Teacher

Chapter 16 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin rose from the book oddly comforted. "He let the boy Ardunn live? He didn't change his mind once they were in Tremont?"

"No," said Teacher. "Tennoc took Ardunn to Marsury, where he became quite the pet of the Lady Inglatine. At Marsury he trained with the Brothers and Guardsmen, served with distinction against border incursions to the far north of Barle and the Leutan border, and married Eselda, the youngest of Temmin the Bastard's daughters by Cariodas. He was never allowed to return to Kellen, but was given a holding in northern Barle. Ardunn was the first Marquess of Hawksfield, and took the name Anamma."

"Anamma? But they're still at Hawksfield--I have Anamma cousins!" exclaimed Temmin.

Chapter 16 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Harsin sat at breakfast the next day, alone but for his eldest daughter. Ansella's robin's egg blue morning room, cheerful even in the weak winter sun, served as consolation and goad to them both; they sat silent, picking at their eggs and coffee. The butler appeared, arms full of newsprint, but set the stack before the King alone. "Affton, where are my morning papers?" asked Sedra.

"There'll be no more of that," growled her father. "I'm done with you ruining your mind. All this reading will stunt your ability to bear children."

"Papa, you know that isn't true! Many educated women--"

Chapter 15 Part 9 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

"Shut those doors!" said Harsin from the hallway outside Twenna's apartments. "I never want to hear her voice again! Hallik! Where is Shelstone?"

"Sir Elbig is on his way, sir," answered the butler.

"I don't know any 'Sir Elbig,'" said the King.

A whiff of Elbig Shelstone's jasmine-tinged cologne hurried into the hall before he did. "Your Majesty! Felicitations on the birth of your new son, my grandson!" he beamed. "Why are you standing in the hallway? Hallik, take him in to see the little thing! He's perfect in every way, sir, resembles his father--"

Chapter 15 Part 8 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin shook his head to clear it of Gwynna's terror and rage. "I don't like to hear my name used by someone like Tennoc."

"How so?" said Teacher.

"To kill a child--an infant?"

Teacher leaned back against the mantel. "Politics is an ugly business. There is a very real fear in any regime change that someone with perhaps a better claim--someone like Ardunn--would become a rallying point against a ruler and must be eliminated early. Your uncles have no clear claim to the throne, but they have become such rallying points. Is it so strange that Tennoc would wish to secure his position? Especially as a bastard?"

Chapter 15 Part 2 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Tennoc awoke alone in his pavilion the next day. He'd been stripped of his armor and bloodied clothing, and lay naked on his cot under blankets and furs. A small camp stove burned nearby warming the winter air; on its hob a can of water heated. He found a towel and scrubbed dirt and blood from his body; goosebumps rose on his wet skin. He dressed in clean clothes, placed a gold circlet set with ruby cabochons upon his head and a fur-lined cloak around his shoulders, and walked outside. Men huddled near fires came to attention as Tennoc passed. He ignored them and left the camp.

Chapter 15 Part 1 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin brooded in his study, saying little to either the nervous Fen as he juggled the luncheon service or Jenks when he came to check on his disciple's work. "What did he do to put you in a mood, sir?" said Jenks.

"What did who do--Wallek? Nothing. He's fine." Fen exhaled and dropped a fork. "A little less scrutiny, Jenks," smiled Temmin, rising from the table. "It's no wonder he's dropping things with you breathing down his neck."

Jenks propelled the trainee and the luncheon cart out the door. "Sir, if you need me--for anything--just ring. I will answer the summons."

"I'll be all right, Jenks. Teacher will be here soon to whisk me off into his fairy tales." Jenks lifted his eyebrows but continued into the hall and closed the door behind him.

Chapter 14 Part 9 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

What Temmin hated most about leaving the book's spell was its lingering after-effects; the wounds, fear, hatred, even love and desire took time to dissipate and always left him confused and disoriented. "I'd wondered how magic worked in battles. I mean, if it were me, I'd just stand out front with you and let 'em have it. I guess it doesn't work that way."

"No," said Teacher, "otherwise we would own more of Inchar than we do. Your father has no magic in any event, and my magic has been greatly eroded over the centuries."

"Eroded? Eroded how?"

Chapter 14 Part 8 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

The plan broke, as plans do and as Tennoc expected it would. Fallik's cavalry waited too long to charge the Kells, giving them time to set up the shield wall so familiar to Tennoc. The Tremontines had no such reliable protection. He gritted his teeth in frustration; he'd warned his cousin, but Fallik was both headstrong and unconvinced Tennoc knew his business despite their previous victories. Magic could puncture the shield wall, but Tennoc's power had deserted him again.

Chapter 14 Part 7 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Tennoc took his armies north along the River Cobb toward Gwyrfal, Crymavon's men joining the expedition. The Kellish towns and castles along the way were caught unawares and lightly defended. Some surrendered outright to the Hero of Maalig, others after a brief skirmish; a few chose to fight to the last. The fierce battles at the coal mines of Baltha ended in the fortress's taking, and the slaughter of Clan Baltha's men.

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

A gentle throat-clearing came from the doorway to his bedchamber. "Not feeling sneaky today?" said Temmin, keeping his head on the pillow.

Teacher came into the room. "I am never 'sneaky.' I am circumspect."

"To be sure," said Temmin in a flat voice. A long silence fell. "Well?" he finally said.

"I am here to resume the story, if you wish it."

"I should burn that Pagg-damned book," growled Temmin.

"It will not burn, but you are welcome to try if you think that might alleviate your pain. You may not believe me, but I am here to help you."

Temmin put a forearm across his aching eyes. "Some help."

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