Cariodas

Chapter 16 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Several days passed with no sign from the King, until a messenger arrived. The Temple was to expect a visitor the next day. Would it be some emisssary, or King Temmin himself? That morning, a nervous young Mother came to fetch Gwynna down to the emptied Worship Hall: the visitor stood just outside the doors.

A sharp pang stabbed at Gwynna; life had beaten most of whatever vanity she'd possessed out of her, but she had been beautiful eighteen years ago. Work had roughened her hands, for no one could afford to be idle in the Mother's House. She wore the simple undyed wool habit of a lay Mother, a blue linen veil over her head; it had been long since she'd dressed in fine clothes. She didn't have a mirror to see how she'd aged, and wondered how she would appear in her visitor's eyes. There was nothing to be done for it. She walked to the Worship Hall and stood as she had when Ardunn was a baby, at the feet of the Mother's great statue.

Chapter 14 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Inside the catacombs, Tennoc stared at the two bricked-in niches. In the lefthand one, his father King Andrin the First moldered; to the right, the heads of his mother and his best friend lay, sewn into clean linen and left to rot away to bone, with Tennoc's heart beside them.

Lassanna died Queen of Kellen; Whitehorse would also lay claim to her remains, but Tennoc would keep Mama here, in the Tremontine royal chapel beside Andrin's bones--and some day, his own. Kenver's spirit would not fully rest until he lay in Gwyrfal's Hill with his ancestors; somehow Tennoc would return his stepbrother's skull to Kellish soil.

Thoughts of Gwyrfal brought thoughts of his Gwynna. She must be alone and friendless now, for Dunnoc had clearly lost his mind. Even so, madness wouldn't stop Tennoc from caving his stepfather's head in.

Chapter 13 Part 8 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

The day after he committed his father's body to the Hill, Tennoc rode down from the Keep to Tremont City for his hasty, simplified coronation, his father's reluctant lords at his back. Hanni followed behind, holding the reins of a white bull calf. They climbed the long winding switchbacks on foot up Pagg's Hill to the Temple at its top. He could have lifted himself to the top had he wished--Teacher had taught him to raise himself on a column of solid air--but he did not wish to leave his lords behind. He had lords now. What a strange thought. Would that he could depend on them.

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 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."

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