Saturday, May 24, 2008

Music of our Love - Part 1

Author's Note:

The story of Suleyman and Roxelana is one of the great love stories of all time. Suleyman, the most powerful man of his era could have had his choice of women. In fact - this is exactly what he had when he just a young prince -- but as a man, he chose only one woman ... and stayed in love with her his whole life.

This is story tells of how Roxelana and Suleyman met. I am posting it in two parts. I hope you enjoy it.

By the way -- the art is mine.


Istanbul. The Sublime Port: November 6, The Year Of Our Lord 1507

The Palace of Topkapi

“Allaa-hu Akbar. Allaa-hu Akbar. La illah ha illah lah, illa lah Allaaah.”

The sonorous voice of the Muezzin, chanting the Bismillah, from the Qura’n, atop the minaret of the Blue Mosque, rang out calling the people to prayer.

God is great. God is great. In the name of God, the Merciful and the Compassionate.

Prince Suleyman was up long before he heard the Muezzin’s chants. He had experienced a fitful night. He always endured these nights on the eve of his birthday. Something about the anticipation excited him. His mother never failed to surprise him with the most unusual gifts.

Mamushka does not consider the price of anyone or anything to be of primary importance, she concentrates on the value of an individual or a book. In addition, I have never known my mother to stress anything more strongly than service to my people. She must know something I don’t. I am just 7th in line for the Sultanate.

His teachers: the Kurd Kemal, the Arab Malik, and the Sufi Karash, always reminded him, especially on his birthday, that he was born under a unique confluence of planets and stars. Even his father’s Persian astrologers had observed it.

“Which may explain why, my father, the Sultan, sometimes called by our people as Selim the Cruel, has singled me out for preferential treatment.” He pondered on that. The Sultan always places me in the thick of battle. Could he be testing me? Kismet? Or both? I could do with a little less of that sort of preferential treatment.

On the other hand, five of his half brothers had died, in battle a few days apart from each other, suddenly placing him in the 7th slot. His mother and her entourage of elders kept a meticulous count of the deaths and illnesses of his brothers.

No, I do not want to have such thoughts before going to the mosque to pray. I find the chanting and the singing of the Qura’n absolutely sublime. It gives me a thrill to hear such music.

I must remember to inform the new Purser of Topkapi Palace who is probably unfamiliar with my customs, that my allowance in gold and silver coins will be doubled today on the occasion of my birthday. As always, that is to be given as zikat (alms) for those in need.

Suleyman was gifted and talented. He was skilled in the martial arts. Thanks to his mother’s scouring the world for the best teachers and preceptors, he was cultured, and possessed a penetrating intelligence.

He spoke Arabic fluently and practiced calligraphy every day. He was well versed in Persian, because his mother had convinced him it was of prime importance to study the ancient texts of the Zend Avesta, but also those of the Shah Nameh.

He found the juridical aspects of Islam fascinating. His Arab teachers of Philosophy considered his grasp of abstract thought astounding in one so young.

Mathematics and Algebra attracted him greatly.

He had learned the Torah in Aramaic and in Hebrew, from Mordechai, his Judean teacher. Aramaic was the language spoken by the people during the time of Jesus. It was similar to classical Arabic.

Suleyman found it difficult to resist reading the New Testament. Brother Dominic, a Franciscan friar who followed the precepts of Saint Francis of Assisi, intrigued him. He wore leather sandals, regardless of the weather and a coarse brown cassock encircled at the waist by long prayer beads, called a rosary.

Tall, close to one meter and 82 centimeters, well muscled but slim, blonde … endowed with his mother’s intense cerulean gaze, her fair skin and flawless teeth … Suleyman was what everyone would call handsome. All the girls in his harem were under his spell. He was also overflowing with a ferocious sexual appetite.

“Perfectly normal for a young man who was expected to lead vast armies on the fields of battle and the fair sex in bed. Lately, he had begun making acute observations regarding polygamy.

I am not certain that it is in the best interests of a family and of a nation. The Prophet, may God bless him, seems not to have taken his own advice to the rest of us. He may have been guided more by political expediency rather than the call of his loins.

“It is preferable to have only one wife, but if necessary one should not have more than four legal wives.”

His teachers could only listen dumbstruck as he continued. “I have my favorites. I can’t help it. So did our Prophet. Am I right in presuming that Aisha was his favorite wife?” As they persisted in their silence, he pressed them further.

