tagTranssexuals & CrossdressersThe Sultanah Ch. 04

The Sultanah Ch. 04

byYKN4949©

Dear Reader, thank you so much for reading this story. It has taken nearly a year of my writing life to get the whole thing finished. This is Chapter 4 of 14 chapters and the total is over 250,000 words. It is my Dirk Diggler/Jack Horner act of hubris: my attempt to write an erotic adventure story that pulls you in with a story you want to read, even when there isn't any sex going on (though there is a lot of sex. Crazy, weird, fun sex). It is the most ambitious piece of erotic fiction I have ever attempted. So I hope you enjoy it.

With that said, this book is not for everyone. It will be too long for many people (no shame in that, it is a big time investment). Some of the sex scenes are intense and include themes like hermaphroditism, non-consensual activity, incest, etc. For some people, that will likely be the appeal. In fact, while this story is definitely not for everyone, I think for a select group of people this story will essentially have everything you could ever ask for. So if that is you, congratulations, you found that thing you have been searching for. You can skip ahead to the sex and I won't be offended, but I think this story is more than the sum of its parts. If you read this whole story, you will not be disappointed.

In Chapter 1, our main character, Princess Varis, finds that her father has died and that, by virtue of the fact that she is a hermaphrodite and can father a child, she is now the Sultanah. In Chapter 2, Varis unearthed a conspiracy to destroy her Empire led by Rahip, the Cardinal of the "New Religion" and later she received her coronation. In Chapter 3, Varis humiliated the New Religion and raised the morale of her besieged people.

Some recurring characters you might want by name are Varis (the Sultanah and narrator), Cin (the head priestess of Gunes), Arkadas (Varis' friend and servant), Kardes (Varis' older sister), Nislani (Varis' younger sister), Rahip (a Cardinal of the 'new religion'), Duke Hain (an important lord opposing Varis), Lord Sadik (a minor lord who has spoken in support of Varis); King Sican (the leader of Dusman, a rival kingdom), Prince Lider (Sican's son); King Köylü (the leader of Temsilci, a rival kingdom); Agiz and Got (Subordinate Sun Priestesses); Saygili (Varis' guard); Soyguncu (a pickpocket and spy for Varis). Further, Gunes is the name of the Sun God, Tanri is the name of the 'new god.' The city where the story is set is Şehir in the country of Ülke and the Empire of Bütün Dünya. If you need more...reread the earlier chapters.

Please, please, please, please, please tell me what you think after you read this. I put an embarrassing amount of work into this and I want to know what you think. Especially if it is good things.


*****

Chapter 4: Lifting Siege and Spirit

"I am not saying that I don't understand the plan," Arkadas said, "I am saying I don't understand why you need to be involved. You are Sultanah, tell someone else to do it." With that, she flung herself down onto my chair.

"Can you explain this to her? I feel like I have explained it a thousand times to everyone who should know about it," I said to Kardes. The three of us were standing on the balcony outside of my chambers. The mid-afternoon sun poured down on us at our perch high above the city. As I finished speaking, I walked over toward the handrail around the edge of the balcony. I felt butterflies in my stomach and tasted blood in the back of my throat, however dismissive I was of Arkadas concerns when I spoke, I shared them.

I looked down over the edge of my balcony and could see, hung on the side of the palace, something that calmed me and slowed my pulse. The large red orb I now called the "Stone of Gunes" but which the people of the city were calling "the Sultanah's Stone." After my adventure with Soyguncu, Tanri's Bishop in Şehir had declared that evil forces, led by the Sultanah, had infected the stone with our malevolent powers. They had cast the stone from their cathedral, hoping (I presumed) that it would shatter on the ground.

Instead the people, fascinated by the remarkable change in color, had carried the stone to my home. I had wasted no time in lifting the great stone to one of the highest points on the Palace, so that it could be seen anywhere in Şehir. As I gazed that the stone again, I realized it truly was a remarkable transformation. The stone had not been scorched red. It had lost of none of its sparkling luster or luminescence. It was simply a deep, beautiful red where it had once been blue.

