Damalepazhur is the king of a land long ago and far away, and he really needs the fabled diamond he’s heard of for protection. The diamond is a young man named Ketu, a fisherman, and he reluctantly joins the palace household, and learns to have a fondness for the king, even of court life is strange to him.
When a stranger comes to the city and tries to turn the people against Damalepazhur, Ketu steps in to so his job, revealing the identity, and the plot of the stranger, putting himself right in the path of danger. Will Damalepazhur be able to thank Ketu the way he wants to?
Originally published as the 2008 Birthstone The King’s Diamond.
An excerpt and purchasing information are after the jump.
Ketu ate and drank, his eyes thoughtful. “If I am to be with you from morning to noon and noon to night, as my lord chamberlain said, then perhaps that is something I should learn to do. I should serve you in all things, my lord.”
“You’ve decided to make yourself indispensable,” Damalepazhur observed.
“I was told to be useful.” The boy was starting to look tense again.
Damalepazhur sighed. He was prickly as a desert bush, this lad. “You will be useful,” he said. “We’ll teach you to ride a horse and swing a sword, and whatever else we decide is necessary for you to know. Perhaps we should give you a better name,” he added. “One more suitable to a courtier. Ketelopazhur, perhaps–no, that’s my brother–”
“I like my name,” Ketu said quietly and ate his stew.
“Or Eliapazhur? Though that’s one of my sons–we’re running out of armor to name people after. Wouldn’t you rather be Azhur’s chariot–” The boy was smiling at his bowl, and Damalepazhur said, “You find the matter of your name amusing?”
The boy stopped smiling at once. “No, my lord.”
Damalepazhur scowled. “If we are to spend every waking moment together then we ought to be honest with one another.”
“Very well, my lord. You may begin.”
“Remember your place, boy,” Damalepazhur growled.
“I do, my lord,” Ketu said and helped himself to another piece of bread. “I was smiling because you think I would prefer another name to the one my mother gave me. I know my place, my lord, and that is why I will remain Ketu.”
“You are a very strange boy.”
“As my lord says.” He ate quietly, his eyes downcast, but Damalepazhur thought it had nothing to do with humility and was more to end the conversation. “What am I to do today, my lord, while you’re bathing and playing with your children?”
“You may play with my children too,” Damalepazhur said. “They’ll like you. You’re not much older than they. And if you mean to be my valet you will attend me in the bath.” He added, “Though I will shave myself. I trust no one with a blade to my throat.”
“As my lord says,” Ketu repeated softly, frowning.
Damalepazhur put down his bowl, surprised he had already emptied it. He soaked up the remains of the stew with a hunk of bread. “This is Lukaru’s idea,” he said. “He believes it. He has never stopped mourning my father and would do anything to keep me from meeting his fate. But I–Lukaru says you are a good boy, and I believe it, but I do not see how you will protect me.”
“By being a good boy,” Ketu said and rose at the quiet rap on the door.
Mirrored from Jenna Jones.com.