The Long-Standing Online Campaign, beginning in Germany, travelling through Italy and Greece to the Sea of Azov.
Ahmet raises his hands -- either in surrender or to show he intends to do her no harm. Perhaps both.He says nothing, waiting for the fear to go out of her eyes.
It does, but slowly.She tries to rise out of bed, to drop to the floor, but then the pain in her belly causes her to fall back again.
"Stop," Ahmet says, "no more of this..." he mimed her usual kow-tow from his seat, as he doesn't know the word for it."Sevim, I purchased you. I own you. And now... I set you free. You are no longer a prisoner nor a slave."
She is barely audible but manages to say, "I will never be free."
Ahmet quirks a brow. "But you are free. Free from your father, free from that dog the Kadi, free from the prison, and now free from me."
"Ahmet," she says softly. "How can I ever be free from you? When I never wanted to be?"
"I spent 10 years in prison," Ahmet says. "Some nights I dreamed of you, of us, together... and some nights I dreamed of killing you. Sevim, nearly two years ago I left this country swearing to never return. I journeyed west, into the infidel lands. I slew a giant crab and a Boroge; I spoke with a dragon and with a ghost; I fought in a war and journeyed through Jahannam, or something like it. And now you are not in my dreams. I release you, Sevim, from any debt you think you owe me. I am not the boy you betrayed. You are free."
"To do what? To languish and die?" She stops, and hides her face behind her hands. "When I laughed at you, I was so young. It was all a joke. I did not know how ... how everything would change. And when my father learned that we would meet - he kept me prisoner so that I couldn't warn you. Before I even knew what had happened, you had been sent away, and I ... I was arranged to be married to someone else."Ahmet can see her chin quivering. "I didn't know how it could happen. I didn't know what it meant to be a daughter ... and now you tell me I would be free. What would I do? Be a woman such as those in this village? I haven't even enough skill for that."
"You are still young and beautiful, Fatima. Your husband was killed honorably, in service to the Sultan... surely you can find a husband?" After three years in Acanthius' Hole? Ahmet realizes."Tell me what happened, Sevim," he says.
"No, no I won't do that," she mutters breathlessly.She takes a deep breath. "Leave me here. Leave me in this village. Then you'll be free, Ahmet. It's really your freedom that matters."
"I am free. And so are you. You can stay here if you want or anywhere."He pauses a beat, then asks quietly, "Why did you cut yourself yesterday?"
"I don't want to live," she says.
"Why, Sevim? I... did you want me to leave you there, to rot in that prison? To leave you at the mercy of Yacak?" He leans closer. "Sevim, what did they do to you?"
"Nothing," she says brusquely. "Do you think it is easier looking into your eyes? Knowing that you don't care anymore? What has the world done to you, Ahmet?"
Ahmet looks away. "The world has been easy," he says. "I've found good friends, brave and true. I rescued my cousin, Fatima, from kidnappers. I recovered the sword of Kemel Reis from the heathens. I sailed with..." his voice trails off. "...pirates. And yet I was still a prisoner... still the miserable, harsh man the prison had made me."Sevim, you know better than any what had been done to me... what I had done to others. I did unspeakable things to survive... and sometimes, simply because I wanted to. I was a cruel man. I've been a cruel man, to you, and to others. But now I see all this time I might as well have still been in that prison. Father Andrej, Mullah Yazigi, they tried to teach me, to convince me, that..." he hesitates, reaching for the right words. "I want to be free from that prison, Sevim. I'm not that prisoner any more. But I'm also not the boy who loved you."
"And I am not the girl you loved," she answers. For a moment she lays staring at the roof, catching her breath. Not looking at Ahmet she says, "I have no purpose at all, if it is not to give all of myself to you. I don't wish to be free. I don't wish to do anything except make your dinner or wash your feet or wait until you have a moment to glance at me. I want to be your slave ... or I want to be nothing. These are the only choices I can bear. So if you will go, if you must go, then go. Go with my good wishes, Ahmet. Go and be whatever you must be, and leave me here. Or take me with you and occasionally smile at me as I clean up the dung behind your horse."
Ahmet scowls. "I would never... I need no slave," he says flatly."But you should not remain here. The Kadi hates you, and I have no doubt if he finds you he would love to bring you back under his thumb. And your father... perhaps he will encounter trouble again, and consign you to pay the penalty in his place..."And even if those two pigs never bother you again, everyone in this country knows what they do to women in..." his voice trails off. There is no chance for a decent husband for her in Anatolia."You always were a good cook, Sevim," he says, a small smile creeping onto his rugged face.
"Whatever you will," she says, exhausted. She closes her eyes, and her breathing becomes even.
(OOC: Ahh, glad to see you two kids working things out.)
(OOC: Is "whatever you will" going to become the "as you wish" for her?)
(OOC: and should we start calling Ahmet Buttercup?)
(OOC: Sounds like he found another Dread Pirate.)
Ahmet waits until he is sure she is sleeping, and then he leaves the vardo. If he spies Mistassa outside, he tells her to return to her mistress.Then he rejoins his comrades.
She does fall asleep, so we can close the thread.
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