Hey everyone, ok so here is the first longer story I've written in a while. Thanks to everyone who read my other story, One Last Thing, I hope you like this one as well. As always any reviews are welcome, and as long as they stay positive and people like what they are reading, I will continue writing. Happy reading!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the original characters from the movie and/or video game.
The room was one of the most beautiful rooms in all of Alamut. The beige and gold colors of the walls and floor were tranquil and cool compared to the harsh and blazing heat of the Eastern desert. Linen curtains hung in the windows and at the entrance to the large balcony that looked out over the city. Candles flickered gently in the refreshing evening breeze that floated through the room. The large fireplace stood empty a few feet from the foot of the bed with a desk on either side of it. In the center of the opposite wall, the bed with satin sheets and the most comfortable pillows in the palace waited for the arrival of one of its new inhabitants. The other inhabitant sat patiently in the chair behind the changing screen as her handmaidens prepared her for her wedding night.
Her wedding earlier that day had been a fairly simple ceremony lasting no longer than twenty minutes, but the banquet that was to follow was still in full swing if the noises from the banquet hall were anything to gauge by. The Persian's, though at least having the decency to apologize and to amend their invasion three days ago, were living up to their reputation of crudeness and rowdy behavior. The young princess of Alamut took a deep breath trying not to remind herself of the fact that she had indeed married one of those rowdy men out there.
A wave of loud, drunken laugher reached her ears in her new bedchambers and her temper flared at the sound. She could not believe that the inappropriate conduct of a Persian celebration was occurring in her beautiful palace and there was nothing she could do about it. Her helplessness in her own home was unsettling; she didn't like it. The temper she struggled to suppress had managed to unveil itself to one of the servants, if only for the briefest of moments.
"Princess Tamina, we are finished," the servant said as she began to pull away from her mistress. Tamina broke her thoughts and gazed up at her handmaiden, nodding gently. One by one the three handmaidens that were attending her left the room with silent footsteps and the servant who had addressed her lingered for a moment as another sound of laughter from below made its way to the wedding chambers.
"If I may, Your Highness?"
"Yes, please," Tamina replied softly caught off guard. The servant turned back toward her princess.
"I have been in your service for almost five years now and I know you to be an honorable and thoughtful person. And as I know you do not need the reassurances of a servant, I only wanted to offer my thanks and gratitude for the sacrifice you have made for Alamut today. Such service will not go unnoticed by the Gods, of that I am sure for you have taught me well." Tamina sat in silence for a moment and the anger she felt at the Persians subsided as she realized that she had made the correct choice in saving her people.
Tamina got up and stepped in front of the woman. Without hesitation or care for social tradition, the young princess embraced the young servant as a friend.
"Thank you, Siriah," Tamina whispered. She pulled away and gave the girl a soft smile. "Now go, rest and I shall see you in the morning." Siriah bowed one last time before disappearing behind the changing screen. A few seconds later, Tamina heard the heavy doors to the room close. She was alone. With a heavy resigned sigh, Tamina returned to her chair waiting for Prince Dastan to arrive.
While she waited, Tamina thought about the man she had just married. On the day they had met, he seemed to be more amiable than she had ever imagined a Persian prince could be and had hope that they may at least be friends in their marriage. Any further evidence of this possibility had been prevented however, as she had barely even seen her new husband since that first meeting. Wedding preparations, rebuilding the damaged Alamutian walls and defenses on top of the preparations for King Sharaman's arrival had kept Tamina and Dastan apart. Now all the stories she had ever heard of the barbaric Persians and the sounds of her own wedding celebration were building anxieties in her mind.
As Tamina tried to rationalize her thoughts, she heard the faint sound of the door opening and closing. She took a deep breath and stood up. Smoothing out the white linen robe she wore and replacing the serene, calm façade of a royal princess, she slowly walked out from behind her changing screen to face her husband. She kept her head high, though her eyes focused on the stones in front of her as she walked until she turned to face Dastan.
She half expected to see Dastan drunk and incapable of standing when she faced him, but much to her surprise, he looked just as well put together as he had at their ceremony. His ceremonial wedding robes did not have a single spot of wine on them to suggest he had not been drinking, nor did they look rumpled. He walked a little further into the room upon seeing her, but remained more than a few paces away. As Tamina finally met his gaze, she was met with her second surprise of the night.
When most men looked at her, Tamina could always see the lust, pride or entitlement in their eyes. No doubt that they viewed her city as a desirable place to rule, but stories of the beauty of the princesses of Alamut were famed as well. The suitors that had come to call made no attempt at hiding their desire for both Tamina and her city, and with such experience behind her, she expected to see as much in Prince Dastan's eyes.
His eyes never left hers, but his stare was not overpowering or intimidating. Desire was present to be sure, but it was lost by the adoration, respect and an unfamiliar emotion Tamina had never seen before.
"Good evening Your Highness," Dastan said as he bowed to her. Tamina remained quiet as her own eyes followed his every movement. "I apologize for not spending more time with you today, but it seems every time I made a move toward you, someone interrupted my progress." He walked a bit closer as Tamina tried to determine his motive. "You have not been waiting long I trust?"
"No," Tamina answered a little more confidently than she felt.
"I am glad to hear it, Your Highness—"
"Please, considering our current situation, I think we can forgo the formalities," she interrupted him. "At least when we are in the privacy of our own bedchambers. Call me Tamina."
"Yes, Tamina, as long as you call me by name as well," he smiled at her. There was a long silence as Tamina and Dastan both stared at each other trying to understand the person standing opposite. "Well, I think I shall change out of these robes," Dastan spoke awkwardly.
