Sisterhood of Morgiana Series: “Saved By the Coffee”
Ahmad licked his lips. This was going to be the most amazing night of his life. The auburn-haired vixen, a “bindira,” was helplessly bound to the bedpole. Over her veil, her eyes danced playfully, as if approving being tied up. He grinned, eyeing her trim legs through the sheer fabric. This was going to be a night to remember.
He moved in, unable to take his eyes off her chest, thrust out before him. Above them was a high neck halter top that served as a bra, with a heart in the middle showing just enough of the dancer’s breasts to…
“Are you just going to stare at me all night?” she giggled coyly. “I’m quite helpless, you know.”
He moved toward her, reaching out…
In a flash, her hands whipped from behind her back, holding the sash he had bound her with. Before he could react, his wrists were bound in front to the same pole. She clapped her hands twice, as if she had done this all before.
“I shall shout out!” Ahmad raged. “The servants shall hear me and let me loose. And when they do….”
“I remember you telling them not to interrupt you for anything…no matter what they hear,” the bindira laughed. “And they’ll just assume we’re playing. Which…we are about to do.” She pulled a candle form the her bag, and slowly lit it.
“Wha-what do you want?” All the confidence was gone from Ahmad’s voice. She moved the candle closer to him.
“Your third wife…”
“Yes….the one with the black eye, broken nose…”
“She is so willful!”
“I’m ‘willful’ too.” She moved the candle closer to Ahmad’s chest hair. He yelled out in pain as several were singed.
“Ahh!!! Stop this!”
“Stop beating her, and I will.”
“Of course I will!”
She held it toward his beard. “No…noooo!!! What more do you want?”
“Swear it on this holy book.”
Ahmad froze. He wasn’t a faithful believer, as this night had proved. But he still viewed oaths and the faith with a great deal of superstition. He saw how the book made men sacrifice themselves. He didn’t want to take any chances, even if that meant putting up with Zambiasi’s mouth. He put out his hand for the book.
“I…I swear it!!!”
Vereen smiled as she exited the palace. Ahmad wouldn’t be able to summon help until the morning, thanks to the towel stuffed into his mouth. Her client, Zambiasi, would pay so much for Ahmad’s improved behavior. Gotta be able to afford these jewels, and a new pair of earrings, for future jobs for the sisterhood, she thought.
As she went up the stairs, she heard a stumble. Without even looking up, she shook her head. That would be Jumal, a fellow member of the sisterhood. A little more clumsy and a little less worldly. The woman with short black hair in a small bun at the top of her head wasn’t a bindira, or even a dalhila, just a regular saysei. But even serving drinks or food could help her hear important bits of information, or even provide knockout drops or poison.
“Vereen! How did it go?”
Though some of the others dalhilas in the sisterhood looked down on Jumal for her lesser place in society, Vereen liked the way she looked up to her. “She will not need makeup to hide those bruises from others again.”
The two entered. Only 12 were there this time, as others were out on missions. Morgiana was not there.. She was the leader of the Sisterhood. As her second-in-command, Faciane, heard reports from the others, Vereen thought about their famous leader. Morgiana herself had once been a saysei, working in the House of Ali Baba. But her quick mind had spotted attempts by thieves to mark her master’s door with chalk, so she had marked every other door in the neighborhood alike, foiling those two thieves. Then, when the leader of the thieves brought others hidden in jars, the brave saysei filled them all with oil, killing those who would do the same to Ali Baba. Finally, having been promoted to a dalhila, Morgiana stopped a final attempt upon Ali Baba’s life. As a dancer, she spun around until she could stab the leader of the thieves. A grateful Ali Baba married her off to his son.
But that was hardly the end of the story for Morgiana. While her husband attended to running his father’s store, she used part of the fortune left behind in the cave to organize the young women of the cities. They would find and punish wrongdoers, especially those who felt their religion was a license to harm women.
Having heard from the others, Faciane headed over to them. The older, wiser woman, once-accused of engaging in witchcraft was an imposing figure with her girth, and graying hair. “Where’s Morgiana?” Jumal began.
“She has not been seen for several days,” Faciane replied. “And that has me worried. She checks with me every day to see how all of you are doing.”
“When was she last heard from?” Vereen inquired.
