Terms of Freedom

The first days went by more than quickly. Tamina and Dastan used to spend their days in the gardens or in the palace. They tried to play games and to stay calm for a while but this turned out to be more difficult than they thought. Tamina performed her duties at the temple and Dastan sat together with his brothers to discuss further political and economical arrangements concerning Alamut.
But sometimes the royal couple just went to the stables and helped caring for the horses and when no one else was there to see them; they even saddled them and went on short trips.

It was about a week after their wedding day and sun hadn't even come up when Tamina was woken by a soft noise in her chamber. She sat up and looked around when she found Dastan next to her door. He showed her to be silent and came to her bedside only a few seconds later.

"What is it Dastan? We're in the middle of the night!" she asked a bit angry and weary.

"The door to the stables is unguarded. What do you think about sunrise and a small breakfast in the desert?" he smiled and showed her his bag, filled with Persian sweets and fruits.

Tamina was totally awake immediately and got out of the bed on the other side as quickly as she could.
"Wait a minute; I'll get myself something to ride."

She looked wonderful in her nightgown.
The moon was still shining in the sky and the whole room was filled with its glimmering light when she disappeared behind her separating wall carrying a brown top and long, white line trousers.

When he heard her changing, Dastan slowly stood up from her bedside and followed her with silent steps. He had felt the need of wanting to be a bit closer to her more often during the last days and stopped right in front of the wall. Dastan touched it gently as if it was Tamina herself. The last week had been beautiful but he still missed her. It still wasn't the same. He lowered his head and closed his eyes, imagining the beautiful woman behind the wooden thing.

"What are you doing my prince?" she asked a bit frightened and soft when she left the corner and saw him standing there. He looked sad.

"Dastan, still." He responded smiling "I thought we discussed that."

"Well then, is everything alright, Dastan?" a gloomy feeling was crawling into her heart from somewhere she couldn't tell. Seeing him like this made her sad too, and she didn't know why.

"Of course, let us go." He offered her his hand and she took it in a weak second.

Together they sneaked through the floors and halls of the palace from the highest level where Taminas chamber was situated, down to the stables of the horses, always alarmed of any guards and attendants who could have disturbed or hindered them.

They had already reached the ground floor when Tamina stumbled was close to fall on the ground. Her husband caught her, preventing her from being discovered by a guard who was crossing their way during his circuit.

Suddenly Tamina found herself being pressed to Dastan's chest, feeling his heart beading fast against her own. He had put his arm around her waist holding her close to him while the man walked by. She breathed hard but silent against his upper body feeling the warmth of his torso and smelling his wonderful scent. He smelled like warm sand and fresh pressed grapes. Tamina closed – in another weak moment as she told herself later – her eyes and tried to enjoy it to be that close to someone.
She hadn't been for too long.

He didn't move. When he felt how comfortable she made herself, lowering her head and breathing more slowly, a small smile appeared on his mouth and he also lowered his head until his mouth touched he soft hair and kissed it slightly. They stood there for more than two minutes, not shaking, not moving until he opened his eyes and raised his head. Sun would rise in about an hour and if they wanted to be in the desert by then, they had to go now.

They didn't need a word. It wasn't far from now, just an old wooden stairway and a few doors until they stood at the end of the giant royal stable. No one was there. Two stable lads were sound asleep in the straw when Tamina and Dastan made their way to Tamina's favorite horse a beautiful, black Persian horse named Caspar, the Persian word for treasure.

The saddled it quickly and guided it out of the stables silently. Dastan mounted first not without his wife disagreeing.

"Why do you want to sit in front again? I'm able to ride!"

"And why do you have to disagree with everything I do?"

"I'm not a stupid Persian maiden, Dastan. You've married an Alamutian princess I can speak for myself and I'm able to ride." She screamed silently.

"I know!" he screamed back at her, not thinking of what he'd just said.

"How can you know? You have always been the one riding the horse sitting in front of me when we went on a trip during the last week!" she crossed her arms.

"I…I…You…"

"Yes, I'm listening Dastan."

"Get on the horse!"

Tamina swore something he did not understand and mounted. After she had found a proper way to sit and put her arms around him, he broke the horse and they started their early-morning-field-trip.

Caspar was one of the fastest animals in the stable and his gallop was like a soft jumping without any interruptions. They rode that fast for more than 30 minutes. Caspar was a delivery horse that was trained to ride that fast for over two hours. But when Tamina and Dastan had reached a high sand dune Dastan stopped Caspar to dismount. His wife had held him for the last half an hour and he had enjoyed her soft breathing next to his ear.

The horse was heavily panting and bathed in sweat but it let them dismount easily.

Sun was slowly coming up behind the far horizon while the young adult took their seats next to the horse and watched it.

Her hair where rumpled up but she looked as beautiful – maybe more – as at the palace. She was also panting a bit and smiling brightly when he looked at her for a moment.

It took the sun nearly 40 minutes to rise. The desert was filled with a warm and pleasant light and the sand was glimmering softly. They shared their sweets and didn't say anything until the light had reaches them.

"Thank you Dastan." She said silently.

"Thank you."

She looked at him, confusion in her eyes.
What was this mood again?

"Thank you for marrying me and for being my companion." He smiled and nodded.

"I had to, you brother nearly forced me to." She grinned and soon they both shared a laugh.

"I'm looking forward to a life with you my princess, and I hope you are not feeling forced to share it with me."

She didn't answer for a moment.

"I'm not. I just haven't found my niche yet. I know it's been a week now but I still need a bit time." She swallowed and looked at him a bit shyly. Tamina felt horrible. He had brought her out here, was in love with her and was waiting patiently. And what about her? She was asking him for more time. What was she afraid of? Losing power? Freedom? Him?

"I thought the meaning of 'as much as you need' was obvious." He grinned at her.
He was thankful for every smile.
"Let us stop talking about this, please."

She took his hand.

Just like this she took his hand and kissed it.

"Thank you again." His wife smiled and squeezed his hand one more time before letting it go.