The Sultanah Ch. 14byYKN4949©
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 14 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. In Chapter 4, Varis lifted the siege through a daring midnight raid. In Chapter 5, Varis survived an assassination attempt and visited her harem. In Chapter 6, Varis faced a challenge to her authority and seduced a noblewoman to maintain it. In Chapter 7, Varis defeats the raiders and comforts a peasant girl. In Chapter 8, Varis is briefly engaged and kills her fiancé for betraying her. In Chapter 9, Varis slept with a member of the harem, her half-sister, while her aunt watched. In Chapter 10, Varis wed her sister and consummated the marriage. In Chapter 11, Varis sleeps with two new hermaphrodite members of the harem. Chapter 12, Varis performs a sexual ceremony with three surprising women. In Chapter 13, Kardes and Arkadas are murdered and Varis gets revenge on Hain's daughter.
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); Tutuklu (the head concubine of the harem); Kukla (a noblewoman); Maderşahi (the leader of Anaerki, an ally). 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 14: Renewal
I didn't hear the door open; I was completely oblivious to the world around me. It was the morning after the failed coup attempt and I had awoken feeling totally unsettled. I was thinking a lot about Arkadas, Kardes, Got, and Agiz. I was even thinking about Saygili and Cin, who had been injured on my behalf. I didn't know what I felt about it anymore. I was so numb. I just knew, despite the fact that I had just woken up, that I was tired. So, unbelievably tired. All of my joints seemed to ache and my head was foggy. Without really planning anything, I had gotten up from my bed naked and started writing. I didn't even know what I would be writing, but the words started to come. And the more I wrote, the more defeated I felt. My head was practically laying on the desk when the door opened.
"Varis..." a small voice said. Nonetheless, I was so completely on edge and so engrossed in my writing that my shoulders jumped and I turned quickly in my chair. For a moment I had an image of the throne room the night before, the doors busting open and the traitors piling in. But I relaxed as I saw Nislani standing just a few feet away from me. She was wearing her nightgown and her hair was slightly messy. I wondered briefly where she'd slept. She hadn't come in. Thank Gunes.
"Hello Nislani," I said flatly. Then I turned and began writing again. It was like I'd never left. There was a long silence where the only noise was my pen moving across the paper. I could sense that Nislani did not move. She just looked at the back of my head.
"I am sorry," she said eventually and I barely heard it. There was another paused, "About Arkadas...and Kardes..." even as she spoke the names I could hear tears well in her eyes. I set down my pen and turned to her. My sister was crying, her head drooped and her shoulders slouched. She shook her head.
"You don't need to apologize," I said, still sounding unnecessarily cold. I was surprised by the sound of my voice. I hadn't intended any anger at Nislani. I realized that whatever emotion I used to call hate and attach to Nislani was nothing of the sort. A minor emotion by comparison to real hate. I knew that now. Nonetheless, I let the cold words hang. Part of me wanted to comfort her, she looked so pitiful. But I lacked the will to do it. I lacked the warm feelings necessary to comfort someone else.
"But I do..." she said, looking up behind red eyes, "I have so much to apologize for..."
"Not for Kardes and Arkadas," I responded, "Or anything else that happened last night. Anything you have to apologize for pales in comparison to that anyway."
"That isn't true," she said, "That isn't true at all and you know it."
"Well what is it then?" I asked sharply. I felt so very weary. Nislani, for the first time in her life, did not respond to my anger. She grew quiet for a moment and then spoke.
"I need to apologize for being childish," she said.
"You are only 18, that happens," I said, hoping that was the end of it.
"No! Not like that. I have behaved like a spoiled brat...well forever. But in a way that I cannot justify since you became the Sultanah. I don't know if I was jealous of you or...what. But I was wrong. And I am sorry."
"Why now? Why are you apologizing? Because you feel bad that my lover and our sister have died?" I asked, sounding more annoyed than angry. Nislani shook her head vehemently. I wanted to tell her not to bother to explain, that I didn't really care. But I lacked the will to speak. I just sat, defeated, while my sister struggled to explain her un-relatable feelings.
"No, not that at all! Well, yes it is. But not like you think. I am not apologizing because I feel bad. But the fact that they...died. It change the way I thought about everything. I don't know...I know there has been a war going on. I mean I saw it. But it...didn't feel real before. I just...I didn't recognize it," she was clearly struggling with her explanation. I found it wanting.
"You know our father and our brothers were killed in this war," I replied sharply.
"I am sure I cried far more tears for Father and our brothers than you ever did," Nislani stated without malice, "It was not that. They were men. That is what men do. They fight in wars and sometimes die. It was horrible, but it was expected. This with Kardes and Arkadas...they were women. And gentle. And sweet. And they killed them," she was crying again now.
"Nislani..." I said, trying to calm her, but she raised her hand and continued.
