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Naseha Sameen

Naseha Sameen

Naseha holds a BSc Zool, MA in Public Adm, and PG Diplomas in Comp Sc. and Creative Writing.

In her day job she analyzes, mentors, and provides corporate strategies.

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Success! Heir sold 1 pre-order by July 21, 2017, was queried to 22 publishers, and is in discussions with publishers.

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Heir

50 AD India - 1 unscrupulous Princess, 2 Kingdoms, 3 Men, & 4 Generations

Will a 16-year-old princess burdened with the fate of two kingdoms accept an unfulfilled sexual life or will the princess become the Queen she was meant to be?

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Manuscript

Religious Erotic Thriller
85,180 words
100% complete
Hyderabad, India
6 publishers interested

Synopsis

A 16-year-old unscrupulous princess is expected to sacrifice her happiness to secure the fate of two kingdoms; a saga of an obscure Princess learning the finer politics of women to be the Queen she was never meant to be!

India - 50 AD, time of monarchs, wars, and conspiracies! Betrayed by her father and husband, would Padmakishori give up her desires for sexual fulfillment when not fulfilled by her husband who was older than her father? How would she take the control of her destiny?  

Padmakishori refused to accept an unfulfilled sexual life with as a dictum of destiny trying to secure her amorous life, in the scheming palace of Jodhgargh intertwined with lives and decisions, memories and lives of four generations. Heir, takes the reader to a different time, in the world of conspiracy, lust, love, betray, titillation and sexual fulfillment. Away from today world to a different one, filling with intriguing characters and baffling situations, promising thrilling twists.

Heir is for the reader who like erotic fiction set in ancient times, where build up and story arcs both major and minor are as important as the erotic depiction and for readers who like characters with multi layers and myriad hues just not black, white or different shades of grey and just does not blushes and flushes.

The erotic portrayals range from a sensual seduction of mind to uninhibited moments of love and lust to slave auction to the passionate nights in a harem. Each depiction is integral and important for the story to keep readers on the edge.

Heir is an erotic thriller with elements of drama, continuity of the story through time, deception and strong characters with their flaws triggering changes in lives and history.

 

Outline

Spoiler Alert! 

A princess of sixteen summers Padmakishori is looking forward to choosing her husband from the princes and kings invited; oblivious to Garvpundir to be in the brink of economic collapse. Her father, the King Rawwal Bikka could see a blood feud looming threateningly in the near future. He has no son to succeed him and his only hope is Padma’s wedding to a powerful king that will buy him time till Padma’s son comes of age. This is his last chance to protect his kingdom and he is willing to sacrifice the dreams of his daughter for it. He arranges a Swaymvar and plans the events for the king of Jodhgargh, Uday Sangha to win.

In an impulsive moment, Padma asks Avikam, the painter who is assigned to paint her portrait for the Swaymvar Hall, to paint her True Form, a painting that depicted the core element of a person’s true nature. It is said that only an artist is blessed with the vision to see a person’s true form. Avikam paint’s Padma’s sensual portrait - Anala, in bare minimum, tired but satisfied after a ravenous sex. She has hardly any expectation of carnal satisfaction from an obese lumbering man older than her father. Padma decides to transform herself to Anala for Avikam for a night before her fate took her to an unknown palace in Jodhgargh. As planned by Rawwal, Uday wins the Swaymvar. On her conjugal night, she finds out that Uday has married her only to produce an heir for his kingdom. Though a caring man, he has no interest in her romantically or physically. Her night with Avikam haunts her after the most disengaging and unsatisfying sex with her husband.

The journey from Garvpundir in the heart of Himalayas to the middle of a desert, Jodhgargh begins. The heat and strain of the journey nearly kills Padma. On the threshold of life and death, Padma realizes that she needs to live. Uday will not provide her with sexual gratification and she needs to find a way to her freedom. The surest and fastest way is to provide an heir to the kingdom of Jodhgargh and Garvpundir. No body questions the chastity of Queen Mother!

Then it was difficult task, in a palace with conspiring whispering walls, to secretly lead an amorous life. Padma had to get guilty Uday to agree to a palace for her, which would be under her supervision and no soul except the ones she chooses will set a foot in it. It would be her freedom, her refuge, her heaven, and her secret harem.

Soon Uday leaves for a year and half long diplomatic trip, promising Padma a son after her returns. Padma knows too well that is not a possibility. The seer, Nameless One has confirmed it. Prime Queen Roopdevi would never believe it, it would mean another Queen for Uday, death for treason for Padmakishori and a future with blood feud. Padma knew the bloody history of Jodhgargh. She had to ensure that Devdan (Commander-in-Chief and younger brother of Uday by 20 years) would revolt to usurp the throne for himself or his son. Padmakishori could not cannot take such a chance. She needs her son to be the heir of Jodhgargh. And she needed to act fast with only few trusted people and discreetly.

Chapter Break Up:

Chapter 1: Swaymvar.

Chapter 2: Preparation.

Chapter 3: The True Form.

Chapter 4: The Contest.

Chapter 5: The Arrangement.

Chapter 6: New Home.

Chapter 7: Politics of Freedom...

Chapter 8: Collectors.

Chapter 9: Auction.

Chapter 10: Wild Heart.

Chapter 11: Toddy.

Chapter 12: A New Morning.

Chapter 13: Sweet Freedom…

Chapter 14: Riddles.

Chapter 15: Love.

Chapter 16: Room of Pleasure.

Chapter 17: A Simple Conspiracy.

Chapter 18: The Promise.

Chapter 19: Unraveling.

Chapter 20: The Deception.

Chapter 21: Duty. 

Audience

Heir is for the reader who like erotic fiction set in ancient times, where build up and story arcs both major and minor are as important as the erotic depiction and for readers who like characters with multilayered with myriad hues just not black, white or different shades of grey with protagonist who only blushes and flushes.

Few Stats to show where the book stands very best sellers: 

  • Reading of Heir is 7.1 Vs average 7.5 for fiction. 
  • It is simpler than J.K. Rowlings and slightly difficult than Jane Austen (owing to set up in India 50 AD). Heir is almost as easy as reading Stephen King. 
  • Number of word per sentence is 11.5 which falls in easy to read range
  • SMOG Index is 5.6 & Gunning-Fog Score is 7.1 which means any 7 grader can read this easily
  • Heir Grade level is 6.2 which is in range for fiction and falls between Stephen King and Tom Clancy.

Charts:


Author

Published 2-books
Rubaisha: Set in Egypt. It is a story of passion, ambition and survival, unfolding in 2-time period.
Ruby Drops: An anthology of Poems. Profit is pledged to charity.

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·       I am excited to be accepted into 30 groups dedicated to erotica reader on Social media. I hope they will like to promote Heir to these 199K wonderful readers. 

·       Plus with every pre-order, I would provide free premium erotica access on my site

·       I use #Canva to create updates that I would post FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. every 3 days

·       Please subscribe to my #YouTube Channel, ‘StoriesbyNaseha’. I would be adding  two more videos

·       Pre-order Tree & get more

  • Pre-order a hard copy & I will send you an e-book free.
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Competition

  • Ann Rice - "Beauty Trilogy" but this is set in India with lot more conspiracies and multilayered story and characters
  • Pauline Reage - "The Story of O" but instead of sexual submission, it is about exploration of one’s sexual desires and sexual liberation.
  • Colleen McCullough - "The Thorn Birds", but the time is 50 AD India. Exploring the untouched realms of sexuality that is always taboo
  • Anaïs Nin - "Delta of Venus" - like this book in terms of voyeurism and exploration of sex, but these are intricately built around 4 generations. 
  • Judy Blume – “Forever…” here the protagonist is in her teenage who was obstinate enough not to accept an unfulfilled sexual life with her husband as a dictum of destiny. The story follows the events in the life of Padmakishori as she tried to secure her amorous way of life. 
  • Diana Galbaldon – “Outlander” … Handsome men, historic fiction, but here the fate of two kingdoms - Garvpundir, in the lap of Himalayas & Jodhgargh in the heart of barren desert lies in hand of a 16 year old who is asked to marry a man older than her father. Will she accept an unfulfilled sexual life or her passion be her end?

Sample

Genre – Erotic Thriller

Prologue


 

Like her mismatched eyes, her hands were of different temperature. One was burning hot and another was icy cold. Padma’s hand involuntarily jerked upwards to break the contact. But the old fingers held her tight. Her grip was strong. It was crushing Padma’s hands. The free spirits swirling around them were touching Padma at their will. Their icy fingers were scrapping her bones and trampling her flesh. Sweat percolating on the body smeared with ash, was making it chalky. Her ears alive with roars of wind racing through the barren land punctuated with the indistinct clamor of the dead wishes and broken dream. Padma was looking directly into the incompatible eyes; her hands were losing all sensations, her mouth felt dry and dusty.

Padma was moving through different frame of distance and time. She saw the mountains forming on the ocean beds, cities reducing to dust, and rivers swallowing up the villages. Cool breeze enveloped her, her ears filled with cries of cuckoos, cricket and night owl. Seeds grew into plants and forests grew in moments. Forests were changing their attire, from dark green to flaming red to pale yellow and then stripping themselves to bare branches; looking towards the sky for a drop of rain. Seasons changed, drops of first rain kissed the ground and winter stepped in spreading the ground with light fluffy snow. Her face blazed. Sun burnt brightly with brilliance of thousand suns. Padma heard her mother cry. She felt a burning sensation as air filled her lungs. She felt her mother’s lips on her forehead and warmth enveloped her as her mother took her in arms. Uday’s sweaty hands holding her hand in front of sacred fire, Roop was nursing her to health and Vrisa’s penetrating eyes looking through her soul. She was surrounded by men and women; some she knew some yet unknown. Unnamed one’s rasping voice was screaming in her ears. Padma could not understand a word that she spoke but Padma’s tears were rolling down her cheek. Two mismatched eyes appeared in front of Padma, startling her.  “Speak, ask the questions that matters the most. The dead are here. They are swimming in the river of future. They would answer only once.” rasped the nameless one.

Chapter 1: Swaymvar


 

The night was silent. Heavy dew fell without a word on white woodland carpet. White petals with lilac veins appeared fast asleep, curling in their three petals inwards. The barking deer did not care about the sleepy snow leopard hiding behind the mossy rocks, colonized by lichens and ferns. Foxes and jackals were quietly chewing dried up bones under thick cover of Withania. Air did not wail today as it passed through the needle like fingers of Deodar and Spruce. It was mourning silently.

Melancholy dripped from the walls of the royal apartment of Princess Padmakishori. Her room was dimly lighted. She had asked all the other torches to be extinguished except the four oil torches in the far corner of the chamber. It was a dark night for her. Padmakishori’s sobs were the silent witness to her broken dreams and foreboding heart.

King Rawwal Bikka of Bikka dynasty had sent out invitation to all Suryavanshi[1], Chandravanshi[2] and Agnivanshi[3] kings and princess to attend his daughter’s [4]. Swaymvar of his only child Padmakishori, was one of the most important tasks for him as a King.

Like all previous princesses of Garvpundir, Padmakishori was looking forward to her Swaymvar. Since last two years, she could only think about the prince she would pick among her suitors on the day of Swaymvar. The blithe full days and blushful nights of princess who just stepped into the whirl wind years of teen, had etched a picture perfect of the Prince, she would surrender her body. Padma just needed to close her eyes to see the perfect prince who would entice her and take her on an amorous journey. It was her destiny, her dream and her right to choose her life partner.

King Rawwal had far serious affair weighing on his mind than the flight of fantasy of his daughter of sixteen summers[5]. The duties of a King outweighed that of a father. Padma’s dreams were ruthlessly crushed when the King announced that the Swaymvar would be contest based. There would be three contests among the suitors. The winner would marry his daughter. Rawwal was aware that he was being unfair towards his daughter, but it was a necessary evil. 

A daughter’s right to select her groom was snatched away by the King who wanted such a son in-law who would secure his daughter’s future and that of his kingdom. He wanted a strong ally. He needed a strong political alliance to safeguard his Garvpundir against the invading tribes from North West and gives a boost to the ailing economy that was in all-time low.

The contests were carefully chosen. The first one was hunting. A strong and deft warrior could lead his army successfully against all enemies. A good warrior is often a skillful hunter! Each king and prince participating in the contest would take only ten soldiers from Garvpundir’s army for the hunt. Each party would be given a marked area to camp and they would have unlimited access to the dense forest of Pine, Fir, Yew, Cypress, Chir, Oaks, Birch, Willow and Alders to hunt. They would be provided with basic amenities in their camp for the two phases of the moon[6]. At the end, the king or prince with most prized hunts would win the contest. 

The second contest was then a game of Chausar[7]. A winner in a battle could get a kingdom. Ensuring the dynasty ruled forever was another! The politics during the years of peace often shapes the outcome of future wars. Many kingdoms subliminally have lost their grandeur in dangerous years of peace. Kururaastra was one of them. The King Rawwal did not want a similar fate for his daughter.

The last contest was Shastraat[8]. Three hundred pundits from far and wide were invited for this event. This contest was included to test the wisdom of the contestants. Strength and strategies without wisdom would be futile. The King Rawwal wanted such a son in-law who would represent the holy tri-unity of strength, strategy and wisdom. The winner of all these three would marry his daughter. In case of a tie, Padma would then choose her groom. King Rawwal had thought very carefully when he chalked out the outline of the contest.

Padma was flabbergasted when she heard about the contests from her mother, Jaiwanti Devi. How could her father use her for his petty political dreams? Was she a political pawn whose wishes had to be sacrificed for greater good? Her mouth felt bitter. Her father had already decided her fate and was now consulting pundits for an auspicious date to send the invitations and to hold the event. Never before had Padma felt so helpless and lonely. She was standing alone in an ice cocoon, screaming about her right to choose her husband. The people around her continued their work oblivious to her and her trapped screams. The ice was too thick to break. Her palm was bleeding but she did not feel any pain. Her hands were numb. Why did her mother not stop her father from taking this call? Would it have made any difference had her three brothers been alive? Would she still be sold as a queen to a King for the kingdom?

