Torianye burrowed into the arms of his husband and the smell of sandalwood. The satin between them slipped away, leaving his cheek against Belsamel’s dark chest. The king had just met with his counsel, and Toriayne could tell from the deep breaths against his ear, it had not gone as planned. Toriayne reached his arm around Belsamel’s back and ran his fingers over his spine. “How did it go?”
Belsamel reached behind him brought Toriayne’s hand forward. His grip, though loving, was tight and strained. “They continue to demand a child.”
Toriayne sighed and pulled his hand back under the blankets. He shook his fingers out. “They have demanded a child for months. And you have turned them down for months. How is tonight any different?”
“My cousins cannot inherit the throne. I am the last with our ability, and this is all I can do.” Belsamel rubbed his fingers together, and a spark appeared. It blossomed into a tiny flame that danced around his fingers as if each nail were a candle wick. “The fire,” he said, twisting it around his wrist, “drove my father to his death.”
Torianye frowned. Belsamel rarely spoke about his father. The previous king had died long before the tailor stepped foot on Akhari sand. Mad with incest, He drowned himself in the river that ran through the capitol. Belsamel had just turned thirteen.
“But the fire selects our kings. I have four older brothers, but it chose me.” He snapped, and it disappeared without a hint of smoke. “The council continues to believe you are a woman but have concluded you must be barren. So they have offered me an alternative plan. I must take another wife.”
“If you take another wife, I want another husband.” Torianye slid back in bed. “Your aunt has two.”
“It does not work like that.” Besamel laughed and buried his face in Toriayne’s neck. “Don’t worry. This is for the family. I could never love her like I love you. Besides, why do you need another husband when you have me?”
Toriayne felt Belsamel’s tongue slip behind his ear.
“Remember when you came to Akhar with me? You had so many things to take with you: fabric, needles, wigs.”
“And you told me to leave it all behind.”
“And I bought you new ones, anything you ever desired. But you insisted you keep that one dress, the one that you made as an apprentice, that got you the job as my tailor. I’ve always told you to throw out that silly old thing. Why do you hold onto it?”
Toriayne scanned the room. Belsamel had bought everything: the velvet ottomans, the braided pillows, the satin blankets, and their canopied bed. “I need to. I left Tyris so long ago - to be with you - and it’s all that I have left.”
“Oma men pozido
.” All That I Have
. - 092/100 Themes.
Akhari is a class-based society which derives social standing from displays of magic and wealth. Usually, people marry within their class to keep the magic and money all in one place, even if this means marrying inside one’s family.
However, one method exists as an alternative to incest. Sometimes high-class citizens will take a promising lower-class member as their partner. The partner will often be treated as an outsider due to their upbringing, but any children will be considered born into the higher class.
Thus, an elaborate dowry system has evolved to help all classes advance. For example, a rich nobleman might buy the hand of a servant woman who shows magic power. Or a poor but well-connected woman will convince a rich but untitled merchant to be her husband. Because marriage is so tied to wealth, Akhari have a hard time grasping and executing other countries’ love-based marriages.
Furthermore, supporting multiple partners is considered a display of wealth. Therefore, many higher-class citizens have multiple - often lower-class - partners of the opposite sex. As mentioned before, the higher class citizen retains the family power. All the partners are considered “his wives” or “her husbands.” Unfortunately, this inevitably leads to playing favorites.
Also along those lines, same-sex relationships are considered unnatural (and marriage is impossible) because they do not produce offspring to continue the family name and class. Therefore, they must occur in secret and are considered purely recreational.
But Belsamel is a king, and he do what he want. Including having a monogamous, love-based, homosexual marriage. Kind of.More Art/Writing Featuring These Characters:
Belsamel su'Akhar and Toriayne belong to Grace Fong,