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The night passed, as all nights must; but the memory lingers. I smile as I remember the energy, and I rejoice that until recently it endured; but nothing, save love, is forever. I was restored, not made immortal, and the one thing that is certain is that we shall die; my faith tells me that I shall rise again, and I feel now as though it will not be long before I see those angel voices which I have long loved and lost for but a while.
That night was memorable not only for us.
On the morrow the Commander asked to see me privately; outside of the planning of military operations, such a thing was unheard of. I smiled inwardly as I sensed his awkwardness, and my heart went out to him; but that did not mean I was going to make it too easy for him. He would appreciate it all the more if he felt he had worked for what I would give him freely.
“Highness, I should have sought your permission.”
I looked as though I had no idea of what he spoke.
“Tania, Highness, I know that between her and Ana there is a tenderness.”
“Commander,” I said, somehow keeping my face straight, “can you please come to the point. Yes, I know about Tania and Ana, so what point is it you really wish to make?”
I almost relented when I saw the look on the poor man’s face, but sometimes one just needs to push.”
“I, I have become attached to Tania and we, we slept together last night.”
If he could have blushed, he would have, and my heart went out to him.
“Commander, I doubt somehow that much sleep was involved. If you are asking my permission to be with Tania, you have it if it is her will too. You may need to talk with her and Ana.”
He seemed not to have heard, as he began to explain, and then the import of my words penetrated the fog of emotion which clearly enveloped him.
“Highness, how can I express my thanks?”
“Commander, since the day we first met in Moscow you have been a constant and loyal servant, and I am proud to think you are more than that. I could never begrudge a friend such happiness. As I say,” I added, as he struggled to suppress his deep emotion, “you must discuss with her and Ana how to accommodate their needs, but in so far as you need my blessing, you have it.”
“Thank you, thank you Highness!”
And so it was that the Commander and Tania plighted their troth. Their daughter, Miriam, and their son, Selim, have been a delight to see grow, and Mel’s love for them is surpassed only by that of their parents. The Commander understood Tania’s needs, as I did Ana’s, and so began what became a long series of sweet evenings when we would dine together and play chess while our respective partners shared their love. It was not every man, possibly not any other man, who would have allowed it, and my affection for him deepened. He is a good man and deserves what his faithful service has brought him.
Rested and, in my case, restored to health, Ana and I rejoiced as our love bloomed once more.
Thus it was that our journey to St Catherine’s became a thanksgiving.
The Abbot welcomed us. He was overwhelmed to receive the Ark of the Covenant.
Jacob and I spoke with him, warning him that it was an artefact of great power which he should use only in dire need. I told him what had happened at the fort, and he fell on his knees before it.
We held a Divine Liturgy the following morning at which we gave thanks to the Most High. Buzzing with health, I gave private thanks before the Blessed Sacrament. It has been so long since I had felt whole that I had almost forgotten how to feel well; so I rejoiced all the more.
At supper, the Abbot invited us to peruse the treasures of the Monastery. He showed us the earliest text of Holy Scripture, which made me tingle. He saw my reaction. mobil porno Ana spoke:
“Rahab has a divine instinct, and for me that validates what you have been told.”
To touch paper that St Mark had touched sent shivers through me.
“Your Monastery, Abbot,” I told him, “is itself an Ark, and I cannot think of a better place for the ancient Ark to rest.”
“Highness,” he said, “I had never thought to receive such favour from an Ottoman governor.”
“Well, ” I smiled, “my Master styles himself the ‘Sultan of Rûm,’ and it seems only appropriate we should protect this precious relic.”
I handed him a signed an sealed declaration that St Catherine’s was protected by the Sultan which, I am, pleased to say, had protected the Monastery to the present day; I see no reason why that should not continue into the future. The fate of the Wahhabis will linger long in the folk memory.
And so we came to what should have been a parting of the ways with my cousin, Jacob.
To have met him was to realise, yet again, that I was a small part of a greater whole; vital, but only because others played their role.
“What will you do, Jacob?” I asked on the morning of our departure.
“I shall stay here, cousin, my fate is bound up with that of the Ark, and I shall remain as its guardian.”
