Geoff had read a great deal since starting at the cathedral school in the beginning of the year. He’d delved into poetry, not just religious, mystical poetry, but epic and lyric and every other type of -ic poetry there was. Including romantic poetry.
They had much to say about weddings. About love. About the fidelity between two people that could last a lifetime, or beyond.
None of them ever said much about second weddings.
Morgan steered her broom to land right by the message box just outside Dyfed Keep. She supposed she could have gone right to the front door — Garnet was still lady here, and surely Garnet herself did the same — but she sensed she would need the walk up the drive to gather her thoughts. The fly from Apple Keep to here had somehow not been enough time.
For the second time in a single year, the church was filled with the great and mighty of the land, all assembled to bid farewell to one of their own.
Tuck surveyed the packed church as dispassionately as he could. He had already conducted the preliminaries of the service: the initial blessings, the readings, the prayers and songs. But now came the hard part, the sermon that Tuck hadn’t had nearly enough time to work on. The sermon he wished he hadn’t had to write.
As he walked to the lectern and tried to gather his thoughts, his thoughts stole away from him and danced back to the last time he had preached a funeral sermon to a cathedral full of the greatest of Albion. That had been Lord Lot’s funeral — almost five years ago. Father Hugh had done the sermon for Lord Pellinore’s funeral. He only gave this one to Tuck because he thought it might be more fitting for a younger man to lead the service for a younger man’s funeral. That, and Tuck had to resume his duties sooner or later, and it might as well be now.
It was also, Tuck suspected, a test. Had he learned his lesson from the year prior? Or, given the least temptation, would he careen back into his old ways?
Delyth had been in the doldrums for … what … months? And if it was just stemming from her father’s death … well, that would have been one thing. Cherry could imagine only too well. How many stormy nights had she shivered in her bedroom back in Bledavik, convinced that this would be the storm that would make it so her parents never came home again?
But whatever it was that was getting Delyth down, it wasn’t her father. Her father had died in Imsdyn. Delyth and Dilys both had been heartbroken, but they’d both been recovering. Dilys still was recovering. But Delyth had crashed in Ververe, and she hadn’t pulled herself up yet. Sometimes it was all Cherry, Dilys, and Ravenna combined could do to get her out of bed and into class, to say nothing of doing enough work outside to keep her afloat. And eating regularly and sleeping neither too much or not enough were their own battles.
Luckily, Cherry had a solution, or at least a way to bring a smile to Delyth’s face.
A new normal, thought Morgan, always took more adjusting to than a mere change.
Today was the fifth day that the twins were going to school. So far there hadn’t been any problems, though Morgan wasn’t foolish enough to assume that lack of problems today was any kind of forecast for what tomorrow would bring. For one thing, she remembered Ravenna’s experience all too well. Ravenna hadn’t faced the derision of her peers until she was older. For another thing, she knew that Pascal and Chloe were very, very different people from Ravenna. Ravenna had tried to conciliate her peers, then she had retreated into a shell that she still wasn’t fully out of. Pascal and Chloe would give as good as they got — and given their Fae blood and probable magical talents, “as good as they got” may involve a great deal of mayhem.
Not that the little buggers wouldn’t deserve every minute of it.
Delyth had probably picked one of the worst times of the year to come here. The Agnestide break would start on the first of Hybel, which meant that the exams were all this week. It was Delyth’s first set of Camford exams, too. She probably should have been acting like Cherry and Ravenna and Dilys too, thanks to their examples, spending day and night in the library and re-reading her notes until knowledge dripped out of her ears.
But she couldn’t. She’d already spent too many sleepless nights being the good student. And somewhere in between all the studying and the writing papers and the quizzing the girls and having the girls quiz her and the endless cups of coffee, a thought had crossed her mind:
Why the hell am I doing this?
She had turned nineteen three months ago. She still hadn’t had a course. If she didn’t know what her future was going to be … why was she studying so hard? Why was she turning her brain into a pretzel if she didn’t know what she would be using this knowledge for? If she was fated to spend the rest of her life as a maiden aunt, did she even need a Camford education?
So today, after her exam, she’d hired a carriage from one the Camford stables and had it take her to Apple Keep. She’d told nobody where she was going. She’d come alone.