The weather in mountains is always unpredictable. It was bright and sunny few hours ago, now the reddish clouds of torrential rain were looming over the horizon. Not a breath of air, not a glimpse of star or moon – the sky was as lonely as Padma. Night was uncommonly silent, waiting with a held breath for storm to break. The King of Garvpundir, Rawwal Bikka was looking out of his window on third floor of his palace. The entire palace and the fort in front of it was carved out from the mountains. It was uncommonly cold night. The fate of his kingdom was similar to the night. More than three centuries had passed since the Great War that had devastated the entire subcontinent. Some refer to this war as the great Mahabharata. The Great War has seen the complete annihilation of the most powerful clan, saving only six members of the royal family. The war changed the map of Kururaastra. The War concluded with the emperor being replaced on the throne. With him, the fate of the subcontinent was changed.

After The Great War, the society underwent huge changes. The kingdoms scorched with the horrors of war could only hope for everlasting peace. However, first life needed to return. Healing had to be done before attempting an ever lasting peace. The families needed to be re-established. Tears had to be wiped off from all eyes. There was hardly any family which had not seen a loved one being a fodder to the war. All those families needed a smile back on their lips. People shattered by the Great War began picking up their lives. A century and half passed in a flash, rebuilding the ruins of what once was a flourishing life.

Surviving through the horrors of the Great War, Kururaastra was committed to forging a peaceful and friendly alliance with all the kingdoms far and near. Garvpundir also received invitation of friendship. They proposed an alliance of marriage. An alliance of family ties would further strengthen the bonds. Third Princess of Garvpundir, Kishori Dayanti was married to the nephew and a member of ministerial council of Kururaastra. The matrimony brought greater glory and importance to Garvpundir. That was the golden era of peace and prosperity in the subcontinent. Life that had been destroyed in Great War began building up. Slowly, the scars of the past were forgotten. The Great War which was once a life changing event was turning into legend and bedtime stories. The stories of the Great War were beginning to fill eyes with astonishment instead of tears. Garvpundir had forged new relationships. With a powerful alliance like Kururaastra by his side, Garvpundir rose to power.

The cycle of time continues relentlessly. Decay sets in heart of healthy flowers in full bloom and after decay from the rotting black, barks again, with a new stem of life germinating. The luster of the empire that brought the new era had started to diminish. A millennium and half passed and the magnificence that once was known with Kururaastra was diminishing faster. The new rulers were no heroes. The builders of the kingdom had done their share of hard work building a new nation from the rubbles of war. They handed the gift of peace and prosperity to their next generation of rulers. Their successors were different.

The generation that had only seen prosperity handed down generation after generation, slowly forgot the hard work that went in building a great nation from rubbles of the Great War. The newer rulers of Kururaastra had started taking life and the luxuries bestowed on them by birth for granted. They spend their lives in luxury.  They did not keep up the rigor of maintaining good political alliances or strong trade links. Smaller kingdoms under the banner of Kururaastra were losing their sense of security. The rulers of Kururaastra did not look beyond few main banners under them. Their trade and political links were now confined to only one strong kingdom – Samarastra. Samarastra is a strong powerful island kingdom. Slowly, the smaller kingdoms began to break off. Decay has set in once again in Kururaastra. This time it was slow as a termite, but deadly, eating up the entire kingdom from within. As the empire grew weaker, Garvpundir’s became more and more obscure. From a strong ally, it became barely remembered a friendly kingdom in far inaccessible mountains. Garvpundir faded out of the minds of the rulers of Kururaastra.

The kings of Garvpundir still hoped that one day; Kururaastra would again rise to power and take care of the smaller kingdoms like it did in the golden days. Garvpundir was waiting for such a time. It had too much of faith in the blood of heroes who walked liked Gods on Earth. Kururaastra was the hub of all trade, with Kururaastra losing interest in trade, Garvpundir trading activities took a back seat. It remained content with trade relationship with smaller neighboring kingdoms.

Garvpundir territories ranged from the foot of Himalayas to its dizzying heights where life was possible. Life is difficult in the mountains. The rulers of Garvpundir unlike the ones in the plains had bigger challenges of providing basic amenities in the tough terrain with harshest conditions. Garvpundir started investing more time and resources, building roads linking the inaccessible regions of the kingdom. While Garvpundir was waiting for Kururaastra to come back to its former glory, its rulers started concentrating only on infrastructure. This single focus strategy was started by King Dasanand Bikka, who forgot all about trades and external politics and concentrated only on infrastructure. If rumors were to be believed, the King had promised that he would link each and every hamlet and temple in the kingdom with good roads.

The Prime Queen of Dasanand Bikka, Mittali Devi was on her way to the temple of her family deity on her palanquin to pray for painless delivery. A day or two before her delivery, the Queen would be confined to her room. The Prime Queen Mittali Devi wanted to offer prayers for a healthy son before her confinement started.  Since last few days, dangerous omen of death was haunting her.  Her heart was restless for her unborn child. She needed the mercy of her deity to ensure life of her unborn child. It had rained heavily the previous night and the temple was in elusive part of the mountain, but the Prime Queen had set her mind to the impossible task. There were landslides and path leading to the temple was dangerously steep and impassable in rainy season. King Dasanand Bikka and all the members of her family tried their best to stop Mittali from embarking on this journey, but she would listen to none of it. Mittali was determined to go; she said it was her calling. She had to go. She was right in a way. The call was from the Grim Reaper. He was waiting in some corner of the steep path to claim her and her unborn child. He claimed her soul and devoured the palanquin bearers. Grief and resentment had filled heart of the King Dasanand Bikka. He never forgave himself and set up a humongous task of building the infrastructure of Garvpundir. The rulers who came after him also followed his footstep. They had to fulfill the promise of the King Dasanand Bikka. It was believed that the King Dasanand Bikka has sworn on his death bed that, he would not step in heaven to meet his Queen Mittali, till all temples and hamlets were linked by good roads. The burden of unfulfilled oath falls to the sons. Till the time, Dasanand Bikka’s promise was not fulfilled by his sons and grandsons, he would not be granted a passage to heaven. His descendants kept fulfilling the promise of Dasanand Bikka by concentrating on infrastructure and forgetting the importance of strong ties with other kingdoms like Kururaastra. They did nothing to strengthen their terms with Kururaastra and other important kingdoms. It was a mistake for which Garvpundir would have to pay dearly in future.

The implacable time forgave none. It was just a matter of few cycles when it puts life back to remind it of the long forgotten lessons. Around two thousand and two hundred years after the Great War, Samarastra, the only strong ally of Kururaastra perished. Tsunami hit the island. Great waves engulfed the whole island. There were no survivors. Samarastra, the great kingmaker of the kingdoms was wiped out of the existence. With it crumbled the already crumbling future of Kururaastra. The end was near, but the rulers of Kururaastra could never see it, till it became a reality. Garvpundir was still under the illusion of safety under the banner of Kururaastra. If truth be told, Garvpundir and seventy more kingdoms under the banner of Kururaastra were alliance only for name sake. It has been years since Kururaastra took any interest in their welfare or any development in the trade or bilateral policies. For Kururaastra these kingdoms had become nothing more than non-hostile areas.  

Apathy does not go unnoticed for long. How long would continuous indifference of the largest empire go unnoticed and unchallenged? When a large tree starts decaying, the younger and ambitious ones try to take its place. The same happened with Kururaastra. Maganda rose to challenge Kururaastra. A fierce war was waged. The war and siege continued for months and finally Kururaastra succumbed to the sword of Maganda. Major part of Kururaastra was taken over by Maganda. Few kingdoms that did not fight for Kururaastra declared their independence once Kururaastra fell. Maganda was new great banner of the Main land. For Garvpundir, it was just a change of banner from Kururaastra to Maganda.

The restless time did not stop there. It had to change its course. Some three and half centuries had passed since Maganda took over Kururaastra. All these years further deteriorated the ties with Garvpundir. Though, Maganda was successful in overthrowing oldest reigning monarchs of the subcontinent, it could not rule over the vast empire for long. Soon the kingdoms under Kururaastra began their tryst with destiny, some of them broke away amicably, and some declared independence, while some started their fight for freedom from Maganda. This story of political unrest continued for two and half centuries. Maganda realized, it could no longer rule such a vast empire. It was in its interest that, smaller kingdoms fought with each other. With kingdoms at war with each other, there would be no one main power or group of strong kingdoms to challenge Maganda. Maganda encouraged strives between smaller kingdoms.

Figure 1 Events from Great War


 

Three millenniums after the Great War and about seven and half centuries after Maganda took over, Garvpundir finally realized that it had no allies that would look out for it. Garvpundir was on its own.  

Figure 2 Events leading to Swaymvar


 

New pockets of power emerged. Between the folds of wars and peace, the society was fledging to newer possibilities. It’s undergoing yet another change. Fate of Garvpundir was solely in the hands of its king, who was now without any allies. It was a challenging time for the rulers of Garvpundir. A new enemy was emerging in North-West - a warrior clan from North-West Mountain that had lived in complete isolation for eons was getting ambitious. The clan had been attacking the borders of Garvpundir to expand their tiny, little kingdom. The skirmishes turned into battles and then wars. Decades of war had not only affected the political map of the kingdom but had crumbled the economy. It was not a continuous war. Every two to three change of the season, there would be an attack in the border. The warriors would attack and after a change of season or two, would retreat, only to attack another part of the border. Every battle demanded more spending on military. More arms and ammunitions were needed, more laborers were required to dig trenches, more men were needed in armory and more physicians were wanted in infirmary. Every battle and its preparation screamed for more gold and copper.

Royal treasuries did manage to bear the burden of war for three cycles of summer. Then slowly, the responsibility of maintaining the border was passed on to the citizen. Every war saw the citizen shouldering little more of the burden of coffer’s requirement. Taxes became heavier, to support the war. After every major war, the taxes were increased steeply. The royal coffer could no longer support the war alone. It looked towards its citizen for a bail out. The monstrous war needed more and more of coins and the life force of young men.

The Army had once been one of the coveted professions. Only eight out of fifty were selected. Training lasted for almost a cycle of summer. That was the story, decades ago - in peaceful time. The illusion of grandeur of guarding the border was breaking. The enthusiasm to join the army was declining fast, and young men preferred other occupation. The training became fast pace, the drop out from other fields, who had nowhere to go where turning up for army enrollment.

The most devastating time for Garvpundir was when the war entered the eighth cycle of the summer. The kingdom barely managed to save its border and the cost was very high. The army was almost depleted. There were no volunteers, even the prisons were vacant. All of the prisoners were trained to become soldiers and were sent to the borders. Finally, a decree had to be passed, which forcibly took two or three young men of age from every home. Each family had to send two or more sons to the army to save the border from the warrior clan. Most of them never returned and those who did were crippled for life. Yield from agricultural land was dropping. Fields devoid of the energy of young men became peevish and temperamental. Food that was so abundant once was getting dearer. The law and order was crumbling slowly, but steadily.

Dubious times brought debatable policies. Polygamy that was the privilege of ruler’s class was now opened to commoners. There were no enough men in the kingdom. The brothels were engaged by the throne for the soldiers in the border. The kingdom needed more sons. There were two or more females for every male. The kingdom took care of every floozy who came back from border with another life in her. Soon, State orphanages were filled with young boys. Most of the girls born there were told to be still born; few of them killed by the mothers. The few who managed to survive and stayed in the orphanage began disappearing. No one had a clue as what happened to the girls. The families who lost sons and wanted to adopt could take a son each, from the orphanage. No family would adopt a daughter. The boys unclaimed by any family were trained to be soldiers. Any doxy, who gave kingdom three sons, was allowed to return to the society as a lady. She was considered as an unsullied woman. Any man could take her as his second or third wife. Still, every birth in the family was a sober affair. There was always the shadow of death and destruction looming over joyous occasions. There were internal revolts in South-East regions of the kingdom. The South-East regions were comparatively wealthier. Their topography gave them more fertile land for agriculture. The region that never faced the savage warrior clans from North-West was growing weary of supporting the unending war. Patience in the kingdom was now eroding faster than ever.

Garvpundir was in a mess and it looked up to its present King, Rawwal Bikka for a reprieve. The borders were not safe and in such a turbulent time, even the royal family was not safe from the fight for power and blood feud. Rawwal Bikka was deep in thought. The clouds were looming threateningly. If and only if Rawwal Bikka had a son who would have been his heir! His Queen gave him three sons and a daughter. The first prince was a still born; the youngest one died at a young age and the only heir was killed in a battle.

In absence of a son, selection of an heir to the throne would be a tricky affair. If the King passed away before princess Padmakishori begat a son, one of the sons of his brother, Devanand Bikka who was also the Commander in Chief would be declared a King. The problem was the ambitious Uncle, Pankaj Bikka. He was the son of Kailash Bikka who was the Prime minister of the King Vishnu Bikka, grandfather of Rawwal and Devanand Bikka. Since years, he has been cursing his luck that, he was born to the younger brother. After years, he saw a chance to secure the throne through his son. He wanted his son to be the King of Garvpundir instead of Padmakishori’s son. He wanted one of his fifteen son ascend the throne.

Figure 3 Family Tree - Bikka Dynasty


Both Rawwal and Devanand knew the gnawing ambition of their uncle. They knew children nurtured with bitterness of failed ambition would not prove to be a good king. Millenniums ago, the subcontinent was on the brink of total annihilation due to a person’s inability to accept the fate. That person was solely responsible for the Great War. They would not allow history to repeat itself. Yet, they did not confront Kailash Bikka. It was not required at that point in time. They wanted a peaceful alternative - Princess Padmakishori’s Swaymvar. If Padmakishori weds a rich and prosperous king with powerful army, Kailash’s Bikka son would not openly revolt against the chosen heir. It was the price the princess had to pay, to avoid blood feud. Rawwal wished he had any other options, but he had none. He had to get his daughter wedded to the King of Jodhgargh. That was the kingdom that would give him boost for trade, good support for army and most importantly, the King of Jodhgarh was marrying his daughter to gain an heir. His daughter would give birth to the future King of Jodhgargh and Garvpundir. Rawwal wanted the King of Jodhgargh as his son in law at any cost. He had made arrangements. All the contests in the Swaymvar were planned in such a way that King of Jodhgargh, Uday Sangha would win.

