Anvalt Lord Litta

Chapter 1 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin twirled his mother through the dobla, the simple traditional dance that began all Tremontine balls. As they turned, he took in the room from the corners of his eyes, as he'd been trained. Issak was making the reserved Sedra blush; Ellika was treating the surprisingly graceful Litta as if he were in doddering need of her guidance, luckily to his amusement; and Harsin was entirely too close to Allis. His father wore the intimate, hooded expression that meant far more than polite interest.

Temmin buried his anger and brought his full attention back to his mother, to catch her scanning the balconies; she returned searching eyes to his face. "You look so very well! You've grown, my dear! Are you happy? Did you make the right decision?"

"Oh, yes." His mother quirked a brow; no training could hide his heart from his mother. "Mostly," he amended. "It's not quite what I thought it would be. But I'm learning a great deal, and not all what…what most people think goes on there." He blushed; he still couldn't control his blushing reliably.

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

Temmin kept his face as tranquil as he could, though his heart beat so hard against his starched shirt front that its studs must be quivering. Would his father cut him on his own birthday? There'd been more than one royal snub in the last year: no invitations to his sisters' birthdays; careful avoidance at events requiring the attendance of the entire family; communication with the royal family completely blocked--even with his mother.

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

Paggday night, the 9th day of Spring's Beginning
Tremont Keep, Tremont City

"I do not understand, Your Grace, why so glum the faces," said an enormous brown-skinned man. His long cloak of iridescent feathers covered otherwise unexceptional evening wear; his strong, naturally crimped black hair streamed unfettered down his back, and as he frowned around the ballroom in woozy concentration the blue-black tattoos curling round his nose and eyes furrowed.

"Glum, Your Excellency?" said his light-skinned companion. Anvalt Vonturus, Duke of Litta, was not a short man, but next to the tall ambassador even his stiff military bearing could not overcome an impression of smallness. In contrast with the ambassador's tattoos, a pale scar slashed through his left brow; a black ribbon clubbed his slate-colored hair in a queue that announced he was a conservative.

Litta glanced around the assembly milling about Tremont Keep's Great Ballroom in nervous clumps spiky with the glint of jewels. They winked on countless fingers; in the curls of women's hair; around slender wrists and wrists so fat they nearly hid their bracelets in their folds, and around necks both wrinkled and smooth; and from countless medals--some earned and some Litta knew were given to shut the bearer up. What a decadent age.

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

Temmin vacillated several times before Farrday's overnight visit to the Lovers' Temple. He talked himself back into it each time with a combination of wrath against his father, desire, pride, and the memory of the tiny voice in the stillness of the chapel.

On the dreaded and anticipated day, he took out his nerves on Jebby's legs, riding hard over the countryside through the King's Woods into the unknown fields beyond--another thumbing of his nose. He'd been ordered to stay within the safe confines of the Woods, but today he was invincible. Jebby was less so; the hectic ride had left the big horse flecked with foam, and Temmin decided to leave him at home to rest rather than ride him into town.

Chapter 5 Part 2 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book One

The lanky Heir raised several eyebrows as he hurried through the crowd to the cloak room. "Didn't take long for His Highness to sniff out Allis Obby," smirked the Duke of Corland.

"Jealousy is unbecoming, Borney," smiled Lord Litta. "Make an appointment."

"An appointment?" Corland barked with laughter, shaking his chins. "I don't think so. Too complicated, those Lovers. Fennows tells me the Prince is a virgin."

Litta frowned, puckering the saber slash through his left brow. "A virgin, at his age? Is he a lover of men?"

"Damned if I know. Only been here a few days. He'll find his fancy, or have one thrust upon him. Thrust! Ha!"

"I'm not sure it's a joking matter, Corland," said Litta, eyes following Temmin through the ballroom.

"Eh, I'm not much for prophecies. Encouraging Fennows to get the boy laid as quickly as possible, all the same."

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

Temmin let Ellika's voice flow over him as he watched the streets and squares glide past the window. Would Allis be happy to see him? And what about Issak?

What about him, indeed. Temmin hadn't considered men much, apart from observing his older cousins and their Mentors, and some adolescent groping with the stable boys. The former filled him with apprehension more than desire, and the latter seemed like so much play--practice for when they could get girls. It had stopped a couple of years ago, anyway, until Alvo. Thinking of Alvo made his eyes smart.

His mind returned to his destination. It's just a dance, he told himself. Why did it feel like so much more?

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