Chapter 9 Part 6 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Sedra prepared herself to creep down the path, but to her surprise the Traveler Queen walked as briskly as she herself did. In the corner of Sedra's eye, a much younger, dark-haired woman flickered, superimposed on the withered Queen's figure; when Sedra looked at her directly, the flicker disappeared.

They stopped before a large knothole in a gnarled tree. "You've asked my mother prettily," said Connin, "but you haven't spoken so to me."

Sedra bit back sarcasm and squared her shoulders. "Do you wish me to beg?"

"I wish for you to kiss me."

"Amma give me patience, boy, stop it!" said his mother.

"You must kiss me," he repeated. "Are you too proud to kiss a Traveler? You'd be the first princess among the many I've asked if so."

Chapter 9 Part 5 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Teacher paused. "Before we go, I must caution you against Maeve's son."

Sedra said nothing about her encounter with Connin. "Will he try to prevent me from taking the Traveler Queen to Mama?"

"No, no, but I cannot stay to bring you back. He must do it--he possesses much of the same power I do, and he is not bound to the King as I am. He will help you, but be aware he is a sly one." Teacher reached to touch her cheek; Sedra reflexively flinched. Teacher's hand dropped hastily away to take her own, and they swirled through the mirror.

Chapter 12 Part 5 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Warin and the Travelers reached the City the night of the wedding, making camp well outside its walls. Travel by mirror had been considered and discarded; the chances of Hildin finding them were too high. The Traveler Queen had insisted on riding with them, and to Warin's surprise, she kept up with the men, never tiring.

They sat before the camp fire, Warin thoughtlessly poking at it with a stick and watching the sparks rise. A sudden vitality burst inside him, a brilliant light overwhelming unknown inner barriers, a million doors to a million rooms filled with the light of the sun, the moon, every star, opening in his soul all at once.

"Are you all right?" said Connin.

"I don't know--yes, I think so. Something's changed inside me..." Warin trailed off, gasping. A dark foreboding fought with the great sun bursting inside him. The exhilarating incandenscence felt so very wrong and so very right, all at the same time. What was its source, what did it mean?

Chapter 4 Part 6 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book One

Edmerka's brave front crumbled as the curse bore down on her. Thin threads of lust trickled into her, twining themselves together as the smoke had, until they formed binding ropes of arousal. She knew who among the Travelers wanted her, and how badly; they burned candle-bright to her, and to her shock, she wanted them with a passion just at the edges of her control. "I'd rather die," she sobbed. "I'd rather die than live my life out like this! Kill me!"

"Killing you seems a bit harsh for refusing to pay us," said the wall-eyed young man.

"Be quiet, son," said the Queen. "It's more than that, and you know it."

"What will happen to me? What will I do?" Edmerka sank to the ground, sobbing and clutching her knees. If she held on tight enough, she reasoned through the red and silver haze blanketing her mind, she wouldn't pull the nearest man to her, though her body ached for him.


Chapter 4 Part 5 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book One

"Now, my dear," said the old woman, "let's see what the cards say about you, eh?" She spread the cards out one by one on the little table; it trembled precariously under the weight of each one. "Ah, how fitting. The Princess of the Flames, reversed--d'you see? Wrong-side round. Bad-tempered, easily provoked to foolishness, spoiled, bored and spiteful."

"And who is she?" said Edmerka, thinking of her stepmother.

"Oh, she's you, miss," said the old woman with an empty-mouthed grin.

"How dare you!" said Edmerka.

Chapter 4 Part 4 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book One

The Princess Edmerka raged in her room, throwing anything within reach at anyone within range. "Why must I do anything he wants me to! He doesn't care in the least about me, so why should I care what he wants!"

"I'm sure I don't know, miss, don't blame me!" cried her nurse. "The King merely said it's time for you to come talk to him and 'face your future,' I think is how he put it!"

"I don't want his future, Olka! I don't want to marry this week's favorite, I don't want to enter the Sister's Temple--I want out of this place! I want to be left alone! Go away!"

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