Talikan, spring, 1323
JOHANNA HAD NEVER been so bored. There was no lack of comfort in the harem, that was true enough. The blue-tiled floors had been built over a hypocaust, and were warm both winter and summer. So was the water in the rectangular bath that stretched the length of the main room. The silk cushions were large and comfortable, if a little gaudy in their brilliant red and orange and purple and green stripes, and so were the beds. The food was plentiful and most of it delicious, if the cook did have a heavy hand with sugar and spices. Each inmate had her own room and her own personal servant. The larger suites, assigned to the sultan’s favorites, had their own kitchens, their own fountains and some their own heated pools.
There were no doors to these rooms, of course. Who knew what those women would get up to behind closed doors, if they had them?
They got up to plenty without them.
Dana here — I found a book called Harem, written by the descendent of an odalesque, and most of Johanna’s experiences in one derive directly therefrom. It seems to have been a life of unending boredom spiced with occasional terror.
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