"He could not leave this room without his father's permission. And he could not imagine going to his father and saying, 'Please let me go gather moss so that my slave can have a proper New Year for once.'"
What can you give a slave who, by law, can own nothing? That is the question faced by Peter, the teenage heir to the throne of an empire. Despite his father's desire that the imperial heir maintain a formal distance from servants, Peter finds himself drawn in friendship to the younger boy who serves as his slave.
But a shocking revelation on the eve of the New Year forces Peter to confront his own motives for keeping the slave close by. And that in turn will help him understand the deeper meaning of the gift-giving festival.
This coming-of-age novelette on gender and sexual identity is a holiday tale that can be read on its own or as a side story in The Three Lands, a fantasy series on friendship, romance, and betrayal in times of war and peace. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages.
Dusk Peterson writes historical speculative fiction: historical fantasy, alternate history, and retrofuture science fiction. Amidst dangerous events, love often occurs in the stories: family affection, friendship, platonic life-companionships, and romance. Visit duskpeterson.com for web serials, series resources, exclusive e-book previews, and notices of new releases.