Reach for the Light


The Princess and Her Sultan Chapter 4 part 2

The Princess and her Sultan

The procession came to a halt in front of the crimson and gold command tent, the most imposing structure on the field, the Sultan’s standards waving in the wind. Mehmed’s steward stepped forwards and swept open the tent, as the crier took up his station and announced, “Here approaches,His Supereme Imperial Majesty, Sultan Mehmed Emir, the first, Sovereign of the Magnificent House of Aahir, The Khan of Khans, Sultan-us-Selatin, Supreme Kahraman of The Glorious Ghayyur Empire, Emperor of the Four Corners of the World, of the nations and peoples of Aghasia, of – 

“That’s enough, We are not at court,” Mehmed cut off the crier, with a sharp moue of annoyance twisting his mouth. He shoved aside the flap at the tent before the startled attendants could do more than gape, and strode into the command tent. 

“Your Majesty!” Several startled cries were uttered from within. Abdullah sighed and went after him. When he entered, he saw several courtiers down on their knees in prostration, with others simply bowing, or in the case of the Grand Duke of Karamjin, just lounging on his seat, indolently, a carefree hand raised in salute. Abdullah moved forward swiftly and subtly shoved the lounging hooligan’s seat so he fell off onto his knees. 

“Oww, Abdy, was that really necessary?” he whined from where he lay with awkwardly bent knees on the floor, one hand behind him to catch himself, and the other raising to rub the back of his head lazily. 

“How many times do I have to tell you-” Abdullah began, incensed that all his subtly was for naught, and that his lazybones friend used that infuriating nickname to boot. However, before he could really get into berating the fool, he was interrupted. 

“Let it be, my friend. Cousin, how are you on this fine day?” And so, clapping Abdullah on the shoulder as he passed, Mehmed moved forward and grabbed the fallen Duke’s hand and hauled him up into a hug. 

A fond grin took over the formerly apathetic face. “Now that my little lion is here, how could I not be well,” the Duke teased good-naturedly, daring to reach out and try to ruffle Mehmed’s hair. 

A fierce scowl tried to make its way across Abdullah’s face but he held himself back and blanked his expression. 

Mehmed, on the other hand, smiled, and replied, “You know, you’re pushing family privilege to its very edge, dear cousin. Also, I’d like to remind you that you are merely a month older than me.” 

“Ahem, if we could get back to business, sire, my lord” Abdullah interrupted, as the only other one of sufficient rank there that could actually intercede in their conversation. 

“Right, right,” Mehmed began, as if it had just occurred to him that there were people prostrating before him, looking around the room in puzzlement. “I was just waiting because it seemed like the lords were not ready to receive me.” He cast a meaningful glance around at the those who were still not in the proper position. 

“Ah, cuz, why bother with all this stuffy pomp,” groaned Grand Duke Ahmer, a shark like glint in his grey eyes, “just lop their heads off and be done with it. I’ll get you some better minions later. After all that’s the way my uncle would have done it…” 

He leaned casually against the tent pole as he said it, running a hand through his matching golden hair, a casual leonine grace in his posture. He was dressed to the nines in the latest fashion but ruffled and unkempt despite that. He showed the casual disregard of the Lords arrayed in the room that was typical of the members of the Royal House of Aahir, assured in their supremacy. 

At his words the lords in the room and while a few let out cries protest at the threat, most immediately bent to their knees. A toothy grin from Ahmer aimed at the protestors got the rest them on the ground. 

Privately, Abdullah thought this was a stupid attitude, as it took minutes to turn the fate of a dynasty on its head. Mehmed, not as radical as his cousin or his father had been, agreed with him. His dream was to weld the nations in the empire into one people with the House of Aahir as its strong base and Abdullah intended to do whatever necessary to see his dream come to pass. For that, the first step was to secure Mehmed’s reign, establish his authority on his own merits and not just as his father’s War Captain. 

Mehmed needed to prove not only his prowess in battle, but his political astuteness and tactical ability as well. That was why they were here after all, at the edge of the Empire in the least secure province, Lalahar, far from Shezadabaad and the protection of its strong walls and army of Andugai. 

The Khuluq tribes kept raiding here and they needed to not only be put down, but also be taught a lesson.

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