Standfast Jenks

Chapter 16 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin rose from the book oddly comforted. "He let the boy Ardunn live? He didn't change his mind once they were in Tremont?"

"No," said Teacher. "Tennoc took Ardunn to Marsury, where he became quite the pet of the Lady Inglatine. At Marsury he trained with the Brothers and Guardsmen, served with distinction against border incursions to the far north of Barle and the Leutan border, and married Eselda, the youngest of Temmin the Bastard's daughters by Cariodas. He was never allowed to return to Kellen, but was given a holding in northern Barle. Ardunn was the first Marquess of Hawksfield, and took the name Anamma."

"Anamma? But they're still at Hawksfield--I have Anamma cousins!" exclaimed Temmin.

Chapter 16 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Harsin sat at breakfast the next day, alone but for his eldest daughter. Ansella's robin's egg blue morning room, cheerful even in the weak winter sun, served as consolation and goad to them both; they sat silent, picking at their eggs and coffee. The butler appeared, arms full of newsprint, but set the stack before the King alone. "Affton, where are my morning papers?" asked Sedra.

"There'll be no more of that," growled her father. "I'm done with you ruining your mind. All this reading will stunt your ability to bear children."

"Papa, you know that isn't true! Many educated women--"

Chapter 15 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin brooded in his study, saying little to either the nervous Fen as he juggled the luncheon service or Jenks when he came to check on his disciple's work. "What did he do to put you in a mood, sir?" said Jenks.

"What did who do--Wallek? Nothing. He's fine." Fen exhaled and dropped a fork. "A little less scrutiny, Jenks," smiled Temmin, rising from the table. "It's no wonder he's dropping things with you breathing down his neck."

Jenks propelled the trainee and the luncheon cart out the door. "Sir, if you need me--for anything--just ring. I will answer the summons."

"I'll be all right, Jenks. Teacher will be here soon to whisk me off into his fairy tales." Jenks lifted his eyebrows but continued into the hall and closed the door behind him.

Chapter 14 Part 9 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

What Temmin hated most about leaving the book's spell was its lingering after-effects; the wounds, fear, hatred, even love and desire took time to dissipate and always left him confused and disoriented. "I'd wondered how magic worked in battles. I mean, if it were me, I'd just stand out front with you and let 'em have it. I guess it doesn't work that way."

"No," said Teacher, "otherwise we would own more of Inchar than we do. Your father has no magic in any event, and my magic has been greatly eroded over the centuries."

"Eroded? Eroded how?"

Chapter 14 Part 2 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

A gentle throat-clearing came from the doorway to his bedchamber. "Not feeling sneaky today?" said Temmin, keeping his head on the pillow.

Teacher came into the room. "I am never 'sneaky.' I am circumspect."

"To be sure," said Temmin in a flat voice. A long silence fell. "Well?" he finally said.

"I am here to resume the story, if you wish it."

"I should burn that Pagg-damned book," growled Temmin.

"It will not burn, but you are welcome to try if you think that might alleviate your pain. You may not believe me, but I am here to help you."

Temmin put a forearm across his aching eyes. "Some help."

Chapter 13 Part 9 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin scrambled back from the book, knocking his chair over in his drive to get away. He knotted his fingers in his hair and pulled to keep himself from screaming, but a choking sob broke through. "How--how dare you--!"

"I told you, when I chose this story I did not know what would happen to your mother," said Teacher, arms folded behind.

"Uncaring, unfeeling whoreson!" Temmin shouted. "Pagg damn you, you bastard, you block of stone! You don't even remember your own mother! Get out of my sight!" Teacher didn't move. Temmin charged, and hit the wall of air he'd unconsciously expected. He staggered back. "Coward! Drop your shield! Fight me like a man, damn you!"

Chapter 13 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Meals at the Estate were still catch-as-catch-can; no one seemed up to being in company. Temmin and Jenks sat in his drawing room over a cold luncheon of cheese, fruit, ham, a loaf of good bread and a dish of pickles; the Estate's own dark amber ale foamed in mugs before them. "How is your pupil coming along?" said Temmin.

"Young Mr Wallek I believe has come far enough to spar with you, sir--if you've kept up your form at the Temple?"

Chapter 11 Part 6 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Jenks sat down in the rarely used wingback chair before the fire. "I confess I would not say no to a glass of wuisc, sir."

Temmin poured them each a glass from the decanter on his sideboard, handed one to Jenks, and tossed himself on the moss green sofa. "What's this colonel nonsense? Has Father given you an honorary commission?"

"No, no. It's not honorary." Jenks took a deep breath. "It's time you were told, especially now that…" He cleared his throat and began again. "I wasn't a corporal in the cavalry, sir, and I was never your uncle's batman. I was his aide-de-camp--a colonel. I still hold that rank. I'm chief of your security detail and your personal bodyguard, which has made this time apart very worrying indeed after all these years."

Chapter 11 Part 5 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Harsin folded Ansella's arms over her chest. The Friends brought the shroud around her body; Harsin and the children took turns sewing it closed. Emsa gave Ansella's velvet-wrapped hair to Sedra, who accepted it with shaking hands. The Friends took up the body in its coffin again and returned to the main hall for the walk to the royal section of the catacombs.

A ramrod-straight, barrel-chested man in the dark Tremontine red uniform of a colonel of the Royal Cavalry waited in the hall; the uniform's markings were of the First Cavalry Battalion of the Whithorse Guard, and medals covered its front. Tradition banned weapons from the Hill, and his sword sheath hung empty at his side. The man held his black fur winter uniform hat under his arm. Gray threaded the black hair fringed round his head as well as his neatly trimmed beard, and his weather-lined face flashed a heavy grief before he snapped to attention.

Chapter 11 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Tremontine flags trimmed in black flew at half mast throughout the City, the dark red field and its three golden mountains limp on this cold, still day. Every bell, from the great War Bell in the Keep to the time-keeping carillons at the University tolled, echoing desolate against the City walls as the funeral procession passed through the streets. Harsin walked before it, dressed in severest black but for the Tremontine red sash beneath his coat; his head wore neither hat nor crown. Emsa, the high priestess of the Friends of Harla, and Harla's Embodiment Trudannis walked beside him, their black hoods lowered to show their stubbled heads.


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