Rahab Bk. 04 Ch. 07: Grand Design

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Empires are, I think, male. They thrive on aggression, ambition, and a desire for riches and power. I like what riches bring, but I can sleep in only one bed, live in only one place and eat only one meal at a time. There is something in the drive for Empire I do not understand. I think that like the male sex drive it is to do with possession and the instant and insistent satisfaction of desire. There is a pleasure in the chase and the taking which I lack.

Ana tried to explain it to me several times, and I think she understood it; but then she had a strong masculine side to her. She liked to possess me and even control me. I loved that those things pleased her, and they certainly gave me huge pleasure; but had she wanted me to reciprocate, I could only have manufactured a pale simulacrum of what she did to me. I would have done it to please her; but my heart would not have been in it. And yet I could rule the Vilayet.

That, Ana explained, was because I liked order, and I had an instinct for how to organise people to do what I wanted. She approved of my plans for expansion in the East because it would satisfy a number of forces which needed it. The local Amirs were all anticipating riches from conquest, and were cooperating nicely. The winter was no season for a military campaign, but we had time and could prepare for the spring. In the meantime, as I told Anna, there was the greater matter, at least for me, of freeing the Jews.

Operating on the useful (and necessary) principle of trusting no one other than Ana, I arranged to spend a week in the town nearest to the mountain base from which she operated. Master Kunt and his bodyguard, by now a finely-tuned military machine, ensured there was no repeat of the ambush that had impeded my progress the last time I had been in the region.

The palace on the hill was an ideal spot from which to work.

The courtyard had two beautiful jacaranda trees, rare in that part of the world, but a gift from a Chinese emperor, so it was said. I would sit under them to receive visitors, and increasingly, to do my work. The fountain in the centre tinkled day and night, lending the place an almost Edenic air. I sometimes think Paradise will be like that courtyard; not long now before I find out whether that fancy is correct. When Ana sat there with me, sipping sweetened pomegranate juice, I sometimes hoped that time would stop at that point. But of course, it never did. It will soon; for me.

The third night I was there the agent for whom I had been waiting turned up. He was from the Jewish community north of our border, and the tale he told me confirmed all my fears. The Mongol-supporting Amir was levying fresh taxes on the Jews. If they converted to Islam, they would be spared the taxes and further persecution; but any who remained had been given until the year’s end to pay, or the community would be decimated. Paradise was the wrong place to hear such news. I ordered the servants to feed the agent, and I sent for Ana.

She was visibly angry.

‘We must act, and act soon. This is detestable. These people should be stopped. We must invade sooner.’

I understood her emotions; but emotion is a bad guide to military action. Whenever anyone says: ‘Something must be done,’ the wise woman hides her sons, and the wise man buries his gold. As I once said to a Maronite bishop who asked çıtır escort me about the issue: ‘Knowest not Father with how little wisdom the world is governed?’

To act now would be, I told Ana, a mistake. It was not the time to launch a full-scale invasion. We had no plan, no idea of the lie of the land, and no sense of what logistics would be needed. But that did not mean, I reassured her, that we should do nothing. The analogy I used was one from our love-making.

There were times, I reminded her, that we needed to move towards the state of arousal which, at others, we were already at when we started our love-making. To go straight into full sex when one or the other of us was not quite ready, was to court disappointment. So, instead of jumping her bones, as so often happened, I might sit at her feet and play with her pretty toes, massaging her soles and ankles, and play with each toe; I might even suck them. When our blood was up and we were ready to fuck, such foreplay would have been ridiculous; but when we needed to journey to that place, it was appropriate.

She laughed.

‘My darling, I think I see it, but only you could liken a military campaign to you sucking my toes; speaking of which.’

With that unspoken thought, I broke off to do just that. I sucked at each toe as though it was her bud, licking and then sucking; all the while playing with her feet. As I moved up her long athlete’s leg, I marvelled again at the beauty of her calves and thighs. I caressed them, savouring their taste and texture, my tongue licking her salty sweat. As I went higher and began to scent her arousal, I sighed deeply. But I held back.

Instead of continuing where she had imagined, straight to the fleshy delights of her wet and juicy cunt, I switched my campaign, moving behind her to caress the contours of her perfect ass. So firm, so round, my face longed to be between her cheeks, but for now I simply licked down the cleft of her ass, reaching the bottom before licking up, using my thumbs to part her cheeks. I dipped below, just to taste her cunt, before transferring the thick gooey juice to her dark star hole, which was pulsing for me. As the tip of my tongue worked that goo into her anal ring, she gasped, reaching behind her to grab me. But I dodged her, slipping below, between her thighs.

There I used my fingers skilfully. As my right thumb found her bud and began to rub it, my index finger and her companion twisted and slide into the thick warm wetness, penetrating her with one swift thrust; she moaned loudly.

She moved her hands to the front to try to grasp my hair, but I had moved, and my tongue pressed into her asshole, making her gasp all the more. As my thumb massaged her bud, I fell into a rhythm with my fingers, but my mouth played with her asshole, diving in and out, but never staying there only enough for her to close her hole on it. Her hands moved in vain. Try as she might, she could not pin me down. She was ostensibly in control of me, as I was giving her pleasure; but I dictated the course and pace of the play.

In this way, I prolonged her pleasure, and her longing, as I wished. It was not until I felt her cunt begin to clench my fingers that I finally thrust my face deep into her ass-cleft and thrust my tongue through her anal ring. By that stage, she was more than demetevler escort ready to climax. She flooded my fingers and face. I felt her orgasm course through her, feeling its effects on me. She came again as I refused to stop.