“The girls are, each in their own way very beautiful. Ebony-haired, golden-haired, flaxen, auburn, red, dark, brown, shapely, curvaceous, slim, heavy … it’s like eating baklava. (A pastry made of almond paste, almonds and honey in paper-thin layers of baked dough). “But” …. he stopped to look directly into the eyes of his teacher Malik, “outside of coupling like a tiger in heat, all night long, I find their arts of seduction very tempting, but only for a short time. Please don’t think I’m being unkind or loutish, the girls are artists in arousing me, and stimulating my sword of flesh so that it stands erect for hours, until we almost die from the pleasure. But, after the coupling, they won’t or can’t or don’t know how to talk to me. None of them can sing or play a musical instrument, nor play shahmat (chess). After I bed them, I study them, I find that some are silly, others are stupid and the rest are too much in awe of me to be my true friends.”

The Imam Malik listened and understood. The young Prince needed a friendship with a girl he did not bed. Someone he could talk to, play and sing with. An individual who was not afraid of him and thus would tell him things he did not like to hear.

Princess Mother Hafsa was delighted with the news. She was not at all happy about the presence of too many girls in her son’s harem. Aaay! It was dangerous. It bred intrigues, machinations and ultimately conspiracies. Polygamy rendered the spread of incurable and fiendish diseases of Venere, transmitted by fornicating, fellating and sodomizing. Most of all, it had been her experience that waiting long weeks, days, even hours for their Prince to pick the one fortunate girl he would spend the night with was dangerous, Bored young girls, whose sole purpose in life was to serve as playthings and to breed sons for the Prince, turned into scheming and malevolent creatures. She knew some of the girls in the harem smoked opium and hashish incessantly. The eunuchs participated in lesbian orgies with the girls. They also drank copious amounts of wine. This was all “haram” forbidden by Islam.


“These customs and systems are corrupt. They will not work as time goes by,” the Imam Malik confided to the Princess Hafsa.

At the moment, Hafsa was concerned about Suleyman’s infatuation with an Indian girl, Rose of Spring who was nearly eighteen years old. She was as ravishing as she was unintelligent and malicious, but she was a sorceress in the art of lust and in spite of himself Suleyman yielded to her. There was no doubt that she was his favorite, among his 120 girls in the harem.

“In two years at the most Rose of Spring will give birth to a son,” said Imam Malik gazing sadly into the Princess Mother’s eyes.

“That is going to change drastically and soon. My line of action calls for stealth and careful plotting,” she promised the Imam.


Today was Suleyman"s 15th birthday.

“I am going to take a cavalcade of 50 horsemen, clad entirely in white to the Mosque of Mehmet the Conqueror, my great grandfather.”

As a warrior he had taken Constantinople from the decadent and corrupt Christian rulers – the Paleologos in 1453, sixty-two years ago,

“Are you pleased with your father’s gift,” asked Ibrahim, a bright and studious young Greek, a year older than Suleyman. Ibrahim was his best and dearest friend. He was referring to a magnificent white Arab stallion, Jamil, which Sultan Selim had given his son for his natal day.

“I am more than pleased.” He smiled his dimpled smile at Ibrahim, who was, technically a slave. “I am beside myself with joy. My father sent along 50 of the best Arabian horses, along with 48 Serbo–Croat, Albanian and Mongol horsemen.”

Ibrahim was puzzled. Suleyman bent over with laughter. “Silly, the other Arabian horse is for you, my best fried.”

“Thank you, my Prince. You are kind to think of others on your birthday,” replied a happy Ibrahim.

“Now we must get ready for our ride through the streets of Istanbul, on our way to the Mosque. I have ordered the grooms to pad all 50 of the horse’s hooves. My horse will be caparisoned in ivory and gold; another gift from the Sultan, but his hooves will be padded, as well. We shall be riding at around five in the morning on Friday, our day of rest and prayer. I want to pay my respects to our people. I intend to set an example that Friday, our day of rest, should be spent quietly, with one’s family, not raucously and wildly in a bazaar as some of my half-brothers do,”


Rose of Spring shivered in the warm pool. Suleyman had come up with the idea because he savored bathing and coupling with her in the blue tiled pool.

“It is for your exclusive use when I am not here,” he said.

“My Prince, may I dare to ask your permission to invite a few of my friends to share in this bounty in your absence?”

