Reach for the Light


The Princess and the Sultan – Chapter 3, continued

The Princess and her Sultan

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.

The following week, in between being swept off  her feet with wedding preparations, studying, diplomatic communication and so on, Gul obsessed over his letter. She thought about it day and night, at random times; it popped up in her mind. She carried it an a pouch on her arm and pulled it out randomly, to peer over it. 

She spent hours agonizing over her reply. 

Dear Mehmed

I did indeed finish reading the book you lent me. It was fascinating, your friend, Duke Abdullah is a fascinating orator, and his writing style is very familiar, many of his turns of phrase are similar to yours, I think it must be due to growing up together. It was very illuminating to read about the recent political turmoil in the Sultanate, and I have a much better idea of who to approach for companionship now. 

To that end, I have written to the Duchess of Ghamera, and your friend Duke Abdullah’s mother, the Dowager Duchess, as a first step. I felt that approaching matrons in your bloc first, would benefit me highly, as they could offer me introductions to other relevant parties. Your gifts have kept me quite busy, I am almost run off my feet with all the studying and correspondence. 

On a lighter note, your poem struck me dumb, I am lost for words, it was beautiful. I wish to reply with my own sentiments…

In winter years,

And summer suns,

I spent days wandering

Wondering; of the potential

A bird has – to fly,

Of a man’s braveheart youth

Of a childs bubbling glee,

Of a woman’s gentle nuturing love,

I wondered, would these wax moulds,

These stereotypes, ever fit me?

I learned it was so, in my first contact,

I could yearn… I could dream

Within the pillowing, blanketing

Embrace of loving words

And gentle thoughts,

A potential for the future

Of you and me.

Poetry flowed from her pen, less rigid and traditional, more free, modern and wispy thoughts, but piercingly genuine, she dreamt of love. Gul threw herself into this fantasy, this love, always having wanted it; never had she dreamed it would be so easy, so quick, so superbly sublime to fall. 

She spent rapturous hours writing love letters to him. And getting back ones filled with the same spirit of love and wonder as her. 

His next significant letter came a month before his retinue set out to meet her. It was one of the most romantic things she had read, and she glowed with happiness, flitting about the castle in cloud, not minding all the work that was piled on her shoulders. What she found more lovely, and made her love seem more real and all the more immense for it was that they argued in the letters, they bickered and quoted passages from books to prove their points, and discussed policy, but it was a delight. For that was how she knew it was real. Their love was tangible, because he respected her, he debated her, he asked for her opinion. 

Dear Mehmed,

Your last letter was preposterous! I don’t agree at all with the idea of instituting reforms that force people to adopt imperial culture. I think we as the government ought to exist for the people, not to strangle their own traditions and impose new ones! 

“Thus, the expert in warfare moves the opposition while remaining unmoved by it.” Also, this quote by Al-Hameed was completely misinterpreted by you! It means that you should allow the opposition to come to you, and is referring to warfare, rather than statecraft. You should also consider this quote by the same author: “Leave an outlet open while you are encircling an army. Don’t put too much pressure on a desperate enemy.” Meaning you should give breathing room to your enemies, not force them into a corner. 

Don’t you remember the story of your ancestor Sultan Abdul Ghalib III who was assassinated for being a tyrant? We need to find a balance of harsh and soft when ruling a nation.

On a more personal note, your friend Abdullah’s mother has become my bosom friend as well, she is very helpful and has helped me make a total of eight alliances in the past month alone. She is a fearsome old lady, and I’m half in love with her. I sent her a hand-embroidered, katcha tanka shawl, and she loved it. 

By the way, did you get my gift? I made it according to the measurements your servants gave me, but I wasn’t sure if it would fit. Please let me know if it does, or if I have to make adjustments to my patterns for next time. 

In a world of sorrow

And hate combined

In storm-laden water,

And uncharted seas,

A ship needs a captain,

Both powerful and wise.

A soft heart is a must

Under the firm guise,

I’ll be yours my heart

I’ll soften your edges, too

Clasp hands with me and let us

Walk in through.

It had become tradition for both of them to end their letters with a poem, even while arguing, they always added an affirmation of love into it. One thing that tantalized Gul, and also frustrated her, was that they had never actually confessed to each other, always just implying and brushing past words of love poetically. 

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