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.
It went like this:
My Dearest Gul,
I agonized for ages while creating your retinue, driving my servants to distraction and running the whole palace ragged… I must have changed the formation of the retinue a hundred times! No matter how small I made it, Akhter made me reduce it by half! I was originally going to send 1300 members, however, Akhter had the audacity to say, that it seemed as if I was planning an invasion of Khemet!
My friend, Medi, was totally uninterested in my task and would not even spare a glance at my reports. If you dislike or are uncomfortable with any of the members, please feel free to return them posthaste.
Also I sent along my personal tutor, Ghulam Ahsen, as well. He is one of my dearest friends and I spent a large part of my youth along with him and Duke Abdullah bin Hasim, whose book I sent you. He knows a great deal about politics and intrigue, as well as the customs of the Ghayyur and should be a great help in establishing yourself within the kingdom.
My advice would be to use him as your internal advisor and start making agreements with various nobles in Ghayyur, giving those positions in your retinue. I have included a list of nobles closely allied with myself, as well as those opposed to me. A well balanced retinue should consist of all factions, but I know that you can better discern what is needed for yourself. I want you to be prepared to handle the interior court politics when you come here.
That’s enough serious talk for now, please let me know if you finished reading the book I sent you last time and I’d like to finish this letter with a wish to see you…
In my thoughts flow, unbroken floating webs
Silence seems serene, yet bubbles inside
Feeling ever unknown, unlived, unborn, lo
Close thine mortal lamps, oh faithful one, bide
Nights, with longing filling each page written…
Fervent with hope, replies so scarcely ride
Perched on wings, replenish stark awaiting
Hearts, aglow with lovers thorough bliss confide.