an exerpt of the current WIP

I’m having the kind of day where you just want to curl up with a blanket and some cocoa and let the world get on without you for a while. Of course, I can’t, so . . . have a piece of what I wish I were doing right now.

This is for the Birthstone line. It’s an experiment for me, in genre, style and subject matter. I hope it works. (Snippet is SFW.)

“All of his life I have tried to shield my son from mockery,” she said in a quiet, firm voice.”When your priests came I rejoiced in my heart that his purpose had been revealed to us. I answered your questions honestly and I have hidden nothing from you. But you, my lord chamberlain, you only want my son as a distraction to keep my king alive for a little bit longer. If that is all you want, there is nothing we can offer. My son will do great good, but not where he is held in contempt.” She held out her hand to her son, who took it. They both began to walk out of the kitchens.

Saneba said to Damalepazhur, “Your arrogance will be your downfall,” in a low voice and strode after them.

“Please,” Damalepazhur said, and they all stopped, the boy’s–and Saneba’s–mouths dropped open in surprise. Damalepazhur hesitated, then got down onto his knees, wincing when all his guards and the kitchen servants followed suit. Even Saneba knelt, but the river folk did not. They bowed to no one–it was their right.

He held out his hands in supplication. “Please. You are right. I only want to stay alive a little bit longer. This palace is full of intrigue and secrets. People have tried to poison me, to burn me in my bed, to spook my horses that they would throw me and crush me beneath their hooves. I do not dare spend a night with my wives in case they decide to stick a knife in my ribs. I had to execute my last steward and my last cook because they conspired to murder me.

“But still I live, and I believe the gods have further plans for me–but I do not dare mock them with carelessness. My son–my oldest son–is only eight years old, and I would see him be a man.

“The gods have given me the gift of your son,” he said desperately as neither of their faces changed. “I was foolish to doubt it. Please. Help me stay alive a little bit longer.”

Dolma said softly to her son, “It is your choice.”

The boy paused, then released his mother’s hand and came to Damalepazhur. “I have made a promise,” he said and knelt before him. “I will see it through.”

Damalepazhur would have kissed him, he felt so relieved–but merely held his face and leaned their foreheads together. “Thank you,” he said, looking into Ketu’s strange, light eyes, and the boy smiled faintly back.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

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