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Chapter Twenty Four - In India

The man, dark haired and dressed in the style of the country he was visiting, glanced at the demure figure walking beside him. She was veiled head to toe in dark green silk, below that, yellow, still further below, golden gauze as delicate as butterflies wings. In fact, seven layers covered her in all; ‘neath which her scantily clad body was not demure at all.

Jack’s grand plan was to visit the Indian Rajah and have Sarah dance for him. Such loveliness and accomplishment would surely give the Rajah great joy, represented by gold coins and jewels in Jack and Sarah’s direction. Sarah was dubious of such positive results, but upon his cajoling and commanding, could not resist giving her obedience in the plan.

Once at the castle, Jack would not permit anyone to view Sarah or even have demonstrations of her talent. He merely repeated over and over that the ruler would be pleased, and if he were not, Jack would bear all responsibility for his displeasure. Thus, they were presented before the entire court. Jack avowed the performer’s loveliness and talent, then giving her a whispered assurance of protection, he took a spectator’s seat.

The Dance of the Seven Veils is considered one of the most erotic in history. Based on the dance by Salamar for Herod when she asked for the head of John the Baptist, each veil is removed and tossed aside in a long dance of wild gyrations. Sarah danced it exquisitely, having performed it a few times for her husband’s favor. Indeed, Jack found it difficult to control his passion to her dancing it again, even for another man.

The Rajah certainly was not unmoved by the erotic dance. When she came to rest at the foot of his throne, breasts heaving, thighs quivering, head tipped back so all her white streaked hair tumbled dark over her shoulders, every male watching sucked in breath.

The Indian ruler leaned forward slowly as the dancer regained her feet and met his eyes. “Sarah, your name is?” His translator spoke in English for her benefit. “And like that Sarai* of old, your beauty outpaces your ripened years.”

Somewhat startled, Sarah thanked him, but her eyes cut over to look at Jack. The ruler followed her glance and raised an eyebrow. “Your brother, I imagine?”

“No my lord. My husband. My dearest protector.” Sarah answered emphatically.

“Ah. A shame. For you are mine now, sweet dancing Sarah.”

“Now wait just a bloody minute!” Jack called indignantly, shouldering forward.

At a royal gesture, guards seized him. “I’ll be taking my wife with me when I go!” Jack shouted, struggling in their grasp.

“You won’t. You’ll take your life with you, count that your reward. Sarah pleases me, just as you planned. Henceforth, she will dance nightly, only for me.”

“Sarah Sparrow I am, not the fabled Sarai!” she commented bitterly, as the guards removed Jack from the throne room, with loud protestations.

“And yet your aged beauty has beguiled me, as it did that ancient king. But unlike the Pharaoh, I have no superstitions of Godly punishments to bind me.”

Royal eunuchs began to lead her away. “Then shall I also be Scheherazade**, to keep myself from danger?” Thus disparaging the Rajah, by comparing his amorous attentions to the threat of being executed.

Three weeks later

Two palace eunuchs trod the hall away from a sumptuous apartment, talking softly together. “I don’t know how she dare refuse him the way she does. She doesn’t even pretend to try and placate him! I’ve never seen anyone be so rude to an anointed king!” one said indignantly.

“What I don’t understand is why he lets her get away with it,” the other answered disapprovingly. “No matter how skilled a dancer she may be, or how beautiful he finds her, still. We’ve seen the Rajah execute his loyal servants for far less. He won’t tolerate it much longer.”

Back in the suite given to the subject of their conversation, Sarah was in a foul mood indeed. She’s first intended to give flawed performance, to send the message that she could not be commanded. But once she heard the music, the joy in her movements was too strong. She danced with abandon and perfection. When the sultan visited her quarters, she seethed and raged and ordered him out.

Her anger covered a deep fear she had, of Jack’s safety and her own chances at escape. Since he’d been thrown out of the castle she had no notion what had become of him. No one seemed to know. Or perhaps they didn’t wish to tell her. Currently, the maidens assigned to wait on her – the Rajah’s young sisters and nieces – fluttered and hovered and generally made of themselves a nuisance. Sarah felt a headache beginning.

“Get out!” she ordered. “I don’t need any bathing or beautifying or tending to tonight. Get out!”

The girls trooped out obediently, having learned very early on that Sarah was not a gentle creature when provoked. She locked the door behind them, then turned and saw that one remained, a statuesque woman who stood staring at her. “Did you not hear me?” Sarah snarled, advancing. “I want no company tonight! Get out or I’ll claw your face!” She stopped in puzzlement. There was something very familiar about those eyes.

The harem girl unfastened the veil across her face and revealed a mustache and a gleaming grin. “Jack!” Sarah cried joyfully.

“Shhhh!” he silenced, moving towards her swiftly. “Don’t want to be caught ‘breeching’ your sacred sanctum, now do I?” He glanced down at his costume. “Would be damned embarrassing.” The twinkle in his eyes belied his words; Jack was enjoying himself in the fine pink silks immensely.

He removed a length of rope from beneath his dress and went to the window. She feasted her eyes on him, giddy with relief and pleasure that he was all right, that he’d come to help her. She’d seriously considered, in her darkest moments, casting herself out the very window at which Jack was now standing, since she could see no other way of escape.

Something about his appearance in feminine apparel made heat blossom low in her belly. She was most aware of his power and strength, but certainly there a lithe grace to his movements as well. High cheekbones, full lips, and large expressive eyes only made him more exceedingly beautiful. Finishing his knots, Jack turned and held out his arms to her. “Come on love, time for us to use the egress.”

The door was shut. No one would disturb her until morning. Eagerly she pressed close to his softly clad body. “Jack, you make such a lovely harem girl,” she said seductively, exploring his body. “No sultan could resist you.”

He gave a strangled gasp. “Don’t start our escape by distracting me, bit o’Sarah. Still got the outer wall and the guards there to deal with!”

“We could pretend the Rajah rejected you, and you’ve turned to me for comfort,” she went as if she hadn’t heard, hands busy doing things that would quickly bring her scenario to pass, were he equipped as a maiden is.

“Get on my back,” he said raggedly. “I’ll do whatever you like, once we’re safely away from the palace.”

He climbed down the rope with her clinging to him, legs locked round his waist and her lips murmuring naughty suggestion in his ear. He was laughing low throaty chuckles of delight by the time they reached the ground and began cautiously sneaking towards the wall. Far from the gate so they could scale it without anyone noticing, that was the goal.

It was far easier to leave the palace than to get in it. Once they’d run a far enough distance, he began to relate how he’d hid himself in the harem, showing himself for longer and longer times until the eunuchs accepted his presence without thought. Then he’d tagged along with the group assigned to Sarah.

She would not allow him to remove the harem girl’s clothes until she’d fully satisfied herself as to her husband’s versatility in them.

*Sarai was a woman in the Old Testament, wife of Abraham. She came into Pharaoh's presence while her husband was traveling, and claimed to be Abraham's sister, so Pharaoh would not kill the men and claim her. He still desired her for himself, though he did not touch her. At the time, she was approximately eighty years of age, and still a looker.

**Scheherazade is from Arabian Nights. To save herself from being executed by her husband the king, she began an exciting story every night, and did not finish it "until tomorrow." By telling over a hundred stories, she saved her life and caused the king to fall in love with her and therefore spare her life.


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April 2011

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