Hi everyone! Good to be back and writing. I had this story stuck in my head for a long time, from the time I was writing '90 Days'. I wanted to wait till the end but decided to bring it to you all as soon as possible. I will update chapters each day. It does take some time to take off so please bear with me. Before I start, I want to say a BIG thank you to B (Wonder Squint) for not only beta reading but also cheering me on. Also, now that both Jake and Gemma are single after 5 years, here's hoping for some sparks LOL
This one will be a two part story which starts off the same with a twist and thereafter it goes in a different direction (like an anthology series).
I write for all of you so I dearly hope you enjoy it!
Who I am…
Love stories through time always say of brave hearts weathering the harshest speech and pain. They make songs and poems of lovers, immortalising their journey to be together. But the greatest of love stories are not recorded in the pages of history, but turn themselves into legend through time. The greatest of them are not of the ordinary but extraordinary just as the two souls who decided to write their own destiny.
Tamina's blood felt cold in her veins as she saw Asoka disappear with the dagger. Her prayers since the siege started seems to have been forsaken by the Gods and she struggled to keep her faith. They have gone through this drill ever since the age of fourteen. For it be happen in reality, however, is an act which her mind cannot wrap around. Tamina was stripped of her royal robes, her body paint and jewelry hastily before she was brought in. Her name is not known to Tamina but she will now adorn Tamina's royal robes so that her life can be spared. A vile was handed to Tamina.
"How long will it make me barren?" Tamina asked.
"A year, your highness, perhaps more," the handmaiden replied with tears streaming down her face.
It had to be done. What springs from her is sacred and she had to be protected from any brutality of war. Tamina will be disguised to be smuggled out as a commoner while an innocent take her place as the princess. Tamina had been a secret herself, hidden from her people and the few who do see her face sworn to secrecy. Benefits of not being seen by all is that she could be replaced and let another die for her. There were no murals, no sonnets and no songs about her face just rumors of her beauty. Her name was known to few and no one knew if that was in fact her name. Before they hid her face under the thick veil with only her eyes naked to the world, Tamina knelt at the feet of the girl who would take her place as sheath to Persia's sword.
"Gods keep you for your sacrifice will save us all," she teared.
"No Princess, it is I who is humbled and blessed to be chosen to die for Alamut and for you," the girl replied.
She kissed Tamina's hands and her personal guards whisked her away as the news arrived that the palace is surrounded. She was being led out via secret passageways when she felt it - a strange heed. She feared the dagger was in danger.
Across in the streets, Dastan fiercely battled the Alamutian warrior and with a knee kick to his chin, floored his enemy. He looked at him. There was no scroll, message, weapon which seemed so important enough for him to escape the burning city. But there was jeweled pouch and contained within, the most intricate dagger he had seen.
As his hands gripped the blade to see the hilt of sand as the trumpets announced Persia's triumph. He casually shoved the dagger as a spoil of war around his waist and ran to the Palace.
Tamina hesitated within two steps to freedom. "We have to go back, "she said as she turned and hurried up the path in between protests from the soldier with her.
Her fears were realised when she stepped back into the sky temple. She was informed that Asoka had been wounded and dagger lost.
"Did you see who took it?"
"Yes...well...no your highness. I was too far but it had to be a ranker in the army. He...he was not with banner men so he could not be one of the princes. But his armour was different," the guard replied.
"But your highness, the dagger cannot be taken with bloodshed," the councilman said worried at what may have conspired.
"Unless it was separated from Asoka somehow," she replied in thought.
"You have to go princess! You must escape," the soldier pleaded with no avail.
Tamina shook her head fiercely, "I must stay here. Get the rest of my people out of the palace. Only handful guards must remain here with the priests and… and the girl who will take position as princess."
She turned to the councilman, "if it is Prince Tus at our door as rumored, he will want to make a political agreement. Agree to it. All of us dying will solve nothing. I need to look for the dagger."
They arranged themselves with the fake princess on the floor worshipping the empty chamber. Tamina stood at the fringe around her as a maid. Close enough to hear the conversation but far enough to be of no importance. The grunts and screams became louder till the Persians broke through the door. The cries of Alamutian soldiers as the Persian's slew their way in gripped Tamina's throat. The councilman in fear tried to push her behind but she stood strong. He whispered the names of those present- Prince Tus, Prince Garsiv and Vizier Nizam.
While Prince Garsiv stood belting accusations of selling weapons to Koshkhan, her thoughts were with the search for the individual who fit the description of the one with the dagger. She had a brutal man in mind, a savage and a cold hearted warrior. The feeing in her heart grew strong and that is when she saw him for the first time and around his belt, the dagger.
Dastan's path opened as he stepped into the high temple and looked at the commotion his brothers were in. Tus had that look on him, like he was proposing, again! He had said she was rumored to be a great beauty and Tus had a liking for collecting pretty things. While he looked on at the veiled princess with her face hidden, he felt a strong gaze of another upon him, a maid. She bypassed the center of the diplomatic discussions to look at him and with only her eyes exposed. Her eyes fell heavy on him but he placed it on fear of a Persian warrior on a silly maid although his heart disagreed.
The whole Persian army cheered as the Princess agreed to marry Prince Tus and it was then that Tamina realised what had happened. She turned in haste to the councilman. Unfortunately it only took that second for her to lose sight of the man with her sacred dagger.
