Thursday, October 13, 2011

10/13/11

Beloved Concubine
By Jerry Barrow


The Divine Astarte was one of the last of her ancient race, and the ruler of many worlds, times and planes of reality.  Her folk had seeded many worlds with life, and fostered many civilizations.  She sometimes took mortal men as lovers, and gave birth to demigods.  Such a one was Orion, Prince Imperial.
Imperial Annals, XI, p. 2212.
***
 
Divine Mother, I have restored the Province of the Mountains to order.  I will return with a new concubine, if it does thou please.  So Ordered,  Orion, Prince Imperial.
 
***
“Orion, My Prince, this is the Temple of Solon, the Marshall my father.  The holy sisters offer libations each day in his honor,”  said the Viceroy, Olymphia.  “He joined his fathers when I was a child.”
“Your city does well to honor your father, high lady,”  I replied.
Olymphia, was a woman of middle years, and ruler of the City of Tripolis.   We had visited the Palace of the Viceroy, the Acropolis, and the major temples of the city this morn.  The city had fallen on hard times, and all was in disorder and decay.

We entered the temple, passing through a colonnade.  The temple was filled by the music of a flute.  A dancer in a blue tunic swirled before an altar of obsidian. 
“The woman is a priestess.  She dances to honor the gods,”  explained the viceroy.
We returned to the Palace at dusk, where I was shown the rooms of my suite.
“My Prince, I hope that you find your rooms worthy.  If you desire, I or my three daughters, will minister to you this night.  If it is pleasing, we shall all remain,”  said Olymphia, bowing.  “The elder girl, Cassandra, is a virgin untouched.”
The three girls of the high lady stood at her side, waiting to learn my desires. 
“All of you may remain,”  I replied.  “Come, we shall bathe before food is served.”
I followed the Viceroy and her daughters to the hall of fountains, where we disrobed and entered one of the pools.  The high lady was well favored, although plump, with hair turning white.  As we splashed if the pool, she moved close to me, kissing my neck.
“You are most fair, My Lord,”  the dowager said.  “You are very unlike our own dark folk.”
I cupped one of her pendulous breasts in my hand, bending to kiss it.
The elder daughter, Cassandra, kissed my neck.  She was very dark, like her mother, her hair with tightly curled.
“Do you like the dark women of the province?  We are filled with fire, unlike the pale women of other lands.”  Olymphia said.  “Here, sit upon the edge of the pool.  You are very strong, young sir!”
***
After food had been brought to us, we retired to a sleeping platform.  I was very tired, and was allowed to sleep by the women, after a time.
Later that night, I awoke, and decided to go to the fountain to refresh myself.  I left the noble women on the sleeping platform, noting that the eldest daughter was not with the others. 
I went first to the veranda outside the sleeping chamber, and gazed up at the sky, strewn with stars. The sky was emblazoned with massive rings, a sight of great beauty.
While I gazed upward, I felt a hand touch my shoulder.  I turned to see the Divine Astarte, standing at my side.  I bowed, and took her hand.
“My dear son, I have followed you cross time and space to this province.  I must warn you that your life is in danger.  Be on guard!”  said the Queen Mother.
“I shall sleep with my dagger close at hand, Divine Lady,”  I replied.
The goddess embraced me, and then was gone in an instant.  I was greatly troubled in mind, but determined to secure the province and to extirpate any plots, as I had promised.
I entered the hall of fountains, and there I found the eldest daughter of the high lady.  The woman was of remarkable beauty, tall and athletic.  “Cassandra, you are also awake,”  I said, splashing water onto my face.
“My Prince, these are troubled times.  The cities of the province send not tribute, and are restive.  I wish to depart these shores, and I desire now to petition you.  Let me follow you back to the Imperial Capital.  I will be your concubine, if you will so permit,”  answered the woman.
“You are a woman of beauty, and I will gladly take you back with me,”  I said, pulling her towards me.  The lady did me embrace, but then fell to her knees.   She pulled a dagger from her robes, and held it out to me.
“My lord, I do give you this dagger.    The Master at Arms of the province does plot against your life.  If I killed you, he promised to proclaim me Queen Regnant,”  Cassandra confessed.
“The knave shall be immured in the prison keep, as he deserves.  I shall show him this dagger on the morn, when he is brought before me.  Now, do come to my arms,”  I said to the woman.
Thus was joined to me the woman who was to be my beloved concubine, Cassandra.  She returned with me to the Imperial Capital after the cities of the province had been brought into compliance with the decrees of the Divine Astarte, my mother.  We have often returned to her native province, and I have favored it with new villas and shrines. 
Our son, Atalion, now rules the province, in justice and wisdom.  If all is found by you to be fit and proper, this dispatch shall be entered into the Imperial Annals.  So, ordered, Orion, Prince Imperial.


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Jerome Brooke was born in Evansville, Indiana. He now lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He has written City of the Mirage (Amazon) and many other books.


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