Tags: last royal mistress

temmin tea time

Chapter 37 book 3 is live, and book 3 is done

What It Means to Be King:

He called for Jenks, to no reply; it was late, and he’d probably gotten sick of waiting, thought Temmin. The windows were open. The music had begun again, no longer merry but slow and wistful--the last dance. The faint tune blended with the song of the crickets as it flickered in and out of hearing.

Temmin stretched. He took off his coat and laid it over the back of the green velvet couch. Tomorrow was an official day off from his work at the Temple, but he hadn’t been back since Nerr’s Day. His accepted excuse was the Queen’s illness. But in truth, he couldn’t face his duties, or Issak. Issak is not Nerr, he reminded himself; even at a distance it was easy to see when Issak was himself or when the God had taken him. Even so. He unbuttoned his waistcoat, pulled his shirttails out, and shambled into his oddly dark bedchamber.

He caught a toe on a chair leg, and cursed as he stumbled. The lamps were irritatingly low; how could anyone see anything, let alone the furniture? He turned up the lamp on the console table. Off came his pocket watch and waistcoat. His cufflinks were following when a soft sigh from his bed startled him. The bed’s curtains were drawn, another oddity that raised the hair on his forearms. This is ridiculous, why am I afraid of my own bed? He stepped up and gingerly pushed a curtain aside.

On his bed lay a faint, slight figure, sound asleep.

temmin tea time

Chapter 35 book 3 is live


Temmin put his hands to his temples and pressed. “This has been the worst spoke ever!”

“Now, little Supplicant, how can you say that?” said Nerr, stroking Temmin’s thigh. “You’ve lain with Gods, twice! An honor few mortals ever receive, once. And My Sister’s Embodiment has fallen in love with you. I’d say that’s quite a momentous spoke.”

“And my mother’s been poisoned, and my father’s mistress has turned up pregnant with an illegitimate son. Wonderful spoke.”

“Pregnant, is she?” said Nerr, studying Issak’s cuticles.

“She was supposed to have a mark, but someone took it off. And we can’t figure out who. It wasn’t the Traveler Queen, Teacher swears it wasn’t. I can’t figure out who else could--who could--take it--off...” Nerr raised His eyebrows questioningly. “It was one of You, wasn’t it!” said Temmin. “It had to be, who else could do it! She was at Neya’s Day, I remember seeing her. It was before--” Temmin jumped off the bed. “You did it! I saw You kiss her!”

“Got over your fear quickly, didn’t you, sweetheart?” said Nerr. He snapped His fingers and Temmin fell to his knees, silenced. “Do not yell. I cannot abide it. Yes, I took off her charm. Oh, stop gawping.”
allis not myself

Chapter 34 book 3 is live

There He Is:

Temmin galloped down the stairs. Despite the early hour, the servants were already at work; it was a holiday and there was much still to do. Flowers festooned the banisters and hallways; their pink and red ribbons rustled in the breeze Temmin left in his wake. He pulled up just outside the small drawing room. For the first time ever, their mother would not be with them for a Nerr’s Day blessing exchange. He spent a moment untangling the ribbons dangling from the nosegays, and entered with as much brotherly dignity as he could manage.

There he is!” muttered Ellika under her breath, but she gave him a bleary smile. Her hair was hastily clasped at her nape with a pink ribbon; her eyes were puffy and her wrapper slightly askew. Sedra looked somewhat more composed. “Let Sedra go first,” murmured Ellika. “This is her last Nerr’s Day.”


Chapter 33 book 3 is live

Respect and Responsibiity:

Temmin sat up, propping his arms on the back of the couch. “You were at Whithorse when Mama got married. Just how unhappy was Mama when she had to marry Papa?”

Jenks turned from the little luncheon table and frowned. “Why would you ask me that, sir? Now of all times?”

“I can’t help thinking about Mama, I suppose, and we’ve been--studying this sort of thing. Teacher said Grandfather gave her to Papa like a possession to be traded.”

