tagRomanceThe King's Harem Ch. 04

The King's Harem Ch. 04


Dominic sat beside Aisha's bed rubbing his temples with his fingers. He shook his leg nervously as he watched the doctor examine her.

"Is she going to be okay?"

"She is having a little trouble breathing but I believe she will recover from this just fine. It will be a better sign when she regains consciousness though."

"And the baby?"

"She did not miscarry but we need to recover the nutrients and fluids she lost from the excessive vomiting. She may be weak for a while and I recommend taking her to bed and keeping her there until we are sure the baby is better."

Dominic buried his head in his hands as tears flooded his eyes. When he saw Aisha being carried to the infirmary he thought that he'd lost her. He was relieved and he didn't care that both the physician and his wife watched as tears rained down his face.

He knew he was to blame for Aisha's unhappiness. He made so many mistakes in dealing with her and it almost cost him his child. He was determined to make it right now that he had the chance.

Nadia motioned to the physician to leave. She had been married to her husband for 12 years and she had never seen him cry. In fact, she had only ever seen Dominic in the infirmary when their son caught yellow fever. He never came there for her or any of the other girls. Seeing her own husband here crying over this girl made Nadia sick to her stomach.

She put her hand on Dominic's shoulder.

"Why don't you go relax yourself. I will bring a nurse here to attend to her."

"No. I'm going to stay here with her until she's able to be moved to a room."

"Very well." Nadia turned to leave.

She stomped out into the hall, her hand maids rushed to keep up with her. She blew through the doors to the harem and screamed for Maajida.

Maajida walked up to her and bowed. Nadia slapped her across the face. The girls watched in shock as Nadia let out an angry yell and started to hit Maajida repeatedly. Maajida shielded her face with her hands.

"How did she get the poison Maajida? Answer me," she yelled trembling from head to toe.

Maajida was crying hysterically. "I do not know my lady. I can't understand how this happened. I watched her constantly."

"Well apparently you did not watch her close enough because she got the poison didn't she?"

"Yes my lady, I am sorry."

Nadia breathed hard and looked around the room finally noticing the girls staring at her.

"Your incompetence has cost the king unnecessary time and anguish. You are quite lucky I do not cast you out on the streets. I expect you to do your job from now on. And find out who gave her the poison."

"Yes my lady."

Nadia walked outside. As the doors slammed behind her, her knees buckled and she reached for the wall to hold herself up. Her hand maids rushed to help her.

"Leave me" Nadia yelled.

She slid down the wall, wrapped her arms around her legs and cried.


Aisha blinked and looked around her. She was in a bed that she didn't recognize, she barely remembered what happened. Dominic was asleep in the chair beside her. She sat up and groaned as a pain shot through her head.

Dominic stirred and woke up. He got up and gently pushed her head back down.

"Lay down Aisha. How do you feel?"

"Weak and tired. Where am I?"

"You are in the palace. In one of our empty rooms. The doctor suggests you stay in bed for a few more weeks. Just until your strength is back."

Aisha moved her hand to her stomach.

"What about the baby?"

Dominic searched her eyes, he didn't know whether she would be happy if the baby was ok.

"We don't know yet."

They stared at each other silently until Dominic finally spoke.

"What were you trying to do Aisha?"

Aisha avoided his eyes and remained silent.

"You could have died Aisha. I know you're not happy here but what did I do that was so horrible that you would rather do this than be with me?"

"I just can't stand what I have become Dominic. This isn't the life I envisioned for my child. I'm so upset with myself."

Dominic wiped a tear running down her cheek. "I love you Aisha."

Aisha covered her face with her hands and cried into them. "You are only saying that because of the baby Dominic."

"This is not just about the baby. I'm in love with you. I have been in love with you from the moment you walked into my palace. I was wrong not to tell you how I felt about you before. I know I haven't been perfect to my other children but this will be different, I swear to you."

"Why are you telling me this now?"

"Because I hate to think that you tried to hurt yourself or our baby because you think I don't care about you."

