Anneya

Chapter 14 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

The first day of Winter's Ending, 992 KY

To Temmin's surprise, Amma's Day comforted him. He watched the farmhands herd the Estate's cattle, sheep and goats between the two sacred bonfires and helped the stablehands do the same with the horses, leading his own Jebby through himself; Alvo worked beside him but said no more than "A blessed Amma's Day to you, Your Highness." Temmin wanted to shake him.

As Duke of Whithorse it was also Temmin's duty to walk with the Reggiston Temple's Senior Mother through the cleaned and shining stables, poultry yards, goat sheds and pig pens blessing the animals. Every barn cat that could be found, every sheep dog at its master's heels received the Mother's Blessing.

Chapter 12 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Whithorse Estate, Whithorse
The final week of Winter's Beginning, 992 KY

With the family in mourning all royal celebrations and parties were canceled for the next year, and the City's leading lights of course followed suit; the social season thus ended two spokes early, to the despair of more than a few mothers looking to marry off daughters who were aging by the minute. Ellika, who would normally never hide herself at the Estate at this time of year, didn't care a bit. She spent her time in the Great House's cozy nursery fussing over Anneya with Lady Donnis.

The wet nurse brought from Tremont City lost her milk, to general alarm. "How does one find a wet nurse, Cousin Donnie?" fretted Ellika.

Chapter 11 Part 8 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Ellika rarely let the baby go, relinquishing her little sister long enough for the hastily-called wet nurse to feed her before snatching her away again. She declared to the family that Anneya was her responsibility: "No one else seems to care, so I'm taking her back to Whithorse with Temmin. Nurse and I will see to her." She even learned to change the tiny girl's diaper, refusing assistance with a savagery once reserved for incompetent milliners and dancing partners who trod one too many times on her toes.

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 11 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Vennaday, the 25th day of Winter's Beginning, 992 KY

"The Queen is in labor?" said Anda.

The spoon in Temmin's hand stopped midway to his mouth and he snuck a glance around the dining hall. His last petitioner had taken longer than expected, and by the time he entered the room most of the diners had already finished; near-empty tables and padded benches surrounded them. Satisfied no one might hear their conversation, he answered, "Yes, I got the message just after lunch with the Holy Ones. How'd you know?"

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