Chapter 2: Preparation


 

Bereft of the dream that she had built for last two spell of summer, Padma spent the entire night trying to listen to the silent lament of the Grosbeak and Thrush. They were silent like her heart, devoid of any will to live. Wrapping the warmest fur around her bare skin, Padma stood at the window, looking towards the far horizon. Dawn would break soon. There was just enough light to mark out the outline of majestic mountains covered in snow, standing tall and proud from eternity to eternity. Padma stood there watching the morning eat away the last trace of the night. If only morning could erase the pains of previous night, world would be a much happier place. Life cannot be a slate that could be wiped clean without any marks lingering in some corner. She pulled her fur closer to her body. The morning had brought chill wind from North. Her burning hot body was shivering. Her ears were hot, eyes puffy, smeared with melting kohl, and her hair disheveled. Her inquietude mind and angry heart was revolting against her sealed fate.

Padma no longer knew what she wanted. All she needed was few moments when her mind would be silent. Her ears caught giggling in the corridors. It seemed every soul in the palace was happy at her distress. Was there no one in the kingdom who would rise to safeguard her rights? When the King, her father had cruelly snatched away her rights, who would she turn to? She moved around the palace like a figurine in trance.

Pundits had consulted their horoscope and had arrived on the most auspicious day to mark the beginning of the ceremonies that would ensure Garvpundir a worthy heir from Padma. The day was eight cycles of moon away. Messengers were sent on the fastest horses available in the kingdom. The royal household of Garvpundir was taking no chances. There were arrangements everywhere. Padma was needed everywhere. Like a resolve-less rag doll, she complied.

Padma summoned by the King to model for painters. The Swaymvar hall had to be adored with a beautiful painting of the princess which would be unveiled on the Welcome Day. The contest would begin after three days from the Welcome Day. Most of the princes and Kings would be travelling for days to reach Garvpundir. They would need some rest to give their best. For three days, the participating prince and kings would be provided with anything they would require to rest and relax to remove the tiredness after a tedious journey. Traditions dictate that, the princess would not meet any of the suitors till the contest is over. Padma’s parent thought it was a blessing. They could not risk Padma eloping with any charming prince of a lesser kingdom. They were ensuring the outcome of the Swaymvar. Padma could change the outcome if she lost her heart to any prince. She was to be kept away from the young and good looking suitors at all cost.

The guests would need to be given few incentives to win the contest. That would increase the social and political standing of Garvpundir. A painting of Padma would be an inventive enough. The painting had to be such that each and every king and prince present would lose their heart to her. For the next few days, the suitors would be incapable of thinking about anybody else, except Padma. The painting should ensure that the princess and kings would not and should not rest till they win the contest to be the one on her nuptial bed. Some two hundred painters from far and near arrived for the job. Padma had to sit as a model for a group of five for first round. Only one of the painters who could paint the soulful beauty of Padma would be given the job of painting a larger than life portrait of the princess.

A set of physician were also examining princess Padma every day. Every day, they would make her drink some black, some green and some orange portions. Some of them were viscous and others diluted, few tasted bland like saliva while others were as bitter as poison. Princess endured it all. Garvpundir was making sure that on the day of Swaymvar and the nigh of bedding, the Princess would be in perfect health and beauty to bear a son. Padma was supposed to steal the heart of her king on the same night, their night of their conjugal life. She had to make sure that the king would be her slave once and forever.

Beautician from distant lands like China and the united empire of Claudius came to Garvpundir to offer their service. It was the first time a Swaymvar of such magnitude was taking place in a remote kingdom in the mountains which called for the valor of princes and kings. None of the kingdoms wanted to lose the opportunity to humble not so friendly and friendly kingdoms in a peaceful manner. Any kingdom refusing to participate would look weak willed. It was a strategy that worked. In no time, Garvpundir was on every body’s tongue. Its importance soared. Nobody wanted to miss out the event of the decade if not the century. 

Princess Padmakishori’s days were occupied by painter, physician, beauticians, and last but not the least, religious experts. Religious expert from the kingdom would counsel her on sanctity and the importance of marriage, the place of husband as per the scripture, her duties and what was expected of her.

At night the royal courtesans and concubines would visit Padma’s chamber to train her, the still withheld art of allurement and seduction. The windows would be covered by heavy draperies, and fire would be lit in the fire bowls around the bed to provide warmth in the room. The room would be filled with the incense and orchids of all colors and then, the ladies of the night would begin their work. Thankfully, this training was not as strenuous as the other trainings that filled Padma’s days. One of them would be playing flute, others would be caressing her tired feet, playing with her hair, nape or face. The session both verbal and practical would go on for few hours before Padma would retire to bed.  

As days passed, the effects of the trainings were visible. Color returned to fair cheeks of Padma. Her pink lips were getting deeper shade of red. Her hair now felt softer and silkier. Every time she walked, her hips moved like a lazy serpentine rousing at sun down. Padma spoke seldom now, and when she did, silvery smoky voice would tantalize the listener. Days of training was transforming her from a girl of sixteen summers to a woman waiting to take a lover to her bed.

Only two cycles of moon remained before the Swaymvar would start. Gifts and messenger from the kingdoms invited began trickling in. Most of the kings and princess had sent their portraits and gifts for the princess. All of the gifts were arranged in private promenade, south of Padma’s bed chamber with portraits of the prospective groom and the kingdom’s name. A faint smile crossed her lips as Padma walked through the hall. Some of the gifts were really pretty and some of the princes were so handsome. If only she could choose her husband!

Cold despair gripped Padma’s heart. She did not hear her mother walking in. Attendants were dismissed. Queen Jaiwanti Devi had to share something with her daughter. Padma was already treated as a guest who was in the kingdom for few more days. Once the Swaymvar is over, Padma would go to her new home forever. If everything went as planned, Jaiwanti’s daughter would be the Queen of Jodhgargh. A runner had announced the King Uday Sangha would be arriving in the capital before the day ends. It was the time for a mother to talk her daughter about her future.  

Jaiwanti took her to portrait of an elderly man who would have seen not less than three scores of summers. It was sent from Jodhgargh with seven set of minakari[9] gold jewelry, six set of diamond bracelet, five pots of precious stones, four silk veils and a pot of silver coins.  Silver coins were to be distributed to poor by princess Padma to remove any ill effect of jealous eyes. Jaiwanti had confided the arrangement that would favor King Uday Sangha to win the Swaymvar. Still, she cautioned Padma that there may be an element of surprise that fate had hidden in the folds. Jaiwanti wanted her daughter to be prepared for any eventuality. If any prince or king managed to win a contest that was unfair to him, it meant only one thing. The fate favored him. It would be a foolish to choose anybody else over a fortunate groom and disregard signs of gods.

Jaiwanti took Padma to the veiled rock balcony to witness the arrival of King Uday. King Uday would be the first king to arrive for Swaymvar. He had received a personal note from the King Bikka inviting him for bilateral trade negotiations and a hunting trip to Himalayas prior to the Swaymvar.

The marriage cortege of King Uday Sangha was impressive. The King had to leave behind his elephants in foot of the mountains. The King Uday was in the middle of horse cavalry. The King Rawwal Bikka was at the entrance with his ministers to welcome the King. The horse riders moved, giving way for the King Uday. Uday dismounted. A drop of tear rolled down Padma’s cheek. He was a tall man who had seen more than sixty summers. However, his girth which was more than half of his height made him look rather shorter than average man. He was not dressed for the mountains. He was definitely cold, but he bravely bore it all with a smile. With a lighthearted laughter he lumbered his way to King Rawwal and embraced him. A sob caught in Padma’s throat. To an eye of a casual onlooker, it would appear, an affectionate son embracing his old father on his return after a long journey. 

Padma could no longer bear the sight of her foretold misery. She ran to her chamber. Jaiwanti did not follow her daughter. Padma needed some lonely time to accept her fate.

Section of the palace housing Padma’s chamber was made inaccessible to the guests and visiting dignitaries. Padma too was to remain confined in her section. It was not appropriate for any of the prospective grooms to look at Padma before winning the contest. Most of the attendants and handmaids were assigned to duties of visiting dignitaries. Padma’s section now had lesser number of attendants and handmaid. 

Padma sent her attendants away. She tore down all the flower decoration in her chamber and then snatched away all the jewelry she wore. She pulled down the drapes to block the midday sun. Today, Padma hated the sight of bright and warm sun in a day when water was freezing. Her future was dark, bleak and melancholic. There was no Sun in her future. She was getting accustomed to the darkness that was filling up her existence.

The Sun was about to cross the winter sky when one of the attendants brought the painter, Avikam whose painting of Padma was judged the best. In one cycle of the moon, he had to complete a larger than life size painting of Padma which would adore the Swaymvar hall. It was Padma’s first sitting. Padma had to pose for Avikam every day, starting from the next day. Today was the official introduction.  Very professionally and confidently, Avikam moved to the windows and removed all the draping. He lit few diya[10] and arranged it on the stand near the bed, rotated the huge bronze mirror to reflect the light of the diya to one of the cathedra, then stood in front of Padma, palm folded in posture of ‘Namaste’ and eye fixed on floor.

In a smooth husky voice, the artiste addressed Padma,

“I am told to replicate your beauty on to a canvas. It would be a blasphemy on my part if I claim that I can do that. Your beauty cannot be sketched. Please look around, the room is lighted by the diya I lit; still, it cannot be compared to the light of setting Sun. My painting is but light of diya, they may light up the room, but not the world. Your beauty is like the rays of the Sun; they light up the world. Men should not try recreating those handiworks of gods whose purpose is to fill men with inspiration to carve an offering from a part of their soul. Princess, you are handiwork of God, I am inspired to offer you my soul in form of the portrait that I am to paint.”

Padma was in a foul mood. Without a word, she asked the attendant and Avikam to leave. Tomorrow onwards, she would not be able to do it, when he would be beginning the painting. On introduction day, she was supposed to be introduced to the painter which she obliged. She needed to be left alone.

Next afternoon the artist was scheduled to arrive in Padma’s chamber after the midday meal. Every day, he would start painting from midday till evening. A cathedra was placed near the west window of the room. The rays of afternoon Sun would light up the room and fall strongly on right side of Padma’s face, creating a nice play of light and shadow. The canvas and paints were all set. Just after midday meal, a tanned man of average height dressed in white spotless dhoti[11] entered. His hair fell on his shoulder like thick waves. He had sharp eyes and hawkish nose with pencil thin lips. Greeting the princess, he stood behind the canvas, waiting for princess to settle in. It was his domain. He was radiating confidence.

Soon Padma could hear charcoal being rubbed on the canvas. Smooth sound of rubbing charcoal on wood at regular interval was lulling her to sleep. Padma’s eye felt heavy, she was drifting in and out of slumber land. When she opened her eyes, the artiste was holding the pillow to support her head during her forty winks. Abashed Padma adjusted her posture and asked,

“Thanks, did I nod off for long?”

Smiling, Avikam returned to his canvas, “Just for a moment”.

Padma looked out of the window. Sun had traveled a lot. The artiste was lying. It was a chivalrous act from most unexpected person. Sun was about to set. He was wrapping up for the day. His spotless white loincloth was smeared with charcoal. She walked to the canvas; there was a vague outline on it.

“How long would the portrait take?” Padma inquired

“I have to complete it soon, Princess. Tomorrow, you would be able to see the form and after couple of days, will add color to it. It will be ready before Swaymvar.”

Smile that was playing on Padma’s face disappeared.

All this for Swaymvar! A regal portrait of a pin and proper princess – Huh!

She dismissed all her attendants. There was a question that she wanted to ask the artiste, which should not fall into ears of the King or Queen or any member of the royal family.

“Is it true that Artiste can see the soul of the person they paint?”

“It may not be my place to speak, Princess. The answer may offend any blue blood. I should remain silent.”

“Speak without fear. I want to know.”

“Eye of an artist sees the Will of God. A person may be heedless of his or her true nature, but it rarely remains hidden from an artist’s eye. His hands would always find the same form that was used to shape him or her in Gods’ furnace. His eyes always look at the true form – the pristine mold underneath the visible persona.”

“Can you paint my underived cast?”

“Princess, would you call me in your new kingdom for the painting?”

“No, starting from tomorrow, you can paint my true form for few days and then resume your original work. Can you finish this royal façade in half of the time given to you? Do not worry you would be handsomely rewarded.”

“It would be my honor to paint your pristine mold. But Princess, it may so happen I would lose my head for it. I would face terrible retribution if Princess finds it offending.”

“I give you my word upon my honor. May the Sun God be the witness; you would not be punished for your work. Feel free to paint my underived cast without any hesitation.”

“I trust my Princess. Surely, Princess cannot stop so many princes and her family, should they take an offense. If they take it as assault on their honor, I would be subjected to mortification and severe chastisement.”

“We would have complete privacy. Nobody, but I would know that you would paint two portraits instead of one and my trusted handmaids.”

“I am honored Princess. However, I have one condition. You would not gaze upon the painting of your true form until it is completed.”

“Agreed.”

The next afternoon, all of the attendants were dismissed till Sun down. Two of her most trusted handmaids were stationed in front of the door, watchful of any intruder. Avikam started on his master piece. He would keep on smiling as his brush stroked the canvas. It would kindle Padma’s inquisitiveness, but Avikam was unyielding. He would not let the princess have a glance. The dreary session slowly became interesting. Avikam replied to usual questions of the Princess with wits and real life incidents from far-flung lands. Avikam had traveled to lands across the mountains and sea. He has seen strange lands and stranger customs. Padma’s eyes were open in bewilderment. Padma’s life was confined to the palace, save occasional trips to temples through the forest and mountains. She listened to the tales with curiosity of a child.

The days passed, on the fourth day, Avikam had completed his clandestine assignment. The true form of Padma was covered by white softest translucent silk. Padma was standing in front of her true form which would be unveiled in couple of moments. Avikam stepped beside the true form and said, “Princess Padma, meet your true form – Anala Madhavilata, a Fiery Flowering Creeper.”

Padma froze in preconception. Something told her that she was stepping into a precarious terrain. Artiste’s eyes were fixed on her. He had one hand on one end of the silk, ready to pull it. He was taking his time, savoring each moment of her held breath.