It hurt Aisha to see the pain in Dominic's eyes. She wanted to make him understand.

"Did you ever know a boy named Omar Qaadir?"

Her question caught him off guard. "What does this have to do with anything?"

"Omar was a boy I met back in my old village. Do you know him?"

"No I can't say that I do."

"Will you break your vow of honesty to me so quickly?"

Dominic rubbed his head in frustration. "Yes I knew a boy named Omar. What about it?"

"Omar was your fathers' first born son. His mother was a concubine to your father and he is the rightful heir to the throne. They were thrown out of the palace when he was old enough to call into question why you were to ascend to the thrown and not him."

"I am fully aware of the story Aisha," Dominic said becoming more agitated.

"Were you aware that he could not work because in his 13 years under this roof he had never been taught a laboring skill? Or that he wandered the streets for years before he died? Your father gave positions of status to you and your younger siblings while many of the children of concubines were thrown out on the streets."

"Aisha, is that what this is all about?"

"His is not an unusual story. It is well known among your people that your father's illegitimate children are social pariahs who are treated badly by the whole of Oman society. That is the fate our child awaits Dominic. I have already shamed myself, I did not want to do the same to my own child."

Dominic sat down beside her on the bed. "This has nothing to do with us Aisha, I would never let that happen to our child. You mean more to me than..."

Amir knocked on the door outside.

"What is it," Dominic yelled angrily?

Amir rushed in. "Your highness you are needed at a meeting with the council."

"Not now Amir." Dominic dismissed him.

"I am sorry my lord, you are needed immediately."

Dominic knew Amir would never speak to him that way unless it was absolutely necessary. He kissed Aisha on the forehead.

"Get some rest. I will be back to see you later on."

Dominic disappeared through the doors and Aisha smiled as she drifted back to sleep.


"Countries to the west of us have began joining forces with the Africans and England has gotten word that we are as well. They are convinced that our efforts with them have been to get them to let their guard down as we prepare to break free from them and join forces with people south of the Sahara." Dominic's head councilman spoke.

"Well as foreign diplomats should you not have done something to change their minds? Why are you here bothering me with your matters?"

"Your highness you are the reason England has had such strong ties with Oman. They are untrusting of the rest of us and refuse to listen to our pleas. They have not allowed any imports to us for weeks and our people depend on some of their resources. You must go meet with the king personally-it is you he asks to deal with."

"You mean your king to go all the way to England because you are unable to do your job?"

"This has been going on for some time Dominic." The oldest member of the council spoke up forcefully. "You have been ignoring your duties the past few months and ignoring our warnings that more must be done with regards to England. You allowed your connections with the Duke of Albemarle to lure you into a false sense of security. More is needed than just his word and reports to you from England. Your father would never have allowed such a thing happen. Your birth itself was to help cement the bond between us and England and you must continue to insure we are their strongest alliance abroad."

"You must meet with their king immediately. Sign a treaty so that they know our alliance is to them and not the Africans and bring back resources," another councilman said.

Dominic looked around the room and saw that everyone seemed to have already reached a consensus. "Very well. Prepare our ship to depart for England at sunrise."


Dominic worked through the day with his councilmen preparing legislative propositions and gifts for the king of England. It was after midnight when he finally was able to visit with Aisha.

He walked into the room and sat down on her bed. Even ill she was stunning. Her body language was like a child's as she slept peacefully. He rubbed his thumb along the side of her cheek. She stirred and scratched where he touched her but did not wake up. Not wanting to bother her, he left her sleeping and returned to his chambers.

"Amir call my wife to my chamber."

Queen Nadia was glad to hear that her husband was calling for her. Her hand maids dressed her in a beautiful silk gown. Her naked form was almost completely visible through the gown and she let her jet black tresses flow freely around her face. The gown swept across the floor as she entered the room.

"You called for me?"

Dominic was writing at his desk and did not look up as she entered.

"Yes Nadia. I have been asked to go to England immediately to take care of matters of state."

