Back in print! The King’s Diamond

I’d break into a parody of “Back in Black” if I could think of anything good that rhymes with print. Mint? Squint? Hm.

I’m very fond of this little story. Like most ideas, it was inspired by a few seemingly unrelated but deeply beloved things. (Brain stew. Yes.)

The folkloric meaning of the diamond is that it’s for purity and protection. My first thought was monks; and then I thought, Hm, protection. I don’t want to do a magical jewel kind of thing … What if the diamond in the story wasn’t a jewel but an actual person?

King Tut In 2007 my kitchen calendar was Treasures of Ancient Egypt, and the picture for December was the death mask of King Tutankhamen.

The story of King Tut has always broken my heart a little. He was so young when he became king, so young when he died, and the only reason he’s remembered nowadays is because his tomb was left mostly undisturbed and was found nearly intact. He was too obscure even for grave robbers. (And think of it: if all that treasure was left with a minor king, what would the tomb of someone like Ramses the Great have contained?) And while the theory that he was murdered has mostly been debunked now, for a long time that was the belief, and while I was playing my what-if game I thought, what if that diamond was to prevent the assassination of a king?

One of my favorite novels is Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth. As beloved as the Narnia novels are, I think this is one of the best stories Lewis ever told and I love it dearly. The setting and atmosphere of The King’s Diamond is inspired by this novel, an attempt at a place that probably didn’t exist, but might have.

The names come mostly from two sources. The names of royalty, of course, are inspired by ancient Egyptian names, though while Egyptian pharaohs were named mostly after gods the royalty of the Diamond universe are named after one god, Azhur, and his pieces of armor. Other names are mostly Tibetan: I wanted names that felt unfamiliar but weren’t incomprehensible — particularly since Damalepazhur and the other royalty have such mouthfuls.

(Ketu means comet. Reading that gave me a lot of plot points.)

This story was an experiment in setting, in subject matter, and in style, and while I haven’t tried anything like it since, you never know when I may again. (One of my friends has suggested I expand it to novel length to more fully explore the world. I don’t know if I’ll do that, but more stories set in Damalepazhur’s kingdom? Maybe.)

Purchasing information, an excerpt and more information can be found at here.

Mirrored from Jenna

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