Sister Imvalda

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

The chief midwife came into the Queen's sitting room, where Ansella's daughters and husband waited. Her face formed a professional mask, but the moment the woman entered Ellika knew. From the Queen's bedchamber came a newborn's wail and the sobs of women. The midwife cleared her throat. "The Queen…the baby is fine, healthy and whole, but I'm sorry. The Queen is gone."

A shocked silence fell. Ellika's insides dropped to the floor. "Gone? The Traveler Queen said she'd be all right!"

"No, she said it was up to Mama," said Sedra. "It was her choice. I didn't know this is what she meant! Mama chose the baby. How could she--how could she leave me!" Sedra fled from the room, crying.

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 9 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin had a time tracking down his father. He wasn't in his rooms, he wasn't in his office. The council room contained a few Ministers, alarmed and irritated at his headlong intrusion. He finally thought to ask Affton and tracked him down to the servants' hall. "Riding, I believe, Your Highness," said the butler. "May I say I took the liberty of sending a groom to find His Majesty as soon as the call for the Sisters went out, sir."

Temmin slumped against the kitchen archway and let out a shuddering sigh. His eyes burned, and he wiped at his brow with his handkerchief. "Thank you, Affton, I should have known you'd think to find him."

"May I also suggest, sir, that since there's nothing you can do for the moment you might have a cup of tea?" Affton murmured. "I can send a tray up to your room, if you'd like, or the Small Sitting Room."

"If I go upstairs I'll have a hard time staying away...and Lady Donnis made it clear..." he trailed off. Affton glided him back through the kitchens to the Small Sitting Room. Temmin sat in his shirtsleeves drinking tea and eating plain buttered toast, huddled in a corner of the big room.

Chapter 8 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

So this was her Neya's Day blessing. She'd loved being pregnant. She loved her children. She would love this one unreservedly--loved her already. It had to be a girl; if she carried a son, Teacher would have known immediately and announced it to Harsin.

What would he think? He'd preen and strut, the smug bastard. Pregnancy would give her an excuse to stay away from him. Except pregnancy usually made her...what was an acceptable word? More...receptive to him? Demanding, more like, said a traitorous inner voice. She might go home to Whithorse and put some distance between them, but she could not leave her three oldest, just before the girls might leave forever. They were all grown and didn't need her any more, but she still needed them. And it would look as if she were running from that Shelstone bitch. She burst into exhausted, frustrated tears. "I don't know what to do. Please don't tell him yet."

Chapter 8 Part 6 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Just inside the Hearth's portico waited the newly invested Eldest Sister Imvalda, tall and twiglike in her deep green habit trimmed in the gray bands of her high office, and the Sister's Embodiment, a gentle, plump woman named Sarra. A woman in lighter green trailed behind them; Ansella recognized her from the brief glimpse of Imvalda's apartments in her receiving room mirror. That night seemed so long ago, but it was no more than a spoke.

Ansella and Donnis bowed to the Eldest Sister and the Embodiment, each touching her forehead to the priestesses' hands; the priestesses kissed the two women on the cheek and led them inside.

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?"

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