View Full Version : The Sultan of Al Sarican - by rellis10 (~BHM, ~FFA, Historical Fantasy, Romance)

12-02-2016, 05:09 PM
~BHM, ~FFA, Fantasy, Romance – A young Arabian woman is taken from her home and thrown into the life of a powerful royal in the Arabian state of Al Sarican.

The Sultan of Al Sarican

By rellis10

In the choking midday heat of the Arabian wastes, the market of Al Sarican was in full flow. Everything from fruit, vegetables and everyday trinkets to live Camels was traded to merchants who had travelled from all corners of the region. Not far from the market stood the Sultans’ Palace; a monument of his great power and influence rising out of the desert sands.

The casual clattering around the market suddenly became a rising commotion as something approached in the distance. Through the road that lead down the centre of the bazaar came a caravan of horse-drawn carts, the foremost adorned in violet and gold, the colours of the Sultan. Moving to the side, the merchants and citizens of Al Sarican let the convoy through as it sprayed dust into the air. It lumbered heavily through the market with several carts, each more heavily laden than the last until the final one resembled a large carriage, covered to shelter the occupants.

Finally the procession came to a halt outside the grand entrance to the Sultan’s Palace. From the first cart jumped a man of stout proportions; his belly pushed out the rough robes he wore, black and purple though thoroughly covered in dirt. His head was bald but his stern features were bordered with thick black stubble. For a moment he looked around with a satisfied sigh that can only come from those expecting to make their own weight in gold very shortly. Moving along the line of carts, the man paid no attention to their contents or the numerous passers-by until he reached the final one. Once there he tapped the side and opened the rear of the lavish carriage.

Out of the shaded caravan came the sullen figures of ten women, blinded by the midday sun and shuffling out of the enclosed space. One of these was a nameless woman, draped in poor dirty linen that barely covered her modesty and the sweat of several weeks travel. She was nameless now, but weeks before she had a name and a home. Adira's home was now far from her thoughts and even further away in reality as she felt the warmth rise from the dusty ground. Many miles west Adira's family would have resigned themselves to never seeing her again, taken by the many hands of the Sultan for a life of servitude to their great leader.

“Saghir!” Came a shout from the direction of the Palace. The rotund and sweaty bald man turned at hearing the voice and stretched a fake smile across his face. A man dressed similarly to himself but far cleaner pushed past several ambassadors and emissaries and soon stood before him. Flanked by two Palace Guards, this man was much slimmer with far more hair atop his head and an unsavoury expression as if he’d chewed a wasp. “The Sultan wishes to see you in his chamber immediately. You and your… spoils.”

“Akhbar, I missed your charm and whit.” The words were almost spat out of Saghir’s mouth with forged grace as he nodded in acceptance of his orders. Unfaltering, Akhbar stood at attention and waited for some acknowledgement of the orders he had given. “Yes, Akhbar, I shall be there momentarily.”

With a reluctant nod, Akhbar turned and walked back toward the Palace, leaving his guards with Saghir and swallowing his wasp finally. Having to speak to the man known as Saghir was clearly no pleasurable task. Summoned by the Sultan, Saghir turned to the group of women and their confused, terrified faces. The now-nameless woman tried to cover herself from the surrounding crowd but her tattered clothing left almost nothing to the imagination. Around her many of the other women did the same, especially as the sweaty, grubby Saghir approached them.

“Soon you will stand before your Sultan, your master. Stand tall, display yourselves adequately but most importantly… keep your mouths shut and do only what I tell you.” After these most blunt of words Saghir motioned for the women to follow him and hesitantly they did so.

That is, all but one. The nameless beauty darned in filth held herself back, not wanting to follow such an odious man. She looked around at the group of people gathered, searching for a route of escape, but all she found were ogling eyes and rising dust… and then the glint of a blade as one of the Palace Guards rounded her up with the rest. Resting his hand on the handle of his scimitar, the Guard forced the woman to turn around and follow the others by threat of drawing his weapon. There would be no escape.