"Here we go again," Dastan said under his breath as he made his way to join his men. He fought for his father's kingdom and now all he wanted to do was have a good time with his friends. He did not care for his royal status, riches or glory. He wanted to be free. Tus, however, had other plans for him.
"They're calling you the Lion of Persia! You've never excelled at following orders Dastan," Tus said as he pat him on the back and cut his apology off.
"There is, however, tradition. Since you took the honor of first assault, you owe me a gift of homage. A beautiful dagger," Tus said as the dagger was pulled from Dastan.
Tamina looked on from a palace window as Nizam arrived to the conversation handing the dagger back to the warrior and replacing with a scroll.
"Who is that with Prince Tus?" Tamina questioned.
"That, your highness is Prince Dastan. The youngest son of King Sharaman," the councilman whispered.
He looked at Tamina again, "Princess do you realise what was taught to you? From this moment, you cease to be a princess of the people and become a guardian. You must forget us now. You must forget your people."
Tamina knew what was asked of her. It was written that if the dagger is lost, her duty is to recover it no matter the cost or consequences. She had to forget her people, sacrifice them if she must with focus only on the recovery and protection of the dagger.
"I will watch over the dagger but you have to calm that girl down before she gives away," Tamina said pointing at the 'princess' who was crying helplessly.
"I would prefer to die than be the wife of a Persian your highness," she cried.
Tamina sighed and went to her, "What is your name?"
"Fa…Farah, your highness," she replied.
Tamina kept her hands on her shoulders. "They accuse us unjustly of selling weapons to their enemies. When they find that there is no such thing, they will be apologetic. King Sharaman himself will be asking for atonement. At that time, we will nullify this marriage. Farah, you look like me and through the veil, they will never know our difference. I will marry him if I have to."
Although she comforted her, in her heart she doubted how this tragedy will play out. The invaders were clamoring over her holy city drinking and gambling spoils of war. She closed her eyes in disgust and frustration that she cannot look for the dagger amplified her anger. It was too important of a task to assign to her soldiers who were anyway made worthless by the mighty Persians. It was evening when information was brought in that King Sharaman had arrived and reprimanded the young Prince Tus for the invasion. However, that did not prevent them from throwing a lavish party in her throne room. Farah was once being dressed to be presented to the King. Tamina moved to her and held her hands.
"I will be there when you are presented. Do not fear for the Gods are with you always," she said and she left the room in haste to look for the dagger.
However as she rushed out, Tamina almost ran into the man she had wanted to be near this whole time- Prince Dastan. They both stopped instantly before their bodies touched. But they were an inch away from each other and he looked deep into her eyes. Dastan did not know what had overtaken him. Why was he so intrigued by her, this handmaiden?
She looked up at him, her mind completely void of the dagger, and his blue eyes entrapped her.
It lasted but a moment and she tore herself from him to disappear down the corridor as Dastan looked on wondering if he would ever see her again. Tamina's thoughts were not far from him either as her head filled with Dastan's perfume of rich spice. She feared that the youngest prince had now caught her attention for more than the dagger.
She next saw him as he accompanied the 'princess' in utter silence to be presented to the King. Tamina looked at his coat and the dagger flashed for a second as he turned to go speak to the King. When they were called in, the guards obstructed her and sent her away to stand where the other maids were, serving wine and sweets, not before she saw the king wearing the prayer robe of Alamut's Regent. Her mind puzzled. The prayer robe was hidden in a place by her own hands once the attack had started, as it was sacred. This could not be the robe.
To take a closer look, Tamina picked up a jug of wine and moved around listening to the conversation of the King and his son.
"But Tus already has enough wives! You, Dastan, might take fewer chances if such a jewel waited in your chambers. The Princess of Alamut will be your first wife," King Sharaman announced.
While Dastan stood speechless amongst cheers, Tamina's mouth fell open underneath the veil! She now gets to marry Dastan!
"What say you, Dastan? He plunges into a hundred foes without thought, but before marriage he stands frozen with fear. And there are those who say he is not yet wise..." King Sharaman said amid laughs.
Why was she jealous? She left the wine on a table and turned to leave. That is when it happened; cries of pain and agony filled the air.
"The robe is poisoned!"
Tamina pushed her way to the front, her tiny frame maneuvering through the panicked guests. The King was sprawled on the floor burning within the robe as Dastan pleaded for help.
"Somebody help him," he pleaded.
"The robe Dastan gave him!"
Accusations of murderer filled the air and the guards were descending upon him. If he is captured, Tamina will forever lose the dagger. She looked around and picked up a heavy brass ornament and knocked the leading guard out as Dastan battled the guards behind him. She grabbed a sword and defended a blow across Dastan's face and pulled his coat.
"Come with me!"
It was a tug towards the balcony and, as if cut from the same cloth, they both stepped over the railing and jumped to the open pond.
"What do you think you're doing?" he questioned as he dragged himself out of the pond.
"I can get us out of here. You're going to need my help," she shouted through her thick wet veil.
Dastan released the tied horses and suddenly heard Bis, who was absent at the banquet, call to him with confused look at the commotion.
"Get my sword," Dastan shouted at Bis while he pulled Tamina up onto the horse.
As they sped off towards the gate, Bis threw the sword at him. Tamina has never sat with a man and here she was wrapping her hands around his body.
How a maid can help him and why he trusted her to follow her orders he did not know. But there he was, riding the horse stolen from Garsiv as fast as he can - a murderer, a fugitive, a disgraced son- with his life in the hands of a woman he has not even seen.