Brother Mardus

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 15 Part 8 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

The war of the wardrobe began. In the end, Temmin and Jenks reached a compromise: correct but comfortable clothes, not too formal, in exchange for the finest new small clothes the favored royal tailor could make on short notice. "If you're going to sit around in your underthings..." mumbled Jenks, letting the thought go unfinished.

On the day, Brother Mardus and his men escorted the Heir through the city and down the Promenade, handing him off to the Temple's Own at the top of the pink marble stairs. In their midst stood the ridiculously handsome Senik. To his surprise, the postulant kissed Temmin full on the lips. "That's how we say 'hello' here. It's also how we say 'goodbye,' 'thank you,' 'you're welcome'..." Senik waved an encompassing hand. "This way."

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 11 Part 6 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Temmin stayed with Allis and Issak until late in the afternoon: long talks about their mother, and coming to the City under Teacher's protection; lunch with the irrepressible Anda; and kisses--only a few. Pressing past a kiss reminded him of the twins' past, and though they didn't speak of it, Temmin saw flickers of memory pass through their eyes.

When they gave him their final kisses and saw him to the Temple's entrance, Temmin found Brother Mardus waiting, a Guard contingent ranged around him. Nervous petitioners picked their way up the steps under their stern eyes. "Your Highness," said Mardus.

"Brother Mardus, I'm surprised to see you!"

"You shouldn't be." The two men walked down the stairs; at the bottom stood Jebby, with Mardus's own horse. "Now, sir, you are going to get on that horse, and you're going to follow our lead. You will not break away, and you will do what I tell you when I tell you. Are we clear?"

Chapter 10 Part 3 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book One

Temmin came to his tour of the Temple on Neyaday. A quiet Jenks helped the Prince dress; Temmin thought it wisest not to ask after his subdued mood, and let him have his way without complaint.

Ellika stayed in her room after the incident at Naister's, and never did send for the new dress. She found an unworn one suited for the occasion in the back of her wardrobe, and insisted on going with Temmin "just to the door if nothing else." Some of her naturally cheerful spirit made its way past the shock of Horn's death, and she came bouncing down the stairs behind her brother to take his arm. She wore a confection of white lace and ribbons against pale pink silk. "You look like a wedding cake," said Temmin, kissing the top of her head.

"Thank you! Put your gloves on, Temmy."

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

When they returned to the Keep, much earlier than Ellika would have liked, Temmin found himself summoned to the King's study, despite the late hour. Teacher stood leaning against the mantelpiece, such a habitual position that Temmin wondered if the advisor weren't glued to it by the elbow.

"You're all right?" said Harsin. "A glass of wine? No? Very well. I've received a preliminary report from Brother Mardus. Needless to say, the Royal Guard will be under extreme scrutiny for this security breach. Mardus says in his note you acquitted yourself well."

Chapter 5 Part 3 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book One

Temmin realized how close they all sat on the bench. Allis pressed against his right, her hand light on his thigh; Issak boxed him in on his left, one hand soothing up his back before resting on his shoulder. "Just--kiss you?" he squeaked. "Both of you?"

"Have you never kissed a woman?" said Allis.

"Not this sober, no."

"Lesson number one," said Allis, turning his face to hers. She kissed him, soft and slow.

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