscous, malodorous liquid in Temmin's direction.
Whithorse Estate, Whithorse Province
Ammaday, the 5th Day of Spring's Beginning, 990 KY
In the stable yards of Whithorse Estate, two lanterns burned. They shone up at their owners, who sat on a straw bale against a brick wall. The low light transformed the rangy, blue-eyed one's fair hair into a burnished bronze, and turned the shorter, stockier one's eyes near-black. Both wore battered old tweed caps, and coats just heavy enough for the early spring night. The shorter one held a flask of wuisc, full at the start of the evening, and as its level dropped, they listed into one another more and more.