|Lavina, Canto 11: Lavina the Slave (Part 2 of 2)|
by Julian X  /  poetry  /  28 May 2008
Galehmad and his entourage, Lavina in tow,
processed down the long, wide street
for over an hour before arriving
at a series of wide marble steps,
which the entire market street flowed out of.
The steps continued upwards for several stores,
then stopped at a massive palace complex
complete with domes and so many buildings
as to be visible unintelligible from below.
The whole retinue processed upwards,
step after step, at length arriving at the summit,
where the guards, carrying long, curved sabers,
merely waved Galehmad forward, and all went inside.
Inside, the roofs were higher than anything Lavina had ever seen.
The walls were gilded with gems and inset gold,
draped with silk curtains, every surface illuminated
at profound and unimaginable cost.
Lavina gazed out, her eyes wandering against her will,
her head buzzing, trying vainly to take it all in.
The group continued from room to room,
passing a group of saber-armed guards at every door.
The doors, like the rooms themselves, grew bigger and bigger,
more and more elaborate. Lavina had thought that nothing
in the world could exist with the grandeur of the first room,
but now knew that this had been an unornamented foyer
compared to these more inner rooms.
Lavina recalled her humble house, the petty procession
Prince Guyesp had once used to impress, to con, to deceive,
and it seemed to her like the falsest of imitations,
a wooden box painted vaguely yellow and called shimmering gold.
Each room, Lavina felt must be the throne room,
until the rooms grew so high, so large, that she swore
there must be clouds above her, dimly visible beneath the gilded dome,
shimmering gold like heaven itself.
At length, long after Lavina had stopped to feel impressed,
her brain recoiling such that she could no longer even notice splendor,
the guards at a door at last stopped Galehmad.
The door itself was six stories in height,
covered entirely in gold, filled with finely carved statuary,
and guarded by some two dozen.
When a guard went inside to announce Galehmad,
it took sixteen men to open the door and close it again.
A few minutes later, the guard returned, words were spoken,
and a longer wait commenced. Minutes past,
then half an hour, then almost an hour.
Then the door began to open from inside,
and the guards outside assisted. Galehmad
entered, along with most of his men,
all carrying great boxes and crates,
but other men, as well as Lavina, were left outside.
Some fifteen minutes past, after which the doors
were opened again, and a mere two of Galehmad’s men
entered with Lavina.
The room inside seemed twice as massive again
as that before. Each wall was covered in gold
and tapestries of a size large enough to cover most palaces whole.
In the center of the room, another marble staircase
stretched upwards, guards standing on the two extremes
of every step, all leading upwards to a huge, golden throne,
raised several feet off the ground. Surrounding the throne,
a dozen nude women of incomparable beauty stood,
fanning the king with huge fans,
each a unique work of art in themselves.
A man on his hands and knees lay at the king’s feet,
his very body a step by which the king may mount his throne.
Before the marble steps, Galehmad knelt, surrounded
by all the chests brought in with him, their tops opened,
their glimmering contents shining in the light.
Galehmad’s men knelt behind these, and knelt so low
that they were virtually on their hands and knees themselves.
As Lavina approached, Galehmad spoke to the king
without so much as glancing upwards.
The guards with Lavina, taking pains not to look at the royal body,
stripped Lavina bare, then pushed on her back, yelling.
Lavina, dazzled by such opulence, at first did not understand,
then knelt before the monarch, fearful,
finding in herself a strange respect spurred by splendor,
and gazed at the finely woven fabric that flowed out from the marble,
her eyes averted, her body prostrate, her mind spinning.
Before she knew it, she felt a touch upon her head.
She dared not look up, but saw the robes with gold inlay,
and knew this to be the king himself,
taken enough with this newest gift to make personal inspection,
while all assembled waited in absolute silence.
He stood, long and silent, admiring her,
and she dared – though she knew she ought not to –
to look up, nearly to his eye before she stopped.
And she knew, there and then, that he loved her.
And then he stepped back, spoke some words,
and resumed his place upon the throne.
