|Lavina, Canto 3: Cesinare and the Harem (Part 2 of 2)|
by Julian X  /  poetry  /  24 Sep 2007
As a foreign diplomat, who arrives at some imperial capital,
looks upon the mighty buildings, domes and columns
and stone and statuary, rising high enough in harmony
to blot out the sun, sees the power of the city’s gods
in its awesome temples, and despairs instantly of his mission,
so a moment’s look had dethroned the good king’s reason,
trained by years of careful restraint against evils.
Cesinare’s rash act had the shocked guards,
who’d been loyal to his brother for years.
At the command of their blood-stained, maddened sovereign,
they walked him down to the harem court.
The bloodied king walked out among the trees and birds.
The women stared in awe: they had never,
in all their time in the harem, seen
a man other than the eunuchs or, once, Guyesp.
Cesinare stood, well-splattered in his brother’s
still-warm blood, and ordered them to strip.
When the stunned girls did not comply,
he had the eunuchs enforce the rule of their king.
All two hundred and twenty-eight
were made to kneel, nude before their king
on the grass of the harem courtyard.
Even Lavina and Isabel were brought to heel.
The few who resisted, who cried,
who loved Guyesp or felt they owed him loyalty,
were dealt with sharply: Cesinare had the eunuchs
toss them to the ground
and twist their arms painfully behind them
during the whole visit.
As they stood around him, his eyes grew and shrunk,
his mind spun in disbelief. He could not stand so many
of their eyes upon him, and so ordered them to stare away,
having beaten all who dared meet his even for a moment.
Then, at last, could he look out calmly at his new garden,
at all the women, newly discovered, who were now his.
He bent his head and grasped his hands together in prayer
that God would see to reward him with such bounty
would know that Cesinare would never dare it for himself
but instead would turn Guyesp’s evil into Cesinare’s reward.
His soul said thanks, and he rose his head to speak again.
“There is a new order here!” announced the king.
“I am your new owner. I have won you by force.”
Cesinare stammered, impressed with his new power.
All the perquisites of the kingship,
the countless servants, the countless guards,
the royal treasury with all its silk and finery
from across the land – none of it,
he observed, meant half as much as these
two hundred and twenty-eight beauties
he’d discovered, now nude and cowed before him.
“Caress yourselves!” he demanded.
And they did.
“Put your fingers inside yourselves!” he ordered.
And they did.
“Now stroke your breasts with the other hand!” he barked.
And they did.
Cesinare, lost in caprice, sought to look for Isabel.
He found her, masturbating like the others on command
and standing beside Lavina, who was busy with the same.
The king stood before his just-dead brother’s wife,
watching her rotate her hand on her nude breasts,
breasts born noble Hironamti,
her fingers deep inside herself.
Isabel dared stare at the king – she, alone of all the girls,
had seen his face before – and she knew the fresh blood
in smears and spatters on his royal vestments
was her husband’s, was her owner’s.
She turned her face away from his
not in compliance, in inferiority like the others,
but in sadness.
“Sister,” he said
and outstretched his hands.
When she stopped masturbating
and turned her face back to his,
he slapped her so hard
that she staggered backwards.
“No,” he said laughing.
“Now you’re just a whore like them.”
He told the eunuchs to beat her,
and, when she protested, asking what she’d done,
he told her that he hadn’t said
to stop masturbating.
He took the girl to Isabel’s side –
to her right, while Lavina stood to her left –
and screwed her there, in front of all of them,
as he watched, to his enhancement,
two hundred and twenty-six masturbate,
standing silent in rows like soldiers on command,
and Isabel being beaten beside his thrusting form.
After, he’d felt some disappointment
even as his mind whirled to see
the whole crowd assembled, still standing silent nude,
still pleasuring not so much themselves as him.
And then, satisfied, he left.
That night, Lavina cradled Isabel in her arms
and they cried together before making love,
gently, to soothe more than celebrate.
“Let me ease your pain with my darting tongue,”
said Lavina. And she did, even as
Isabel let herself lose herself
Cesinare did not call for anyone that night,
but, beginning with the next, he would often
sneak from his palace into that of his dead brother’s
and order one or two or three or even more
brought to his brother’s princely rooms
where he’d use them on his brother’s bed.
In the midst of the scandal, worked up by Anarolyni,
over Guyesp stealing girls from across the country,
Cesinare announced the prince’s death
from the same disease that had claimed
his late beloved wife almost a year before.
Though the harem, according to official reports,
had never been found, the death of the accused
brought some relief for King Cesinare
and some frustration for the baron Anarolyni
while Triemte, if not the suspicious kingdom, mourned.
The harem girls had different reactions:
some were sad for a time that their Guyesp was gone,
but those who had been the dead prince’s favorites
lamented their new status as middling whores,
while those who had been out of favor
but hoped to become, or were becoming,
the new king’s favorites, or friends to one of those,
enjoyed that they were being taken
not by the prince who’d captured them,
torn them from their families,
but by the king himself.
Cesinare particularly enjoyed the use
of his brother’s tamed wife, dead to the world.
He had lusted in secret for beautiful Isabel
even at her wedding to Guyesp
and the fact that it felt slightly like incest
made it all the better.
He began using Isabel regularly
and liked to wear the robe spattered in the blood
of her husband and his brother
as he fucked her. He kept it close
in his brother’s old bedchambers,
where he fucked her and all the other girls.
Isabel he would demean, make her perform
all sorts of humiliations; for her he reserved
the worst of him and his newfound license:
he loved to fuck her most of all
in her ass, and he pulled her hair
and choked her when he took her,
telling her how he hacked apart Guyesp
and how he could and would kill her
and how none would look for her, her being dead,
how she was nothing and barely worth
the orgasm – though he called for her
nearly every other night.
The princess would return to the harem afterwards,
since Cesinare never kept a girl long once he was through,
and Lavina would hold
and lick Isabel,
giving her the orgasm that Cesinare had not.
Cesinare discovered the nursery not long after
being shown the harem: it was not far from the seraglio,
deep in a wing of the palace
where none but the prince and those he wanted
would ever venture. There, in the nursery
were thirteen former harem-girls, eight plump
with pregnancy, the other five tending their six
children, since one of them had birthed twins.
The mothers had no duties save that care,
since Guyesp had stopped calling them to his bed
when they became too pregnant or gave birth,
though they were no older than their past companions
still in the seraglio. Cesinare
greeted the whole nursery with disdain,
as the product of his brother’s sin
and perhaps as living evidence of his own.
The good king then had the five mothers
who still had their looks
thrown back into the harem.
Thus did the harem’s population rise again
to two hundred and thirty.
The one who’d let herself grow fat
he gave to his guards for their pleasure,
then had her gutted and strung up
against the harem wall,
her entrails dripping where Guyesp had hung
the bloodied white silk handkerchiefs,
as an example to the others of what would happen
if they let their lovely bodies atrophy with gluttony.
The children he had placed in the care of his guards,
who adopted them to raise as their own,
with the caveat that the king could recall the brats
at any time, for any cause.
Any women pregnant in the nursery
he let give birth, then moved the women
back to the harem and their children
with other guards, sixteen in all:
eight sons and eight daughters
of his dear departed brother.
Meanwhile, new women whom he inseminated
he moved into the nursery as his brother had,
allowing them to raise their children there as Guyesp had,
though Guyesp’s children were departing.
Thus did the nursery for eight months
increase as it decreased:
new women, pregnant by Cesinare
replaced those pregnant by Guyesp.
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