Anda Barrows

Chapter 18 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Though it was not Malla's intent, Temmin closed his face to the world. He spent more time in the less-senior clergy's beds and gave Allis no more than his polite, rather stoic regard. He declined any assignment that might lead to physical intimacy between them--indeed, any assignment that might lead to them being alone. Supplicants were not allowed to pick and choose, but now the senior clergy let him.

As he withdrew, Allis did her best to let Temmin go. He would leave at Nerr's Day anyway, and here it was almost Neya's Day. But he stuck to her heart like a burr, a ball of tiny hooks she could never remove no matter how hard she tried. She'd done quite well at hiding the depth of her love from Issak and the Most Highs, but to herself she despaired. He would be gone soon, she would stay behind in a beautiful, pink, plush prison, and they'd rarely see one another for at least ten more years.

Chapter 17 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin stood before the Most High Beloved. "Am I excused as well, Most High?"

She studied him coolly. "You are excused. While I know you don't need to practice the Eight, I may say there are other disciplines you must work at more diligently--as you have been reminded before. I trust you are clear now on this matter, Temmin Supplicant?"

"Very, Most High," he bit off, all pretense at calm abandoned. He kissed her hand and retrieved his crumpled tunic from the couch, where Allis wiped the sweat from her body. He bowed. "Forgive me if I don't give the customary kiss." She gave him a serene, disinterested nod; he turned on his heel and stalked from the room. Perhaps it hadn't all been Malla's idea.

Chapter 11 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Vennaday, the 25th day of Winter's Beginning, 992 KY

"The Queen is in labor?" said Anda.

The spoon in Temmin's hand stopped midway to his mouth and he snuck a glance around the dining hall. His last petitioner had taken longer than expected, and by the time he entered the room most of the diners had already finished; near-empty tables and padded benches surrounded them. Satisfied no one might hear their conversation, he answered, "Yes, I got the message just after lunch with the Holy Ones. How'd you know?"

Chapter 10 Part 4 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

This section is NSFW.

Then Neya Herself glided up to the dais in all Her nakedness. In a rare display of power, She floated up to Her Brother's side. They joined hands. "Sister," said Nerr in a voice that could not be called loud but that filled the Great Hall's every corner; its force shook the gathering. "As your brother, I promise to protect you even should you fall from Our Father's favor." He gestured to the rows upon rows of flowers. "All of these, I give to You."

"Brother," she answered, "As your Sister, I thank You for Your protection and offer You all praise." She gestured to the two Supplicants at His feet. "Will You accept My gift?"

"Gladly," smiled the God, stroking Temmin's hair. Temmin closed his eyes as bliss radiated from the fingers laced among his unruly locks.

Chapter 10 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

This section is NSFW.

Nerr's Day morning brought the climax of the Embodiments' ordeals. Allis and Issak were beaten, hung on frames, tortured and drugged until their spirits buried themselves deep, leaving their hollowed-out bodies for Neya and Nerr to use. Their howls of pain and longing ceased, the rose-colored halo rippled around them, and their attendants removed the blindfolds and restraints. Allis and Issak were gone, Neya and Nerr in their places.

Chapter 10 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin returned to the Temple reluctantly. Though his mother appeared healthier than ever before, he still worried. The first fulfilled prophecy frightened him, but continued good news from the Keep and Nerr's Day preparations occupied his time and mind. He let himself be reassured that the Traveler Queen had performed one of her vaunted miracles; Mama and the baby would be well.

The twins' twice-annual ordeal began again this evening, a necessary suffering that sickened Temmin every time. Issak and Allis stood at the doors to the Gods' Chambers, the senior staff gathered around them. Allis smoothed Temmin's wrinkled brow. "Never worry. Nerr and Neya will be here and gone in a short while, and then we can all rest until next Neya's Day."

Chapter 6 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

This section is NSFW.

Twenna watched them leave in horror. He'd cut her. He'd cut her in front of his wife and hadn't given her a backward glance. It couldn't mean what it appeared to mean. This had to be something about appearances, but why had he gone to so much trouble to have her admitted if he'd intended to leave with his wife? There must be a reason, a reason she wasn't clever enough to understand. He loved her; she took comfort in that certainty. He would send for her later, surely.

The swaying lanterns planted in the lawn took on a cold look, less like soft yellow moons and more like predatory eyes. What would she do now? She knew no one in the crowd who might protect her, no man she might trust not to take advantage of the Neya's Day festivities. She stayed close to the fierce-looking Lovers in armor still standing beside the royal dais, in hopes one of them might have been given instructions to escort her, but the workers disassembled the dais and took it away, along with the Temple's Own and her hopes.

Chapter 6 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

The First Day of Spring's Beginning, 991 KY

Twenna Shelstone stepped down from her father's carriage into the throngs crowding the Lovers' Temple for the Neya's Day Spectacle. An orderly procession flowed from the Promenade to the Temple garden gates, where the Spectacle would be held. Postulants and servants bore hundreds of bright lanterns through the crowded gardens until every leaf seemed illuminated. Twenna fretted to be without even a footman to look after her, but she reassured herself. Harsin had said Winmer would find her there and protect her from unwanted advances.

Chapter 3 Part 4 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

"What do you mean, the kitchen's closed?" said Temmin.

"I mean it's closed," said Anda, lounging on her alcove bed with a book. "Not the cooks' fault you decided to see that hulk of a Postulant instead of eating."

"Mathanus and I've been trying to get some time alone for weeks now!"

"Was it worth missing dinner, oh bottomless pit?"

Chapter 1 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Tellis exhaled and tried to pick up her teacup but trembled so hard she gave up. "You thought you were dismissed from Meadow House last year, because...because of what happened between you and the Heir."

Mattie's stomach clenched at the memory of that night, a year ago almost to the day. She wouldn't have minded the Prince's attentions in a different context. He was quite handsome but he was also quite drunk when he'd discovered her half-dressed in the hedge alley with her sweetheart. If she hadn't done exactly what the Prince said, she knew she'd be cashiered though he'd said otherwise. She'd done what he asked--no more than a few kisses and some fumbling gropes at her breasts before he threw up--but her mother had fetched her home before the spoke was out, just as she'd known would happen. "If that wasn't it, then what was it?"

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