The silk started moving. Padma apperceived it moving on her bare silhouette. Inch by inch, the silk moved, Padma could see Anala’s drowsy eyes and tousled hair. Silk slid down further, Anala’s neck was arched, and face lifted upward, moist lips halfway open, laden with thirst. She was leaning on a stone pillar. Silk dropped a little more. The string that held the garland of white Madan Mogra[12], was broken in couple of places. Buds looked ashen - tired, and some blossomed florets were crushed. Sun fell on bare shoulder of Anala; Padma could feel its heat.

Avikam with his eyes peeled on Padma, pulled the cloth in hand. The silk slithered, exposing Anala’s voluptuous breast. A translucent white piece of cloth was covering just a meager portion of flesh; above and below her haughty nipples. Padma’s cheek turned red, seeing the tussore wet with sweat. A knot was hastily tied on the cleavage. Moist cloth could hardly conceal Anala’s sybaritic teats. Her garland disappeared just below the knot. Padma could feel her fragrance of the crushed flowers radiating from her. Avikam’s fixed eyes and Anala’s fleshly life were drifting in front of her eyes.

The white silk glissaded little more. Anala’s bare flat stomach and deep naval could be Padma’s. Her fair skin was glistening with drops of sweat. Padma was breathing hard; she could feel Anala rising in her. Avikam’s eyes were educing Anala in her. As he kept on unclothing the figurine, Padma felt being disrobed. His eyes were stripping her at a leisurely pace. The cloth had slipped inches below her naval. Anala’s waist was bare, and so was the half of her hips. Her senses told her to stop this madness, but there was a relief in this nism. Padma’s lips were trembling. Avikam pulled away the silk and threw it on ground. Anala’s full form was now exposed. One of her legs was pulled up and was resting on the pillar another seeking comfort of soft lush verdure.

A rectangular translucent white cloth was tied with a knot on left hip. Anala’s left leg was almost uncovered save the knot. There wayward air was pushing the moist fabric in the faint cleft line. Anala’s pubic mound was swollen with excitement of her salacious encounter, few moments earlier. Anala’s exhaustion was propelling Padma to a wanton behavior. Padma tried to avert her eyes from Anala’s swollen labia, but her gaze was fixed at the faint wetness. Avikam kept gaping at Padma, there was a fire in his eyes. His eyes were skimming Padma’s jewelry, her fur and the yards of silk that covered her. Padma’s ears and cheeks were blazing. Her breath was fast, heart pumping as never before. She was burning hot, she felt like throwing away the fur. Drop of sweat was trickling down her back. However, she was not sure, if what was trickling her thighs was sweat. It seemed thicker than it and definitely sweater. A sultry voice of Alana’s voice was replying to Padma’s confusion.

Let him have his moment. Don’t stop his gaze. After all, has he not seen you the way you are? There is nothing that you can hide by draping in cloth. He has felt you, when he touched me. I have felt his finger touching every inch of my body as they created it. I know the surging passions; let yourself loose, in it is fire. Feel the magic of his gaze. Feel it, feel it touching your skin, stripping you, kissing every bit of it with fervent libidinous.

Padma was not aware of anything that happened. Avikam had veiled Anala before moving to the portrait he was assigned to paint. Both Padma and he resumed their work. Padma sat through the evening vaguely aware of the approaching cinereal evening. Her mind was meandering in obscured nameless lanes of unexplored arousal. Being deprived of her only reverie, her mind was pushing her to vagaries. When Avikam sought permission to leave for the day, she called for a tote bag. With a faint smile - silently, she handed the bag full of gold coins to Avikam like person in a deep dream.

It must have been the first phase of the night, when Padmakishori’s handmaid, Kavita knocked at the inn room where Avikam was staying. Princess had expressed the desire to meet the painter. Avikam, if surprised at being summoned at such an odd time, did not show it. Kavita led him towards the forest. Quietly, they walked through frore night. After covering half way, she blind folded him. It was necessary for security reasons. Kavita was taking Avikam to meet Padma through a secret passage. The palace had innumerable such secret passage opening in different locations. Under the ground, these secret passages formed a labyrinth. That was second level of security. Only the members of royal family, and a few trusted maids, slaves and servants knew the path out of the maze. If by any chance, any enemy enters the passage, he would starve himself to death.

Kavita was seven summers older to Padma. She had been assigned to Padma’s service since Padma was only two. Kavita was Padma’s closest handmaid, and also a confidante. Kavita knew that a whisper of Avikam’s visit to Princess Chamber at the night would invite either an execution or a war. She was very careful in planning. The innermost gate was always attended by Princesses’ handmaids in peace time. All the regular guards and maids were assigned in first and second gate. These guards and maids assigned in the second and first gate were unaware of this visit. They were given strict orders not to let anybody enter. The princess wanted a night of undisturbed sleep to sooth her headache.

Padma and her four closest aides knew the guards in first and second gate would not be able to stop any member of royal family from entering. Any of such visits should be known from the first gate to avoid any surprises. Priyanka, who was the fastest runner would be loitering near the first gate and run back to Padma at the sign of any unwanted visitor. Smriti would be near the second gate and the talkative Mani would stall the visitor with sweet formalities and Kavita would sneak in and hide Padma’s special guest in the secret passage, spruce up Padma and her chamber before any royal family member enters.

Chapter 3: The True Form


 

Kavita entered Padma’s chamber with Avikam through the secret passage. After few moments, Padma stood on her toes to take off Avikam’s blind fold. Avikam could smell fresh bathed skin of Padma. Blinking, he looked around. He did a fine job of not letting his expression appear on his face. Padma stood in front of Avikam. She had transformed herself to Anala. A garland of Madan Mogra and a white silken cloth barely cover her arrogant nipples and areolas. The silk had hard time covering her slick moist triangle. Her curly public hair was desperately trying to escape. His thought was, if he could catch a whiff of air that had touched those curly hairs.

Avikam held his breath. He was seeing his Anala transformed into a breathing person. There was only one difference, Anala’s face was radiating with satisfying tiredness while Padma’s was emanating ravenous ache to be fulfilled. She was a simulacrum of Rati[13]. Avikam wanted to wipe out the differences. Still, he kept quiet. Even in the moment of tempestuous fervor, he remembered that, it was not his place to make a first move. He was just a painter, a nomad moving from one city to another in search for inspiration, while she was a Princess with thousands of heads ready to be cut down for her or bow down to her wishes. Avikam was waiting, withheld breath for time when he would change Padma to Anala.

Padma sat on the settee and called Avikam. In a soft voice, barely above a whisper, she said,

“Avikam, I told you I would reward you. I did in the afternoon. Princess did pay her dues, but Padma did not. You did see me for what I am. Your Anala is me. And Anala did enkindle such covetousness that I have scrubbed off all the traces of modesty. Would you breathe Anala in me tonight?”

Avikam knew he had just this night with Padma. He sat beside Padma. Padma kept his hand on her fluttering heart. She closed her eyes in anticipation. Cupping her face, Avikam kissed those closed eyes gently. Padma opened them slowly to see him looking passionately at her quivering lips. Avikam slowly took them in his. His tongue glossed her lips, parted them just a little bit to tickle her teeth before pulling back to look at her. She looked bewitching. Avikam lifted her in his arms and laid her on the settee on her back.

In a perfect manner of a nobleman, he sought her permission,

“May I, Princess?”

“Yes, Avikam, yes, tonight, show me what indulgence and craving is all about. Show me all that you did with Anala before you froze her on the canvas.”

Avikam knelt at the foot of the settee, took her left feet, and massages them. Every bit of Padma’s body was stiff with eagerness; it had to be loosened first. When Avikam’s lips touched them, she shuddered with prurience. He took the thumb in his mouth and began nibbling it. He left it as a sigh escaped from Padma’s lips. His lips started kissing her ankles, and slowly he was traversing upward. Avikam’s lips were kissing every bit of the fair skin of Padma. His lips were getting confused; was it her skin or silk. The more his lips brushed against hers, the more the desire enflamed. Padma wanted him to linger there and yet, the unkissed parts beckoned him. Every bit of her body wanted him to touch it and kiss it. Avikam moved up from ankle to shanks and from shanks to knees. He pulled up her legs, kissing the back of her knees. Padma clutched the soft cushion of the settee.

Avikam was wandering over her thighs. The more he had her, the more the intense burnt his animalism. His appropinquity with Padma was driving him to the edge of sweet insanity. Sounds of her breath, her occasional suppress murmurs, and the scent of her skin were imploring him to take her as his for the night. Avikam wanted it to be the night that she would always moisten her hidden lips. A befitting tribute to a princess who was offering him her untouched bud to flower.

Avikam stopped at the edge of the cloth. He did not touch it. He just moved to her upper edge of the tussore. He was four fingers below her deep naval. His kisses were deep. Her belly had drops of sweat on cold night. Avidity was burning Padma from within. Avikam’s lip had covered her flat belly till the base of her heaving bosom with his kisses and was now playing with her naval. He was sucking the deep pit and licking up its boundary. A deep moan vibrated through Padma’s body. Its vagrant visitor was moving towards her nape. Burying his lips deep in her nape, Avikam marked her fair skin as his. The boundary between pain and pleasure was disappearing fast. Padma’s body was wiggling under him as he continued his deep kisses on her nape.

Padma was all wet. Scanty clothes that were covering her were turning pale. Avikam took a moment and removed his loose full sleeve vest. His tanned body was on Padma’s. His skin was rubbing against hers. Avikam looked deep in her eyes and locked his lips in her. He sucked it deep, playing it with his tongue. The bodies were now in play. Her hands found his back, his hands roving all over her, their legs entangled in each other, the bodies writhing is pleasure.

The night was slipping away. Avikam had not yet explored Padma. There was so much to be done to let Padma slip away and guide Anala to emerge. He could hardly wait. He took Padma to the cathedra. Since many days ago, he had seen her sitting there in flamboyant layers of clothes. Tonight, on the same cathedra, he would remove the two pieces of clothing that covered her. This night was his, when he would see Padma as Anala, as she was made. Avikam paid his laudation to her cleavage, before his deft fingers opened the knot. Padma had acquired the color of setting sun. Avikam’s eyes were fixed on her and he slowly freed her imperious breasts from their captivity. Padma was almost nude in front of this stranger. She blushed at the thought and her eyes closed. Avikam was cupping her breast and kneading them; taking Padma closer to Anala. Her body was burning with insatiable hunger that wanted more with every moment that it got. Padma could not keep her eyes open. 

Padma felt Avikam’s hand, placing her left leg on the arm rest. She skipped a heartbeat in sweet anticipation. Her vagina was open to him. She was almost nude, with all her privates in his full view. She was shy for the first time; instinctively she buried her head to one side with a blushing smile. Avikam gently kissed her exposed cheek and before she could look at him, it was her lips that were hidden from the world. Her triangle was bulging, and lips drooling. He planted a deep kiss on her wet vagina, slimy with her salacious appetite.

A thrill ran up Padma’s spine. She was at the edge of unknown woods of pleasure. Deeper he kissed her inner labia, deeper she went. He had gone too deep with her. No longer could kisses satisfied him, his mouth sucked the little wet petals of lotus and was munching them. Avikam pulled her little towards him from her waist and his hands found refuge at her heaving bosom. Padma’s senses were delirious with elation. She was no longer able to distinguish if her breast was getting kneaded and crushed or her vagina was getting munched and smooched. He was taking her to new limits of corybantic exhilaration.

Padma’s moans went deeper and deeper. The whistle of night air was broken by her ecstatic cry. Sleepy notes flute floated around. It was Mani. She had started playing some time ago to mask off the signs of Padma’s rapturous night.

The hypnotic tune that floated in Padma’s bed chamber inspirited the impassioned appetence. 

Padma trembled as she climaxed for the first time. Avikam guzzled it with satisfaction. Panting Padma lay stiff for few moments. Avikam lifted her in his arms and took her to her bed. Tiredness had not yet touched her. She wanted more. Avikam carried her to her bed. Standing near the foot of the bed, he looked at Padma. She looked like Anala, yet she was not Anala. Anala had the glow of satisfaction on her face; Padma still had a yearning on hers. He looked at her once again, as if to see if she would like to stop now. Padma looked deep into his eyes and nodded. She wanted to be Anala, she wanted to devour the forbidden fruit which she just started to have a taste of.

Straddling at her waist, Avikam’s deft finger opened the knot; getting rid of Padma’s last piece of cloth on her body. Then, he opened the knots of his loincloth. It slipped and lay discarded at his knees. A thirsty smile crossed her lips, Avikam’s shaft meant business. It was standing, proud and domineering. She was biting her lips, chewing them unmindfully. Avariciousness was flowing in her veins tonight.

In the dim light of the torches that burnt, Padma laid on the bed, as perfected by nature; flawless. Her outline on the soft dark bed was tempting him as she waited for him to take her. Avikam lifting Padma’s waist, slowly tried to enter her. Padma was dripping wet, but the path was yet unknown. Avikam would be the first one to open the gates of womanhood for Padma. Padma’s body arced with pain-pleasure as Avikam’s bellend touch the door. She gasped, Avikam slowly pushed a little more. A pleasing pain was ripping her burning vagina. Avikam’s tip was just in, it was searing her, and she wanted more, Padma wanted him in her completely. Every movement of Avikam was tearing her and she wanted more of it. Avikam supporting her waist, all of a sudden pushed in completely. A debaucherously scream escaped Padma’s lips. Avikam was still, letting Padma feel her first visitor. Avikam still inside her, pulled up Padma, supported her back with his left hand. The right hand found itself playing with her hair and his mouth was on her nipples. He was taking Padma deeper and deeper into the dark velvety depths of aphrodisia. Padma was susurrating with pleasure as he gently started quavering her. Padma had never felt this fire before. For the first time, she was sweating in the cold winter of the mountains. The satisfaction was consuming her and she was yearning for more. She was getting transformed from Padma to Anala. A drop of tear of fulfillment rolled from the corner of her eyes, two drops of sweat from Avikam’s brow as Avikam spilled his soul seed in her.

In arms of her creator, the tired Anala slipped into a dream free stupor. Avikam was awake the whole night watching her sleep. His masterpiece came to life, took him on an amorous journey for a night and now peacefully sleeping in his arms. The drums announced the last quarter of the night. Mani entered in tips and toes. Very gently she woke up the Princess. Sun would knock at the door in some time. It was time for Avikam to go. Padma had to be ready for the next day’s rituals that would mark the beginning of the arrangement for the Welcome Day. Welcome Day was just a day away. Contests for Swaymvar were three days after the Welcome Day.

