Ma Kupar

Chapter 7 Part 6 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Ma Kupar led her away. Mattie took a last look at Adrik; his eyes remained the same hard, flat brown, but he was glaring at his father and spared her not a look.

They walked her down numerous hallways to her bedchamber, a grand, whitewashed affair of tapestries, carpets, and a stove tiled in brilliant blue; the room's mullioned windows looked out at the great lake and its hundreds of islands and thousands of boats. They fed her a light meal: oatcakes, salted fish and some sort of dried berry compote with custard. Mattie offered no resistance when they undressed her down to her chemise, nor when they tucked her into bed, pulled shut the bed-curtains and darkened the room.

Her mind did resist. Would she rather die than marry Ruvin? Perhaps if she offered them compliance, they might grow complacent in time and she could make good an escape. As things stood she had no knowledge of the country nor of the language, and not a friend to help her. Adrik looked as if he wanted to come to her defense, but was it because he wanted the advantage marriage to a daughter of Harsin would confer? Or did he love her, and if he did, would he go against his father?

Chapter 7 Part 5 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Ma Kupar led Mattie past guards set three and three beside a great arched door banded in iron, and left her in a high-vaulted hall; tapestries covered the stone walls, thick carpets the wooden floors. Mattie was the only woman in the room. Men in native costume filled the benches--the Gremas? She had never heard them called anything other than "northern barbarians," but Ma Kupar had used the name "Gremas." Red heads and brown heads sprinkled the crowd, but most were blond. Almost every eye turned toward her was blue.

At the hall's far end, a roaring blaze filled an enormous fireplace hooded in the same verdigris copper covering the turrets. On a dais before it sat two men in ancient, ornately carved chairs. Both wore richer versions of the common clothing--woolen trousers tucked into modern riding boots, and high-necked shirts. Their long quilted vests were silk embroidered in gold. The one on Mattie's left had hair so shot through with white that the blond strands remaining looked like sunlight streaked on snow. The other's hair was as dark as her own, though heavily threaded with silver; his beard, trimmed more neatly than those of the men around him, was almost completely gray. Something about his lean, angular face resembled the King's profile on a five-silver piece.

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

The flat grasslands of the Northern Wastes turned into forests of pine and newly-greened larches and birch, patches of snow purple in their shadows. They traveled miles through these trees until the road burst into in the open, traveling along the shoreline of a lake so large it could fairly be called an inland sea. Islands greater and smaller rose up from its surface, the small crowned with gray stone buildings, the larger with villages. Boats plied the water and clustered on the many docks; how cold it must be on their decks. At any other time, Mattie might have found the scenery charming and exotic. Now she looked only for opportunities to escape--and saw none.

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