flowers for spring

If I can just leave the theme alone for a while . . .

Speaking of spring, I have a Birthstone Single Shot coming out next month. We’re editing. (Yay!) Here’s an excerpt, because I’m in a remarkably good mood today and feel expansive.

This one’s experimental. (Experimental like whoa. :grin: )

The rumor told of a young man who claimed to be a child of Azhur, who might be a seer or might merely be a poet, but whose words proclaimed that Damalepazhur was not the chosen king of the gods.

Damalepazhur listened to these reports, troubled. “What do the people say?” he asked, and Ketu, kneeling at his side, frowned and bowed his head.

“Some say you are the son of your father and it is not their place to question it,” his guard answered. “Some do not dispute with him.”

Damalepazhur dismissed him and pondered, consulted his advisors and at supper said, “What do you believe, Ketu?”

Ketu chewed and swallowed before he answered. “I believe that this seer wishes to turn the people against you.”

“Yes,” Damalepazhur said impatiently, “but why? I have always tried to be a just king. Why would this seer wish to see me overthrown?”

Ketu touched his arm and Damalepazhur inhaled, feeling himself calm. “Allow me to go into the city, my lord,” Ketu said. “I will listen and bring the knowledge back to you.”

Damalepazhur considered this, then waved the offer away. “No–it is too dangerous. Your face is too well known, and if this seer is turning the people against me he is certainly turning them against you. No,” he said again. “Telemepazhur and my other advisors say to let the soldiers find him. We will soon make him stop spreading this blasphemy.”

“Imprisoning him will make him a martyr,” Ketu said, frowning. “I would sooner prove him to be a liar before the people. He will lose power if no one believes him.”

“You would contradict all my advisers, men two or three times your age?” Damalepazhur said with amusement.

“My age doesn’t matter to you when I agree with you,” Ketu observed.

“It doesn’t matter to me now. What does matter to me is that you are safe.” Ketu did not answer, only drinking his beer with a withdrawn expression, and Damalepazhur said, “Leave it to the soldiers, Ketu. It is not your duty.”

“I am not afraid to discover the truth for you, my lord,” Ketu said, setting his cup on the table with a deliberate hand. “I am not afraid for my own life.”

“Yes, yes, for mine,” Damalepazhur said and rubbed his forehead. “Don’t you ever get tired of being my nursemaid?”

“Only on days when you don’t listen. Please excuse me, my lord, I find my appetite has fled.” Ketu was already getting to his feet, so Damalepazhur waved him away.

“You need a wife!” he called after him, but Ketu didn’t turn.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

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