Padma was in the room, flushed when Avikam came in to his assigned work of painting Padma for the suitors of Swaymvar. The memories of last night were fresh on her body and in her memory. Avikam greeted her with usual courtesy. He stood beside the Princess in pretext of evaluating the light and whispered,

“Princess, only few men can boast of living a night of their dreams. I am one of them. When the night slips by, it is good to wake up. I have not forgotten the beautiful dream that I felt, but truth is neither can I forget that, today, I need to complete my painting and will be on my way. I may not be able to every lay my eyes on you ever again. But, I am not sad. If I would be, it would be insulting my Anala. I would rather rejoice celebrating every moment of it.”

Padma, though a girl of only sixteen summers knew what her destiny had been chosen for her. It was not and never could be Avikam. Her encounter with Avikam was sexual not sentimental. She was sane enough not to build an impossible dream based on just one night of passion. She gave him a whole hearted understanding smile.   

[1]Suryavanshi - The term Suryavanshi refers to a person belonging to Solar dynasty of ancient India. The Suryavanshi clan is an ancient Kshatriya (warrior) clan of India.  They are said to be descent from the Sun (Surya). Their prime deity was Sun God.

[2]Chandravanshi - The term Chandravanshi refers to a person belonging to Lunar dynasty of ancient India. The Chandravanshi clan is also an ancient Kshatriya (warrior) clan of India.  They are said to be descent from the Moon (Chandra). Their prime deity was Moon God.

[3]Agnivanshi - The term Agnivanshi refers to a person belonging ancient Kshatriya (warrior) clan of India. Their prime deity was Fire God.

[4]Swaymvar – The right given to the princess in ancient India to choose her own husband from list of eligible suitors. The grooms are invited to attend this function where the bride chooses her groom from present eligible suitors.

[5] Of sixteen Summers   – Age was calculated by adding up how many times the person had witnessed the most important season

[6]Phase of the moon – Shape of illuminated portion of the moon. Calculation were done as per the change in shape 

[7]Chausar – A game like chess.  It is believed that both games were created around the 4th century. The board is made of wool or cloth. It is played on a board shaped like a symmetrical cross. A player's pieces move around the board based upon a throw of six or cowrie shells, with the number of shells resting with aperture upwards indicating the number of spaces to move. The game used 3 four sided dice.

[8]Shastraat – Religious debate

[9]Minakari – Ornaments of gold with gem setting and enamelling of color. Enameling is done with brilliant colors and designs which is done on the reverse of a jewelry piece, along with the gems setting on top. It is mostly preferred for occasions like weddings and festivals. 

[10]Diya – Small earthen oil lamp

[11]Dhoti - Loincloth or breechcloth. Generally white piece of rectangular cloth 5 ft. long and 2.5 ft. wide used to cover the lower frame of the body. Mostly men use it to. It is tied around the waist and falls till the ankle. Pleats are made in the middle tying the top ends in front like a belt and then tucking in the loose left and right ends behind.

[12]Madan Mogra – Arabian Jasmine, Jasminum sambac. It is native to a small region in the eastern Himalayas. It is a small shrub or vine growing up to 0.5 to 3 m (1.6 to 9.8 ft.) in height. It is cultivated in many places, for its attractive and sweet fragrance. In Indian Subcontinent, hair is decorated using garland of Jasmine.

[13]Rati - goddess of passion and lust

Heir

Genre – Erotic Thriller

Naseha Sameen

Copyright © 2016 Naseha Sameen

All rights reserved.

ISBN:

ISBN-13:

 

Prologue


 

Like her mismatched eyes, her hands were of different temperature. One was burning hot and another was icy cold. Padma’s hand involuntarily jerked upwards to break the contact. But the old fingers held her tight. Her grip was strong. It was crushing Padma’s hands. The free spirits swirling around them were touching Padma at their will. Their icy fingers were scrapping her bones and trampling her flesh. Sweat percolating on the body smeared with ash, was making it chalky. Her ears alive with roars of wind racing through the barren land punctuated with the indistinct clamor of the dead wishes and broken dream. Padma was looking directly into the incompatible eyes; her hands were losing all sensations, her mouth felt dry and dusty.

Padma was moving through different frame of distance and time. She saw the mountains forming on the ocean beds, cities reducing to dust, and rivers swallowing up the villages. Cool breeze enveloped her, her ears filled with cries of cuckoos, cricket and night owl. Seeds grew into plants and forests grew in moments. Forests were changing their attire, from dark green to flaming red to pale yellow and then stripping themselves to bare branches; looking towards the sky for a drop of rain. Seasons changed, drops of first rain kissed the ground and winter stepped in spreading the ground with light fluffy snow. Her face blazed. Sun burnt brightly with brilliance of thousand suns. Padma heard her mother cry. She felt a burning sensation as air filled her lungs. She felt her mother’s lips on her forehead and warmth enveloped her as her mother took her in arms. Uday’s sweaty hands holding her hand in front of sacred fire, Roop was nursing her to health and Vrisa’s penetrating eyes looking through her soul. She was surrounded by men and women; some she knew some yet unknown. Unnamed one’s rasping voice was screaming in her ears. Padma could not understand a word that she spoke but Padma’s tears were rolling down her cheek. Two mismatched eyes appeared in front of Padma, startling her.  “Speak, ask the questions that matters the most. The dead are here. They are swimming in the river of future. They would answer only once.” rasped the nameless one.

Contents


 

Dedication. iv

Prologue. vi

Contents. 10

Chapter 1: Swaymvar 12

Chapter 2: Preparation. 40

Chapter 3: The True Form.. 64

Chapter 4: The Contest 76

Chapter 5: The Arrangement 93

Chapter 6: New Home. 116

Chapter 7: Politics of Freedom.. 145

Chapter 8: Collectors. 168

Chapter 9: Auction. 172

Chapter 10: Wild Heart 196

Chapter 11: Toddy. 212

Chapter 12: A New Morning. 227

Chapter 13: Sweet Freedom.. 249

Chapter 14: Riddles. 272

Chapter 15: Love. 298

Chapter 16: Room of Pleasure. 325

Chapter 17: A Simple Conspiracy. 358

Chapter 18: The Promise. 381

Chapter 19: Unraveling. 410

Chapter 20: The Deception. 439

Chapter 21: Duty. 474

Epilogue. 485

Credits: 491

List of Kingdoms: 492

Table of Figures: 493

Key Players: 494

Meanings. 498

Disclaimer 504

About the author 505

Previous Works. 506

Coming Soon. 507

Connect with me. 509

Chapter 1: Swaymvar


 

The night was silent. Heavy dew fell without a word on white woodland carpet. White petals with lilac veins appeared fast asleep, curling in their three petals inwards. The barking deer did not care about the sleepy snow leopard hiding behind the mossy rocks, colonized by lichens and ferns. Foxes and jackals were quietly chewing dried up bones under thick cover of Withania. Air did not wail today as it passed through the needle like fingers of Deodar and Spruce. It was mourning silently.

Melancholy dripped from the walls of the royal apartment of Princess Padmakishori. Her room was dimly lighted. She had asked all the other torches to be extinguished except the four oil torches in the far corner of the chamber. It was a dark night for her. Padmakishori’s sobs were the silent witness to her broken dreams and foreboding heart.

King Rawwal Bikka of Bikka dynasty had sent out invitation to all Suryavanshi[1], Chandravanshi[2] and Agnivanshi[3] kings and princess to attend his daughter’s [4]. Swaymvar of his only child Padmakishori, was one of the most important tasks for him as a King.

Like all previous princesses of Garvpundir, Padmakishori was looking forward to her Swaymvar. Since last two years, she could only think about the prince she would pick among her suitors on the day of Swaymvar. The blithe full days and blushful nights of princess who just stepped into the whirl wind years of teen, had etched a picture perfect of the Prince, she would surrender her body. Padma just needed to close her eyes to see the perfect prince who would entice her and take her on an amorous journey. It was her destiny, her dream and her right to choose her life partner.

King Rawwal had far serious affair weighing on his mind than the flight of fantasy of his daughter of sixteen summers[5]. The duties of a King outweighed that of a father. Padma’s dreams were ruthlessly crushed when the King announced that the Swaymvar would be contest based. There would be three contests among the suitors. The winner would marry his daughter. Rawwal was aware that he was being unfair towards his daughter, but it was a necessary evil. 

A daughter’s right to select her groom was snatched away by the King who wanted such a son in-law who would secure his daughter’s future and that of his kingdom. He wanted a strong ally. He needed a strong political alliance to safeguard his Garvpundir against the invading tribes from North West and gives a boost to the ailing economy that was in all-time low.

The contests were carefully chosen. The first one was hunting. A strong and deft warrior could lead his army successfully against all enemies. A good warrior is often a skillful hunter! Each king and prince participating in the contest would take only ten soldiers from Garvpundir’s army for the hunt. Each party would be given a marked area to camp and they would have unlimited access to the dense forest of Pine, Fir, Yew, Cypress, Chir, Oaks, Birch, Willow and Alders to hunt. They would be provided with basic amenities in their camp for the two phases of the moon[6]. At the end, the king or prince with most prized hunts would win the contest. 

The second contest was then a game of Chausar[7]. A winner in a battle could get a kingdom. Ensuring the dynasty ruled forever was another! The politics during the years of peace often shapes the outcome of future wars. Many kingdoms subliminally have lost their grandeur in dangerous years of peace. Kururaastra was one of them. The King Rawwal did not want a similar fate for his daughter.

The last contest was Shastraat[8]. Three hundred pundits from far and wide were invited for this event. This contest was included to test the wisdom of the contestants. Strength and strategies without wisdom would be futile. The King Rawwal wanted such a son in-law who would represent the holy tri-unity of strength, strategy and wisdom. The winner of all these three would marry his daughter. In case of a tie, Padma would then choose her groom. King Rawwal had thought very carefully when he chalked out the outline of the contest.

Padma was flabbergasted when she heard about the contests from her mother, Jaiwanti Devi. How could her father use her for his petty political dreams? Was she a political pawn whose wishes had to be sacrificed for greater good? Her mouth felt bitter. Her father had already decided her fate and was now consulting pundits for an auspicious date to send the invitations and to hold the event. Never before had Padma felt so helpless and lonely. She was standing alone in an ice cocoon, screaming about her right to choose her husband. The people around her continued their work oblivious to her and her trapped screams. The ice was too thick to break. Her palm was bleeding but she did not feel any pain. Her hands were numb. Why did her mother not stop her father from taking this call? Would it have made any difference had her three brothers been alive? Would she still be sold as a queen to a King for the kingdom?

The weather in mountains is always unpredictable. It was bright and sunny few hours ago, now the reddish clouds of torrential rain were looming over the horizon. Not a breath of air, not a glimpse of star or moon – the sky was as lonely as Padma. Night was uncommonly silent, waiting with a held breath for storm to break. The King of Garvpundir, Rawwal Bikka was looking out of his window on third floor of his palace. The entire palace and the fort in front of it was carved out from the mountains. It was uncommonly cold night. The fate of his kingdom was similar to the night. More than three centuries had passed since the Great War that had devastated the entire subcontinent. Some refer to this war as the great Mahabharata. The Great War has seen the complete annihilation of the most powerful clan, saving only six members of the royal family. The war changed the map of Kururaastra. The War concluded with the emperor being replaced on the throne. With him, the fate of the subcontinent was changed.

After The Great War, the society underwent huge changes. The kingdoms scorched with the horrors of war could only hope for everlasting peace. However, first life needed to return. Healing had to be done before attempting an ever lasting peace. The families needed to be re-established. Tears had to be wiped off from all eyes. There was hardly any family which had not seen a loved one being a fodder to the war. All those families needed a smile back on their lips. People shattered by the Great War began picking up their lives. A century and half passed in a flash, rebuilding the ruins of what once was a flourishing life.

Surviving through the horrors of the Great War, Kururaastra was committed to forging a peaceful and friendly alliance with all the kingdoms far and near. Garvpundir also received invitation of friendship. They proposed an alliance of marriage. An alliance of family ties would further strengthen the bonds. Third Princess of Garvpundir, Kishori Dayanti was married to the nephew and a member of ministerial council of Kururaastra. The matrimony brought greater glory and importance to Garvpundir. That was the golden era of peace and prosperity in the subcontinent. Life that had been destroyed in Great War began building up. Slowly, the scars of the past were forgotten. The Great War which was once a life changing event was turning into legend and bedtime stories. The stories of the Great War were beginning to fill eyes with astonishment instead of tears. Garvpundir had forged new relationships. With a powerful alliance like Kururaastra by his side, Garvpundir rose to power.

The cycle of time continues relentlessly. Decay sets in heart of healthy flowers in full bloom and after decay from the rotting black, barks again, with a new stem of life germinating. The luster of the empire that brought the new era had started to diminish. A millennium and half passed and the magnificence that once was known with Kururaastra was diminishing faster. The new rulers were no heroes. The builders of the kingdom had done their share of hard work building a new nation from the rubbles of war. They handed the gift of peace and prosperity to their next generation of rulers. Their successors were different.

The generation that had only seen prosperity handed down generation after generation, slowly forgot the hard work that went in building a great nation from rubbles of the Great War. The newer rulers of Kururaastra had started taking life and the luxuries bestowed on them by birth for granted. They spend their lives in luxury.  They did not keep up the rigor of maintaining good political alliances or strong trade links. Smaller kingdoms under the banner of Kururaastra were losing their sense of security. The rulers of Kururaastra did not look beyond few main banners under them. Their trade and political links were now confined to only one strong kingdom – Samarastra. Samarastra is a strong powerful island kingdom. Slowly, the smaller kingdoms began to break off. Decay has set in once again in Kururaastra. This time it was slow as a termite, but deadly, eating up the entire kingdom from within. As the empire grew weaker, Garvpundir’s became more and more obscure. From a strong ally, it became barely remembered a friendly kingdom in far inaccessible mountains. Garvpundir faded out of the minds of the rulers of Kururaastra.

The kings of Garvpundir still hoped that one day; Kururaastra would again rise to power and take care of the smaller kingdoms like it did in the golden days. Garvpundir was waiting for such a time. It had too much of faith in the blood of heroes who walked liked Gods on Earth. Kururaastra was the hub of all trade, with Kururaastra losing interest in trade, Garvpundir trading activities took a back seat. It remained content with trade relationship with smaller neighboring kingdoms.