She turned to join the back of the group as they walked forward with Saghir, up a large thoroughfare made from local sandstone. It barely stood out from the landscape but ahead of her was something that certainly did. As they grew closer to the great palace it seemed larger and more imposing, a true home of a king. The group was guided into the very bowels of the palace.

Not only was it the home of the Sultan, it was a bustling hive of activity as emissaries and merchants buzzed while their servants accompanies them like flies. Every set of eyes met the bare skin of the women as they were dragged through the labyrinth of corridors.

Soon the path grew more lavish and widened into an entrance to a great chamber. The ceiling soared with elegant arches and the floor glittered with a mosaic more artful and majestic than anything Adira had experienced before.

Led into the grand chamber, the women could only obey as Saghir roughly moved them into a motley line in the centre and pointed them toward the obscenely decorated throne that sat at the far end. On either side of the royal seat were passages that were carved with ornate symbols and pictures or grandeur, the power in them clear for all to see.

From the centre of the room, Adira faintly heard a sound that cut through Saghir's grunted orders. Shadows pooled in a hallway behind the lavish throne and the sound of tinkling bells became unmistakable.

Adira couldn't help but lean forward to peer into the darkened corridor, and as she did a barbaric claw gripped her jaw and forced it upward.

"I told you, stand up straight! Stand up straight for your sultan!" Saghir screamed so that everyone in the great room could hear. And now the bells were louder.

The grip on her jaw remained as she saw two figures enter through the passage, draped in exotic magenta silk not meant to hide the curves of their bodies. The two beautiful women moved in a way that belied their age and status among the sultan's harem.

The graceful women took up positions on either side of the throne as the entourage continued to roll on. Numerous other concubines, younger now and dressed in cyan silk to signify their status, entered. And behind them, the palace guards in blackened, hardened leather armour.
Adira, still stuck in Saghir's grasp, peered into the shadow that followed them. The shadow gained form as it moved through the passage. From form it gained colour and then reality as the massive figure entered the throne room covered in deep red silk and golden jewellery that sparkled with gems.

Even underneath the exorbitant gard that obscured almost all of the figure's body, Adira could tell the strength and power they possessed.

"All stand for His Majesty Suleiman III, Sultan of Al Sarican!" The proclamation rang out from one of the guards.

"Stand up straight, do not move or you will not leave this room alive!" Saghir hissed and spat as he released Adira and walked out in front of the group. He lifted his arms and began to orate as if an actor on the grandest stage. “Stand to attention for the ruler of all you behold, his magnificence, his majesty, his...”

“Enough!” The silk in front of the Sultan's obscured face rippled as his calm yet powerful word stunted Saghir in his performance. “You regale me with words too grand to pass you lips.”

The high-merchant tried to conceal his scolded shock on his face but failed and was worse for it as he sycophantically grovelled. “My apologies, my Lord, I merely wish to present to you my newest offerings. The finest from across your kingdom.”

Saghir motioned across the line of women. He was right, their beauty would have been resplendent if only they hadn't been dragged through the desiccating desert for weeks on end. The Sultan now regarded them one by one, still dressed in tattered clothes and weak from their time on the trail to Al Sarican. They had all seen better days and many of them.

“The finest in all I command?” A tone of frustration, perhaps even anger, cut through Suleiman III's voice and chilled many in the room. “And this is how you present them to me?”

Fearing the lash of his ruler, Saghir cowered silently from the scarlet-garbed ruler.

“Filthy, skinny, barely able to stand. This is no slavers' market! This one...” The Sultan turned and suddenly his gaze was directly upon Adira. He towered over her, his girth and stature all the more overwhelming as he loomed in front of her. “I saw how you handled this one. Like nothing more than a dog!”

“This one is disobedient, but she can be taught!” Saghir snarled from his pitiful stance as Adira still felt the lasting pain from his fingers.

