“Sultana, it has come to my attentions that the lands of the west seem to be in turmoil about a theft that has happened. We where asked by the grand Vizier of Marikish to keep an eye out for a man about six feet in height, and roughly two hundred pounds in weight…Sultana? Are you listening?” Akidami stated looking up from the report he was reading only to frown deeply as Bianca stared at the canal that ran beneath the palace.
She wasn’t paying attention at all. Her mind skimmed across the glistening desert waters as her eyes narrowed here and there her thoughts focusing upon the troubles of the kingdom already at hand.
Akidami sighed heavily, taking a step forward and rolling the scroll he handed it back to Jiymal and shooed the butler away. Once alone, he took a place next to Bianca and placed a hand close to hers as he began his questions, “What is wrong?”
“Hmm? Oh…nothing at all. Just..this is still so fresh for me, almost a year we have been into the reestablishment of my supposed fathers kingdom, but this still is very, almost mystical to me,” she said lowly.
A smirk crossed Akidami’s lips, his rough battle worn hand rested upon hers and gave it a thoughtful squeeze. “Life is always full of mystery Sultana. We as men are not made to know all the answers and women even more so as they are made to be beautifully ignorant regarding the affairs of this world.”
Bianca cut her gaze to him, sliding her hand off from underneath his and turned to walk back towards her throne, realizing that though Akidami was a lethal weapon, his tongue was even more of a sword she had to dodge here and there than that of any assassin’s blade. Akidami shrugged, unsure of what he might of said to offend, but followed his Sultana like a devoted wolf. Watching Bianca take her seat, he continued on with the report, describing the man the Mondragons needed to keep a look out for until the sun had finally set.
Bianca settled in her bath, jaw jutted as she replayed the words of Akidami from before. His insult to this vagabond that was supposedly so dangerous, she continued to mutter under her breath about the obnoxious role of being this country’s leader.
Her thoughts shortly intruded upon by the loud shouting of the guardsmen below, their yells expressing in their native tongue that there was an intruder within the palace walls. Bianca rose from her bath, grabbed the cloth left by her handmaids and draped it around her decently enough to take a look outside her window. Her curious gaze eyed the shadows below as they searched diligently for this parasite of the evening that had caused alarm. The roars softening, she turned only to be face to face with a man with cold gray eyes, shaggy black locks, and a beastly build who had a hand around her mouth before she could utter a scream.
“Your voice will be your undoing, is that clear?” he said tightening the hand over her mouth as he looked around nervously. His other hand grabbed her wrist and drug her from the window to look out at the courtyard below as if gauging the distance.
Akidami charged through the bedroom doors of Biancas chambers, his yells assertive and sharp as he called out, “Sultana?! Sultana?! Where are you!? We have an intruder! Magistrate! Answer me!”
The man looked wide-eyed to Bianca as if realizing that the prisoner he had, just sentenced him to death by his grasp. Bianca returned the same slightly frightened gaze but the man pulled her close and whispered threateningly into her ear.
“Dismiss him. Now. Tell him you are fine. You are well, just bathing. Quickly…or you will die.” He shoved her towards the door enough for her to speak clearly, but to instill the seriousness of his promise, he removed the dagger form his belt and held it menacingly into the lower region of her delicate back.
Bianca nodded in understanding as she turned the latch of her bathroom door and opened it a titch. “Akidami I–” she began, her words wanting to inform him of her situation but a part of her reneged and once Akidami saw her and began to cross her chambers to the bathroom something snapped within her, “Must you yell?”
Akidami stopped in his tracks, noticing that Sultana did not reveal herself completely, he stood tall and eyed her intently. “Forgive me…Sultana. I was not aware that my voice was disturbing you. We have a breach”
“I know! I can hear you and your fil for guards below shrieking like the ghosts from the abyss. Can I not take a bath in peace? Can you not do your job?”she said through clinched teeth, her eyes scowling at him from behind the strands of hair that had fallen into her face.
As if slapped, Akidami looked on in shock but placed a fist upon his heart and bowed half-way to her presence. “Forgive me Sultana. You are correct in the matter, I am very capable of handling the intruder without bothering you. Until then.”
He nods politely and looks at her again, Bianca’s gaze matching his defiantly until the chamber doors close with a snap. Akidami stood outside for a moment, listening on as if searching for something to give him cause to re-enter. His mind wandered a bit, painting the vision of Bianca’s form again but the thoughts quickly passed as a couple of the guards informed him that there was no sign of the intruder.
