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Peace and Other Stories


Fragments of a Formerly Active Sex Life



Lavina, Canto 5:  Anarolyni and the Harem (Part 2 of 2)
by Julian X  /  poetry  /  28 Sep 2007

None in the harem knew what had happened to the nursery,

nor heard from Anarolyni or their guards:

Lavina did not know her noble lover’s ignoble fate,

nor Juheimi her younger sister’s.

But when the new king,

who’d publicly purged the monarchy of Cesinare’s

reputed patricide and sister-killing and infanticide,

had finished with the nursery, he began to call

one harem girl a night

to be delivered to his bedchambers.

 

Anna, Cesinare’s statuesque youngest sister, had been first;

then Juheimi, Cesinare’s own daughter;

then one daughter of Sevanna, Cesinare’s older sister;

then the other;

then one daughter of Maldinni, Cesinare’s younger sister;

then the next such daughter;

then the third –

that was the first week,

and it cleared the harem of Borheya’s living relations.

None would return to the harem.

 

During that week, the harem-girls talked openly,

debating whether their new owner

was killing the former king’s relations.

But then the eighth, unrelated girl was requested

and failed to return.

The next day, they speculated all morning,

hoping she’d reappear throughout the afternoon.

But then came night, and with it

the ninth was escorted away.

She too did not return.

The tenth, when selected by the guards for removal,

began to kick and scream,

saying “he’s not gonna kill me too!”

The guards held her and she thrashed about

until she was beaten into submission

and dragged from the room.

And still none had returned.

Another was selected and taken away, then did not return,

then another and another and another

until none hoped anymore for any returns

and most thought the chosen girls dead.

The girls waited with beating hearts

when the guards arrived, each hoping she

would not be summoned, would not be next.

After all, where would a king keep his harem-girls

if not in his harem? – so long, at least,

as it yet had open beds, and it assuredly did,

one more bed left vacant each night.

 

A few hypothesized that the girls

were being released, one at a time,

pointing out what they’d heard of Anarolyni’s reputed piety.

But others questioned why a king,

wanting to release his harem,

would not do so all at once.  To this,

those hopeful girls could only guess

that he wanted one night with each,

perhaps even merely asking and not forcing,

though perhaps not – though the girls

hardly cared:  one more humbling

beneath a plying king

mattered little; what mattered

was the hope in this hypothesis,

since hope was a vanishing

commodity in the harem of Guyesp.

 

The girls who had, during Cesinare’s brutality,

come to appreciate Guyesp, even knowing

how he’d grown rougher over his year as their master,

now idolized Guyesp all the more:

most had been taken from the countryside

at fourteen or fifteen, thirteen or sixteen,

and they’d known over two and a half years in the harem –

everything before had become abstract in the memory.

Now a deep sadness, a depression of silence,

fell over the harem:  girls sat in the garden

and talked idly; they played less,

frolicked together less – even their lovemaking

had become a bulwark against their uncertain future,

against their not knowing who would be called next.

The wonderland Cesinare had observed from the balcony

had died; even doing the same activities, the very air felt different.

The bedrooms were emptying.

 

Lavina was summoned

after over one hundred days of such summonings,

one a night for one hundred and thirty nights.

She was the one hundred and thirty-first;

young Simone and voluptuous Clarissa,

who had once pleasured Guyesp

beside and on top and beneath and inside of her,

were already gone.

The harem had emptied to ninety-five, including Lavina.

Of the twelve who’d birthed Guyesp’s children,

thrown back into the harem by Cesinare,

eight had been taken away

and had not returned.

 

Lavina had made up her mind to fight back,

to not allow herself to die

as she thought the others had,

to escape if a chance could be seen and seized,

even to risk death in angering the king

by attempting to escape and failing.

But Lavina knew that others before her

had professed the same and secretly planned the same,

yet there was no word of any success,

no word of any escape,

nor word of any death, any daily female execution,

nor any word at all.

And so Lavina walked off with the guards

calmly, serenely – anxious but certain

to exploit any opportunity for escape.

 

Three helmeted guards with swords

led her through Guyesp’s old palace,

winding through corridor after corridor,

each seemingly more splendid than the last –

corridors filled with paintings from ceiling to floor

or oriental mirrors, or trinkets and wonders

from around the known world.