One of her Albanian slaves Anya, a statuesque girl was fondling her intimate butterfly folds while the Moroccan Nuba massaged her breasts and nipples ever so lightly. She was preoccupied, but decided to abandon herself to the thrill of their caresses.

“Today is my Beloved’s birthday. He will not come to me, he never does. I’m sure his mother and the elders will keep him busy with affairs of state. I might as well have my fill of pleasure.”

"Anya, I want your magical tongue down there. It always reminds me of the little soft tendrils the priests used on me to drive me wild with ecstasy when I was a devadas in training in the Temple of Kali. It was done to teach me the power of yoni.”

Anya took a deep breath, lowered herself down towards the bottom and slowly lifted the chocolate colored buttocks of her mistress out of the water and placed them upon her shoulders. She begun licking them, keeping in mind the description used by Rose of Spring regarding the soft tendrils weaving in and out of her yoni.

Rose of Spring began to sigh softly. She ran her fingers through Nuba’s blue-black hair.

”Nuba suckle my nipples to prepare them for Suleyman’s visit tomorrow. He loves to suck my engorged and rosy nipples. Little does he know that I always come prepared, thanks to you my darling pleasure–givers.”

Hadji the Berber Eunuch tiptoed inside the three rooms used by Rose of Spring. He smiled and gloated inwardly.

“I know just where that little vixen is. All I have to do is follow the heavy scent of patchouli and rose and the trail of moans and gasps of erotic abandon.”

There she was with her usual slaves and playmates. Now it was time to bring her the one she craved the most, the oval faced and voluptuous Fawzia.

“Rose of Spring,” whispered Hadji kneeling as close to her as he dared without falling into the pool. She gazed at him "Ah, dear friend, you have brought me the most delicious yoni after mine.”

Fawzia was a perfectly formed midget. She looked like a child, although she was as old as Rose of Spring. She was all of four feet six inches. Rose of Spring indulged her every perversion because it also happened to be what she desired.

“My sexual doll,” she called her,

She was always scantily clad except when Suleyman came for his trysts with Rose of Spring, when she was kept out of sight. At the moment she was naked and she knew just what to do. She squatted on the edge of the pool and waited for Rose of Spring to execute her tantric movement, which only she could perform with ease. Anya ‘s pink tongue flickered back and forth over her swollen yoni. Nuba was now sucking hard at her nipples and massaging them with feathery strokes. Then the Sultan’s favorite bent backwards, and rested her head on the edge of the pool. Fawzia kept squatting, except that her clitoris was poised right above Rose of Spring’s tongue.

“My Goddess, I am yours, eat me for your delight,” said Fawzia.

Hadji dipped his fingertips in oil of roses. His huge hands made a comfortable seat for Fawzia. While Rose of Spring attempted to satiate herself with Fawzia his rose soaked fingertips run like spiders around her rectal and anal areas, taking care never to insert them.

“Fawzia had insisted on these caresses and the one who held the young Sultan in lust had granted them. Soon her tantric position will be difficult to maintain. Then she will ascend the steps of the pool and give herself to me. No one has the patience, the subtlety or knows the art of cunnilingus better than a eunuch. I am the best. I only do the best, in this case Rose of Spring.”

Fawzia would then take turns sexually frolicking with Anya and Nuba. “Anya’s yellow hair down there excites me. Nuba’s is so dark that I can always see her juices. Maybe if I continue to please my Goddess she will allow me to be penetrated. I am consumed by hunger for a hard stalk.”

But Rose of Spring did something unexpected. “Tell me first Hadji, I know you went for a stroll this morning to meet your cousin at the Princess Mother’s Palace. What then is the latest news?”

He caught the smell of the roses and the clitoral and vaginal juices on the Favorite’s mouth even as she addressed him. He did not betray his emotions by even a flicker of his eyelashes that he had been caught off guard and that her bodily fluids excited as well as unnerved him.

“Mysterious news comes from Princess Hafsa’s palace. She has acquired a thirteen year old Russian girl who can sing, dance, play musical instruments, compose odes and poems, and is supposed to be very gifted and talented,” he said.

All eunuchs had savoir vivre, Hadji possessed it in spades. Oftentimes the only way to break what could prove to be bad news was to say it in the most straightforward manner.

Rose of Spring’s bosom heaved in cold fury. “Where is she? I’ll see that someone gouges out her eyes, burns her hands and disfigures her face.”

