Inside, Harsin was stripping as he hurried into his bedchamber; his valet Gram followed behind, stooping to pick up the discarded riding clothes, and his secretary Winmer brought up the rear. Harsin changed into fresh clothes and washed his face. "This would have to happen when I was at Middlemont. Cancel any appointments for the next three days, Winmer, and send word that while it was a lovely interlude et cetera, I will not be seeing Miss Shelstone in the immediate future. Do not under any circumstances say anything about the Queen's indisposition, to Miss Shelstone or anyone else." Winmer nodded, scribbling in his neat little book, and Harsin stepped through his bedchamber door through the private hallway and into the Queen's bedchamber.
Temmin woke the next morning to someone moving through his room. "Jenks?" he called, sitting up and ruffling his hair.
From beyond the bed-curtains came a level voice he recognized as Gram, his father's valet. "No, sir. I'm tending to your needs until my nephew Mr Harbis arrives this afternoon." Gram opened first the bed-curtains then the draperies, letting the gray winter light creep apologetically past the valet's square shoulders into the bedchamber.
Temmin flung himself down on the pillows again. "Harbis? Oh, Pagg's balls," he muttered to himself. He'd had to put up with Harbis as his valet last year when Jenks was called away. The elegant man was irritatingly good at his job, his sole flaw being that he wasn't Jenks--Jenks, the dispenser of advice from fashion to horses, more a father to him than the King. The gravel-voiced ex-cavalryman had been Temmin's personal servant since he could remember. The year they'd spent apart had been busy enough that Temmin hadn't had time to miss him much, but here outside the Temple he felt his old friend's absence greatly. "Gram, your nephew is all very well and good, but I'm not going to be here long enough to need him!"
Someone kept the windowless, ancient room within well-tended. Its style pointed to the Keep's founding a thousand years before; vaulted stone rose above tapestried walls to meet in graceful apexes. Eight altars had been carved from the bedrock, each with its God. Purple and gold seasonal draperies wreathed Pagg's niche, in honor of His spoke, Spring's Beginning. Candles flickered before all the altars, reflecting off the smooth, polished wood of the padded kneeling benches set in rows.
Empty glass vases waited before Nerr's statue, a silver pitcher of fresh water beside them. He settled the flowers, and carefully stacked the pink and white candies at Neya's feet. He knelt on the bench nearest the Twins, and prayed. "Lord, Lady, I don't know what to do. Are You calling me, or is this just about wanting the Embodiments? Or being mad at my father? I want to do the right thing. I know I haven't been the most faithful person--no, actually, I've always believed, I just haven't gone through the forms perhaps as much as I should. Just send me a sign. Let me know what I should do."