“Did he,” snapped Jenks. “I’d suppose that crow would know.” He rattled the dishes a little harder than he had to as he stacked them on the cart. Jenks turned abruptly, arms folded. “Did he tell you whose idea it was for your parents to marry?”

temmin tea time

Chapter 32 book 3 is live

Trying Not to Think:

“It’s Palgday, isn’t it? See if they hold market day here, Bear, and go fetch us some treats! Fruit pastes for me and barley sugars for thee, eh? Here’s a silver, sweetheart, off with thee!” When he was gone, Rose lay down on the bed and let the honest tears flow. She’d held them back for so long--not the tears of a tantrum, but soul tears, from deep inside, tears she had refused to shed since she was a girl. The tears filled her eyes and slid down her cheeks onto her neck, leaving wide, wet trails. So much had happened to her since she’d left Deneen, and even more since she’d left the Harritson plantation. She’d tried to make the best of it--more than the best of it, she’d tried to make herself independent of any man, a noblewoman of her own making! And she’d done it! She had been Lady Callant! And now the former Lady Callant was lying on a straw ticking in the best room of the only inn of a village so tiny it wasn’t even on a map.

Lady Callant. Domma Rose Herrada. Mistress Lisset Townes. Mistress Lisset Bakerson. Miss Lisset Rosedale. Lisset, Lisset, Lisset.

When Bear returned from market day, he found his mistress on the bed, still dressed, her face turned away from the window and her eyes unseeing. Bear put aside the sweets he’d gotten, closed the window, drew the shades, called in a serving maid to help Missy undress, and settled down to wait.


GreenGlass's points story is up

A Lesson:

“Hm?” said Ansella. The lesson. It had been something about Venna’s brothers, the treacherous rapist Eddin, the violent rapist Farr, and the lecherous rapist Nerr. At least she thought that’s what it was about. She never really listened to lessons or sermons anyway; she preferred service and offerings. But it was so warm and pleasant under the tree. Ansella didn’t pay much attention to the words, bobbing gently up and down on the rhythmic cadence of Ibbit’s strong, sure voice instead, a voice that eased her doubts about Ibbit’s interpretation of scripture. “No, Sister,” Ansella sighed in contentment. “I understand.”

“You understand enough, darling,” smiled Ibbit. She stood up from the bench surrounding the tree and reached down to Ansella on the ground. “Come. Walk with me.” She took Ansella’s arm and tucked it firmly in her own, leading her down the dappled paths away from the great house. “You’ve come so far in your understanding, Ansella. I’m very proud of you,” said Ibbit.

Ansella turned a face open with pleasure up to her taller companion. “Really? I sometimes wonder if I fully grasp what you’re telling me.”

Ibbit surreptitiously looked around them. They were standing in the orchard, the low branches of the pear trees shielding them from sight. “Annie, don’t worry about that,” she murmured. Ansella felt Ibbit’s strong arms encircle her, healer’s hands working at her nape until she loosened and opened completely.


Chapter 31 book 3 is live


Today Brinnid would sail with the tide. He had finished his last business at the consulate, and, though absent Stewn’s careful watch, his trunks were aboard. He now waited impatiently in the downstairs receiving room for the gig to take him from the consulate to the docks.

Brinnid reached into his vest pocket for his watch, but he checked himself, moved to a pocket closer to his heart, and drew out a small case instead. He tripped its latch, and gazed at the portrait of Sedra inside. Once he put down the rebellion, he told the little painting, he would order a new royal yacht, and he’d name it the Queen Sedra. That was a grand gesture Sedra the woman would appreciate.

He closed the case. In its silver reflection, he saw a movement behind him and turned, expecting the consul.

The man by the doors was not the consul. In fact, judging by his dress, he was not anyone of any note at all. “Shall I call you Your Majesty, or ‘Lieutenant Murren’?” said the man in Traveler’s clothes.


Chapter 30 book 3 is live

[I forgot to post this! It's been up ages!]

Two Prophecies, Fulfilled


“She’s gotten worse the last day or two,” said the lady-in-waiting. Over Ansella’s protests, Donnis told him of the headaches, the weakness, the vomiting, the lack of appetite. “But she won’t let me call the Sisters! I’ve given her until this evening, and then I’m calling them whether she likes it or not,” she finished.

“I’m not giving her five minutes,” said Temmin grimly. “We’re calling them now, and there’s an end to it. Papa will be furious when he finds out you’re ill and haven’t gotten help, Mama!”

“Your father doesn’t care a whit,” said Ansella, a little color coming into her wan cheeks. “If he did, he would have enquired.”

“He thinks you’re having a sulk. Everyone does!”