“You’ll do no such thing. Keep in mind that your position is insecure to say the least,” he gazed into her eyes, which reminded him of burning coals. “She is not in the harem. She is staying with the Princess Mother. There are no plans to bring her to the harem. That’s what I heard from my cousin. For the time being the smart thing to do is to relax and consolidate your position.”

She stretched her naked spine like a feral creature and lay down in one graceful plop against the wet blue tiles and motioned for Hadji to approach her.

“You are right of course. This girl is only thirteen. What have I to fear? As soon as the probable Sultan - Suleyman turns 17, his son by me will be well on the way. Now let’s go back to our exciting games. My lips below are hungry for your tongue. Be good to me Hadji and you will be richly rewarded,” said Rose of Spring almost crushing his head as she squeezed her thighs together.


“I hate this place!” ranted thirteen-year-old Tatiana, trying not to sob. The taste of her tears deepened her longing for her city of Kiev, in Russia. She turned to her father, a Russian Orthodox Bishop.

”Oh, Papa. Why did you listen to the summons of the Metropolitan? Now, look at us, captured slaves by this savage Mujiks, this … these ill mannered and foul smelling Turks. What a bitter way to celebrate my 13th birthday. I’m not surprised it’s considered the unluckiest of numbers!”

“Hush Tatiana. I swore to obey the Head of our Church (Russian Orthodox). I knew the Turks were raiding the coasts and the steppes. That is true ... I postponed the trip as long as I could. It’s God’s will.” Her father, Bishop Dimitri, looked anguished.

“Listen to the sounds of hawking by that odious Greek slave master. I suppose we should thank God, we are waiting for our turn to be sold, inside someone’s small if clean house … rather than being paraded in the nude and examined like animals,” exclaimed Tatiana.

“You must indeed thank God. This is your most propitious day, although you may not think so,” declared a honey-toned woman’s voice in Russian.

Bishop Dimitri and Tatiana turned their heads in shock and surprise. They were sitting on immensely thick woolen cushions in every shade of red. Tatiana found their intricate flower and geometric designs fascinating. Bishop Dimitri rose to his feet a little unsteadily because he was not used to rising from the floor. Tatiana bounded up, almost smiling, at the sound of her mother tongue spoken with such command.

“I am Princess Hafsa, favorite concubine of Sultan Selim, and I am, like you, a Russian.”

Tatiana gasped but remained silent. She studied the Princess with very curious eyes. She was tall, dressed in a flowing yellow caftan, with crimson red hair, which flowed to her waist, and penetrating, gray blue eyes, which bore into you. She was covered by a pectoral of amber and gold. Her veil, which was carefully draped along one shoulder, glittered like the night sky, with thousands, or so it seemed to Tatiana, of minute amber and gold stones encrusted on them. She smelled of power.

Bishop Dimitri, never at a loss for words, replied in Russian. “It is as you say, my Lady Hafsa. Today, the 17th of November is a blessed day for us.”

Princess Hafsa smiled a secretive, knowing smile. “Indeed” she replied. “It is my son, Suleyman’s 15th birthday. I wish to give him something unusual and unique.“

She addressed Tatiana directly. ”Is it true that you are familiar with many musical instruments, compose and sing your own songs?” I want the truth with no exaggerations or you’ll be flayed alive,” implied her tone of voice, even if she did not suppress a chuckle.

There were five things Tatiana had learned at her father’s knee. One, she was musically gifted and had a lovely voice as well. Two, she was bright, which is why she was taught to speak, read and write in Russian, German. French and Latin. Three, she had an independent spirit and must never lose it. Four, she was incredibly beautiful. Fifth and last, she was a virgin in every sense of the word. She had not even been kissed. Oh she was aware of the physical and the erotic. She did not intend to give herself to anyone just yet.

“This is your dowry. In today’s humanistic, materialistic world, your qualities are worth more than gold coins," her father had told her.

I believe, respect and love my father. In these four things, he was not wrong. She reminded herself yet again.

In a strong, unwavering voice she replied. ”Yes. My Lady Hafsa, I am very,” she stressed the word very, “conversant with the lyre, the Psalter, the harp, the flute, and drums and drones of all kinds. I have been composing odes and hymns since I was 9 years old. I also sing and usually accompany myself on the musical instruments and enjoy singing a Capella.”

