IMPORTANT NOTE: due to Lady Fayette's help, my characters now have purely Persian names. Many thanks go out to her; I want this story to be as genuine as possible. Here are the new names:
Abdul-Yazdan now Sanjar-Yazdan (SanjarKing, Yazdanname of the spirit of goodness)
Sarita now Nazanin (sweetheart)
Doña now Donya (world)
Omar now Anoush (everlasting)
Indri now Sara (pure)
Kareem now Koosha (diligent)
Hello! I am glad you have fallen upon my newest story! I hope you all enjoy this story for I am enjoying writing it, and please send me some feedback if you have any comments. I'll update once a week probably, my schedule is fairly busy as of now. Thank you again,
"My Lady, Nazanin-Queen, I advise you wait before you enter."
My hand stopped halfway to the elaborately crafted golden handle leading to the bedroom of my husband. I had promised Sanjar-Yazdan that I would enter his room before I bid goodnight. Therefore, as I stood in my robes of sheer gold, my head aching from the excessive wine I had drunk that night, I began to feel my cheeks burn in irritation.
"And why, Anoush, do you believe this?" I asked to the soldier whom I knew was in love with me. He was handsome, I had to admit, and he was a great combatant. His tan skin was glistening in the dim lit hallway and his large silver eyes bore into mine. He was the Afshin of Yazdan's largest militia, or the army commander.
"Nazanin-Queen, you know of why I ask you to stay away," Anoush murmured through tight lips. My eyes closed. I should have realized.
Recently, my husband received a gift from his dearest friend, a close by ruler of another kingdom in the vast wilderness of Persia. The gift had been a courtesan like no other woman. So ungodly attractive I wished to score out her emerald eyes and cut each limb off her body for taking my beloved. Sanjar-Yazdan was named after the spirit of goodness and before now, he had lived out his name. The courtesan Donya in all her beauty has overshadowed me, his very wife. Those in the courts have talked of another wife for my husband. I would be old news; I with all my gold and glory would be pushed aside for another.
"Yes, you are right. I thank you; you know not the embarrassment you have saved of me." My eyes opened, I felt tears prick their surfaces but knew of the ways of life. Men were dominant. Whatever your husband wanted of you, you did. No matter what you wanted.
"I apologize to be the bearer of this news, Nazanin-Queen."
I nodded. "If you would excuse me, I will make my leave to my room. Yazdan-King will need not me until perhaps the morning."
Anoush stopped me with an outstretched hand. He opened his mouth to speak, but closed it and turned away. "I wish you a good night, my lady, Nazanin-Queen."
Without saying a word, I hurried to my room and barricaded myself in it. The canopied bed in the middle of the small room called to me. I rushed to it and fell upon the topaz tapestries draped on it, staring into the sheer curtains. My fingers tangled into my hair and I felt the pearls that had been woven into my dark tresses. Disgusted at the color of my skin, the ugly tan that had been in my family forever, I compared myself to the wonderful Donya whom my husband was so fond.
She had chalky white skin and shocking deep cherry colored, curly hair. Compared to my tan skin and straight black hair, she was so exotic and I did not blame Yazdan for his choice. Why had I been so shocked the night I walked in on them? Why did I not know something of the sort would happen? I was daft for thinking the man who could have all with just one stare of his icy silver eyes and a wave of his muscular arm would want me. He had all the power in this province of Persia and seemingly all the beauty.
I had been stupid for giving him my whole heart, for believing I had in turn his heart as well. He had always seemed so fond of me, so kind and caring, so loving and tender. I had known the risk when I had wedded him that I may not be his only love. I loved him so passionately and was so naïve that I believed that he would love me equally. There were so many kings in Persia who had more than one wife it was normal, and none thought twice about it – except for the women who had to share their lover. They spoke not of it, and it made me cringe at the expectations that I would show no contempt, but I am sure they thought it, for how could one not?
Before I could stop myself, I began to bawl into my pillows, my body racking in sobs. My handmaidens came running from their place stationed in my washroom beside the hallway that leads to Yazdan's bedroom. My two maids positioned themselves on my bed and began to undo my hair, trying to soothe me without any words.
I did not care. I wished not to hear their sulky voices, praising my own beauty that could not match Doña. I did not want to hear of their acts of comfort.
Once the pearls were out of my hair, I stood and walked to the mirror as the two ladies helped me into a slinky gown that I slept in. I saw in horror that my eyes were puffy and brilliantly red. I prayed that Yazdan would not see me, for he would love me even less. This caused more tears and I felt my strength give as I dropped to the floor in tears.
"What is wrong, my Queen?" one of the maids questioned. I could not and would not answer. "What is wrong Nazanin-Queen?"
"Quiet," I demanded at once, my hands pushing my body to a sitting position. The maid lapsed into her silence. "I am tired. Let me sleep."
I felt the maids cling to my arms as I stood and walked to my bed. They opened the bed and I stepped in. It had been seven days since I slept with my husband. Seven days since I lay in my beloved's arms and he whispered his praises in my ear as I kissed his lips. Seven days since his eyes looked lovingly to mine in the dim light of candles of his room.
