Previously: It seemed these days, that whatever she did, her thoughts would inevitably end up on him. Though she had never met him he was always present in her thoughts. Anywhere she turned, reminders of her upcoming nuptials stared her in the face. From renovation and decorations to courtly guests and an endless parade of seamstresses; everything seemed set to remind her of him. Sometimes waiting for his next letter was excruciating, the anticipation rising in her throat and almost choking her with its intensity. So she was very relieved when a servant came to inform her that a letter had arrived for her and was waiting in her chambers.
She had sent him a reply in thanks after his betrothal gifts and had sent a list of questions after reading the first few chapters of Abdullah bin Hasim’s book. What she found most fascinating about the Ghayyur Empire was their utilitarianism.
The society seemed heavily militarized and most of the high-ranking nobility was revered for their prowess in either strategy, combat, or military tactics. Even their women were taught how to fight! They had a lot of resources and overflowing wealth but most of their customs involved frugality.
She had been very intrigued and had sent a long list of questions to Mehmed. It seemed his reply was finally here. When she rushed into her chamber, she had to stop abruptly, because, she was met with a stately procession of bows and kowtowing. There was a veritable parade waiting for her. It seemed that apart from his letter, Mehmed had sent her a caravan of servants, attendants and teachers to teach her about the Ghayyur Empire.
She greeted them formally, instantly falling seamlessly into the role of Princess. “May the sun, shine softly upon your brow. Oh great princess, ” greeted a man dressed in official robes. He was bowed with his waist in a perfect 90 degree line.
“You may rise.” she allowed, turning her gaze to her steward, Alhamid, for more detail. He instantly stepped forward, bowed and introduced the gathered people. “These are guests from the Ghayyur Empire, Your highness. They have been directed by Sultan Mehmed to come to seek employment in your retinue. Here is the Sultan’s official letter.” Alhamid, steeped forward, and, bending at the waist, one of her footmen offered her the letter resting upon her golden receiving board. “Read it for me, Khaldesh,” she ordered one of her scribes.
He started reading:
Greetings from the Sun of the Ghayyur, His Imperial Majesty, The Lion of Laheera, Sultan Mehmed, to her highness, Princess Anousheh Gulbahar.
I have sent to you, my beloved fiancee, some of my servants for an addition to your retinue. If you find any of them worthy, you may keep them as your servants. May they serve you as faithfully as they have me. If none of them is found worthy of your service, you may grant them positions in your court or send them back to Ghayyur, as they are a personal gift from me to you, no offence shall be taken by this.
Among them is Ghulam Ahsen, one of my childhood mentors, he taught me much of what I know about politics today. I have charged him with bringing a team to ten other tutors with him, you may keep as many as you like. Along with them, I have sent one company of royal guards, please keep at least ten of the company with you. Apart from this, I have sent a total of fifty members of my personal household, from cooks to footmen, to maids, keep what you like.
I look forward to your reply, my beloved fiancée.
By now Gul was blushing, but trying to hide it. Mehmed had just made a very public declaration of his love for her. He had sent people for her, from his own retinue! Besides, he had shortened both of their titles, signaling his ease and affection with her. He had also called members of his retinue: her servants, basically addressing her as if she was his wife already! The biggest strike though was that he had given her a choice in keeping them or not. That spoke to his respect for her. She was delighted.
The rest of her day and even the following week was spent conducting interviews, meeting and basically sorting out where the 100+ people Mehmed had sent her would stay. She kept only about half of them in her retinue, allowing the rest to take temporary positions among the palace staff until she went to Ghayyur. Amid the hustle-bustle, she hadn’t even had time to reply to Mehmed’s private letter.
To be continued.