After another moment, Dastan walked away from her and began to unfasten his robes. As he disappeared behind the changing screen without another word, Tamina sat down on the bed taking a few deep breaths relieved that her new husband was at least not as barbaric as the stories suggested all Persians were. It was only when Dastan reappeared from behind the screen in loose white linen pants and a shirt that the nervousness settled in her chest.
He approached her with sure strides. Tamina looked down at her hands not wanting to make eye contact with him yet. When he was right in front of her, she stood and with a slow deep breath began to undo the knot at her waist that kept her robe closed. Dastan's larger hands enveloped her smaller ones stopping her from completely untying it. She looked up at him confused as his hands gently retied the knot and left it alone.
"It has been a long three days and an even longer day today," he began. "Make yourself comfortable and rest peacefully. I will not force anything. And before you jump to any accusations of this as an attempt to disgrace or dishonor Alamut or you," he continued as he read the expressions change on her face from confusion to anger. "Know that I will not come to you as a husband until I have your heart."
Stunned at his words, Tamina just looked up at him trying to comprehend what he was saying. But no matter how genuine the words seemed, Tamina could not help but feel insulted.
"And I am supposed to interpret this as an act of nobility even as you reject me?" Tamina asked indignantly with an eyebrow raised.
"Interpret it however you wish, it is not meant to impress nor distress you, it is simply a fact," Dastan shrugged. "Now if you are through questioning my nobility, like I said, it has been a long day."
Tamina only glared at him in response. Dastan walked around to the other side of the bed and began pulling down blankets and taking off the pillows. He threw four of them to the foot of the bed before ripping off the sheets and throwing them into the pile of discarded pillows.
"I hope you can do without your top sheet for the night," he said as he threw one more pillow onto the floor. Without waiting for a response, Dastan began walking through the room blowing out the candles. Tamina watched him angrily as the room grew darker and darker. When he had blown out the last candle, she could only faintly make out his silhouette and she could hear the soft steps of his bare feet on the stone floor.
She stared at the spot where Dastan had thrown all the pillows on the floor, though she could hardly see it, and listened as he made himself comfortable on the rug in front of the empty fireplace. Tamina felt slightly guilty that her new husband was sleeping on the cold floor on their wedding night. But as she reminded herself that he had made the choice to sleep there, she pushed the guilt out of her mind. Instead, she got into the bed and pulled the heavy top blanket over herself.
"I must confess, Tamina this is the most comfortable floor I think I have ever slept on," Dastan remarked as he heard Tamina finally settle into bed.
"If that is a complaint, keep it to yourself. I did not ask you to sleep on the floor," she snapped back.
"No but your glare was enough warning. And an angry glare from you is about as welcoming as the executioner's blade."
"How would you know? We only met a few days ago," Tamina said as she narrowed her eyes though she was only staring at the ceiling.
"Call it keen observation," Dastan smirked.
"I'd rather call it invasion, since it seems that is all you Persians seem to understand," Tamina retorted quickly. Her temper was rising; Dastan smiled to himself.
"Come now, Tamina."
"Do not patronize me Dastan."
"I would never," Dastan's smile grew wider. Tamina seethed in her bed. "I maybe reckless when rushing into battle, but I can assure you I am not suicidal."
"Is that an admission of fear coming from a Persian Prince?"
"Not so much fear as common sense."
"Too bad, I was hoping that the Gods had given you a handful of intelligence, but apparently that is merely wishful thinking."
"A wish I pray will never be granted. I have seen the gifts your Gods hand out and I would rather wander the desert without a canteen than have to accept one," Dastan bitterly spat out as he rolled over.
That piqued Tamina's curiosity. On the day their marriage was announced he had hinted at knowing more about the religion of Alamut than he should and here again he was suggesting that he knew something more.
"Speaking of gifts Dastan, you never told me exactly how you acquired the dagger you gave to me as an engagement present. Would you mind explaining?" Tamina more demanded than actually asked.
Dastan let out a deep breath before answering.
"That is a story for another time, not for our wedding night. This night is for celebrating, not reminiscing over times that have not come to pass," he whispered the last part under his breath, but Tamina heard him. Comprehension dawned on her immediately.
"Tell me what you know this instant," she demanded sitting upright in her bed.
"I did not mean to rouse your suspicions. Your dagger is perfectly safe from me. I have seen its power and do not desire to see it unleashed again," his tone was so sincere that Tamina almost reconsidered pressing him further.
"As Guardian of the dagger, I must know what happened. How am I to protect it if I do not know how you stole it or why you used it?"
Dastan smiled a wry smile and let out an exasperated chuckle.
"How do you know I stole it?"
"You're a Persian, that is reason enough."
"This may come as shock to you, Tamina, but I did not steal it. I won it," he explained.
"That is not possible. The dagger of time is not some prize to be won."
"Well I will convey the whole story to you in the morning," he replied. "But for now, you will just have to wait as I am too tired to fight with you on the matter any longer."
"Dastan, please," the soft appeal escaped her lips before she could stop it. She heard him stir in his makeshift bed before he answered.
"The story that I will tell you tomorrow," he emphasized, "requires me to be fully conscious as most of the events are difficult for me to remember, mainly because I have tried to forget most of them. I promise you I will answer all of your questions so long as I can attempt a night's sleep tonight."
Tamina noticed he used the word "attempt." She made a note to ask him about it tomorrow as she realized that arguing any further was only going to result in her speaking to an unwavering prince who slept through her rant. She was going to have to wait until the morning.