“In Russian, German, French and Latin,“ added Bishop Dimitri, just in case, the Lady Hafsa was not aware.

Princess Hafsa seemed pleased with their replies and smiled that radiant smile again. ”You and your father are to leave this house. I shall send two horses for you presently. My slaves will escort you to my private Villa which forms part of the Palace of the Harem. You will like it. It faces the Bosporus.”

“This can’t be happening to me,” sobbed a shocked Tatiana. She instinctively opened her mouth to protest.

Princess Hafsa anticipated her. ”You will not live in the harem. You will live with me. My villa Krasivaya is independent of the harem, although I have swift access to it. My word is Law inside the Prince’s harem as it is in my Villa.”

Bishop Dimitri waited for his own orders. They came. Princess Hafsa looked straight at him. “As for you, a most learned man who has proven to be a skillful educator, in turning out such an outstanding daughter, Sultan Selim and I have decided to give you the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius to run as you see fit. My son Suleyman concurs. We take pride in our religious tolerance, then again, you will see that for yourself.”

Tatiana felt the tears sting her eyes, but she made no sound. She had a premonition that she would not see her dear father for a long time. The Princess confirmed it. “For the time being, it’s best that there be no direct communication between the two of you, except through me, and my messengers. Your Excellency, I will keep you informed regularly of your daughter’s progress.”

Tatiana could no longer control her emotions, she began to weep.

“Ah! Don’t spoil those lovely golden, laughing eyes with useless tears,” said Princess Hafsa, adapting a softer approach. “Think! Dear One. He will be alive and in close proximity. I was not so lucky. My family were Boyars (Russian noblemen and warriors) my father and all my brothers fought the Turks to the death, before my very eyes. I was the sole survivor and ….” She left the rest unfinished.

“It will always be painful to remember,” whispered Bishop Dimitri.

They were allowed one last embrace. “Papa. I shall miss you,” she hiccupped in between her sobs.

“Daughter of my heart, trust no one, except the Princess Mother and her son. As I have taught you, so has she done with the Prince. Learn as much as you can. Be curious about everything in Life. Perfect the art of cleverness,” Bishop Dimitri had murmured in Latin, a language he was reasonably sure the Princess would not understand.”

A monk dressed in the Tertiary habit of Saint Francis of Assisi, a Catholic saint, had silently entered the small house. He cleared his throat and spoke in Latin, ”Your Excellency. I am Brother Dominic, your escort to your new Church.”

“But you’re … you’re,” Bishop Dimitri stammered and almost lost his balance in surprise.

“A Catholic cleric? True enough. We are very tolerant of one another’s beliefs here.”

There was that word again - tolerance. The Princess had also mentioned it. Brother Dominic went on. “Many Russians are in need of a religious man such as you, a Bishop no less. The Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius has been abandoned for at least 20 years since its Bishop died at the age of ninety.”

As he explained, he ably guided the Bishop out of the door. Just before stepping out into the cobble-stoned courtyard, which led to the street, he turned, bowed slightly towards Princess Hafsa and said, ”Good day, my Princess. Good day, my maiden.”

Bishop Dimitri could only repeat, “My respects and gratitude, Princess Hafsa.” He gave his daughter one fleeting, loving glance.

“Beloved daughter. Till we meet again.” 

An old Florentine aphorism came to mind, ”Buon viso a cattiva sorte.” Put on a good face on what looks like bad luck.

Princess Hafsa gazed at Tatiana, whose face was a fountain of tears. “Now. Now, Go and wash away the sadness from your face. Women cry enough in their lives. They do it from joy, rapture, jealousy, hate, love, and the never-ending loss of children and loved ones. Save them for those occasions.”

She placed an amber jeweled arm around her. “I must go. Lady Maryam will be along shortly with your horse and some new clothes. I am expecting you for luncheon in Villa Krasivaya. Look your very best. It will not be difficult, with those golden laughing eyes of yours.”

With that, she was out the door with nary a backward glance. Tatiana was hesitant. She had heard her father’s last thoughts. “Put on a good face.” Per Bacco! She was going to do just that.


  1. Buon giorno, Isabella,

    A lovely introduction to Tatiana and Princess Hafsa, as well as intriguing looks into the harem and life style of a 16th century multi-cultural environment. Excellent characters. Grazie!


  2. PS - Forgot to comment on your exquisite art. Beautiful.



Isabel Van Fechtmann

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