Tennoc

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

Tennoc and Hanni rode through forests, over rolling grasslands, past oak groves, ripening grain fields, neatly tended farms and grasslands dotted with sheep, cattle and horses, all sleek on the lush pasture. Tennoc wondered if it was a good year, or if the land was always this rich. His grandfather must be wealthy indeed. "Prime horse country, just as I've always heard," said Tennoc.

"Aye, sir. Once, long ago, when I served my Princess Inglatine, came I here to Whitehorse. Best horse country there is."

They followed the main track, camping at night wherever they could find cover. When he could, Tennoc practiced his magic, trying little things he'd seen Kenver do. If he concentrated, he could snatch a flame from the fire and bounce it in his hand like a ball. He could float good-sized rocks, though the larger ones made his broken rib hurt and he couldn't always make them go the direction he wanted them to. More than once, Hanni unleashed a torrent of Leutish curses at him when a rock went astray and came close to braining the man.

Chapter 12 Part 9 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

They approached the Whitehorse border and the River Cobb. Tennoc paused, considering their options. "We'll avoid Crymavon Castle."

"Your mother's cousin is Lady there, no?"

Tennoc nodded, but said, "For all we know, Dunnoc's sent word ahead. If he hasn't, I won't put Lady Flaryn in danger should the King follow us here."

"Cross we at Riverbend Ferry? Supplies at the village we might buy."

"I'd rather not risk the ferry, and we can always forage. A little upstream there's a ford. We'll cross there."

The ford ran deeper than they'd expected, and soon they were soaked to the waist, their horses snorting and holding their heads high. They climbed the bank and entered Whitehorse.

A searing light flooded Tennoc's body. A thousand doors opened at once within him, a terrifying elation rushing through them into his body and mind. His skin tingled and sparked, as if static crawled across it in all directions. He slumped in his saddle.

Chapter 12 Part 8 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Kenver told Tennoc the moment they were alone. He fell on his stepbrother's shoulder and cried. "How could Father turn on you, knowing how Gwynna and I love you!"

Tennoc held Kenver close. "That's why he wants me dead. He was as my father--no more, but you will always be my brother, Ken, always!"

They parted, and Kenver wiped his eyes. "Shall we tell your mother?"

"No, no," said Tennoc, "I want her held blameless."

"I could take you by reflection to Brunsial."

"Then your father will be angry with you, and I'll look guilty. I've done nothing wrong."

Kenver worried the corner of his mouth. "What will you do?"

Chapter 12 Part 6 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Gwynna darted among the apple trees so quickly Tennoc couldn't get a bead on her; his missile bounced off a tree trunk. She was luckier. The hard little green apple flew from her hand and hit Tennoc square above the heart. "Ow!"

"A fair hit! A fair hit!" she cried, jumping up and down and clapping her hands until her flowing sleeves flapped. "You're dead, sir!" Tennoc clasped his chest, let out a melodramatic shriek and fell down obligingly.

A few yards away, Kenver said, "Can I get up now?" His sister went to both her fallen enemies and helped them to their feet in gracious victory. "How did you become such a good shot?" grumbled Kenver as he dusted off the dirt and picked twigs from his once nearly white hair, now a dark brown.

Chapter 12 Part 5 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

"Pirrun, you should have been there!" cried Tennoc, clapping a young man on the shoulder. Music, endless wine and drunken laughter filled Gwyrfal's great hall; Kellen's warriors were home after a long, successful campaign.

"I would've if I hadn't broken my leg," winced Pirrun. "You've been gone so long it's healed! Why did you two not come home on the Royal Road, as the King did? Why come home with your soldiers? You could've been back weeks ago!"

"I don't ask anything of the men I'm not willing to do myself," declared Kenver. "Besides," he added in mock confidentiality, "Tennoc gets nauseous when I take him through a reflection!" The crowd hooted.

Chapter 12 Part 4 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Gwyrfal, Kellen
Spring's Beginning, 60 KY

Eighteen-year-old Tennoc ar Sial took the stairs to his mother's bower two at a time, bearing a parchment in his hand. "Mother!" he called. "I--oh!" The young man skidded to a halt. Ladies-in-waiting surrounded his mother, at work on their embroideries and sewing; they smiled at him, especially Cariodas. Any other young man would welcome her soft brown eyes gazing at him in worship, but Tennoc blushed and looked away. "Ah, something has come for you, Mother. The messenger said it was for your eyes only, but that it concerned me."

Chapter 5 Part 6 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

In the end, she and an ecstatic Tennoc returned to Gwyrfal. Though Gwynna had rejected a borrowed mother the year before, now she clung to Lassa if not as mother then as a beloved aunt; Kenver, nearly ten years old and his tow hair darkening, held himself a little more aloof but not for long. Lassa was soon a part of the royal family to all its members but Dunnoc, through no fault of his.

Dunnoc made a respectful, determined assault on her. Her favorite dishes appeared on every menu. Music and dancing reappeared now that public mourning for Hallia had ended, and Lassa's favored musicians appeared at Gwyrfal. To Dunnoc's dismay, she kept herself from merriment, preferring to live quietly near the children. This was so unlike her, for while Hallia lived Lassa was the merriest of ladies imaginable, much given to dancing and laughter. That was the Lassa he wanted, and the Lassa he missed.

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

Kenver-and-Tennoc became Kenver. The boy retreated into himself, leaving Tennoc sitting in the garden alone with Gwynna most days. "What did I do? How come he doesn't like me any more?"

"You've thtill got a mama and we don't." Gwynna's lisp had worsened. "I want my mama, Tennoc!"

"Oh, Gwynna, don't cry!" He threw his arms around the little girl. "Look, you can borrow my mama. She can't have any more children, and I don't have a father anyway to give me a brother or sister, so there's lots of her left over and I'm sure she'd like a daughter, so please don't cry!"

"I want my mama!" she sobbed. Further persuasion made her cry harder. Tennoc finally took her to her grandmother the Dowager Queen and went in search of his mother.

Chapter 5 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

"So, bread, where's butter?"

Seven-year-old Tennoc squinted up into the sudden shadow over the rose bed where he was digging; the King towered over him, blocking the sun. "Ken? He's lookin' for good rocks--um, h'lo, Your Majesty." Tennoc always tried to remember the formalities, but here in the nursery and its attendant gardens he could not imagine the King as anyone other than the father of Kenver and Gwynna.

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