Chapter 7 Part 6 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Ma Kupar led her away. Mattie took a last look at Adrik; his eyes remained the same hard, flat brown, but he was glaring at his father and spared her not a look.

They walked her down numerous hallways to her bedchamber, a grand, whitewashed affair of tapestries, carpets, and a stove tiled in brilliant blue; the room's mullioned windows looked out at the great lake and its hundreds of islands and thousands of boats. They fed her a light meal: oatcakes, salted fish and some sort of dried berry compote with custard. Mattie offered no resistance when they undressed her down to her chemise, nor when they tucked her into bed, pulled shut the bed-curtains and darkened the room.

Her mind did resist. Would she rather die than marry Ruvin? Perhaps if she offered them compliance, they might grow complacent in time and she could make good an escape. As things stood she had no knowledge of the country nor of the language, and not a friend to help her. Adrik looked as if he wanted to come to her defense, but was it because he wanted the advantage marriage to a daughter of Harsin would confer? Or did he love her, and if he did, would he go against his father?

Chapter 7 Part 5 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Ma Kupar led Mattie past guards set three and three beside a great arched door banded in iron, and left her in a high-vaulted hall; tapestries covered the stone walls, thick carpets the wooden floors. Mattie was the only woman in the room. Men in native costume filled the benches--the Gremas? She had never heard them called anything other than "northern barbarians," but Ma Kupar had used the name "Gremas." Red heads and brown heads sprinkled the crowd, but most were blond. Almost every eye turned toward her was blue.

At the hall's far end, a roaring blaze filled an enormous fireplace hooded in the same verdigris copper covering the turrets. On a dais before it sat two men in ancient, ornately carved chairs. Both wore richer versions of the common clothing--woolen trousers tucked into modern riding boots, and high-necked shirts. Their long quilted vests were silk embroidered in gold. The one on Mattie's left had hair so shot through with white that the blond strands remaining looked like sunlight streaked on snow. The other's hair was as dark as her own, though heavily threaded with silver; his beard, trimmed more neatly than those of the men around him, was almost completely gray. Something about his lean, angular face resembled the King's profile on a five-silver piece.

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."

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