To Kill a Prince (eBook)

$3.99
257 pages | eBook | 6x9"
Date of publication: 03/04/2016
  • ISBN: 978-1-943528-35-6
  • Model: 52264 words

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Heat Rating: 3 Flames

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Tabari and Naeem are childhood friends but disaster strikes--Tabari's parents are killed and Naeem leaves. Tabari avenges his parents and becomes a legendary assassin. When he's sent to kill the Prince of Ishara, he discovers his target is Naeem.

Tabari and Naeem meet as children and are drawn to each other. They spend five happy years together before tragedy strikes and Tabari's parents are killed. Naeem has to leave, and Tabari becomes an assassin to avenge his parents. He kills the assassin but all he knows about the person who ordered his parents killed is that he is a Prince of Ishara.

He becomes a legendary assassin and one day he is approached with a mission to kill the Prince of Ishara. He accepts the mission and travels to Ishara only to find the Prince is Naeem.

Can the two old friends and a djinn learn which Prince of Ishara is guilty of the crime and punish him, before they both get killed?

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Children of the Water

The soft breeze called Tabari as if by name. So he followed its siren call to the large lake, situated just outside Ubain, and shucked off his blue silk robe so he could sit in the shallows and while away the afternoon. He gazed out over the lake in awe. His fascination lay in its sheer size and colour, the coolness of the water on his hands, and the occasional brightly coloured fish darting in and out of the reed beds.

The sky, streaked with the vivid reds, golds, pinks, and purples of a magnificent sunset, began to darken as Tabari finally dragged his body out of the lake and dressed in his abandoned clothes. The sounds of splashing and laughter made him turn his head. Two boys of around his own age, and a younger girl were drenching each other and giggling and Tabari envied them their friendship. The boys were stripped to loincloths and were actually in the water and Tabari gazed at them in amazement as they darted about like fish.

His father's high position meant all his friends were carefully vetted for suitability and his habit of escaping and roaming the city streets or sitting in the shallows of the lake often got him into trouble. He was going to be in trouble again tonight but he didn't care as he continued to watch the two boys and the girl.

One of the boys, the one with strange, crimson hair, stopped playing splash with the other two and rolled onto his belly. His arms curved into the water and his legs kicked strongly, moving him through the water as quickly as any fish. Tabari stared. He'd never seen anything like it before and he found it beautiful.

The boy must have noticed him for he moved straight towards where he stood. Tabari didn't know whether to stand his ground or run for home. He compromised by looking away and pretending the other boy wasn't there. His attempt was greeted with bright, musical laughter. "Are you afraid of me? Or perhaps I'm too hideous to gaze upon."

He risked a glance at the other boy, who was now standing waist deep in the water and smiling at him. Despite the hair and huge, red-brown eyes, like those of a gazelle, hideous did not fit the boy's looks. Quite the opposite, in fact. He had a pretty face with the soft lines of childhood, his mouth made for smiling or pouting.

"No, not afraid."

"Then why do you look like you want to run away."

Tabari bit his lower lip. Did he want to run? He shook his head as it wasn't what he wanted at all. "I'm late going home. My father will be angry. And I can only talk to people he's approved of."

The bright laughter came again. "I'm sure he'll approve of us. What's your name?"

"Tabari."

"I'm Naeem and the two over there are Prea and my sister, Gaitha."

Tabari nodded but said, "I really must go. I don't want a beating."

The other boy approached, clutching a red cotton robe. He threw it over Naeem's head before turning to stare at Tabari with cold, green eyes.

"Prea," Naeem said softly, "be nice. Tabari isn't hostile."

Naeem turned and held a whispered conversation with Prea before turning to smile at Tabari. "We'll escort you home. That way you won't get a beating."

Tabari waved his hands about in desperation. "No, no, if you escort me, it will make things even worse. I told you I can only talk to people my father has approved of."

Prea went back to collect the girl and brought her over to Naeem. She gazed at Tabari for a moment and he gazed back, taking in hair and eyes the same colour as her brother's and a face destined for great beauty. He remembered his manners. "Shalom." He touched his forehead and heart in the traditional greeting.

Naeem produced more of that bright laughter but returned the greeting as did Prea and Gaitha, if he remembered her name correctly. He turned in the direction of home, the other three keeping pace with him. He was resigned to getting a beating now. Three strange children that hadn't been vetted and not one of them in the rich silks of his own clothing.

He became so concerned about a possible beating he jumped when Naeem touched his shoulder. "What is your father's name, Tabari?"