The Sultan peered through the sheets of silk that cocooned him, and Adira met his gaze through the only window where his actual body was visible. His eyes shone line emeralds against his olive skin, showing kindness and steel.

“Disobedient? Or too strong-willed for a man like you?” Through the narrow gap in his magnificent attire, Adira through the Sultan's eyes gave a glimmer of a smile. Meanwhile Saghir scowled at the mockery, all sense of sycophancy gone.

The Sultan shifted his enormous weight back, swaying from side to side as he cast his eyes over the line of 'offerings' one by one. They were not a glorious sight, even the most naturally beautiful had been worn down to nothing. Some had been beaten, all were dressed in squalor and all were grief-stricken from being torn from their homes.

“Ghulam?” The Sultan called over his shoulder and one of the ominous guards broke from his formation to approach his lord. The women breathed short as he approached his his hand firmly clasped around the hilt of his weapon.

Adira fought the temptation to ask forgiveness for their appearance, for the shame of the man that had brought them here. They looked sullied and spent now, she thought, but they could be saved. Spare the sword, she wanted to cry, and they would be ever in the leaders' debt. Every word in her mind was echoed in the face of the nine women who accompanied her, all trembling at the sight of the guard ready for the order.

“Take them, get them washed, fed and clothed.” The Sultan calmly ordered and all ten women let out a sigh of tense relief. Even Saghir cast a thought of thanks to the sky for his goods being spared, a least until the eyes of Suleiman III set upon him. “If you bring me more women in such a state again I will have you head hung from the walls of this palace. Ghulam, pay him for his time and see him out!”

The high-merchant had gained his place in the inner-circle of Al Sarican's hierarchy by massaging every whim that needed tending to, but now his own ego needed to be nursed. He would take the money and be gone, but he wouldn't forget the slight on his name.

As the guard named Ghulam ushered the women away toward the corridor the Sultan had first emerged from, the man himself turned to the golden throne. His power echoed in every step and he took his place on the seat and his Harem gathered around to tend to his every need. Even as the many beauties gathered around him, Adira thought she could still see his emerald eyes peering through his cowl, watching as she left to her new life in the palace of Al Sarican.

ALS Again
12-04-2016, 06:13 PM
Interesting! I look forward to reading more.

12-04-2016, 08:01 PM
Me as well! Wonderfully written.

12-05-2016, 05:02 AM
Yay new story!

Xyantha Reborn
12-07-2016, 07:08 PM
I really enjoy your writing style!

(The Canadian part of me which has been taught to be culturally sensitive chimed in and kind of jarred my original reading of it, so I had to go back. It isn't that anything is wrong, or bad, just a cultural thing that says 'wait, is it ok to like this?' because it pertains to other cultures)

12-08-2016, 03:56 AM
I really enjoy your writing style!

(The Canadian part of me which has been taught to be culturally sensitive chimed in and kind of jarred my original reading of it, so I had to go back. It isn't that anything is wrong, or bad, just a cultural thing that says 'wait, is it ok to like this?' because it pertains to other cultures)

Same here - it actually struct me how well you emulate the (late) 19th century oriental fantasy novel Rellis!

It just show that dealing with cultural differences and sterotypes has really changed a lot over the past 60-70 years. It will be interesting to see where you take this.

12-08-2016, 01:20 PM
Thank you for the positive words, everyone. I'm looking to work on the next part very soon.

I certainly understand the trepidation about the cultural things, especially going back to the older time I'm setting this in . I'm trying to make the story work between something relatively authentic and the fantasy side, and as part of that I guess certain things will get included that aren't strictly PC.

I'm hoping to try and use it in a constructive way to help the plot.

12-28-2016, 12:09 PM
Not sure how I missed this at my last visit, but its very promising and I do hope you continue it! Your previous stories here were excellent, and I'd definitely love to read more from you :)

fat hiker
01-03-2017, 12:03 PM
Looking forward to more of this, rellis!