For Her Royal Highness, Princess Anousheh, it said on the outside. She opened it and read:
I have sent you a copy of my dear friend’s work. He has been my boon companion for many years and has compiled this history of the kingdom after many years of hard work. I ordered this copy made for you as a gift a few months ago and it is finally ready to be delivered, I hope you enjoy learning about our nation and will send to me any question you have regarding what you read.
It had been written by his friend? Gul wondered, turning the ornamentally decorated boo over in her hands. It was obvious by his warm tone that Mehmed trusted and admired this friend very much. It was the first Gul had really heard of Mehmed’s companions, and she was curious as to the type of man he was. She was eager to read the work.
However, now she turned her gaze to the small silver box, it was no larger than the palm of her hand, with delicate carvings and small jewels inlaid in the cover. She lifted the lid gently, anticipation buzzing beneath her skin. Inside was a necklace curled upon light blue silk. Lifting it out she arrayed it on the table in front of her; it was gleaming in the sunlight from her window, and it had a very unusual design, it seemed as if a blue dragon was curled around a white mare. The design was worked delicately into thin flat circles of white gold inlaid with lapiz lazuli and darker gold to add artistic shading. It was a very delicate piece of work, it must have taken considerable skill and time to accomplish.
She traced the design with her fingers, simultaneously delighted and hit with an acute sense of apprehension, suddenly realizing that her fiance really expected her to rule the nation by his side. She felt all at once unsure and completely unprepared for this burden, having expected all her life that she would have no say in the greater decisions. She realized now that even though she had resented the restrictions, she had never expected anything to be different and now that the chance to do something really important lay before her she felt overwhelmed. She was also awed at her fiance, the way he already considered her his equal, demonstrated that she was on his mind by giving her gifts for no reason…
Because even though he had said it was a betrothal gift, she had already received the official betrothal gifts months ago; huge caskets full of gold, jewels, silks and brocades, each more precious than the previous one. No, this was a gift that he had designed personally and commissioned himself, not something that had been selected by his officials to impress the princess of another nation.
A fierce want filled her then, she wanted to see him in person, though she had no idea of what he looked like, she wanted him to be here and to put this necklace on him with his own hands. At that moment she felt impatient to see him, the months before their wedding seeming to stretch out endlesslessly. At that moment she knew, that though she had never once laid eyes upon him, though she did not know whether he was fat or bald or short, though she did not know his good or bad habits beyond what the letters had told her, his words and actions had already won her heart.