"I heard my love." Nadia walked over to him and massaged his shoulders. "I hate the thought of you going away from me."

She waited for a response and continued when she did not get one.

"How long will you be gone?"

"It should not take too long. A week, perhaps two. Plus the time it takes to travel there. I am not interested in being there for too long."

Nadia wrapped her arms around his neck and put her cheek against his. He was surprised by her actions but too distracted to inquire about them.

"Nadia, I called you here because our son is too young to take over affairs and therefore you must be in charge while I am gone."

"Of course Dominic."

"I am also counting on you to make sure that Aisha is well taken care of while I am away. I won't have time to say good bye to her before I leave."

Nadia released her arms from around him and stood in front of his desk. Her heart sank as she listened to Dominic's instructions.

"Let the servants know that she is not to be treated like any other harem girl here. She is to be waited on hand and foot and stay in the west wing of the palace until further notice. Any movement or stress may put the baby in danger so let her know not to leave that bed. I want the doctor to check on her daily."

Nadia listened to him with tears welling up in her eyes. He was only concerned with Aisha. He was barely looking at her.

"Nadia are you listening to me?"

She cleared her throat. "Yes husband. Is there anything else?"

"When she is feeling better please give this to her." He placed a folded sheet of paper in Nadia's hand. "I have other instructions about running things while I'm gone but Amir should help you with those."

Nadia looked at the piece of paper. "Are you going to see the children before you leave?"

"It's late. I would rather not wake anyone before I leave. We are departing in a few hours as the sun begins to rise."


Nadia looked at herself in the mirror. Since childhood she was always told how beautiful she was but lately she was starting to wonder if that was true.

She was the daughter of an Omani lord and spent her youth training to be a lady and an appropriate wife. It had been her family's proudest moment when she was chosen as bride to the king yet here she was playing second to some common African whore.

She wondered how this could happen. She was used to Dominic favoring sex with other women over her but she knew this was different. She touched her face and posed in the mirror.

"Ghada, do you think I am still beautiful?"

Nadia's hand maid looked up from her sewing. "My mistress is the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on. What would make my queen doubt that?"

"I am losing my husband to a whore Ghada. If I am so beautiful tell me why this is happening?"

"Are you referring to the African girl?"

Nadia shot her an annoyed look. "You know very well that I am."

"My queen, you are not alone. Any man would take a whore to his bed over his wife, no matter how beautiful she may be. A whore's entire life is about male satisfaction and yet they get no respect from men. She is stunning in appearance yes. She excites the king and allows him to do vile things to her body but she cannot compare to you. You are his wife. YOU are the crowned queen of Oman."

"It is not simply taking her to his bed that bothers me. His desire for her is different than the other whores. He feels something for her. You've seen the way he favors her."

"She is different from most of the harem girls. She is intelligent and mysterious and she does not appear to be so concerned with pleasing him. It is enjoyable for him to chase her. Her novelty will wear off, you'll see."

Nadia stopped herself from telling her hand maid everything that had occurred between herself and her husband. Nadia knew her husband's feelings about Aisha and she loathed her for it. She could no longer sit by while this girl ruined her marriage.


The doctor held Aisha's wrist, feeling her pulse.

"You seem to be recovering very well."

"How is it possible that I even survived? I have never known a person to swallow Arsenic and live to tell about it."

"Arsenic? You did not fall ill because of Arsenic. It was ipecacuanha root that you swallowed. The root induces vomiting but I'm afraid it is not so effective for ending your life. It is not even usually this harmful but you took a very large dose."

Aisha almost laughed when the doctor told her that. Kashia probably had no idea what she was bringing her. She was grateful that the gods had given her another chance. She only hoped that the same mercy had been shown to her baby.

"Do you know how my baby is?"

"It is a good sign that you did not miscarry but we have no way of knowing if the baby is ok so early on. Until we know for certain you need to continue to rest and put on some weight. You should be fine in a few weeks. I will send a mid-wife in to check your progress after some time."