In the week since it had changed, my city had gone through a similar transformation. The story of the change in the stone and my role (my mythical rather than actual role, that is) in that change spread through the city quickly. In fact, thinking that I had made some sort of strategic mistake, Tanri's representatives poured through the city explaining the way in which I had maliciously deformed their stone. Unfortunately for them, hearing confirmation from Tanri's priests that Gunes had performed a miracle, and that I had been involved, backfired spectacularly against the agents of Tanri. Only one of the two gods had made presence known. Long dormant affection for the Empire's true god was ignited like the stone itself. And even as the excitement of the miracle cooled, the hearts of the Empire's people remained red and passionate for Gunes.

Just four days after the miracle, Cin held her weekly prayer services outside of her shrine. To her (and my) surprise, it seemed the entire city had turned out to pay their respects to a God who had shown herself when her people were at the breaking point. Cin had used the opportunity well. She had preached of the covenant between my house and Gunes, and the historical connection between the Sun God and Bütün Dünya. She made it clear that Gunes and the Empire were one and the same. The God provided protection to the people of the Empire so long as that Empire existed. She urged everyone to resist our enemies and promised that loyalty to God would deliver us victory. It should go without saying that she stressed that failure to hold our city would result in death.

The people, so deep into the terrible siege, and for so long without hope, became forged again in steel. Having seen or heard of a true miracle and then being reminded of their former glory seemed to change them. Almost everyone in the city ceased to attend services at Tanri's churches. People actively rejected the prayers calling for capitulation to our enemies. I had robbed the churches of their symbols and, as a result, exposed their lack of substance. All they had was empty idols and now the people knew it. Tanril priests and virgins no longer felt safe outside of their cathedral. I did not mourn for them, I was certain they would find other activities to occupy their time within their walls.

In a single symbolic gesture, without any appreciable violence, I had managed to sap the will of my internal enemies. The people of Şehir were as united as I could ever remember them. However, my triumph had done nothing to loosen the grip around my city's neck. The people were more defiant than they had been before, but there each day there was less food in the city. I steeled my people so that only starvation could cause them to yield, but starvation was not far off.

But the experience at the Tanril Cathedral had opened my eyes just as it had opened the eyes of my people. I had been thinking about lifting the siege in all of the wrong ways. Just as I could not forcibly remove all of the followers of Tanri from my city, I could not forcibly remove the enemy at my gates. But there was more than one way to defeat an enemy. And so I had devised a plan. I had told no one except for my Inner Council. I knew I could not trust all, if any, of the Lords. Cin and the priestesses had very much been in favor of the plan. Kardes had agreed, though with less enthusiasm. Arkadas, my trusted friend, was the only one opposed. In fact, she opposed it so vehemently that we were still arguing about it on my balcony an hour after the meeting had adjourned. I had already resolved to act, and sought only to advise the Inner Council of my plan. Which was why I saw no further benefit in reasoning with Arkadas and gave that task to Kardes.

"And you! You are her sister, I cannot believe you are not standing here next to me making the same arguments I am making!" Arkadas shot before Kardes even had a chance to speak, "If you loved her, like I love her, you would never let her do something so foolish." Kardes recoiled as if slapped.

"Do not speak to me in such a way! I love my sister. Her plan is not foolish, it is desperate. Because we are desperate," Kardes shot back quickly, ratcheting up her approval of my plan to match Arkadas vehemence.

"I am more of a sister to her than you have ever been," Arkadas said, tears welling in her eyes now, "She is going merrily to her death and you cheer her on!" I felt my heart seize as Arkadas spoke. She was like a sister to me and I certainly knew her better than I knew my older sister. But I was afraid her words would hurt Kardes, who had been standing by my side steadfastly since I had first been declared Sultanah. Kardes responded to Arkadas coolly, but without malice.

"I will ignore that previous comment and, once again, explain the situation to you. We are in a perilous position. We are extremely low on food and every day we are besieged increases the chances that we are overrun by our enemies. There is no time to waste, something must be done immediately..."

"And I agree, I just don't understand why Varis...the Sultanah must place herself in danger," Kardes interrupted.

