Arta Dannikson

Chapter 12 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Whithorse Estate, Whithorse
The final week of Winter's Beginning, 992 KY

With the family in mourning all royal celebrations and parties were canceled for the next year, and the City's leading lights of course followed suit; the social season thus ended two spokes early, to the despair of more than a few mothers looking to marry off daughters who were aging by the minute. Ellika, who would normally never hide herself at the Estate at this time of year, didn't care a bit. She spent her time in the Great House's cozy nursery fussing over Anneya with Lady Donnis.

The wet nurse brought from Tremont City lost her milk, to general alarm. "How does one find a wet nurse, Cousin Donnie?" fretted Ellika.

Chapter 16 Part 4 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Steel glinted against Arta's throat, and in Temmin's imagination red bloomed against the white of her skin. But here and now, the steel wavered ever so slightly. He cast about for anything he could draw upon for guidance. He thought of Jenks: "Who are you more afraid of? The Gods, or your father?" Now that he feared for two innocents, not for himself, he wasn't sure.

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 1 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

The letter was folded and sealed, and pressed into Fen's hands early the next day at the train station. "Give this to my groom, Alvo Nollson--only him, d'you understand? You can trust him. He will help you," said Temmin. "He's my best friend."

"Must be some groom if he's your best friend, sir," said Fen.

"Friend and groom, the best of both. Crokker should be expecting you. He's fierce, but don't let him frighten you."

"Never worry, sir, we worked for Mr Affton," said Arta; she smiled, though her pale face and trembling hands betrayed her.

For appearance's sake, Temmin kissed Arta on the forehead and Fen on one cheek. Though the kisses were innocent, he'd grown increasingly fond of both of them, he thought absently as they waved from their compartment window through the steam of the train's departure. He was responsible for them now, the first time he'd felt responsible for someone else's well-being, and it frightened him somewhat.

Chapter 14 Part 6 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

"How can I serve you, Your Highness?" said Teacher, surveying the crying couple on the floor.

"You can do things for me, yes?" said Temmin. "You're not forbidden to help me?"

"I may do whatever is in my power for you, save in that one matter."

Temmin laid out the situation, with interruptions from both Arta and Fen until he ordered them to be quiet. "I want to send them to Whithorse. Take them through the mirror."

"No," said Teacher.

"No? What d'you mean, no? You said you'd help!"

"Taking them through the mirror will not help. The King will suspect something if they suddenly disappear, and then I will just have to bring them back. You must send them in plain sight. Let everyone believe what they already believe, and that you are sending your new lovers to take up residence near your home."

"But how can I send Fen with her?"

"Sir," said Teacher, "let them believe what they already believe."

"Oh. Oh!" said Temmin.

Chapter 14 Part 5 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

He was the Duke of Whithorse; his word there was law now that he'd come of age. He would send them to the Estate. He would send them to Alvo. "Don't go away. Here--finish your brandy."

He sprinted to the door, and called for a footman. When the young man ran up, a discreet smirk on his face, Temmin realized that Arta was right: her reputation was already ruined. "Does something amuse you, Caid?" barked Temmin. A more sober expression quickly took up residence on Caid's face. "Find that footman Wallek, and bring him here. Then go fetch Teacher. I need him."

Chapter 14 Part 4 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

The kiss edged away the misery of the day, mixing with the port that suddenly made itself evident in the languor of his limbs, a drowsiness that shifted to arousal as she opened her mouth to him. He remembered kissing her before; he'd brought himself, more than once, remembering that kiss and her slim waist in his arms. He slipped his arms around her now, and kissed her down against the cushions. She was here for him, his consolation. She was the girl who would open the road to Allis and Issak in the most delightful way possible.

Chapter 14 Part 3 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

"Arta, what are you doing here? Why are you dressed like that? Not that you don't look nice--you look wonderful, actually, quite beautiful...Gods, really, really, quite, quite beautiful." She stood now, very straight and rigid, her small, shaking hand still in his. She was blushing, and she wouldn't meet his eyes. "Arta," he said more forcefully, "what are you doing here?"

"I...I am bid to say--that is, no, not bid to say..." She blinked rapidly, and began again, her voice stronger, working hard if not successfully to overcome her northern Valmouth accent. "I am here to comfort you in your disappointment, Your Highness. They--I mean, I thought you mightn' want to be alone tonight, an as you an I are friends...we might be better friends," she finished, daring a guilty glance up at his face before fixing her eyes on his shoes again.

Chapter 14 Part 2 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Temmin woke to a gentle clatter of dishes, and a savory smell of roast beef, potatoes, warm bread, and a bit of a cabbage-y smell that might be broccoli. He must have slept through tea. Did he have lunch? His stomach seemed to think he hadn't. "Jenks?" he said. He sat up and pushed the hair out of his puffy eyes.

"Harbis, Your Highness," said the valet in his irritating, melodious tenor, nothing at all like Jenks's gravel-filled baritone.

"Oh, it's you," grumbled Temmin.

"It is me, to be sure, sir," said Harbis. "If you please, sir, your dinner has been sent up. You seemed ill-disposed to dine with your family." He had perfectly appointed the little table; its damask cloth shone clean and white, and the valet's elegant, slender hands fluttered among the dishes, removing silver covers with unfamiliar gestures Temmin found annoyingly graceful.

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

Temmin came out of the book sobbing. Her years of loneliness, her yearning for love: her father broke her heart, and when she finally thought she'd mended it, Warin broke it again. He felt every ache of it, but unlike Emmae, he knew what Warin had gone through, and why. "Warin loved her! Why didn't she know? She was so lonely and unhappy, how could she turn him away?"

"A handkerchief, Your Highness," Teacher said, handing it over. "You have seen this story through her eyes. Is it not possible he did betray her? Is it not possible he expected too much, too soon?"

Pages

Get an exclusive free ebook from the world of the Intimate History! Exclusive content, contests, new releases and more.