Helen -and all the other girls- had dressed in a simple white dress with a blue fabric cut to the neckline and down to the floor. It was loose and nothing special. The girls chatted, joked about things. And they were clearly making too much noise.
The grand door burst open and Daye stepped in. "Shut your mouths!" She shouted. The girls gathered in a line and looked down, including Helen. "You are not children anymore. As of today you will begin your education. Every day you will go to school to be educated as good, beautiful, knowledgeable and morally sound concubines." Daye went near Helen "Did you understand what was said?" she asked in a dangerous tone.
Helen hesitated before responding. "I got it." She replied dryly looking away.
Nigar Kalfa smirked.
Sultan's Mother's Chamber
She was wearing a silk lime dress with dark brown fabric ontop without sleeves that was floor-length. She wore a gold ring with a brown smoky quartz and a gold necklace. Her hair was pinned to the back with a light green crown with gold shapes of flowers and pearls decorating them.
"My dear mother," She turned her head and opened her arms for the hug of her son. "I couldn't start to work before receiving your blessing." He kissed her hand.
"My cub, may Allah protect you."
"My mother, my precious..."
She smiled to her son. "When will Mariheden and my grandchid arrive? I have ordered their chambers to be prepared." She asked curious and delighted to see her grandson and his mother.
"They must be on their way, mother, and arriving soon." Shumayl replied with the same smile.
The horses' hooves echoed as they reached closer and closer to the palace. Mariheden had her warm purple dress on, with a purple headband.
She recalled her moments with Shumayl.
He was on his desk's chair, crafting another jewellery. It was a silver ring with a big sapphire. It was beautiful. Mariheden put her arms around him and kissed his neck. With a movement he swang her around and put her on his lap where they kissed deeply. "Mariheden, let me finish the ring." He had said softly.
"Nope. Who is more beautiful, Shumayl? The sapphire ring or me?" She asked teasingly.
"You of course." He replied smiling and kissed her again.
"How much longer, mum?" Murat asked. "Can we stop and play?"
Mariheden chuckled. "Just a little, Murat. The ship awaits us."
"I missed daddy. I missed Brahim. They are both waiting for us, right?"
"Everyone is waiting for us."
"Is the palace bigger than ours?" The young kid asked curious.
"So much bigger, Murat. It's the biggest palace in the world." Mariheden answered dreamily and then looked outside the window again.
The girls were in line for the class, some were talking, some were quiet, some where gazing upon the whole place. Irini and Helen were staring up; up where there were short balconies with girls dressed with glamorous dresses were looking all over them.
She wondered why those were above them, why they had better clothes and were better taken care of?
As if she had spoken out loud, Nigar Kalfa went near the two girls and explained. "This is the courtyard of the favorites." Like that explained everything.
"What's a favorite?" Helen asked jealous.
"If the Sultan favors you, that's where you stay. The route to his bedroom is by the golden road. And only those who are clever and obedient can walk on that road." She went in front to guide the girls to class.
"Let's go with things that are forbidden." Gul Agh stated. "It is forbidden to make noise. It is forbidden to gossip. It is forbidden to look and see. It is forbidden to disobey a command. Men are forbidden."
At the last part every girl turned their heads to look at the others, confused. "Gul Agh!" Sumbul Agh shouted.
Right when he left Helen wondered out loud, "Men are forbidden?" And she pointed to Sumbul and Gul.
"There is no ban for them because they are not men." Nigar replied and shook her head.
"But they are men?" She pointed again. Not understanding.
"They are harem attendants, meaning eunuchs." At the last word she made a gesture and all girls burst out laughing.
Harem Quarters -Dinner
"See that one over there?" Irini whispered to Helen. Helen nodded. It was Aishe, the girl with the dress that looked like cream. "She was in the Sultan's chamber last night."
"So they made love?"
Dinner was over and before Aishe could walk up the stairs and go to her room, Helen went close to her. "How is the Sultan?" She questioned.
"Very handsome and gentle."
"Are you pregnant?"
"I wish. However, the Sultan has a beautiful woman, Mariheden Sultana with her son the sovoreign Murat." She said and shook her shoulders.
"That woman is here?" Helen asked wanting to learn as much as possible.
"She is arriving soon." Aishe told her and went in her room along with the other favorites.
Helen walked to her matress and grimaced at the fact she wasn't a favorite and that the Sultan might never be interested in her. She stopped herself from thinking like that and tried to sleep. Helen won't give up. She will try as best as she can to make others bow down to her and it won't be she to bow down to them.