"She must place herself in danger because she sits perilously on her throne! She must risk her life to save her life. If she sends others in her place she may lift the siege. But she will receive no credit. Lords will fall all over themselves to take credit for the action. The Sultanah will be one shrill voice amongst many clamoring for approval. When the immediate annihilation of the Empire is no longer a threat, the seat my sister sits upon becomes more attractive. Suddenly she is not a place holder in the last moments before the Empire dies, but instead the occupant of a potentially lucrative position. How long does Duke Hain or one of the other powerful lords who does not love my sister wait before deposing her in order to 'protect the Empire and provide a strong hand?' She is only a woman, after all, in the eyes of many.

"But so long as Varis brings miracles and Varis leads the efforts of the Empire she maintains the support of the people, she shores up the backing of her loyal barons, and she solidifies her position on the throne. As a woman out of her depth on her father's throne my sister is already dead, as the champion of Gunes leading the people of Bütün Dünya against all enemies, she cannot be cast aside.

"She plans her action to defeat our external enemies and she leads it herself to outflank her internal ones. You don't have to understand all of the politics at play to understand the truth of what I am telling you," Kardes concluded. She had far more succinctly explained the situation that I had before. Not for the first time I wondered at the scope of my sister's former role at her former father-in-law's court. Regardless, I nodded as she spoke.

I had been coming to the realization that lifting the siege could be perilous for me for some time. I saw in the way some lords, most Collaborationists, staunchly refused to abandon Tanri even as the people flocked to my side. I could not think in simply two dimensions, I had to consider all risks at all times and weigh them against one another. And I knew that I must always be out front of my people, so that those who would hold me back could never catch me.

"What good is any of that if she is dead?" Arkadas asked, and it seemed that all of the sophisticated arguments that my sister had offered were in vain. Arkadas did not understand.

"Its..." Kardes began again, sighing heavily. I pushed myself away from the balcony and turned towards my sister and my slave. I shook my head at my sister.

"Kardes, I thank you for your assistance, but I believe I need to speak separately with Arkadas," I said. Kardes opened her mouth as if she were going to speak. She looked over at Arkadas, who was staring blankly at her feet, smiled and me and nodded.

"Your grace," she said and turned to walk away.

"Sister," I said to indicate that I did not share Arkadas view of her treachery, "Please find me tonight when the deed is done."

"Of course," Kardes said and turned and walked away. Then it was only Arkadas and me on the balcony. We stood silently for a while as the breeze cooled us slightly. Finally, I walked across the balcony and sat on the chair next to my friend.

"To think I ever doubted your loyalty," I said and smiled. Arkadas did not return the smile. She turned and looked at me. Her pale white skin looked even lighter than usual and her eyes looked wide and nervous. I knew what she was afraid of. Arkadas was afraid that I was going to die. I was afraid too. But I understood that I could die if I acted and I could die if I did not. But Arkadas did not want to recognize that reality. I loved her for it, but I had to do what was necessary. I just didn't want to leave things like this before I left, I wanted her to understand. Just in case...

"It was an awful thing I said," Arkadas whispered, "To your sister. I will apologize the next time I see her." Arkadas did not meet my eyes as she spoke and her words came in a mumbled sigh. I did not think she actually believed what she said, it was what she thought I wanted to hear. I shook my head.

"Do not be anxious, I might not know Kardes as well as I know you, but she does not strike me as one who takes offense easily in situations such as this. She respects your concern for me. Besides, she is very wise in the ways of politics and would not make an enemy needlessly."

"She does understand politics, I will give her that. Very sophisticated," Arkadas said slowly, then finally, she raised her head and looked directly into my eyes, "But since when have you understood politics? Since when are sophisticated?" she asked accusatorily. I furrowed my brow, I had not expected that.

"What do you..." I began, but Arkadas cut me off.

"All of the sudden you are full of plans and intrigue. You are running all over the city getting into trouble. But do you really know what you are doing? Or are you just taking crazy risks and getting lucky? Because if you are just lucky, that will run out eventually. Sometime, you will take a stupid risk and..." The tears returned to Arkadas eyes and she shook her head bitterly. "You were not trained for this as your brothers were and you have no natural inclination towards politics or war, as your sister seems to possess. You had no interest in these matters before. I just... I worry for you." With that, Arkadas gave a shuddering sigh.

