I finally whipped up a scene for this month's QQ. This was a lot of fun to write.
‘Simply a partner', I was told.
“It’s solely a business relationship,” they agreed, sitting in a well lit library with the Minister of Diplomacy and the Chief State Councillor.
Opposite Fahd sat Princess Zahira, pearls shimmering as she tossed her head saucily. “Don’t look so worried, Father, Uncle. Do you doubt our power?”
Lord Akram frowned, “No, child, I’ve never doubted your power.” He hesitated, “Be careful, Zahira.”
She smiled and reached across the table to grip her uncle’s hand. “We will be.”
“Merely a business relationship,” Satha, Zahira’s mother, frowned over dinner. “Very well. Be careful, Zahira.”
“We can hardly fail to remember to be careful with so many people cautioning us,” the princess retorted smilingly.
“It’s a business relationship,” Zahira shrugged her shoulders cheerily, a stark figure of living color in the verdant gardens drenched with the creamy light of two moons. A shawl the color of blood slid off, leaving her arms bare. She did not replace it, letting it hang off her elbows, though the night was cool. “One would have thought it was a business marriage, by the way everyone is carrying on. Use the Sirin power. Convince everyone. Then sever our partnership. Why are they overreacting?”
“Youth was never intended to understand the weightier thoughts that decades of life bring,” Fahd’s low chuckle glided along her bare arms and up to the back of her neck. “Who can say what dark things they imagine coming out of the shadows of our power? After all, one Sirin alone wields great power, but two Sirins,” eyes nearly the color of night gleamed down at her. Zahira drew a breath heady with the surging challenge as he continued, “Two Sirins together will never be outmatched.”
“Especially not ones as strong as ourselves,” she agreed. Slender fingers brushed a leaf from his shoulder.
They smiled at each other, eyes glittering with complete accord.
‘No more than a business partnership.’ It’s what was promised. In school, I had one professor who had traveled in his youth, and developed an appreciation for the British method of education, particularly teaching Latin and Greek. His better students had lessons in at least one of the languages, usually Latin, after having completed their regular work. One of the phrases he taught us recurred to my mind with increasing regularity during these nights of power entwining and reaching for a higher goal.
Veni, Vidi, Amavi.
She was supposed to be a partner. Nothing more. But I came to understand exactly what it was that our elders had feared as I grew to know the woman under the masks.
I came, I saw, I loved.
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