Chapter 3 Part 4 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

"What do you mean, the kitchen's closed?" said Temmin.

"I mean it's closed," said Anda, lounging on her alcove bed with a book. "Not the cooks' fault you decided to see that hulk of a Postulant instead of eating."

"Mathanus and I've been trying to get some time alone for weeks now!"

"Was it worth missing dinner, oh bottomless pit?"

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

Ansella returned to her drawing room, fingers steepled against her mouth as she wandered back and forth before the fire. Ibbit, an Annikan. I will not cry over her, an enemy of my son is an enemy of mine. But the tears fell no matter how often she repeated it.

Was there anyone who could be trusted in the Sister's Temple? Perhaps Imvalda was an Annikan. No, that couldn't be. Ibbit ranked lower than Imvalda. Wouldn't it be easier to take control of the Sisterhood without a fight over the succession? Imvalda was still relatively young, though; if she weren't an Annikan, it would be at least twenty years--perhaps thirty--before an Annikan could try again. Ibbit would need the sponsorship of a great personage to beat Imvalda…someone like the Queen.


Chapter 1 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2

Temmin twirled his mother through the dobla, the simple traditional dance that began all Tremontine balls. As they turned, he took in the room from the corners of his eyes, as he'd been trained. Issak was making the reserved Sedra blush; Ellika was treating the surprisingly graceful Litta as if he were in doddering need of her guidance, luckily to his amusement; and Harsin was entirely too close to Allis. His father wore the intimate, hooded expression that meant far more than polite interest.

Temmin buried his anger and brought his full attention back to his mother, to catch her scanning the balconies; she returned searching eyes to his face. "You look so very well! You've grown, my dear! Are you happy? Did you make the right decision?"

"Oh, yes." His mother quirked a brow; no training could hide his heart from his mother. "Mostly," he amended. "It's not quite what I thought it would be. But I'm learning a great deal, and not all what…what most people think goes on there." He blushed; he still couldn't control his blushing reliably.

Chapter 17 Part 4 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

After a trip to the bath crowded with lethargic men and women, and a soak in the hot pool until they were all the color of well-done lobsters, Temmin and Anda helped put the twins to bed, each in their separate rooms with attendants nearby if needed. "Now what?" said Temmin.

"Now nothing," yawned Anda, plucking a candy off one of the huge piles of offering sweets distributed among the clergy. "I'm clean, I'm brushed, I've tucked the Holy Ones in, I'm done. No one who worked last night does anything today. The lay servants run the place, the petitioners' rooms are closed, and there's no real offering traffic the day after a Spectacle. I am going back to bed for a nap. Aren't you tired?" Temmin shook his head, still wet and shaggy from the bath. "Well, you may do whatever you like, but don't expect me to do it with you." She rose from the couch they were sharing, dropped into her bed, and was asleep in five minutes, her odd, musical snoring muffled in the crook of her arm.

Chapter 16 Part 4 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

Steel glinted against Arta's throat, and in Temmin's imagination red bloomed against the white of her skin. But here and now, the steel wavered ever so slightly. He cast about for anything he could draw upon for guidance. He thought of Jenks: "Who are you more afraid of? The Gods, or your father?" Now that he feared for two innocents, not for himself, he wasn't sure.

Chapter 16 Part 2 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

The urgent conversation appeared to be one-sided from a distance, but on closer inspection, both parties were fully involved, a small pulse in the King's jaw the only sign of increasing tension. "Master yourself, Corland. What do you mean, Temmin's lovers are a sham?" said Harsin, keeping the smile on his face.

"I mean, he's pulled the wool over your eyes!" hissed Corland. "He still qualifies! Your son means to take Supplicancy!"

Chapter 15 Part 4 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

From that day, Edmerka rejoined the daily life of the Keep. She walked more often in the garden, ate in the Great Hall, and dressed in colors, if drab ones, but she rebuffed every attempt Warin made to engage her in conversation. "I am not inclined to speak privately with you, Your Majesty," was all she would say, until finally Hendas of Holset came to her in frustration.

"Lady, I am here to tell you that you will either marry King Warin, or you will marry the Leutan lord of your choosing," he said, settling his thick frame into an equally thick chair in her bower.

"And if I choose none?" she said.

"Then you bring civil war to your kingdom, or worse. The lords ruling in your name will only do it for so long before their ambition overtakes them. And if you reject him, the King may decide to take Leute by force in his anger. Either way, you will destroy your people. Thousands will die, either by the sword or from the starvation and sickness that always follow war."

Chapter 15 Part 3 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1

The next day, Warin waited at a hidden intersection in the garden among the late season flowers; Edmerka had taken to walking there alone, and when she passed, he fell in step beside her. She stiffened, but did not run. "How long do you intend to stay in mourning, sister queen?" he said.

"Until I am done, brother king," she answered. "It is tradition."

"Did you love your husband so very much?"

Her startling blue eyes pinned him through the veil. "I despised him even as I loved my father."

"Your father was a lighthearted man. I am sure he would have you put aside mourning. I myself look forward to seeing you in colors again."

"Do you," she said. She pulled a little curved knife from the tasseled belt at her hips, and began to cut the asters, white and violet, that spilled onto the graveled pathway.

Warin struggled for words. He couldn't see her face through the veil, though he recognized the way she stood, the slight tremble of frustration and temper that used to run through her at the cottage. "Emmae--"

"Don't call me that!"


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