It felt like eternity for me, who had slept in his bed everyday since our marriage. I had walked upon the hidden hallway from my room to his each night for two years until Donya arrived. My bed had been empty for two years until two weeks before. Even when I slept with him last, he seemed amused at my attempts to seduce him, and his eyes held a distant look and I knew then that he was not in love with me. He was in love with her. And I, so lost in this world where man's words ruled over woman's, still loved him. Loved his every feature, worshipped his every breath, and prayed to the gods each night that he would love me once again.
Once I was in my bed and the maids had finished arranging my silk sheets about me comfortably, I told them to leave me. I no longer wished to see their dejected faces and I wished to the stars above that my husband would love me in the morning. I needed peace to sleep. I needed sleep to look my best the next daybreak at the morning meal. That is where I would next see him, I knew, and I must let him see me at my best so he can fall in love again. I wanted him; I had captured his heart before, I knew how to get it again.
The next morning, I sat in front of the mirror as my maids dressed me in an intricate sage and ginger silk skirt and choli, draping a sheer bronze fabric across my body in elaborate ways. My hair was looped in and out of the crown and combs that I was to wear, all gold and beautiful. Bangles were added to my hands and neck, rings of rubies to my fingers. The henna tattoos that stained the bottoms of my feet and hands reminded me of my wedding day, the day I had received them and the day my husband received me.
"You are ready, my Queen," one spoke as she bowed to me gracefully.
"I thank you," I said as they outstretched their hands to me. I kissed their hands and nodded, leaving the room. My hips swayed as I sashayed to the eating hall.
The guards opened the door for me, their eyes never leaving my body, and I walked inside the room. My husband was already seated on one bolster at the head of the table and in my seat I saw Doña. The nobles were all there; only I remained to sit.
I exchanged a look with my husband, showing him I did not approve of the new seating arrangement. He whispered into the wench's ear and she nodded, standing up gracefully and striding to the kitchens where she -- as a courtesan -- was supposed to eat with the rules of my house. I took my seat beside my husband, blushing furiously as the nobles' eyes looked with amusement to Donya and my cold war over Sanjar-Yazdan.
"Welcome, my Queen," Yazdan's deep and baritone voice rumbled to me quietly. I leaned into his chest and pressed my hand into him; feeling his power serge through my bones. To the nobles waiting, he bid that they begin. To me, he spoke softly as the servants served us our food. "You did not come to my room last night."
Feeling fury tense my body, I tried to relax. "And you did not come to my room."
"I asked you to come," he spoke with a smile to my defiance. I knew exactly what he liked.
"If you wanted me so, why did you not come for me?"
Offering a true laugh, he leaned in to grab a vine of grapes to begin to eat. "You play with me so, Nazanin. What am I to do with you?"
I took the grapes from him and began to feed him myself. "Nothing, Yazdan; I am your wife and you do not need to worry for I shall take care of you."
After the morning meal, I stood and seeing one of my dearest friends, Sara, I walked to her to speak. As soon as I left my spot beside Yazdan, Donya emerged from the kitchens and slinked towards the King, placing her arms around him and dancing slightly as she made eyes at him to lure him into her trap. Sara cleared her throat and I tore my eyes from the scene that shattered my heart more and more.
"Do not look, Nazanin; there is nothing you can do," Sara proclaimed. I nodded.
"I know, Sara. But I must look to find a way to get her away from him. I love him, you know."
"You know there is nothing you can do. Why do you cause your heart more pain?"
"Ere the next full moon falls, if this continues, I shall have no more heart," I whispered. Shivers ran up and down my spine as I realized the truths and I saw Sara's eyes grow skeptical.
"He is King," Sara whispered, "even if Donya wished to deny him, she could not!"
"She would never deny him, just as he would never deny her. They are in love with themselves, I no longer, if I do nothing. However, I do not plan to sit idly."
Sara looked to me with large, innocent eyes. I turned to leave, but she grabbed my hand and tugged me to remain with her. I complied. "Do not do anything impetuous."
A smile made its way to my face. Such were always the thoughts Sara had of me. She thought of me in a mind that was so two-dimensional it made me wonder how she ever read people in life. I was not just a rash, hot-tempered temptress. I used my mind to think of my plans, the next move in my kill. With my eyes blazing, I answered Sara.
"I will not. Go to Koosha before he is angry with you. Do not worry of me, I know my husband needs me to bear his children for even if Donya has a beautiful face to gaze upon, she has not my heritage that will make his child truly sublime."
With a knowing glance to my friend, I watched her smile slowly and then turn, to find her husband of nearly a year, Koosha. Koosha was in Yazdan's most prestigious army that fought the rivaling kingdoms just East of Persia. As of yet, none from the West have tried to enter our homelands, but I knew this too should pass across us, for our world had grown the nineteen summers I have lived, and it would not stop.