Whatever he’d said had pleased Galehmad,
who left smiling, sated. Lavina remained, instructionless,
as Galehmad’s men departed. Then, the king spoke.
Lavina thought, for a moment, that he had spoken to her,
but knew it could not be. He spoke again, then again,
and then one of his guards approached Lavina
and stood her up, nude before him.
She could not meet his gaze as the guard pushed her forward,
further forward, forward still, up the steps, one by one,
until she stood, nearly at his level, all but beside the throne.
Though she saw not his eyes, she saw the king’s hand,
beckoning her upwards still.
It was then, as she glaced further upward than she had dared,
that she saw that he had exposed his member.
Her heart sank, now, as he summoned her up,
up on top of his lap, where he fucked her
as a dozen nude girls continued to fan them,
wrapping his arms around her chest
her back to him, right there upon the throne.
It was the first time since she’d been in Triemte
that she felt royal semen pour into her.
A moment later, he pushed her up, stood himself,
muttered some words, and rushed off.
A guard took her by the arm, then took her from the room.
They wandered through the back corridors of the palace,
themselves as splendid as the rooms through which she’d came.
Now, the doors grew smaller and smaller
until the last, hardly taller than a man.
But oh, when the door was opened,
a paradise – an enclosed garden, teeming with trees
and chirping birds beneath a massive vaulted ceiling.
Women sat, painting, playing musical instruments,
conversing, only a few even noticing Lavina’s arrival.
A thousand inhabitants, it seemed, a teeming city –
but all of them women, and all of them nude.
She knew at once that it was a harem,
as greater in splendor than Guyesp’s
as this king’s palace was to Borheya’s.
The guard left her there, and she found that their eyes
greeted hers with jealousy, knowing she possessed something
of the exotic that the prettiest could not claim.
A few hours later, a man arrived at the garden.
“How are you?” he began. “My name is Jafrezen.”
“You speak my language,” Lavina observed, dumbstruck.
“Yes,” Jafrezen confirmed. “King Naharim
sent for me to talk with you, knowing
I knew more of the western languages
than any other man in the kingdom.
I could tell which was yours from your cheekbones.
Only women from Borheya’s kingdom have them,
at least in combination with those lips.
It’s been some time since I’ve seen them.”
“You know King Borheya?” she asked.
“I met him,” he continued, “shortly before his death,
when I visited as an emissary from our king.”
“I know Borheya died,” she replied, “unfortunately,
for our kingdom’s sake, but… have you any more recent news?”
“Not much,” the man confessed. “After Borheya died,
I hear the kingdom fell under a series of bad kings,
but has since settled down under a good one.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” Lavina replied.
“But tell me,” she continued, “why are you here?”
“I am the king’s expert,” he began, “at western tongues.
The king guessed – correctly, it now seems,
that I could be able to speak with you,
having traveled so widely through the west,
even as far as the sea without end.”
“That was kind of him,” Lavina replied.
“Yes,” said the man. “The king must really like you.”
“What makes you say so?” she asked.
“Because, of course, I had to be castrated to enter this place.
The king has paid me handsomely for the inconvenience.”
“Because this is a harem,” she observed.
“Yes,” he replied. “Of course, you people do not know
the concept. Though your royals are often fascinated by it.”
Lavina paused a moment, the irony of her ending up in a harem
after all her journeys, all her suffering, still setting in.
And then it hit her.
“You said you visited Borheya shortly before his death?”
“Yes, by three or four years. A charming kingdom, really.
Small, but charming. And a good king, Borheya, too.”
Lavina held the next question, forming it
as he waited with pricely patience.
“Do you recall,” she began, slowly, the dread creeping in,
“if anyone in Borheya’s kingdom was – how did you put it? –
fascinated by the concept of the harem?”
“Why, yes,” Jafrezen replied without hesitation.
“Many were. Though I do recall one of the princes
seemed particularly intrigued. He asked quite a few questions.
Why, I must have talked to him about this place for half a day.
“Guyesp?” asked Lavina.
“Yes,” he replied in full innocence. “Yes, that’s the one.”
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