Garvpundir territories ranged from the foot of Himalayas to its dizzying heights where life was possible. Life is difficult in the mountains. The rulers of Garvpundir unlike the ones in the plains had bigger challenges of providing basic amenities in the tough terrain with harshest conditions. Garvpundir started investing more time and resources, building roads linking the inaccessible regions of the kingdom. While Garvpundir was waiting for Kururaastra to come back to its former glory, its rulers started concentrating only on infrastructure. This single focus strategy was started by King Dasanand Bikka, who forgot all about trades and external politics and concentrated only on infrastructure. If rumors were to be believed, the King had promised that he would link each and every hamlet and temple in the kingdom with good roads.

The Prime Queen of Dasanand Bikka, Mittali Devi was on her way to the temple of her family deity on her palanquin to pray for painless delivery. A day or two before her delivery, the Queen would be confined to her room. The Prime Queen Mittali Devi wanted to offer prayers for a healthy son before her confinement started.  Since last few days, dangerous omen of death was haunting her.  Her heart was restless for her unborn child. She needed the mercy of her deity to ensure life of her unborn child. It had rained heavily the previous night and the temple was in elusive part of the mountain, but the Prime Queen had set her mind to the impossible task. There were landslides and path leading to the temple was dangerously steep and impassable in rainy season. King Dasanand Bikka and all the members of her family tried their best to stop Mittali from embarking on this journey, but she would listen to none of it. Mittali was determined to go; she said it was her calling. She had to go. She was right in a way. The call was from the Grim Reaper. He was waiting in some corner of the steep path to claim her and her unborn child. He claimed her soul and devoured the palanquin bearers. Grief and resentment had filled heart of the King Dasanand Bikka. He never forgave himself and set up a humongous task of building the infrastructure of Garvpundir. The rulers who came after him also followed his footstep. They had to fulfill the promise of the King Dasanand Bikka. It was believed that the King Dasanand Bikka has sworn on his death bed that, he would not step in heaven to meet his Queen Mittali, till all temples and hamlets were linked by good roads. The burden of unfulfilled oath falls to the sons. Till the time, Dasanand Bikka’s promise was not fulfilled by his sons and grandsons, he would not be granted a passage to heaven. His descendants kept fulfilling the promise of Dasanand Bikka by concentrating on infrastructure and forgetting the importance of strong ties with other kingdoms like Kururaastra. They did nothing to strengthen their terms with Kururaastra and other important kingdoms. It was a mistake for which Garvpundir would have to pay dearly in future.

The implacable time forgave none. It was just a matter of few cycles when it puts life back to remind it of the long forgotten lessons. Around two thousand and two hundred years after the Great War, Samarastra, the only strong ally of Kururaastra perished. Tsunami hit the island. Great waves engulfed the whole island. There were no survivors. Samarastra, the great kingmaker of the kingdoms was wiped out of the existence. With it crumbled the already crumbling future of Kururaastra. The end was near, but the rulers of Kururaastra could never see it, till it became a reality. Garvpundir was still under the illusion of safety under the banner of Kururaastra. If truth be told, Garvpundir and seventy more kingdoms under the banner of Kururaastra were alliance only for name sake. It has been years since Kururaastra took any interest in their welfare or any development in the trade or bilateral policies. For Kururaastra these kingdoms had become nothing more than non-hostile areas.  

Apathy does not go unnoticed for long. How long would continuous indifference of the largest empire go unnoticed and unchallenged? When a large tree starts decaying, the younger and ambitious ones try to take its place. The same happened with Kururaastra. Maganda rose to challenge Kururaastra. A fierce war was waged. The war and siege continued for months and finally Kururaastra succumbed to the sword of Maganda. Major part of Kururaastra was taken over by Maganda. Few kingdoms that did not fight for Kururaastra declared their independence once Kururaastra fell. Maganda was new great banner of the Main land. For Garvpundir, it was just a change of banner from Kururaastra to Maganda.

The restless time did not stop there. It had to change its course. Some three and half centuries had passed since Maganda took over Kururaastra. All these years further deteriorated the ties with Garvpundir. Though, Maganda was successful in overthrowing oldest reigning monarchs of the subcontinent, it could not rule over the vast empire for long. Soon the kingdoms under Kururaastra began their tryst with destiny, some of them broke away amicably, and some declared independence, while some started their fight for freedom from Maganda. This story of political unrest continued for two and half centuries. Maganda realized, it could no longer rule such a vast empire. It was in its interest that, smaller kingdoms fought with each other. With kingdoms at war with each other, there would be no one main power or group of strong kingdoms to challenge Maganda. Maganda encouraged strives between smaller kingdoms.

Figure 1 Events from Great War


 

Three millenniums after the Great War and about seven and half centuries after Maganda took over, Garvpundir finally realized that it had no allies that would look out for it. Garvpundir was on its own.  

Figure 2 Events leading to Swaymvar


 

New pockets of power emerged. Between the folds of wars and peace, the society was fledging to newer possibilities. It’s undergoing yet another change. Fate of Garvpundir was solely in the hands of its king, who was now without any allies. It was a challenging time for the rulers of Garvpundir. A new enemy was emerging in North-West - a warrior clan from North-West Mountain that had lived in complete isolation for eons was getting ambitious. The clan had been attacking the borders of Garvpundir to expand their tiny, little kingdom. The skirmishes turned into battles and then wars. Decades of war had not only affected the political map of the kingdom but had crumbled the economy. It was not a continuous war. Every two to three change of the season, there would be an attack in the border. The warriors would attack and after a change of season or two, would retreat, only to attack another part of the border. Every battle demanded more spending on military. More arms and ammunitions were needed, more laborers were required to dig trenches, more men were needed in armory and more physicians were wanted in infirmary. Every battle and its preparation screamed for more gold and copper.

Royal treasuries did manage to bear the burden of war for three cycles of summer. Then slowly, the responsibility of maintaining the border was passed on to the citizen. Every war saw the citizen shouldering little more of the burden of coffer’s requirement. Taxes became heavier, to support the war. After every major war, the taxes were increased steeply. The royal coffer could no longer support the war alone. It looked towards its citizen for a bail out. The monstrous war needed more and more of coins and the life force of young men.

The Army had once been one of the coveted professions. Only eight out of fifty were selected. Training lasted for almost a cycle of summer. That was the story, decades ago - in peaceful time. The illusion of grandeur of guarding the border was breaking. The enthusiasm to join the army was declining fast, and young men preferred other occupation. The training became fast pace, the drop out from other fields, who had nowhere to go where turning up for army enrollment.

The most devastating time for Garvpundir was when the war entered the eighth cycle of the summer. The kingdom barely managed to save its border and the cost was very high. The army was almost depleted. There were no volunteers, even the prisons were vacant. All of the prisoners were trained to become soldiers and were sent to the borders. Finally, a decree had to be passed, which forcibly took two or three young men of age from every home. Each family had to send two or more sons to the army to save the border from the warrior clan. Most of them never returned and those who did were crippled for life. Yield from agricultural land was dropping. Fields devoid of the energy of young men became peevish and temperamental. Food that was so abundant once was getting dearer. The law and order was crumbling slowly, but steadily.

Dubious times brought debatable policies. Polygamy that was the privilege of ruler’s class was now opened to commoners. There were no enough men in the kingdom. The brothels were engaged by the throne for the soldiers in the border. The kingdom needed more sons. There were two or more females for every male. The kingdom took care of every floozy who came back from border with another life in her. Soon, State orphanages were filled with young boys. Most of the girls born there were told to be still born; few of them killed by the mothers. The few who managed to survive and stayed in the orphanage began disappearing. No one had a clue as what happened to the girls. The families who lost sons and wanted to adopt could take a son each, from the orphanage. No family would adopt a daughter. The boys unclaimed by any family were trained to be soldiers. Any doxy, who gave kingdom three sons, was allowed to return to the society as a lady. She was considered as an unsullied woman. Any man could take her as his second or third wife. Still, every birth in the family was a sober affair. There was always the shadow of death and destruction looming over joyous occasions. There were internal revolts in South-East regions of the kingdom. The South-East regions were comparatively wealthier. Their topography gave them more fertile land for agriculture. The region that never faced the savage warrior clans from North-West was growing weary of supporting the unending war. Patience in the kingdom was now eroding faster than ever.

Garvpundir was in a mess and it looked up to its present King, Rawwal Bikka for a reprieve. The borders were not safe and in such a turbulent time, even the royal family was not safe from the fight for power and blood feud. Rawwal Bikka was deep in thought. The clouds were looming threateningly. If and only if Rawwal Bikka had a son who would have been his heir! His Queen gave him three sons and a daughter. The first prince was a still born; the youngest one died at a young age and the only heir was killed in a battle.

In absence of a son, selection of an heir to the throne would be a tricky affair. If the King passed away before princess Padmakishori begat a son, one of the sons of his brother, Devanand Bikka who was also the Commander in Chief would be declared a King. The problem was the ambitious Uncle, Pankaj Bikka. He was the son of Kailash Bikka who was the Prime minister of the King Vishnu Bikka, grandfather of Rawwal and Devanand Bikka. Since years, he has been cursing his luck that, he was born to the younger brother. After years, he saw a chance to secure the throne through his son. He wanted his son to be the King of Garvpundir instead of Padmakishori’s son. He wanted one of his fifteen son ascend the throne.

Figure 3 Family Tree - Bikka Dynasty


Both Rawwal and Devanand knew the gnawing ambition of their uncle. They knew children nurtured with bitterness of failed ambition would not prove to be a good king. Millenniums ago, the subcontinent was on the brink of total annihilation due to a person’s inability to accept the fate. That person was solely responsible for the Great War. They would not allow history to repeat itself. Yet, they did not confront Kailash Bikka. It was not required at that point in time. They wanted a peaceful alternative - Princess Padmakishori’s Swaymvar. If Padmakishori weds a rich and prosperous king with powerful army, Kailash’s Bikka son would not openly revolt against the chosen heir. It was the price the princess had to pay, to avoid blood feud. Rawwal wished he had any other options, but he had none. He had to get his daughter wedded to the King of Jodhgargh. That was the kingdom that would give him boost for trade, good support for army and most importantly, the King of Jodhgarh was marrying his daughter to gain an heir. His daughter would give birth to the future King of Jodhgargh and Garvpundir. Rawwal wanted the King of Jodhgargh as his son in law at any cost. He had made arrangements. All the contests in the Swaymvar were planned in such a way that King of Jodhgargh, Uday Sangha would win.

Chapter 2: Preparation


 

Bereft of the dream that she had built for last two spell of summer, Padma spent the entire night trying to listen to the silent lament of the Grosbeak and Thrush. They were silent like her heart, devoid of any will to live. Wrapping the warmest fur around her bare skin, Padma stood at the window, looking towards the far horizon. Dawn would break soon. There was just enough light to mark out the outline of majestic mountains covered in snow, standing tall and proud from eternity to eternity. Padma stood there watching the morning eat away the last trace of the night. If only morning could erase the pains of previous night, world would be a much happier place. Life cannot be a slate that could be wiped clean without any marks lingering in some corner. She pulled her fur closer to her body. The morning had brought chill wind from North. Her burning hot body was shivering. Her ears were hot, eyes puffy, smeared with melting kohl, and her hair disheveled. Her inquietude mind and angry heart was revolting against her sealed fate.

Padma no longer knew what she wanted. All she needed was few moments when her mind would be silent. Her ears caught giggling in the corridors. It seemed every soul in the palace was happy at her distress. Was there no one in the kingdom who would rise to safeguard her rights? When the King, her father had cruelly snatched away her rights, who would she turn to? She moved around the palace like a figurine in trance.

Pundits had consulted their horoscope and had arrived on the most auspicious day to mark the beginning of the ceremonies that would ensure Garvpundir a worthy heir from Padma. The day was eight cycles of moon away. Messengers were sent on the fastest horses available in the kingdom. The royal household of Garvpundir was taking no chances. There were arrangements everywhere. Padma was needed everywhere. Like a resolve-less rag doll, she complied.

Padma summoned by the King to model for painters. The Swaymvar hall had to be adored with a beautiful painting of the princess which would be unveiled on the Welcome Day. The contest would begin after three days from the Welcome Day. Most of the princes and Kings would be travelling for days to reach Garvpundir. They would need some rest to give their best. For three days, the participating prince and kings would be provided with anything they would require to rest and relax to remove the tiredness after a tedious journey. Traditions dictate that, the princess would not meet any of the suitors till the contest is over. Padma’s parent thought it was a blessing. They could not risk Padma eloping with any charming prince of a lesser kingdom. They were ensuring the outcome of the Swaymvar. Padma could change the outcome if she lost her heart to any prince. She was to be kept away from the young and good looking suitors at all cost.

The guests would need to be given few incentives to win the contest. That would increase the social and political standing of Garvpundir. A painting of Padma would be an inventive enough. The painting had to be such that each and every king and prince present would lose their heart to her. For the next few days, the suitors would be incapable of thinking about anybody else, except Padma. The painting should ensure that the princess and kings would not and should not rest till they win the contest to be the one on her nuptial bed. Some two hundred painters from far and near arrived for the job. Padma had to sit as a model for a group of five for first round. Only one of the painters who could paint the soulful beauty of Padma would be given the job of painting a larger than life portrait of the princess.

A set of physician were also examining princess Padma every day. Every day, they would make her drink some black, some green and some orange portions. Some of them were viscous and others diluted, few tasted bland like saliva while others were as bitter as poison. Princess endured it all. Garvpundir was making sure that on the day of Swaymvar and the nigh of bedding, the Princess would be in perfect health and beauty to bear a son. Padma was supposed to steal the heart of her king on the same night, their night of their conjugal life. She had to make sure that the king would be her slave once and forever.

Beautician from distant lands like China and the united empire of Claudius came to Garvpundir to offer their service. It was the first time a Swaymvar of such magnitude was taking place in a remote kingdom in the mountains which called for the valor of princes and kings. None of the kingdoms wanted to lose the opportunity to humble not so friendly and friendly kingdoms in a peaceful manner. Any kingdom refusing to participate would look weak willed. It was a strategy that worked. In no time, Garvpundir was on every body’s tongue. Its importance soared. Nobody wanted to miss out the event of the decade if not the century. 