The man sighed against the wall before trying to use it to guide his sore and tired body to the ground, only to be knocked off his feet half way down by Bianca’s well placed kick to the back of his kneecaps.
“An! Az sad taa ‘aqrab-o maar badtare!” He said landing with a thud on his duff and scrambled to his knees, the heavy pack on his back making it awkward for him to stand. “What was that for?!”
“You held a knife to my back!! What did you expect?!” Bianca retorted turning to grab the sizable vase that sat next to her bath and ready to throw it at the man until he broad sided her knocking her and himself into the waters with a loud splash.
“Ashief, what is this?” she says softly looking at the parchment that the thief of Marikish had given her. He had been hiding within Mondrago for the past three weeks visiting her nightly and educating her on the wars and history of their countries like from a perspective she would of never known. Ashief who had found himself taking the Sultana of Mondrago as his prisoner, suddenly found himself confiding in her like a friend and relying on her for his survival.
Neither of them expected the fight that night in her baths to blossom into a friendship of intelligence and slight romance, but she had granted him sanctuary, and he had granted her all he could offer; the knowledge of the sciences of the Marikishian Empire. Sciences that opened door ways to power that would make the hairs on the back of the necks of the worlds leaders stand on end.
“This my love, is what I hope to make in the very near future,” he said scooting close to her, an arm wrapping about her shoulders as he began to point on the parts of what appeared to be a glove like weapon.
“So this conducts electrical impulses throughout the body?” Bianca asked.
“Yes and no. You see habibi there is a problem with the way that the schematics are drawn here. There is supposedly a crystal that is formed from when lightening strikes sand. It is melted and reformed to make these disks that channel the electricity and it is said that” he says eying her with a knowing grin, “The shock it produces is more electrifying than a kiss from your lips…”
“You have always been good with your words Ashief,” she smirked in return closing the gap between them and kissing his upper lip gently.
“We know he is here Sultana…we’ve been watching the palace for over a month now and due to some of your more…liberal minded citizens, we where able to pinpoint him to here. Now, where IS he?” the officer from Marikishian Empire demanded of her. His tone almost an animalistic growl as he held the point of his scimitar almost to her nose.
Bianca didn’t reply, the cut on her brow bleeding profusely causing her vision to blur. She looked up to the man in black; the markings of war clear upon his face.
Jamal laying dead beside her, Bianca sat ready to face the consequences of loving a man she knew she could never have. On assumptions the Marikishian Empire had declared war on Mondrago. But for nobility, honor and love, she was ready to die as the palace burned around her.
“I don’t like Mondtagons,” the man said. “And I am having reservations for the Vizier’s desire to bring you back alive. We cannot expect much of you. You are young, you are new to royalty and to be frank you came out of the pigsties and merchant’s huts. Someone with your upbringing and…mental complications would never amount to anything. No one will ever know you for anything more than your past.”
Bianca’s head hung in heartbroken shame, ready to accept the defeat of her pride at the hands of this fate. However, the grunt of a fallen guard a few feet from her and the words he offered reminded her that there was more.
“Not true, Sultana,” the dying guard said. “You have brought people together who were scattered to the winds; without hope or sense of worth. You reminded them that there was more to life than the monotony of work and silence. You gave them a voice and they sang. You put them on their feet and they danced. Do not let this embellishment of jealousy tell you otherwise.”
The guard gave her a smile like a father to a wayward daughter before death embraced him completely. Bianca sat up straighter, licking the river of blood that now cascaded down her lips, she spit it rudely to the side.
The man looking down at her became enraged and drew his scimitar back and spit in her face as he shouted “I will take the Vizier’s punishment but your death would be more than worth it!”
The scimitar crashed against the side of her throat waking her with a start from her sleep. Bianca sat up allowing gravity to pull at the bits of cold sweat that had gathered upon her skin, her hand wiping them away slowly as she realized the nightmare of her mind had ended. She shivered violently, for breath as she tried to get her heart to settle but the overwhelming fear would not allow it. Looking to her side she almost leaped from her bed until realizing that the man beside her was only Underby who was fast asleep.
Why she was dreaming of Ashief she had no idea nor really wanted to figure that out presently, however something struck her like a misplaced cord upon a violins belly. The plans that he had left with her during his escape from Mondrago’s collapse could very well still be in the footlocker that she had managed to escape with when Akidami rescued her.
Laying back in bed, she thought perhaps a small investigation into her past was necessary, but if she found what she hopes to she could be on the verge of a great discovery or open up a new doorway that could engulf her in the same hell she fell into before.