"I was thrown into this and am doing my best to protect my people..." I said, confused by her words. What did she mean about politics? What choice did I have?

"Your people?" she asked, "Where did this concern come from? You have always been just a silly girl worried about marriage and hating your little sister. Now you are concerned about the fate of an Empire..."

"Are you saying that in my position I should still be worried about petty fights with Nislani? That I can afford to be a silly girl?" I thought of my conversation several weeks earlier with Kardes outside my quarters, when I snapped at Nislani. I felt embarrassment again at my childishness. How did Arkadas not understand what I had learned weeks earlier?

"No...I am saying you still are that silly girl! You are pretending otherwise because you are too young to know the difference. You are doing what Cin wants or what your sister wants but you don't seem to realize that you can be killed. And it has always been my job to protect you and if no one else will, then I must!" I took a deep breath, trying to slow the conversation. Arkadas was leaning in toward me earnestly. Her eyes were aflame with passion and I was touched by her concern. But I did not think she understood the enormity of the situation. She could not protect me, even for a moment.

"Tell me, as you have in the past, about when I learned to swim," I said slowly after a moment. Arkadas' eyes narrowed. She seemed thrown by my request.

"To what end?"

"Indulge me," I replied. Arkadas sighed deeply and shook her head.

"We do not have time..."

"I am the Sultanah, I decide what we have time for," I said gently. I did not actually push my authority; I just let her know it existed. She bit her tongue and then proceeded.

"I had been trying to get you go down to the spot on the Kuzey River where the rocks form a natural pool," she said hurriedly, as though she wanted to finish the story as quickly as possible, "That is where I, and your all of your brothers and sisters, learned to swim. You were not afraid of swimming, so much as totally disinterested. I would take you down and you would sit on the bank and throw rocks at the birds. I threw you in more than once and you flailed around until I rescued you. You refused to even put your feet down when the water was shallow in for standing. I tried for two weeks and then gave up.

"About a month later, we were crossing the bridge over the Güney River, to see the traveling market. You were holding your new kitten in your arms and looked over the side. Your cat slipped out of your arms. Without a word you hurdled over the side of the bridge. I was terrified, it happened so fast. You plunged the ten feet into the water, much rougher than the pool on the Kuzey, and grabbed your kitten (who could swim just fine). Then, as if you'd been born knowing how to swim, you paddled over to the shore where the market was being held and lay down on the grass to dry while you waited for me." She said. Despite her anger, a smile spread across her face when she told the story. It was one of her favorites. She used it to describe my impetuousness, my willfulness, and my luck. I sat for a moment while she savored the memory.

"What does that tell you?" I asked finally. She looked at me and her smile faded.

"That you are stupid and childish and only luck has kept you alive this long," she said.

"I could not swim at all, I flailed in shallow water. Then, all of the sudden, I could swim. Does that mean nothing else to you?" I asked.

"I don't understand what you are getting at Varis... This is..."

"It says that I am only capable of doing something when I have to. I might be disinterested or completely oblivious, but when necessity arises, I am capable. You know that is the case, you can probably think of a dozen other examples," I said. I saw recognition in Arkadas' eyes. And a refusal to accept that recognition.

"I remember as many failures as successes," she said, her voice catching in her throat. As she spoke, I stood up from my chair and walked so that I was standing directly in front of Arkadas. She looked up from her from her chair. I dropped to my knees in front of her. Her hands were clasped tightly in her lap and I set my hands on top of them, gently.

"I cannot explain the changes that have come over me in recent weeks. All I can say is that I was thrown into the water. Swimming is risky and I may die, but if I fail to swim there is no doubt that I will die. And, for what it is worth, I do not praise Gunes simply because Cin is a powerful ally. Something strange has happened to me. I feel...something inside of me that was not there before. I do not know, but I feel that it heightens my intuitions...It tells me which risks to take and which to avoid."

"You are comparing things that are not alike. This is...different. This isn't childhood games. I was there to make sure you clothes got dry and your hair straightened so your parents did not realize you had jumped in the river. If you mess up now...I cannot clean up after you. You will die."

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