Princess Padmakishori’s days were occupied by painter, physician, beauticians, and last but not the least, religious experts. Religious expert from the kingdom would counsel her on sanctity and the importance of marriage, the place of husband as per the scripture, her duties and what was expected of her.

At night the royal courtesans and concubines would visit Padma’s chamber to train her, the still withheld art of allurement and seduction. The windows would be covered by heavy draperies, and fire would be lit in the fire bowls around the bed to provide warmth in the room. The room would be filled with the incense and orchids of all colors and then, the ladies of the night would begin their work. Thankfully, this training was not as strenuous as the other trainings that filled Padma’s days. One of them would be playing flute, others would be caressing her tired feet, playing with her hair, nape or face. The session both verbal and practical would go on for few hours before Padma would retire to bed.  

As days passed, the effects of the trainings were visible. Color returned to fair cheeks of Padma. Her pink lips were getting deeper shade of red. Her hair now felt softer and silkier. Every time she walked, her hips moved like a lazy serpentine rousing at sun down. Padma spoke seldom now, and when she did, silvery smoky voice would tantalize the listener. Days of training was transforming her from a girl of sixteen summers to a woman waiting to take a lover to her bed.

Only two cycles of moon remained before the Swaymvar would start. Gifts and messenger from the kingdoms invited began trickling in. Most of the kings and princess had sent their portraits and gifts for the princess. All of the gifts were arranged in private promenade, south of Padma’s bed chamber with portraits of the prospective groom and the kingdom’s name. A faint smile crossed her lips as Padma walked through the hall. Some of the gifts were really pretty and some of the princes were so handsome. If only she could choose her husband!

Cold despair gripped Padma’s heart. She did not hear her mother walking in. Attendants were dismissed. Queen Jaiwanti Devi had to share something with her daughter. Padma was already treated as a guest who was in the kingdom for few more days. Once the Swaymvar is over, Padma would go to her new home forever. If everything went as planned, Jaiwanti’s daughter would be the Queen of Jodhgargh. A runner had announced the King Uday Sangha would be arriving in the capital before the day ends. It was the time for a mother to talk her daughter about her future.  

Jaiwanti took her to portrait of an elderly man who would have seen not less than three scores of summers. It was sent from Jodhgargh with seven set of minakari[9] gold jewelry, six set of diamond bracelet, five pots of precious stones, four silk veils and a pot of silver coins.  Silver coins were to be distributed to poor by princess Padma to remove any ill effect of jealous eyes. Jaiwanti had confided the arrangement that would favor King Uday Sangha to win the Swaymvar. Still, she cautioned Padma that there may be an element of surprise that fate had hidden in the folds. Jaiwanti wanted her daughter to be prepared for any eventuality. If any prince or king managed to win a contest that was unfair to him, it meant only one thing. The fate favored him. It would be a foolish to choose anybody else over a fortunate groom and disregard signs of gods.

Jaiwanti took Padma to the veiled rock balcony to witness the arrival of King Uday. King Uday would be the first king to arrive for Swaymvar. He had received a personal note from the King Bikka inviting him for bilateral trade negotiations and a hunting trip to Himalayas prior to the Swaymvar.

The marriage cortege of King Uday Sangha was impressive. The King had to leave behind his elephants in foot of the mountains. The King Uday was in the middle of horse cavalry. The King Rawwal Bikka was at the entrance with his ministers to welcome the King. The horse riders moved, giving way for the King Uday. Uday dismounted. A drop of tear rolled down Padma’s cheek. He was a tall man who had seen more than sixty summers. However, his girth which was more than half of his height made him look rather shorter than average man. He was not dressed for the mountains. He was definitely cold, but he bravely bore it all with a smile. With a lighthearted laughter he lumbered his way to King Rawwal and embraced him. A sob caught in Padma’s throat. To an eye of a casual onlooker, it would appear, an affectionate son embracing his old father on his return after a long journey. 

Padma could no longer bear the sight of her foretold misery. She ran to her chamber. Jaiwanti did not follow her daughter. Padma needed some lonely time to accept her fate.

Section of the palace housing Padma’s chamber was made inaccessible to the guests and visiting dignitaries. Padma too was to remain confined in her section. It was not appropriate for any of the prospective grooms to look at Padma before winning the contest. Most of the attendants and handmaids were assigned to duties of visiting dignitaries. Padma’s section now had lesser number of attendants and handmaid. 

Padma sent her attendants away. She tore down all the flower decoration in her chamber and then snatched away all the jewelry she wore. She pulled down the drapes to block the midday sun. Today, Padma hated the sight of bright and warm sun in a day when water was freezing. Her future was dark, bleak and melancholic. There was no Sun in her future. She was getting accustomed to the darkness that was filling up her existence.

The Sun was about to cross the winter sky when one of the attendants brought the painter, Avikam whose painting of Padma was judged the best. In one cycle of the moon, he had to complete a larger than life size painting of Padma which would adore the Swaymvar hall. It was Padma’s first sitting. Padma had to pose for Avikam every day, starting from the next day. Today was the official introduction.  Very professionally and confidently, Avikam moved to the windows and removed all the draping. He lit few diya[10] and arranged it on the stand near the bed, rotated the huge bronze mirror to reflect the light of the diya to one of the cathedra, then stood in front of Padma, palm folded in posture of ‘Namaste’ and eye fixed on floor.

In a smooth husky voice, the artiste addressed Padma,

“I am told to replicate your beauty on to a canvas. It would be a blasphemy on my part if I claim that I can do that. Your beauty cannot be sketched. Please look around, the room is lighted by the diya I lit; still, it cannot be compared to the light of setting Sun. My painting is but light of diya, they may light up the room, but not the world. Your beauty is like the rays of the Sun; they light up the world. Men should not try recreating those handiworks of gods whose purpose is to fill men with inspiration to carve an offering from a part of their soul. Princess, you are handiwork of God, I am inspired to offer you my soul in form of the portrait that I am to paint.”

Padma was in a foul mood. Without a word, she asked the attendant and Avikam to leave. Tomorrow onwards, she would not be able to do it, when he would be beginning the painting. On introduction day, she was supposed to be introduced to the painter which she obliged. She needed to be left alone.

Next afternoon the artist was scheduled to arrive in Padma’s chamber after the midday meal. Every day, he would start painting from midday till evening. A cathedra was placed near the west window of the room. The rays of afternoon Sun would light up the room and fall strongly on right side of Padma’s face, creating a nice play of light and shadow. The canvas and paints were all set. Just after midday meal, a tanned man of average height dressed in white spotless dhoti[11] entered. His hair fell on his shoulder like thick waves. He had sharp eyes and hawkish nose with pencil thin lips. Greeting the princess, he stood behind the canvas, waiting for princess to settle in. It was his domain. He was radiating confidence.

Soon Padma could hear charcoal being rubbed on the canvas. Smooth sound of rubbing charcoal on wood at regular interval was lulling her to sleep. Padma’s eye felt heavy, she was drifting in and out of slumber land. When she opened her eyes, the artiste was holding the pillow to support her head during her forty winks. Abashed Padma adjusted her posture and asked,

“Thanks, did I nod off for long?”

Smiling, Avikam returned to his canvas, “Just for a moment”.

Padma looked out of the window. Sun had traveled a lot. The artiste was lying. It was a chivalrous act from most unexpected person. Sun was about to set. He was wrapping up for the day. His spotless white loincloth was smeared with charcoal. She walked to the canvas; there was a vague outline on it.

“How long would the portrait take?” Padma inquired

“I have to complete it soon, Princess. Tomorrow, you would be able to see the form and after couple of days, will add color to it. It will be ready before Swaymvar.”

Smile that was playing on Padma’s face disappeared.

All this for Swaymvar! A regal portrait of a pin and proper princess – Huh!

She dismissed all her attendants. There was a question that she wanted to ask the artiste, which should not fall into ears of the King or Queen or any member of the royal family.

“Is it true that Artiste can see the soul of the person they paint?”

“It may not be my place to speak, Princess. The answer may offend any blue blood. I should remain silent.”

“Speak without fear. I want to know.”

“Eye of an artist sees the Will of God. A person may be heedless of his or her true nature, but it rarely remains hidden from an artist’s eye. His hands would always find the same form that was used to shape him or her in Gods’ furnace. His eyes always look at the true form – the pristine mold underneath the visible persona.”

“Can you paint my underived cast?”

“Princess, would you call me in your new kingdom for the painting?”

“No, starting from tomorrow, you can paint my true form for few days and then resume your original work. Can you finish this royal façade in half of the time given to you? Do not worry you would be handsomely rewarded.”

“It would be my honor to paint your pristine mold. But Princess, it may so happen I would lose my head for it. I would face terrible retribution if Princess finds it offending.”

“I give you my word upon my honor. May the Sun God be the witness; you would not be punished for your work. Feel free to paint my underived cast without any hesitation.”

“I trust my Princess. Surely, Princess cannot stop so many princes and her family, should they take an offense. If they take it as assault on their honor, I would be subjected to mortification and severe chastisement.”

“We would have complete privacy. Nobody, but I would know that you would paint two portraits instead of one and my trusted handmaids.”

“I am honored Princess. However, I have one condition. You would not gaze upon the painting of your true form until it is completed.”

“Agreed.”

The next afternoon, all of the attendants were dismissed till Sun down. Two of her most trusted handmaids were stationed in front of the door, watchful of any intruder. Avikam started on his master piece. He would keep on smiling as his brush stroked the canvas. It would kindle Padma’s inquisitiveness, but Avikam was unyielding. He would not let the princess have a glance. The dreary session slowly became interesting. Avikam replied to usual questions of the Princess with wits and real life incidents from far-flung lands. Avikam had traveled to lands across the mountains and sea. He has seen strange lands and stranger customs. Padma’s eyes were open in bewilderment. Padma’s life was confined to the palace, save occasional trips to temples through the forest and mountains. She listened to the tales with curiosity of a child.

The days passed, on the fourth day, Avikam had completed his clandestine assignment. The true form of Padma was covered by white softest translucent silk. Padma was standing in front of her true form which would be unveiled in couple of moments. Avikam stepped beside the true form and said, “Princess Padma, meet your true form – Anala Madhavilata, a Fiery Flowering Creeper.”

Padma froze in preconception. Something told her that she was stepping into a precarious terrain. Artiste’s eyes were fixed on her. He had one hand on one end of the silk, ready to pull it. He was taking his time, savoring each moment of her held breath.

The silk started moving. Padma apperceived it moving on her bare silhouette. Inch by inch, the silk moved, Padma could see Anala’s drowsy eyes and tousled hair. Silk slid down further, Anala’s neck was arched, and face lifted upward, moist lips halfway open, laden with thirst. She was leaning on a stone pillar. Silk dropped a little more. The string that held the garland of white Madan Mogra[12], was broken in couple of places. Buds looked ashen - tired, and some blossomed florets were crushed. Sun fell on bare shoulder of Anala; Padma could feel its heat.

Avikam with his eyes peeled on Padma, pulled the cloth in hand. The silk slithered, exposing Anala’s voluptuous breast. A translucent white piece of cloth was covering just a meager portion of flesh; above and below her haughty nipples. Padma’s cheek turned red, seeing the tussore wet with sweat. A knot was hastily tied on the cleavage. Moist cloth could hardly conceal Anala’s sybaritic teats. Her garland disappeared just below the knot. Padma could feel her fragrance of the crushed flowers radiating from her. Avikam’s fixed eyes and Anala’s fleshly life were drifting in front of her eyes.

The white silk glissaded little more. Anala’s bare flat stomach and deep naval could be Padma’s. Her fair skin was glistening with drops of sweat. Padma was breathing hard; she could feel Anala rising in her. Avikam’s eyes were educing Anala in her. As he kept on unclothing the figurine, Padma felt being disrobed. His eyes were stripping her at a leisurely pace. The cloth had slipped inches below her naval. Anala’s waist was bare, and so was the half of her hips. Her senses told her to stop this madness, but there was a relief in this nism. Padma’s lips were trembling. Avikam pulled away the silk and threw it on ground. Anala’s full form was now exposed. One of her legs was pulled up and was resting on the pillar another seeking comfort of soft lush verdure.

A rectangular translucent white cloth was tied with a knot on left hip. Anala’s left leg was almost uncovered save the knot. There wayward air was pushing the moist fabric in the faint cleft line. Anala’s pubic mound was swollen with excitement of her salacious encounter, few moments earlier. Anala’s exhaustion was propelling Padma to a wanton behavior. Padma tried to avert her eyes from Anala’s swollen labia, but her gaze was fixed at the faint wetness. Avikam kept gaping at Padma, there was a fire in his eyes. His eyes were skimming Padma’s jewelry, her fur and the yards of silk that covered her. Padma’s ears and cheeks were blazing. Her breath was fast, heart pumping as never before. She was burning hot, she felt like throwing away the fur. Drop of sweat was trickling down her back. However, she was not sure, if what was trickling her thighs was sweat. It seemed thicker than it and definitely sweater. A sultry voice of Alana’s voice was replying to Padma’s confusion.

Let him have his moment. Don’t stop his gaze. After all, has he not seen you the way you are? There is nothing that you can hide by draping in cloth. He has felt you, when he touched me. I have felt his finger touching every inch of my body as they created it. I know the surging passions; let yourself loose, in it is fire. Feel the magic of his gaze. Feel it, feel it touching your skin, stripping you, kissing every bit of it with fervent libidinous.

Padma was not aware of anything that happened. Avikam had veiled Anala before moving to the portrait he was assigned to paint. Both Padma and he resumed their work. Padma sat through the evening vaguely aware of the approaching cinereal evening. Her mind was meandering in obscured nameless lanes of unexplored arousal. Being deprived of her only reverie, her mind was pushing her to vagaries. When Avikam sought permission to leave for the day, she called for a tote bag. With a faint smile - silently, she handed the bag full of gold coins to Avikam like person in a deep dream.