“I appreciate that,” I told him solemnly, but I had rather that you came back to Beirut for a while with me. The Ark will be here when you return, but I have need of your services, and in helping me you will secure the long term security of the Ark.”
I was not sure what I should find back in the Grand Serail, but I could imagine no scenario in which Jacob would not be a Godsend.
To my delight he assented, but on the condition that he came back to the Ark when he saw fit. From the corner of my eye I saw Ana smile; I was, I thought, right,
After lunch we boarded the ship that would take us back through the Red Sea to where we could embark for Beirut.
I reflected on the change in our circumstances. We had set out hoping that I should find a cure for my mysterious illness, and had found not only that, but so much more. Pleased as I was with my own cure, I was even more delighted that Commander Kunt had found true love, and that Tania, so cruelly deprived of Princess Miriam, had found in him, and in my Ana, true love. Then there was the discovery of my cousin, Jacob. From not even knowing about Danegyth, I had first discovered her, and now, on my journey, found another of her descendants. I was not, I sensed, the end of the line.
And so, on a warm afternoon, we left for Beirut.
I stood on the deck, marvelling at how alive I felt. The months of lassitude were firmly confined to the past, and I felt more alive than I had for many months. My Ana had stood with me through it all, and I had been fortunate to have the support of others who had stood by me when it would have been easier to have doubted me.
For so long I had felt that my position was temporary and the result of a concatenation of circumstances, and that at every step, peril surrounded me; but I had come through. No, more than that, I had helped save the Ark of the Covenant, I had routed the Wahabbis, and I had recovered my health; none of this was my unaided work. I had received so much Divine help that I had, now, to accept that I was an instrument in Our Lady’s hand. That felt better than thinking that somehow this was all my doing. If all this had been accomplished, then I was sure that Our Lady had more work for me.
There were, I smiled to myself, loose ends to be tied, for sure. The blossoming love between the Commander and Tania was a joy. To see my dutiful Commander surrender to the imperious demands of love was sheer pleasure. alman porno In the years I had known him, duty had always come first, and it was good to feel that there would be more in his life.
Then there was the question of Jacob. I had felt alone in the world for the longest time. Even in my birth family I had never felt wanted. Yes, when I had done back a few years ago as a rich, successful woman it had been different, and I bore no resentment; but the fact had been that as the runt of the litter I had felt unwanted and unloved.
That was, I reflected, why I had responded so swiftly and eagerly to Calliope in the Saraglio, and why I had been so eager to please those women who had paid me attention. I had been overwhelmed by the Great Elizabeth, but could never have been more than a planet in her orbit; it was different with my Ana.
From the moment I had set eyes on Ana whilst escaping from the ambush meant to kill me, I had felt something special. When I had returned to the Sultan, leaving her behind, it was as though a part of me had been put to sleep; I felt a dull ache as though my heart had broken but still, somehow, had to function. Then, oh blessed day, I had been able to return to the Grand Serail – and she had come to me.
It was only then that I knew love. God was, I knew, Love, and I knew that love transformed the world; but it was only with Ana that I knew it inwardly, and I knew it for me, personally.
I would never be beautiful as the world calculated it, and of the love of men I could not speak. I had liked one man, once, but the moment had passed, never to return. The question of ‘to be or not to be’ had been answered with a negative. But with self-awareness had grown a sense of what my love needed.
The more I looked and learned, the more it seemed to me that lovers tended to see in the object of their love the things for which they themselves were searching; but here lay a trap. One’s lover was not oneself. Such was the love Ana and I shared that I had come to see that clearly.
So, I was content, nay more than that, to be Ana’s. Mel, dear Mel back at the Grand Serail, was the one exception, and as I knew that pleased Ana, there was harmony there. But my Ana was a woman of great gifts and beauty, and while I knew that had I uttered the word she would have responded, there was no way I could ask her to desist from sharing her appetite for love with others. And now there was Jacob.
That the two of them had eyes for the other would have been obvious to anyone save a blond woman. They were, physically, two of the finest specimens of beauty I had seen, and for Ana not to have been attracted to the tell, handsome. brave Jacob would have required her to be formed like me – which she wasn’t.