"I didn't understand the stakes Varis. I really didn't. I just thought you were using your throne to lord over me because you could. Like we were playing games. It seems so stupid now. What a small part of all this I was, but I felt so much like...Like I was in the center. Now I know. You were hard on me and you were mean. But most of the time, in the last few months, you had to be. The margin for error was so small. You were balancing so many lives...I am so sorry I didn't help. This is as much my fault as anyone else."
Perhaps in another time or another place, I would have felt vindicated. I don't know. She had just admitted to me all of the things that I had accused her of or at least suspected. But my empty feeling stayed with me. I kept looking at her and I shrugged my shoulders. What did any of this matter anyway?
"Well don't worry about it," I said, "It is all over now anyway." Nislani's brow furrowed and she tilted her head to the side.
"What do you mean? Because the collaborationist are all dead? But Dusman is still out there. Surgun and Temsilci too..." Nislani's brow was furrowed and she tilted her head to the side.
"Not like that," I said, "I cannot do this Nislani. I tried. I am not cut out for it. This will take care of it." As I spoke I lifted up the paper I had been writing on. It felt so heavy in my hands. I hadn't even admitted to myself yet what I was writing. I had just let the words pour out of me and onto the page. But I felt strangely light when I said those words to my sister.
"What is it?" she asked, sounding nervous. I looked at it for a long while and then sighed.
"It is the end of all of this," I said. Nislani took a few steps closer to me and shrugged.
"I don't know what that means Varis, what does it say?" She replied. I sighed again and looked at the paper. Well, I was going to need to explain it a lot anyway, I might as well do it now. After all, it concerned Nislani.
"It is a letter to King Sican. I apologize in it for attacking his troops. I lament the war. I ask for forgiveness. I beg for a truce. I offer to annul our marriage. I offer your hand to Lider in marriage. I further offer to resign as Sultanah so that Lider can now take his throne," I said coldly. Nislani's jaw dropped.
"No!" she said, sounding surprised and angry at the same time. I shrugged and nodded. It was absolutely true. That, more or less, was what I had been working on since I woke up that morning. I guess I had come to the same realization that Nislani had. This was not a game. I was not dealing with domestic, womanly issues and gossipy tiffs. I was in the middle of a war. I was a leader in that war. And my mistakes reverberated throughout society. Every mistake I made cost lives. Other people's lives. Kardes and Arkadas for sure, but they had simply brought the issue home to me. But scores of others had died as a result of my actions. And what was I doing? Simply flailing around, doing whatever felt right in the moment. I had no idea what I was doing and I was hardly in a position to take responsibility for my actions.
These ideas seemed to have come fully formed in my mind when I awoke and it was only a matter of automatically putting them to paper. I didn't even feel bad about it. No, when I woke up my self-hatred and guilt may have been gone and but I hadn't forgiven myself for what had happened. I had simply stopped feeling anything about. I accepted that there was nothing I could do that my mistakes were inevitable. But only because I recognized my limitations as a leader and as a woman. And I resolved that no one else would die to vindicate my pride and my ego. I would take the full brunt of dishonor on myself. I would quit. I would let the men have their sphere and I would return, chastened, to mine.
"You can't do that!" Nislani said, she almost seemed like she would say more, but held up.
"Nislani, I can't not do it!" I said, sounding desperate. For the first time that morning, I was really feeling something. I didn't really understand why I felt so strongly about this, but I followed my emotions. I knew that I would find my reasons there.
"After you've been through so much...why quit now?" she asked, sounding more angry than incredulous. I began to speak then, the words pouring out of me without thought. The motivation for my abdication came out of me easily, as though I had not avoided thinking about it all morning.
"What am I becoming Nislani?" I asked, but did not stop to hear her response, "You don't understand the evil that is taking root in me, that is corrupting me from the inside. You don't know the things I've done. I have killed people Nislani! I had ordered actions that have resulted in still greater deaths. And I don't feel anything about it. I caused my friend...my sister...to die. I did that with my actions, and I cannot even make myself feel anything about it. Last night...I can't even describe what I did last night. Or what I tried to do. I tried to...crush a woman's soul, to extinguish it. I felt...good about it. But these are not games, I am not play acting. There are consequences that I cannot even fathom to the actions I take. And I can do it, I know that I can. But, who am I Nislani? Are these things that I can live with as a person? Everything I do, I do from necessity. This is what it takes to be on the throne. This is what the Sultanah does. Is that what I want? Can Varis survive this? I don't think so anymore, I am eating up the part of me that exists outside of this office. Burning it up to become... What? Miserable. I need it stop." Nislani looked at me in stony silence and then responded as though she had not even heard my concern.
"You have no right to abandon your throne. It belongs to our family and you are the only one who can sit in it!"
