The Desire Of Cyrus
Chapter 12|6 mins read
Cyrus’ reply to King Piruz seemed to still time itself in the Royal Hall.
The laughter and chatter were abruptly cut to silence. The drinking and eating paused. The smiling, beaming visage of King Piruz was now stone cold. Ginger’s eyes stared wide at his king, wondering what had made Cyrus deny the offer of creating a new union. General Hateem’s hand instinctively went to his sword. The queen gripped the cutlery placed on the table to combat the acute sense of anxiety she felt.
All eyes and ears in the hall focused on the King of Kings.
Cyrus sat in his seat, unaffected. He calmly scooped a spoonful of the biriyani and placed it in his mouth. The rich flavours pulled him inside their world once again. The king closed his eyes for a moment and opened them.
“This is a grave insult to the land of Behrouz!” King Danush stood up from his seat, “Do not forget, King Cyrus, that you are but a guest of my king. He has been extremely generous in extending an offer for friendship and peace. How dare you decline it in the full view of the people gathered here. Consider yourself a lucky soul that it is the holy feast of Nowruz. Otherwise, I would not have hesitated,” King Danush placed his hand on top is dagger that hung from his waist.
Cyrus shifted his eyes from the plate to the king: The cold eyes expressed a sense of fearlessness, ready to take down anyone who threatened.
“You misunderstand, King Danush,” Ginger intervened.
“Please clarify then,” King Piruz said, concealing a sense of rising anger.
Ginger’s mind was at work. He had not thought of what to say next. The most trusted aide of Cyrus had simply acted on instinct to dissipate the ascending tension. Silence then ensued.
The queen realized that this was the right moment to act. She clapped her hands loudly twice.
Immediately a row of musicians entered the hall playing string instruments and drums with a conical base. The soothing notes of the instruments distracted the attention of the guests, who slowly shifted their attention from the King of Kings to the musicians. A row of dancers then arrived in the hall, dressed in vertical shards of white satin, wearing gold ornaments. The festive atmosphere that had dissipated, serenaded the Royal Hall once again.
The queen caught the attention of General Hateem and motioned him to calm King Danush.
Ginger knew he had run out of time and had to say something. The aide looked at his king, hoping that Cyrus may help him out. But the King of Kings had fixed his gaze on Danush.
General Hateem patted the forearm of Danush, “Let us not allow our anger to spoil the grand feast of Nowruz. The King of Kings is our guest and should be treated with more respect, Danush. Please take your seat and allow Cyrus to defend his refusal. He has, after all, only declined the hand of the princess, not the offering of peace and friendship.”
“If you say so, general,” King Danush took his seat. His face did not betray the beaming sense of pride he felt in standing up to a fearsome warrior and protecting the honour of Behrouz. Especially in the presence of King Piruz.
The general turned towards Ginger, “Do you agree with my words?”
“Yes general,” Ginger almost jumped at the opportunity to agree, “Please forgive the directness of my king. He speaks his mind without any subterfuge,” He looked at Cyrus.
The King of Kings stood up, holding his cup of wine. The queen instantly clapped her hands again. The music faded to silence, the movement of the dancers slowed to stillness.
“I must first apologize to King Piruz,” Cyrus turned towards the king of Behrouz, “He has been more than just a good host. I have never felt more welcomed than I have in this great land. For that, you have my gratitude,” Cyrus gave a quick bow and continued, “Behrouz is both, beautiful and enchanting. It has a spirit that exudes hope, happiness, and brotherhood. I hope that King Piruz and I can work towards forging a future filled with peace. Here is to King Piruz and the kingdom of Behrouz,” Cyrus took a sip from the cup and then raised it.
Cheers rang from the gathering, followed by the clinking of cups.
King Danush leaned towards the general and whispered, “I do not a believe a word of what has been said.”
Hateem simply smiled in reply.
The queen motioned the musicians and the dancers to start performing again.
As the musical notes filled the Royal Hall, the two kings took their seats.
“So, king Cyrus…Do you accept the hand of my daughter?” King Piruz asked with a smile returning on his face.
“King Piruz…I must respectfully decline,” Cyrus said in his most polite tone.
“Why is that?”
Cyrus took another spoonful of the steaming biriyani and placed it on his tongue. He chewed on the succulent mixture and allowed it to melt away in his mouth. “I do not wish to marry the princess…But there is something else that I wish for, King Piruz.”
Do tell...What is it that has caught your attention more than my beautiful daughter?
The king was intrigued.
“The Biriyani of Behrouz.”
To be continued...