Chapter 4 Part 8 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Almost a spoke after Lassa's awkward exchange with Inglatine, An appeared in the bower doorway; behind him came a page carrying a pretty lacquer box. "Gifts for my wife and her ladies to celebrate the blessed event to come." The boy opened the box to reveal several small cases. An opened one; it contained a mirror. The ladies-in-waiting each received one, silver chased with patterns in the Sairish style; the Princess's mirror was the same, though decorated with costly mother-of pearl and rich enamel.

Lassa's mirror outshone the Princess's. It had no case; its back formed a stand. Gems inlaid its gold rim. Inglatine didn't seem to care. She thanked her husband and placidly adjusted her veil. Lassa accepted her mirror, knowing she should not but afraid to refuse. An's attentions and gifts must soon be paid for, a thought both frightening and thrilling.

Chapter 4 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Inglatine was just as dull and plodding as expected. She groped for words in her horrendous Tremontine until she lapsed into either Leutish or Old Sairish. Lassanna knew Old Sairish alone of the ladies-in-waiting; her mother had insisted her girls be educated as she was, despite Tremontine custom. Knowing Old Sairish was fortunate, if translating for a lump like Inglatine could be considered so.

Lassa sorted fine wool threads for Inglatine's embroidery, and helped put her to bed at night; the Princess insisted Lassa was the only one who could properly comb out her stubborn, impossibly yellow hair. Lassa soon found herself in the unwelcome position of favorite, but even as tiresome as Inglatine was, Lassa had to acknowledge her kind, gentle manner.

Court life made it bearable: dancing, feasting, music, entertainments of all kinds, often in the Sairish way even with the two countries on the brink of war. Though the King had spent many years in Sairland and its territories, his chief counselor Teacher insisted the Sairish should not only be opposed but driven back. Land gained was magic gained.

Chapter 4 Part 5 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Gonnor was waiting when she came into her mother's rooms the next afternoon. "I disapprove your sleeping so late, Lassanna."

"The dancing didn't end until dawn, and I was having such wonderful fun, Papa! I don't know how you could stand to go to bed. I suppose when one is old--"

"I'm not old, I'm forty-eight!" He turned to Lassa's mother. "Woman! You should have made her come upstairs much, much earlier. Can I trust you with nothing?"

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

The first day of Winter's Beginning, 40 KY
Tremont Keep

Gonnor Lord Whitehorse disapproved of modern life--women eating with the men, dancers touching hands!--and never more than right now. His youngest daughter Lassanna danced with Prince Andrin this Eddin's Day night, her collarbones showing above her fur-trimmed neckline, and her unveiled hair fanning to one side whenever she swung round too quickly--he could see her nape! Was honor such a forgotten thing at the court of Temmin the Second? Temmin the Great would never have stood for it. In his days, men knew how to marshal their wives and daughters. But those days were forty years gone, and Gonnor himself had been a child.

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

Words bloomed on the pages, and Temmin's stomach tightened in anticipation. Pictures took the place of words. He looked down as if from a great height at a butte rising high between two rivers converging to its south. The western river sparkled green and light in the sun; the eastern one was wide, and dark as a shadow.

The southern side of the butte sheered off, steep and foreboding; to the north it sloped away into a boundless forest and up into the foothills of a great mountain with three peaks. His viewpoint descended to a stone fortress built into the butte's highest point. It overlooked a bustling settlement crowding the confluence of the two rivers; smoke from its many chimneys made a cloud. Seven tree-covered hills rose in the city, each topped with what looked like temples in various stages of construction; one had a flat white boulder atop it that Temmin recognized as the Father's Rock, an ancient shrine to Pagg. The eighth was the largest, a black rise hulking to the south and west, alone in a forest.


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