It must have been the first phase of the night, when Padmakishori’s handmaid, Kavita knocked at the inn room where Avikam was staying. Princess had expressed the desire to meet the painter. Avikam, if surprised at being summoned at such an odd time, did not show it. Kavita led him towards the forest. Quietly, they walked through frore night. After covering half way, she blind folded him. It was necessary for security reasons. Kavita was taking Avikam to meet Padma through a secret passage. The palace had innumerable such secret passage opening in different locations. Under the ground, these secret passages formed a labyrinth. That was second level of security. Only the members of royal family, and a few trusted maids, slaves and servants knew the path out of the maze. If by any chance, any enemy enters the passage, he would starve himself to death.

Kavita was seven summers older to Padma. She had been assigned to Padma’s service since Padma was only two. Kavita was Padma’s closest handmaid, and also a confidante. Kavita knew that a whisper of Avikam’s visit to Princess Chamber at the night would invite either an execution or a war. She was very careful in planning. The innermost gate was always attended by Princesses’ handmaids in peace time. All the regular guards and maids were assigned in first and second gate. These guards and maids assigned in the second and first gate were unaware of this visit. They were given strict orders not to let anybody enter. The princess wanted a night of undisturbed sleep to sooth her headache.

Padma and her four closest aides knew the guards in first and second gate would not be able to stop any member of royal family from entering. Any of such visits should be known from the first gate to avoid any surprises. Priyanka, who was the fastest runner would be loitering near the first gate and run back to Padma at the sign of any unwanted visitor. Smriti would be near the second gate and the talkative Mani would stall the visitor with sweet formalities and Kavita would sneak in and hide Padma’s special guest in the secret passage, spruce up Padma and her chamber before any royal family member enters.

Chapter 3: The True Form


 

Kavita entered Padma’s chamber with Avikam through the secret passage. After few moments, Padma stood on her toes to take off Avikam’s blind fold. Avikam could smell fresh bathed skin of Padma. Blinking, he looked around. He did a fine job of not letting his expression appear on his face. Padma stood in front of Avikam. She had transformed herself to Anala. A garland of Madan Mogra and a white silken cloth barely cover her arrogant nipples and areolas. The silk had hard time covering her slick moist triangle. Her curly public hair was desperately trying to escape. His thought was, if he could catch a whiff of air that had touched those curly hairs.

Avikam held his breath. He was seeing his Anala transformed into a breathing person. There was only one difference, Anala’s face was radiating with satisfying tiredness while Padma’s was emanating ravenous ache to be fulfilled. She was a simulacrum of Rati[13]. Avikam wanted to wipe out the differences. Still, he kept quiet. Even in the moment of tempestuous fervor, he remembered that, it was not his place to make a first move. He was just a painter, a nomad moving from one city to another in search for inspiration, while she was a Princess with thousands of heads ready to be cut down for her or bow down to her wishes. Avikam was waiting, withheld breath for time when he would change Padma to Anala.

Padma sat on the settee and called Avikam. In a soft voice, barely above a whisper, she said,

“Avikam, I told you I would reward you. I did in the afternoon. Princess did pay her dues, but Padma did not. You did see me for what I am. Your Anala is me. And Anala did enkindle such covetousness that I have scrubbed off all the traces of modesty. Would you breathe Anala in me tonight?”

Avikam knew he had just this night with Padma. He sat beside Padma. Padma kept his hand on her fluttering heart. She closed her eyes in anticipation. Cupping her face, Avikam kissed those closed eyes gently. Padma opened them slowly to see him looking passionately at her quivering lips. Avikam slowly took them in his. His tongue glossed her lips, parted them just a little bit to tickle her teeth before pulling back to look at her. She looked bewitching. Avikam lifted her in his arms and laid her on the settee on her back.

In a perfect manner of a nobleman, he sought her permission,

“May I, Princess?”

“Yes, Avikam, yes, tonight, show me what indulgence and craving is all about. Show me all that you did with Anala before you froze her on the canvas.”

Avikam knelt at the foot of the settee, took her left feet, and massages them. Every bit of Padma’s body was stiff with eagerness; it had to be loosened first. When Avikam’s lips touched them, she shuddered with prurience. He took the thumb in his mouth and began nibbling it. He left it as a sigh escaped from Padma’s lips. His lips started kissing her ankles, and slowly he was traversing upward. Avikam’s lips were kissing every bit of the fair skin of Padma. His lips were getting confused; was it her skin or silk. The more his lips brushed against hers, the more the desire enflamed. Padma wanted him to linger there and yet, the unkissed parts beckoned him. Every bit of her body wanted him to touch it and kiss it. Avikam moved up from ankle to shanks and from shanks to knees. He pulled up her legs, kissing the back of her knees. Padma clutched the soft cushion of the settee.

Avikam was wandering over her thighs. The more he had her, the more the intense burnt his animalism. His appropinquity with Padma was driving him to the edge of sweet insanity. Sounds of her breath, her occasional suppress murmurs, and the scent of her skin were imploring him to take her as his for the night. Avikam wanted it to be the night that she would always moisten her hidden lips. A befitting tribute to a princess who was offering him her untouched bud to flower.

Avikam stopped at the edge of the cloth. He did not touch it. He just moved to her upper edge of the tussore. He was four fingers below her deep naval. His kisses were deep. Her belly had drops of sweat on cold night. Avidity was burning Padma from within. Avikam’s lip had covered her flat belly till the base of her heaving bosom with his kisses and was now playing with her naval. He was sucking the deep pit and licking up its boundary. A deep moan vibrated through Padma’s body. Its vagrant visitor was moving towards her nape. Burying his lips deep in her nape, Avikam marked her fair skin as his. The boundary between pain and pleasure was disappearing fast. Padma’s body was wiggling under him as he continued his deep kisses on her nape.

Padma was all wet. Scanty clothes that were covering her were turning pale. Avikam took a moment and removed his loose full sleeve vest. His tanned body was on Padma’s. His skin was rubbing against hers. Avikam looked deep in her eyes and locked his lips in her. He sucked it deep, playing it with his tongue. The bodies were now in play. Her hands found his back, his hands roving all over her, their legs entangled in each other, the bodies writhing is pleasure.

The night was slipping away. Avikam had not yet explored Padma. There was so much to be done to let Padma slip away and guide Anala to emerge. He could hardly wait. He took Padma to the cathedra. Since many days ago, he had seen her sitting there in flamboyant layers of clothes. Tonight, on the same cathedra, he would remove the two pieces of clothing that covered her. This night was his, when he would see Padma as Anala, as she was made. Avikam paid his laudation to her cleavage, before his deft fingers opened the knot. Padma had acquired the color of setting sun. Avikam’s eyes were fixed on her and he slowly freed her imperious breasts from their captivity. Padma was almost nude in front of this stranger. She blushed at the thought and her eyes closed. Avikam was cupping her breast and kneading them; taking Padma closer to Anala. Her body was burning with insatiable hunger that wanted more with every moment that it got. Padma could not keep her eyes open. 

Padma felt Avikam’s hand, placing her left leg on the arm rest. She skipped a heartbeat in sweet anticipation. Her vagina was open to him. She was almost nude, with all her privates in his full view. She was shy for the first time; instinctively she buried her head to one side with a blushing smile. Avikam gently kissed her exposed cheek and before she could look at him, it was her lips that were hidden from the world. Her triangle was bulging, and lips drooling. He planted a deep kiss on her wet vagina, slimy with her salacious appetite.

A thrill ran up Padma’s spine. She was at the edge of unknown woods of pleasure. Deeper he kissed her inner labia, deeper she went. He had gone too deep with her. No longer could kisses satisfied him, his mouth sucked the little wet petals of lotus and was munching them. Avikam pulled her little towards him from her waist and his hands found refuge at her heaving bosom. Padma’s senses were delirious with elation. She was no longer able to distinguish if her breast was getting kneaded and crushed or her vagina was getting munched and smooched. He was taking her to new limits of corybantic exhilaration.

Padma’s moans went deeper and deeper. The whistle of night air was broken by her ecstatic cry. Sleepy notes flute floated around. It was Mani. She had started playing some time ago to mask off the signs of Padma’s rapturous night.

The hypnotic tune that floated in Padma’s bed chamber inspirited the impassioned appetence. 

Padma trembled as she climaxed for the first time. Avikam guzzled it with satisfaction. Panting Padma lay stiff for few moments. Avikam lifted her in his arms and took her to her bed. Tiredness had not yet touched her. She wanted more. Avikam carried her to her bed. Standing near the foot of the bed, he looked at Padma. She looked like Anala, yet she was not Anala. Anala had the glow of satisfaction on her face; Padma still had a yearning on hers. He looked at her once again, as if to see if she would like to stop now. Padma looked deep into his eyes and nodded. She wanted to be Anala, she wanted to devour the forbidden fruit which she just started to have a taste of.

Straddling at her waist, Avikam’s deft finger opened the knot; getting rid of Padma’s last piece of cloth on her body. Then, he opened the knots of his loincloth. It slipped and lay discarded at his knees. A thirsty smile crossed her lips, Avikam’s shaft meant business. It was standing, proud and domineering. She was biting her lips, chewing them unmindfully. Avariciousness was flowing in her veins tonight.

In the dim light of the torches that burnt, Padma laid on the bed, as perfected by nature; flawless. Her outline on the soft dark bed was tempting him as she waited for him to take her. Avikam lifting Padma’s waist, slowly tried to enter her. Padma was dripping wet, but the path was yet unknown. Avikam would be the first one to open the gates of womanhood for Padma. Padma’s body arced with pain-pleasure as Avikam’s bellend touch the door. She gasped, Avikam slowly pushed a little more. A pleasing pain was ripping her burning vagina. Avikam’s tip was just in, it was searing her, and she wanted more, Padma wanted him in her completely. Every movement of Avikam was tearing her and she wanted more of it. Avikam supporting her waist, all of a sudden pushed in completely. A debaucherously scream escaped Padma’s lips. Avikam was still, letting Padma feel her first visitor. Avikam still inside her, pulled up Padma, supported her back with his left hand. The right hand found itself playing with her hair and his mouth was on her nipples. He was taking Padma deeper and deeper into the dark velvety depths of aphrodisia. Padma was susurrating with pleasure as he gently started quavering her. Padma had never felt this fire before. For the first time, she was sweating in the cold winter of the mountains. The satisfaction was consuming her and she was yearning for more. She was getting transformed from Padma to Anala. A drop of tear of fulfillment rolled from the corner of her eyes, two drops of sweat from Avikam’s brow as Avikam spilled his soul seed in her.

In arms of her creator, the tired Anala slipped into a dream free stupor. Avikam was awake the whole night watching her sleep. His masterpiece came to life, took him on an amorous journey for a night and now peacefully sleeping in his arms. The drums announced the last quarter of the night. Mani entered in tips and toes. Very gently she woke up the Princess. Sun would knock at the door in some time. It was time for Avikam to go. Padma had to be ready for the next day’s rituals that would mark the beginning of the arrangement for the Welcome Day. Welcome Day was just a day away. Contests for Swaymvar were three days after the Welcome Day.

Padma was in the room, flushed when Avikam came in to his assigned work of painting Padma for the suitors of Swaymvar. The memories of last night were fresh on her body and in her memory. Avikam greeted her with usual courtesy. He stood beside the Princess in pretext of evaluating the light and whispered,

“Princess, only few men can boast of living a night of their dreams. I am one of them. When the night slips by, it is good to wake up. I have not forgotten the beautiful dream that I felt, but truth is neither can I forget that, today, I need to complete my painting and will be on my way. I may not be able to every lay my eyes on you ever again. But, I am not sad. If I would be, it would be insulting my Anala. I would rather rejoice celebrating every moment of it.”

Padma, though a girl of only sixteen summers knew what her destiny had been chosen for her. It was not and never could be Avikam. Her encounter with Avikam was sexual not sentimental. She was sane enough not to build an impossible dream based on just one night of passion. She gave him a whole hearted understanding smile.   

[1]Suryavanshi - The term Suryavanshi refers to a person belonging to Solar dynasty of ancient India. The Suryavanshi clan is an ancient Kshatriya (warrior) clan of India.  They are said to be descent from the Sun (Surya). Their prime deity was Sun God.

[2]Chandravanshi - The term Chandravanshi refers to a person belonging to Lunar dynasty of ancient India. The Chandravanshi clan is also an ancient Kshatriya (warrior) clan of India.  They are said to be descent from the Moon (Chandra). Their prime deity was Moon God.

[3]Agnivanshi - The term Agnivanshi refers to a person belonging ancient Kshatriya (warrior) clan of India. Their prime deity was Fire God.

[4]Swaymvar – The right given to the princess in ancient India to choose her own husband from list of eligible suitors. The grooms are invited to attend this function where the bride chooses her groom from present eligible suitors.

[5] Of sixteen Summers   – Age was calculated by adding up how many times the person had witnessed the most important season

[6]Phase of the moon – Shape of illuminated portion of the moon. Calculation were done as per the change in shape 

[7]Chausar – A game like chess.  It is believed that both games were created around the 4th century. The board is made of wool or cloth. It is played on a board shaped like a symmetrical cross. A player's pieces move around the board based upon a throw of six or cowrie shells, with the number of shells resting with aperture upwards indicating the number of spaces to move. The game used 3 four sided dice.

[8]Shastraat – Religious debate

[9]Minakari – Ornaments of gold with gem setting and enamelling of color. Enameling is done with brilliant colors and designs which is done on the reverse of a jewelry piece, along with the gems setting on top. It is mostly preferred for occasions like weddings and festivals. 

[10]Diya – Small earthen oil lamp

[11]Dhoti - Loincloth or breechcloth. Generally white piece of rectangular cloth 5 ft. long and 2.5 ft. wide used to cover the lower frame of the body. Mostly men use it to. It is tied around the waist and falls till the ankle. Pleats are made in the middle tying the top ends in front like a belt and then tucking in the loose left and right ends behind.

[12]Madan Mogra – Arabian Jasmine, Jasminum sambac. It is native to a small region in the eastern Himalayas. It is a small shrub or vine growing up to 0.5 to 3 m (1.6 to 9.8 ft.) in height. It is cultivated in many places, for its attractive and sweet fragrance. In Indian Subcontinent, hair is decorated using garland of Jasmine.

[13]Rati - goddess of passion and lust

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  • K S Alok Ranjan on April 27, 2017, 6:09 a.m.

    This novel needs to hit the stand. Proud to be the first one to Pre-order

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