The doctor left and Queen Nadia came in with Maajida.

"How are you," Nadia asked?

"I feel ok. Still weak and nauseated but the doctor says I should recover well. I have not seen the king since yesterday my lady. Do you think I may see him later today?"

"Actually Aisha I came here to tell you that King Dominic has requested that you return home the moment you are able to stand on your own."

Maajida gave Nadia a confused look but kept quiet.

Aisha assumed she misunderstood what the queen was saying. "Home? You do not mean back to my village?"

"That is exactly what I mean. The king asked that you be returned to your mother's home with all of your belongings before the end of the week."

"May I speak with the king my lady?

"He is not here. He left for England this morning to visit with their king."

"He left without finding out about the baby and I?" Aisha's voice cracked as she said the words.

"Don't be absurd Aisha. He has many children and many women. You cannot possibly think that he would have time to give you special attention. That is why he didn't come by yesterday. He wanted to stay with me all day before he left and then my children and I saw him off this morning."

"I see," Aisha whispered. She turned her face away before the first tear fell down her cheek.

Nadia smirked. "Well then, get some rest. We shall move you out as soon as possible."

"My lady, did he tell you why he is sending me away?"

"He said you are more trouble than you are worth." Nadia turned and walked out of the door. In the hall she handed a piece of paper to Amir and told him to send it to the king at once.

Maajida sat down beside Aisha and rubbed her head as she cried. "Enough of that now child. You knew very well the king was prone to getting rid of girls suddenly. I always told you girls to be prepared for it."

"But yesterday morning he told me... I just thought that he cared more. How could he leave like this when he doesn't even know if our child is alright?"

"This is not his child and you must never think of it that way. It is not his heir or his first born and is no different from the many others who will be born in this palace and sent away. This is your baby and you will take care of it just fine on your own."


While in England Dominic thought about Aisha constantly. Had he come at a different time he would have loved his visit, but right now he only had her on his mind.

The king and queen were amused by Dominic's wit and charm and he was quickly able to convince them of Oman's allegiance to them. The men in England's royal court were also interested to know about the famous harem Dominic kept full of women from many different lands. They listened eagerly as he entertained them with stories of his female conquests.

He spent much of his time learning England's ways and visiting the people. He needed the English to find him charismatic so he put on a façade despite the fact that he did not really want to be there.

After being there for two weeks he decided it was time to return home . He was in his last meeting with parliament when he received a letter.

"From your homeland King Dominic." A servant bowed and handed the letter to him.

Dominic opened the letter and read only a few lines before he started to feel his throat closing up on him. He felt like he was going out of his mind. Nothing on the paper registered to him.

"Will you gentlemen excuse me a moment, I need to step outside." Dominic got up and rushed out of the room."

He closed his eyes and struggled for breath as he began to reread the letter.

My king,

I am writing to let you know that I have lost the child that I was carrying. Although it is tragic I must say that I am not disappointed for the loss. I am much better off without your child to complicate my life and now I feel like I can finally be free of you. There is nothing holding us together anymore. I do not want to be with you or in your palace any longer. I am leaving here in the night before any of your servants see me. I plan to leave Oman and begin a family elsewhere. If you care about me at all you will grant me this and not look for me.


Dominic crumpled the paper in his hand and laid his head against the wall. His head pounded and his stomach churned as he took in what he was reading. The future of his country was resting on what he did in England. He couldn't handle something like this right now. He had to get it together before he completely ruined the meeting.


Aisha felt dizzy as she rode to her home. She didn't feel as though she was well enough to leave but the queen insisted that Dominic would be angry if she was still there by the time he got back. She was not allowed to speak to anyone before she left so she could not say goodbye to Iba. She was simply put in a riding chair atop a camel and taken home by one of the servants. Abruptly and with complete coldness she was released back into the world as if her time at the palace never happened.

The doctor told her she was not supposed to leave her bed so she was worried about the baby. The movements of the camel shook her stomach and the hot sun beat down on her as she rode through the desert.

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