“Captain Iqbal, you and your squad has been charged with the responsibility of the Princess’s safety in Ghayyur, do you accept this charge?” Her father gazed at the man with his eyes hard and demanding, Akbar bowed his head and went down to one knee in front of Gul, “I swear on The Aegis that Knight Squad Arand will in the future be faithful to the Princess, protect her against any harm with life and limb, and never cause her harm and will observe homage to her completely against all persons in good faith and without deceit. If I or my fellows ever stray from our word of honor, may we be struck to death and shunned by our fellows.”
“Good,” stated the King, “we will proceed with the formal oath-taking when Sultan Mehmed arrives. In the meantime, after this meeting, introduce the princess to her knights and take up your posts as soon as possible. Wait outside for the Princess,” he dismissed.
Akbar snapped together and bowed low in the traditional military salute. He then turned and left.
Gul had a small frown sitting in the corners of her mouth. She turned to her father, “Was that really necessary, father? Akbar is a family friend, Earl Iqbal’s third son, he need not be reduced to this, surely?” She asked with a stubborn tilt to her mouth, her lips pursed in disappointment.
“He may be of high birth, but in his position he must pay homage to his sovereign,” her father stated calmly. “Anousheh, my dear, this is because he, and more importantly, you must get used to the rigid formality of the Ghayyur court. They are not like us. The court is strict, a word out of place can land you in a world of trouble. The Sultan is an Emperor of twenty three nations, whereas I am but a king.”
Gul stared at him, at the easy way he had dismissed Farsia and himself. She had never seen him like this. “But father, surely we are at even footing in the alliance?” Gul inquired anxiously, worry twisting in her gut.
He looked up at her and said, “Barely, my dear, barely. We are yet at par, due to the great value of our supplies, but I am wary of giving my daughter to a man over whom I hold very little power.” His mouth twisted in a rueful grimace.