The City Of Ramkimbul
The caravan began to slow down second by second and it felt like all my senses were continuously being mixed up in a way that I couldn’t tell one from the other anymore. I wasn’t even nervous anymore. I was fundamentally terrified and there was no way out. I grabbed the hem of my shimmering teal blue dress in a tight fist as I gazed out of the shining window of the majestic royal caravan. “Oh God.” I whispered out to the thin air as the caravan just continued to slow down and near the place where my doom had originated from. I felt a small, smooth and sweaty palm placed on my fist. “Don’t worry, Sister.” Layla said as she sniffed behind her thin muslin face scarf, “Father trusts in you. If he didn’t he wouldn’t have…” her voice rised to a high pitch as she began to express the beginnings of a wail but Rasliya glared at her with eyes so black and blank that they looked like coal from under thick and bushy eyebrows which were so white that they looked like snow and told her to save all mournings for later. For tomorrow, you mean. I thought as the Great Gates of Rakimbul parted in front of the caravan as it continued to advance with it’s tantalisingly traumatising pace. I could hear the wheels rolling over the earth one moment and then there was no sound of the wheels moving. We were on the path covered by the smoothest and most exquisite concrete linings found in the continent. There had been barely any people in the lands which we had previously travelled and now that we had passed through the Great Gates which had already begun to close, the surroundings seemed fairly saturated with people. It almost seemed like the outskirts of the castle were a city in its own. There were people dressed as peasents and there were people dressed as lords and mistresses. There were vendors and street exhibitioners. There were spices and flowers I couldn’t name and there were even beasts of almost every kind. Those were the people whose daughters, sisters, nieces and granddaughters had been murdered. They had willingly traded young beautiful maidens for a better life. The people began to stop at their tracks as they began to notice the caravan advancing towards the castle. They put their heads together and whispered with their hands over their mouths. Some threw wry grins at me while others looked at me with glossy eyes. I hoped they knew that none of that would matter to the Sultan. Neither their disgust nor their pity. Neither their hatred nor their love. I was the Sultan’s now. His to marry. His to be. His to love. His to hate. And his to kill. And no matter how much I loathed that concept, I was pretty sure that my loath wouldn’t matter to the Sultan either. I caught glimpse of the faintest shadow of a dark outline somewhere far east of the robust city bustling with golds and slave markets. “Zil Khial.” Layla whispered and when I turned to look at her I saw her staring wide eyed at the silhouette of the Cursed Castle. “I would suggest that you girls do not look in that direction.” Rasliya shouted and both of us stared down at our feets. “Goodness gracious.” I heard Layla mutter under her breathe. “The tales were true after all!” And just then, the caravan stopped.