I spoke with her that night as we glided down the Red Sea towards our destination. She smiled when I mentioned him, but, and oh what a loving gesture was that, said that she had resisted because she did not want to cause me any distress. Overwhelmed by her self-sacrifice, I came to her.
Her lips felt warm and alive, as though as they moved against mine she was devouring me. In response I opened my lips allowing her tongue to invade, explore and possess me. My nipples were hard before she had parted my robe, and as her fingers and thumbs squeezed and pulled, I felt pulses of pleasure shoot downwards to my cunt, which of a sudden felt as though it was dripping; the tops of my thighs felt cool where I was leaking.
I cocked my leg across her thigh, urgently needing to press my wetness there. Looking up as she played with my nipples I told her:
“I love you Ana, so, so much, you may have Jacob, and who you will, I know you love me.”
Her smile was like the moonlight on a warm alexis texas porno summer’s eve.
“Rahab, you and mine, as I am yours, and between us there is something so special that I, too, would allow you your wants.”
Gasping as she satisfied that want, I responded:
“My want is you, my need is to be yours always.”
“That, you are and will be, little one,” she told me, before once again kissing me with passion.
We moved so that my thigh could press her wetness as she pressed mine, rubbing together, moaning softly when our buds rubbed each other. My nipples were throbbing as she subjected them to her kisses. When her teeth grazed them I heard a whimpering sound; it was me. I pressed harder. The cabin was filled with the scent of our mutual desire.
I felt the climax build, and could sense she was close.
“Yours,” I whispered, “I am yours, I belong to you.”
“You do, little one, as I belong to you, and I will always be yours.”
It was as though Ana had read my deepest inward thoughts, and that feeling of being hers, one with her, trusting her absolutely overwhelmed me. It communicated itself to her and as one, we came with a passionate intensity that left us both wet and shaking. Sated, for the moment, we collapsed together on the couch. We were ONE. And that night we were not separated. And as the dawn broke over the Red Sea, and to the sound of the waters lapping against the boat, I said a quiet Te Deum, thanking Our Lady for her gifts to me.
That night, Ana and Jacob came together for the first time. He had looked quizzically at me, but I had nodded and smiled.
That night, too, I plotted, for the first time, a future course.
Hitherto I had followed Fate, knowing that certain missions were mine. But I had rescued the Jews and I had saved the Ark, and I had received a healing. These things were meant, and it behoved me to work to preserve what I had been a part of achieving.
The politics of the Ottoman Empire would remain what they were, but my journeyings had given me insights I needed to use.
As a Viceroy I had great freedom in my own domain, but that mattered only in so far as I could manage my Emirs. Sultans would come, and they would go, and they might indeed, from the Topkapi, pronounce on my fate; but that lay more in my hands. So I had to continue to manage the affairs of my provinces. But the wider context was changing.
I had a sense that the Ottoman tide, which had been at full flood, was beginning to ebb. Empires either expanded or they began to die. I had seen in London, and again in Ethiopia, the power of the Western lands. They were encroaching where once the Ottomans had felt dominant. In the north, the temporary weakness of the Russians gave us some respite, but as before, the time of troubles would pass, and what then?
The Sultan’s desire to drive towards Vienna had been halted. It had cost the Empire a fortune and achieved naught. Could one keep draining the coffers of an Empire, even one as vast as ours, without consequences following? It was not as though, unlike the English, we had any systematic way of securing revenues. I knew I could loot my provinces for my own benefit as well as the Sultan’s; that I did not was my choice, not a rule of politics.
All these things passed through my mind as we took the short land journey to Suez, where we boarded a ship bound for home.
It was on a bright early summer’s morning that I saw the fortress of Raouche Rocks and knew we were nearly home. And yes, I used that word to Ana with feeling. She smiled, embracing me. Jacob stood next to her, wondering, as he later told me, what was to come. The Commander and his Tania were also on deck, as he told her about the life they would lead together.
At that moment I felt what I had never thought to feel – not only at home, but part of a family bound together by bonds of love and affection which made me feel loved and safe. I squeezed Ana to me.
“Home, little one,” she said, softly.
And so we were.
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