I moderated my attentions to ensure she stayed aroused, and brought her back to the boil gradually, prolonging the orgasm until it escalated into another full climax.

As usual, after she had climaxed, I slid up into her arms and we cuddled.

‘You, you, oh my goodness, where did you learn that?’

I confessed it was of my own design. It was, I told her, a perfect example of what I meant before we got distracted.

I had moved in ways she had not expected and kept her off-balance. She was stronger and more powerful than me, and if she had been able to catch me, she could have made me give her what she thought she wanted by simple force. But I had kept her guessing as to my intentions, and never done what she expected me to do. She had not even been able to grab my hair, as she usually did, because I had not done what she expected me to do. The result had been that I had dictated the pace and the timing of the orgasm; indeed, I had given her more than she would have had if we had proceeded as we so often did – at her pace.

She gave a deep, sexy laugh.

‘So, my little one, that was your military campaign on my body, so what is the lesson – and your plan?’

It amused her that even in our passion, I had a purpose.

I explained that a small force, behaving in ways the enemy did not expect, could catch him off-guard and off-balance, and could keep him there by using the advantages conferred by size. A small, well-trained contingent, could strike at will where it wanted, retreating into a terrain where the local population would hide them. They could live off the land in the way a large army could not, and they could hit and run, determining the pace and place of operations. By the time the enemy had moved a large force into one region, our small force would be miles away, hitting some other target.

‘So, because I could not grab your pigtails, the warlords of Armenia will not be able to grab my warriors, but will be left gasping?’

‘Precisely,’ I giggled, before renewing my assault on her undefended rear. I loved the feel, scent and taste of her bottom, even as she loved my playing with it, and as night passed into morning, she came twice more; we slept until the sun was up.

Naming things is important. My mother’s immediate ancestors were from Spain where they called ‘war’ a guerra. This, I thought, was like a small war, so we might name it guerilla; it was a type of war which left the initiative to the weaker but nimbler Power. It would allow me to use Ana and the Bodyguard to maximum effect in probing our enemy, while weakening them. Master Kunt was delighted when I explained the concept to him, and he allocated a small force of elite soldiers to the unit Ana’s women would command.

‘It is, Madame, brilliant. What made you think of it?’ He might, I thought, ask that, but I could not possibly answer.

Happy that I had impressed the military, knowing that Kunt would tell the Emirs of my plans, I consulted with Ana about the timing of the guerilla campaign.

‘The time is coming,’ she said, ‘and you must meet the dikmen escort heir of the Marble King, for his fate is tied to the success of your operation. He has travelled south and arrived at the Sacred Mountain yesterday. He would like to meet you.’

Attempts to persuade her to tell me more fell on stony ground. But putting together what she had said, and what Fr. Vlad had said, reason told me that the heir lived in Russia. I would finally meet the man – I assumed it was a man – who was the direct descendant of the last Emperor of Constantinople. He must be a Russian, otherwise, so reason told me, the Russians, who aspired to be the heirs of Constantine, would have eliminated him.

I slept uneasily that night, and was grateful for Ana’s presence. At one point somewhere far out on night’s vast ocean, I saw something I still do not understand. It was an unkempt figure, I guessed a hermit, but it could have been some kind of vagabond monk. He was heavily bearded and had hypnotic eyes. I saw him with a beautiful older woman and her children, most of whom were daughters, but one of whom, the sickliest, was a male child. There was a healing going on, but it did not seem a healthy one, if such a thing were possible. There was a sense of foreboding, of doom. He seemed to be the servant of a demon, and the woman and her family were in danger.

I recorded it separately. I asked Fr. Vlad and others about its meaning, but can get none. The Marble King was weeping tears. It was, perhaps, a foresight of the end times. I leave it here in the hope that one day others can unravel its meaning.

I awoke trembling, and searched next to me for Ana. I snuggled into her bosom. Sleepily she put me to her breast as a mother would her child, and so comforted I slept.

She asked me when the morning light had come what had ailed me. But what the darkness makes menacing, the light of day diminishes to a dream or a nightmare. But even now the feeling haunts me in the small hours. The vagabond monk, the hermit seems a manifestation of evil.

Ana, less prone than me to such fancies, bade me dismiss the phantoms of the night, and I did so. But given the news from Moscow recently, the dream has returned. I cannot, without some revelation, know the connection; but I can sense there is one. All things end, and I have a foreboding that it is the ending of what, in this year the Christians call 1633, has just begun.

It was with such thoughts that I travelled to the Sacred Mountain.

‘You are such a dreamer, my darling Rahab,’ Ana counselled me, ‘do not expect an angel, or the demon your mind conjured up. But the heir is a man who Godunov would not let you meet, though he wanted to meet you.’

We went down the passages which led to the central chamber deep in the rock. I could hear, as we got closer, the sonorous echo of the chant of the Orthodox liturgy; the deep voices of the monks seemed an echo of the rocks themselves. As we entered the chamber in which the sarcophagus of the Marble King lay, I could see two figures kneeling by the tomb. One I recognised as Fr. Vlad whom I had met in Moscow. The other was a hooded figure. We stood in silence until the prayers had ended.

The hooded man rose, tall, thin he was, his beard long, his face pale.

‘Highness,’ Fr. Vlad said, clasping my hand, ‘meet Rahab, who is to the Jews another Moses, and to you as the Baptist was to Our Lord. She foretells your coming.’

The tall man pulled his hood back. He looked like the icon of Christ in the Hagia Sophia which the Turks have painted over.

‘My lady Rahab,’ Fr. Vlad said, ‘meet Feodor Romanov, the once and future Emperor.’

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