At last, a guard opened a door that led

not to another room or corridor

but to an exterior courtyard.

Lavina breathed the outside air

for the first time in nearly three years.

 

And it was then that Lavina decided to strike:

she would get no better chance

than now that she could see the night sky

but before anyone else could notice her,

traipsing through the courtyard under guard.

She knew the odds were against her –

three armed men she would have to surmount –

but she felt that she had to take the chance

and bolted into the courtyard ahead of the guards,

who quickly gave chase.

She had not made it thirty feet before

the first grabbed her by the arm,

sending her toppling,

careening upon the cold night tile.

Lavina began to struggle beneath him, and hit him

over and over, trying desperately to stun him at least.

As she scrabbled hopelessly for her freedom,

she and her higher foe heard a scream

from one of the other guards,

though Lavina herself could not see,

her face pinned at the moment to the tile,

facing the other way.  But she felt her foe

let loose of her.  Looking up, she saw him pause

a single second to stare back in the night

towards where he’d come, then rush

out of Lavina’s sight.

When she strained to turn, she saw this same man

impaled on another guard’s sword,

gasping strangely, and he seemed

to Lavina to be almost hovering there,

stuck with the sword, before he collapsed,

sliding off the blade to the cold tile court.

It was then that Lavina saw the third guard,

twitching and bloody on the ground

not far behind the killer,

who presently approached Lavina.

 

The harem girl scrambled to her knees,

thinking of running, but the approaching soldier,

his blade still bloody, called for her to stop

and took off his helm.  His daughter

recognized him almost immediately,

even in the dark after nearly three years

so far away from where he’d ever been.

His face was filled with wrinkles she’d never seen,

and hung on his cheeks and below his jaw

like the floppy skin of some dog,

he’d aged so much since last she saw him.

Saying nothing, she ran into his arms

and he held a daughter who to him too had changed,

grown tall, become a woman before her time,

and now carried herself far differently

than that girl he’d seen married

and taken away in Guyesp’s carriage.

 

Their sentimental reunion, however, was short-lived:

“We have little time, Lavina,” he informed her.

“We must escape at once.”  When she began to ask why

and how he had come to be there, he told her only

“there’s no time” and “we must hurry.”

They made their way to a waiting carriage,

the horses already drawn,

and Lavina’s father pushed her inside.

She saw her father thank the man,

putting his hands on the man’s with heartfelt warmth,

before her father took the reigns and drove her away

into the night and away from the royal palaces.

“You should sleep,” he told his daughter.

“We’ll talk when we’re safe

and further from prying eyes.”

Lavina found sleeping a hard task,

her heart beating so, and her head

filled with thoughts both of the harem

and the life she’d left so long ago.

 

When she awoke, the sun had dawned

and they were already in the rural outskirts

of Triemte.  Her father waked her,

and he had her stand outside the carriage

to stretch their legs before continuing.

They had yet to begin to converse

when Lavina spoke:

“Can’t we rescue the other girls?” she asked.

Her father looked down in seriousness.

“I would if I could,” he replied, “but

it was hard enough to rescue you.”

“What will happen to them?” she asked.

“Let me tell my story,” he replied.

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Lavina:  A Sexual Odyssey:
Lavina, Canto 1:  Lavina and the Prince (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 1:  Lavina and the Prince (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 2:  Isabel and the Harem (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 2:  Isabel and the Harem (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 3:  Cesinare and the Harem (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 3:  Cesinare and the Harem (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 4:  The Fall of the House of Borheya (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 4:  The Fall of the House of Borheya (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 5:  Anarolyni and the Harem (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 5:  Anarolyni and the Harem (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 6:  Return to Halyptus (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 6:  Return to Halyptus (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 7:  Lavina at Sea (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 7:  Lavina at Sea (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 8:  On the Island of Firanet (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 8:  On the Island of Firanet (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 9:  On the Island of Gyneclia (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 9:  On the Island of Gyneclia (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 10:  Lavina in the Desert (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 10:  Lavina in the Desert (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 11:  Lavina the Slave (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 11:  Lavina the Slave (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 12:  The Courting of Lavina (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 12:  The Courting of Lavina (Part 2 of 2)