Being enslaved was better than dying but only barely. Kennet did what he had to in order to survive as a slave with the knowledge that freedom would risk being found by the people who drove him into slavery. Kennet saw no reason to do anything extra for the men who bought him. They didn’t care about him and he didn’t care about them.
That was true until the royal family of Penhale purchased Kennet guard Prince Didymos. Protecting Prince Didymos from the assassins seeking to kill him dragged Kennet into the world of national politics and onwards to face an enemy that threatened to destroy not just Kennet but the whole world.
Kennet didn’t want to deal with any of it, the assassins or the magic that lurked around him but if he wanted to survive, Kennet would have to not just face down the threats surrounding them but also track the assassins back to their shadowy leader.
What he found at the source of the chaos changed Kennet in ways he could never have anticipated, taking him in all new directions. Hopefully Kennet’s new skills would be enough to let him save the world, his lovers and himself.
Artifacts of Awareness
By Meyari McFarland
7: Birthday Reunion
“This is a stupid idea,” Kennet complained in an undertone to Prince Didymos. “They shouldn’t all be here.”
“It’s my birthday,” Prince Didymos hissed back at him. “They wanted to see me and wish me well.”
The sun beat down on both of them but Kennet was the one who was sweating like he’d been fighting for hours. Salt tainted his lips, dripped into his eyes. Every sound seemed amplified even though Kennet knew that everyone around them was actually standing at attention. A bead of sweat crept down Kennet’s spine, pooling at the small of his back before being absorbed into the fabric of his tunic under his sword belt.
“The attacks are getting worse,” Kennet replied as he glared around the inner yard of the fortress. “Having the entire Royal family in one place is tempting the Gods to strike you down, Highness. It’s stupid.”
He couldn’t help the growl in his voice. The last assassin had nearly gotten to Prince Didymos so Kennet was horribly twitchy about everyone and everything. Seeing that knife so close to Prince Didymos’ neck had made Kennet’s already worn nerves fray even further. If anyone crossed him now he was going to kill them, no matter who the hell they were.
Prince Didymos’ eyes danced with amusement that felt utterly out of place to Kennet. Standing on the stairs in full view the inevitable assassins was fucking stupid. Who knew how many were out there, every single one of which fully intended to end Prince Didymos’ life. Keeping the kid safe was going to make Kennet go prematurely gray if it didn’t simply kill him. It had gotten to the point where Kennet’s heart raced every time someone so much as looked in Prince Didymos’ direction.
King Barabbas would be here soon (Please, Blessed Inina, let him be here soon!) with Queen Semele. As soon as they got here, then they could all go back inside to the carefully controlled and properly checked sitting room that Prince Telamon’s slave bodyguards were keeping secure. Inside was good. Inside was perfect. Standing outside in the open where assassins could fire arrows, shoot spells or even throw fucking rocks was fucking insane. All the royals should be safely inside.