"I don't belong in it any more than any other person, it is a man's chair and I am a woman. I have tried to do what men do, but I don't have the stomach for it. Or I don't have the stomach for the fact that I have the stomach for it. I am going to stop before I kill someone else," I explained, I could feel tears coming to my eyes as well. I was surprised. I didn't know I could feel anything, not even frustration. It was so much bitterer to say all of this aloud. I shook my head. It had all been an illusion. It was like being with Kozla the night before. The power had seemed so present, so awe inspiring in the moment when I was acting as Sultanah, but once the pleasure faded I was left feeling empty. Powerless.
"Well of course you've failed if you definition of success is 'acting like a man,' Varis. Regardless of what is between your legs, you are a woman. And you will succeed by acting like a woman."
"Succeed like I have to this point? With a trail of blood and the bodies of loved ones in my wake?" I asked.
"If necessary, yes," Nislani said, "That is what you must do. Just like I must be by your side," she said, moving slightly closer to me. I felt so frustrated, it was as if she was purposefully not listening to me.
"Nislani, no one on Earth wants me in that throne. It is not right. I don't know how to do it!"
"That is a lie!' Nislani shot back, "Think of all you have achieved! You seized the throne, you established your church, you drove off our invaders, you gained control of the government, you protected the countryside, you made allies, you ensured the continuation of our dynasty, and you resisted a coup. A man didn't do those things. Father could not have. And you didn't do them as any man would. You did them as Varis would do it. As a woman would do it."
"No!" I shot back, "There is a difference between the Sultanah and Varis. I was playing a role as the Sultanah, but I am just Varis..."
"You are the Sultanah, Varis. There has never been another Sultanah. Those two things are one in the same."
"Arkadas understood. She knew the real me. She was the only one. She knew that the public Sultanah and the private Varis were different. And the private me, that is the only one that is real," I explained, "I just want to go back to that." The frustration was building now. I knew I sounded childish and petulant now. The things I said...they sounded absurd and inconsequential. But I could feel the truth of them anyway. I was split in two and I always had been. There were Varis, the girl who loved her friend and had romantic dreams about her future. And there was the Sultanh, the man who ran the country with an iron fist. These were two separate sides of me and one of them was an Act. And I was tired of maintaining the fiction. It was breaking down. Or collapsing into the fiction and losing my real self.
"Arkadas is dead. If she was the only one who knew the 'real you' then the 'real you' is dead as well," Nislani said, her voice not sounding as heartless as her words, "You are the Sultanah and your achievements are your own. And you have no right to stop now."
"I just don't want this anymore..." I said.
"Did you ever?" she asked. But before I could respond, "And what about what I want? I do not want to marry Lider. I do not want our marriage annulled."
"That is not what you said when our father's body was still warm," I said cruelly. I saw Nislani's eyes grow dark and she moved closer to me. I knew I had provoked her. I wanted it. I wanted to get us fighting, I was tired of her harangue. I had made up my mind, I was quitting. If she would just fight me and get pissed and leave, maybe she would realize it was for the best. Nislani's hands were balled in fists and she leaned down towards. Me I was ready for her to hit me. I wanted it. And then I felt it.
A kiss. I didn't expect that. Not in the slightest. I was suddenly thrown; I didn't know how to react. Nislani took advantage of my confusion. Her lips parted and her tongue played across mine. Instinctively, my lips opened and our tongues poured together between our mouths. Nislani's hand rose and caressed my cheek gently as she kissed me. She placed her remaining hand on my knees so she could lean down towards me, closer. But for a brief moment, she broke the kiss and pulled back. My eyes fluttered open and I saw Nislani looking at me with round, innocent eyes. I looked back.
"I love you Varis," she said, her voice sounding even and calm. My mouth opened and then closed. She continued, "I love you as my sister. I love you as my Sultanah. And I love you as my wife. I am sorry I didn't recognize it before." And then her eyes closed and she leaned in to kiss me. I felt her words, and more importantly the feelings behind those words, wash over me. For a moment, they took my thoughts away. Words came anyway.
"I love you too," I said, feeling the honesty in that expression. I hadn't expected to say that either. I didn't even know I meant it. Everything that had been happening before seemed to fade into the past. Nislani had diffused the frustration, changed it all around.
Nislani smiled as her lips pressed once again into mine. Our lips parted and my tongue explored the wet, warm cavern of her mouth. I felt her teeth and her gums and the taste of her saliva. Her tongue met mine and the soft bumps of our taste buds moved together. There was a wet sound of our tongue moving together and I felt the defeated feeling inside of me recede, slightly. After a long minute, Nislani once again broke our kiss. But she stayed close, her lips still almost touching mine and our eyes close together.
"It wasn't only Kardes and Arkadas," Nislani said, and her eyes dropped for a moment, "I mean that was the final straw, but it was something else. Something else that brought me here this morning," She whispered.
"What?" I asked, more confused than ever. Without speaking, Nislani reached down to my side and took my hand. She lifted it and then gingerly placed it against the fabric covering her stomach. She looked up at me, he eyes once again shining with tears. Somehow, I still did not know what she was going to say.