Faciane seemed to go into a trance. “She had gone to investigate some mysterious new seller. Rumor was he dealt with the buying and selling of women, and not spices as he claimed to others.” Then she placed her fingers to her temple. “I sense she is in great peril…helpless….unable to speak or move…” she moaned.
Vereen bit her lip.. “Tell me where I can find this…seller.”
Jumal frowned. “Vereen, I’m a bit….er….”
“Frightened? Don’t worry. I know what I’m doing,” her friend replied. “Besides, if Morgiana is in there, we’d better rescue her.”
“But…” Jumal trembled. “What if they won’t hire us?”
“Relax…I’m a bindira. No one can resist them.” Vereen batted her lashes. “Besides, if they really sell sex slaves instead of spices, they’ll let us in.”
Jumal’s worried expression over her veil showed that Vereen’s confidence wasn’t contagious.
“I am Khaseem,” the man with the brown robes and thin beard began. Funny…he doesn’t seem very wealthy, Vereen thought. “Are you…”
“Yes,” Vereen smiled. “I am.” Her expression was returned in kind. Men who fantasized could resist her.
“I am…” Jumal began, but Vereen put her hand over her veiled mouth. “A simple saysei. Sometimes she forgets her place.”
“Well, we need someone to serve coffee,” Khaseem replied off-handedly. “Our last…well, let’s just say that we need a new server.” He dismissed Jumal with a wave in the direction of the kitchen. “But what shall we do with you?”
He led her through the main room of the house, over toward the bedroom. This won’t be too hard, she thought. He’ll think he’s going to get me helpless, but I’ll turn the tables on him in now time, Vereen thought. Then I’ll get him to tell me where he’s stashed Morgiana.
As she entered the bedroom, she pulled out a sash. “I think I know what you’re interested in. I’ll just…”
But then, she felt both arms pinned behind her back. The grip was strong….too strong for her. She began to call out, but Khaseem pulled a silk cloth across her face, under her veil, tying it behind the nape of her neck, effectively gagging her. Whoever was behind her really knew how to tie knots. She really would be a bindira, until someone got her loose.
“Meet Khalil,” Khaseem smiled, spinning Vereen around to see another man in brown robes and a hood. He had a thick dark beard and big hands, that helped bind her. “He’s been waiting so long to meet you.”
“And there’s someone I’m sure you so very much want to see,” Khaseem smiled. He pushed Vereen into a backroom, where she came face-to-face to face with…
Bound and gagged, as well.
Under her green veil, a think cloth was tied between her lips, knotted in back beneath her raven hair. Her eyes blazed furiously beneath her own hood, with her wrists roped behind her back. She found her leader, but it was too late. Now the two of them would be…well…she just didn’t know.
“I’m sure you’re wondering what this is all about,” Khaseem explained to Morgiana. “You see, we are the last two of the forty thieves. We were expelled from the 40 thieves when you marked all the doors with chalk. You murdered our friends with oil and our leader with a dagger. We swore revenge upon you. After kidnapping several of your sisterhood, we knew we could lure you out to abduct you.”
“And Vereen,” he continued. “There’s a Sultan named Ahmad who is just dying to get ahold of you.”
“Mmmph!” Vereen gave a muffled cry for help, though it was useless.
“Coffee’s ready…oh my…”
Jumal flew forward, having tripped over the thick rug. Burning coffee splashed into Khaseem’s eyes, making him shriek in pain. The thick ceramic pot slammed into Khalil’s head. He crumpled to the grown, knocked out cold.
Vereen stepped toward the temporarily blinded Khaseem. Her right leg kicked out, catching his jaw and snapped it back. He fell back onto the floor, with the skull making a loud crack on the floor. Just in case it hadn’t done the job, she stomped on his face. The brunette bindira glanced over to a smiling Morgiana, and Jumal got to her feet, untying her friend’s bonds.
“So Morgiana’s going into retirement?” Jumal asked.
Vereen nodded. “She’s going to manage Ali Baba’s store as her husband starts trading with the city of Babin.”
“But who will replace her to solve these crimes?” Jumal wailed. Then she stopped herself. “You…?”
“Both of us,” Vereen answered. “The Sisterhood needs all the help it can get. And with those other girls who used to be slaves to Khaseem and Khalil, we should be stronger.”
“But I’m so clumsy…”
Vereen smiled. “I’m counting on it!”