“And don’t I deserve one!” she said, her old temper breaking through her lethargy.

“About Lady Callant--” Temmin began.

“Don’t bring her up, Temmy,” warned Lady Donnis.

Lady Callant can have him!” shouted Ansella, rising off the pillows and then sinking back, shaking, and paler than before.

“Mama!” said Temmin. “Right. Donnis, I’m sorry to order you about--”

But Lady Donnis was already on her way to the sitting room. “Hanston, off you go. Find the nearest footman and have him fetch the Sisters. Be quick about it!”

“Finally!” said Miss Hanston as she picked up her skirts and dashed out of the room.

Lady Donnis ran back into the bedchamber to the sound of breaking glass. Ansella was panting, doubled over in Temmin’s arms; pieces of a drinking glass lay in a puddle of water on the floor. “I tried to give her some water--I’m sorry, I dropped the glass--I had to catch her--” Ansella cried out and clutched at Temmin’s shoulders. “Cousin Donnie, what’s wrong!” Temmin said.

Donnis rushed to the right of the bed to hold Ansella on the other side. “She might be miscarrying,” she said. “There, Annie, let go of Temmy, I have you!” she soothed as she felt another spasm shake the Queen.

“Don’t tell him! Don’t tell him!” Ansella wept as Donnis rocked her.

“Tell who what, Mama?” said Temmin. He stood up and barely missed treading on the broken shards of glass. “Miscarriage? What?

temmin tea time

Chapter 29 book 3 is live

The Guenor Rebellion:

The day of the battle, the King’s two generals surveyed the gathered enemy from a rise behind the camp; Ardenil saw nothing but a sea of spears, fronted by banks of archers protected by earthenworks bristling with horse-killing pikes. “I don’t see anything for it, Dantono,” said Ardenil. “We’re outnumbered, they have a battalion of Brothers, and they’re entrenched.”

“I don’t think they’ve even bothered to saddle their cavalry. I don’t see a single horse,” said Dantono, squinting. “All the platoons we’ve sent to scout their flanks have gone missing--I think they just fled into the woods! The rest of our men are on the brink of turning tail, Ardenil, we’re losing discipline with no way to enforce it. We’ve never faced anything like this. What do we do?”

Ardenil scanned the enemy again. Years of campaigning left him able to read the mood of an army even from this distance. He could sense their excitement, the confidence running through the rebel army, such a stark contrast to the dispirited men he was left with. I’m sending men to certain death, he thought. Ardenil had been a soldier his entire life. The only reason he hadn’t stayed with the Brothers was that he could not forget his sweetheart, no matter how hard he tried; finally, he gave up his postulancy, went home and married her, and joined the King’s Army as an officer. I don’t mind dying, he thought; though leaving Elibetta a widow pained him, she would get his pension and his oldest son would care for her. No, it wasn’t the dying, it was the pointless slaughter of his men that made it hard to swallow.

Finally he turned to Dantono, his oldest friend. “We’d better see the King and try to talk some sense into him.”

Marri's Bonus Story is up

The Loophole:

Nino Postulant heard the footsteps coming up the length of the Public Office and stopping before his desk, but didn’t look up. “Excuse me? Father?” said a young voice.

“I’m not a Father yet,” grumbled Nino, keeping his eyes on Pagg’s Book. And I won’t be if people keep interrupting me while I’m studying for the Exam, he added to himself. Nino sighed and rubbed his hands through the short brown shag of his hair, still awaiting its tonsure. Why do they insist we pull Office duty during Exam Week? He carefully marked his place with one finger--losing your place when studying was a constant hazard with a book that size and type that small, and he constantly lost his--and looked up.

Nino saw standing before him a very young man, or perhaps a boy, clutching the hand of a girl about the same suspiciously young age. He stared at them until they both squirmed. “Can I help you?” he finally said.

The girl nearly wilted under his glare, and the boy squeaked, “Are we in the right place to be married?”

“There aren’t any marriages going on right now. You’re either early or late,” said Nino. He returned to his book, and found his finger had unthinkingly moved; he ran it impatiently back down the page to pick up where he’d left off.

“Beg pardon, Father,” said the boy again.

“I’m not a Father yet!” shouted Nino. Heads turned at the other desks in the Public Office, and Nino closed his eyes. Pagg give me patience with clodhoppers. “What?” he said, opening his eyes again.