Tabari frowned at the redheaded boy. "Dhareef, why do you ask such a question?"

Naeem gave him a smile. "Partly curiosity and partly because it pays not to be rude to one's elders."

Tabari sighed. "He won't speak to you, you know."

Naeem shrugged. "I think he probably will but we'll see if you're right."

Tabari frowned. There was no getting through to this boy, Naeem. Oh well, when his father had them thrown out, Naeem would realize the truth of his words.

They had reached his house by now and, to Tabari's dismay, his father stood at the gated archway in the wall waiting for him. This did not bode well. He braced himself for a blow as he approached, but it never came. Instead, his father stared at the three strange children his eyes wide.

"Shalom, Dhareef Bey," Naeem said politely as he touched forehead and heart.

Tabari had to wonder if he'd wandered into some strange dream as his father repeated the greeting with equal respect. "Shalom, young one."

Naeem smiled as he glanced at Tabari, the expression saying told you so more than words ever could. Then he turned his attention back to Tabari's father. "I would like to speak to you in private if you have a few moments, sir."

His father bowed. "Of course. Come inside. Your companions can take refreshment while they wait with Tabari."

"Do you have figs?" Gaitha asked.

His father smiled at her. "Why, yes, of course, young lady, and sherbet, rose petal sweets, and all manner of good things."

Gaitha smiled back and moved under the arch, completely at home. Totally bemused by his father's strange behaviour, Tabari followed her into the outer courtyard, Prea close behind him. "There is a meal laid out for you," his father called after Tabari.

He nodded and led the way across the outer courtyard and under the arches of the colonnade, which led to the inner courtyard and its lush gardens and tinkling fountains. The colonnade continued round the outside of the inner courtyard but Tabari turned right, then right again, to a room with a low table set with all the sweets and fruits they could desire, plus some casseroles and bread as befitted the evening meal. His father and Naeem turned left towards his father's library and Tabari could only wonder why he would agree to talk to Naeem.

*****

Naeem looked around Dhareef's library with some interest. Tabari's father had a collection almost as large and eclectic as the one at home.

He smiled up at the man. "You are one of the few people I was told I could trust here in Ubain, Dhareef Bey."

Dhareef bowed, the move graceful as if he were used to bowing. "I am honoured your father even remembers me, young prince."

Naeem shook his head and made an impatient gesture. "After this conversation, I want none of the bowing or titles. Please, treat me as you would any of Tabari's friends."

Dhareef barked out a laugh. "If I did that, I'd bar you, your sister, and Talha's son from my house. Tabari doesn't always choose his friends wisely."

Naeem bowed his head in understanding. "When one holds a position such as yours, one has to be careful. I understand. So I ask permission to befriend your son."

"I'm hardly likely to deny a Prince of Ishara."

Naeem frowned. "Could we please forget all that? I'm sure my mother and Prea's father will be delighted to see you, but I'm here to attend school, Dhareef Bey. I should like to enjoy the experience without having to attend your sultan and any um...entertainments he's likely to dream up."

Dhareef's lips twitched. "Very wise," he agreed dryly. "Sultan Kamaaludeen is known for his...what shall I call them? Extravaganzas, which have more of substance than of taste. So, you're saying you wish to remain incognito whilst here. Does your mother agree to this?"

Naeem nodded. "Yes, and yes, she does. You're the only person, outside the family, to know the truth. Even Tabari must not know."

Dhareef frowned at his words. "Are you saying you do not trust my son?"

Naeem smiled. "I trust him implicitly, which is why I'm here talking to you. The only reason I want to keep him from knowing is selfish. I want him to like me for me, not because I'm a prince who might one day rule Ishara. For who I am inside, not for the position I hold."

Dhareef rubbed his chin as he gazed at Naeem. "You might well be wise to keep it from my son. If he knows who you are he'll become shy and tongue-tied around both you and your sister. I am positive you don't want that so Tabari will never know from me."

Naeem decided to push things as far as he could. "I'll be taking up quite a lot of his time. Will that be acceptable also?"

Dhareef shrugged. "As long as he attends school in the mornings, that's perfectly acceptable. I'm guessing you would also like him to dress in cotton rather than silk while he's with you."

Naeem chuckled. "We're boys. Boys get dirty and cotton is washable."

Dhareef laughed aloud. "I hope you do grow to rule, Naeem, you're certainly sly enough to make a good job of it."

Naeem laughed with him. "Yes, I'm sly, sneaky, and probably a very bad influence but I promise I'll care for Tabari like a brother."

Authors:

About Auburnimp:

Auburnimp started writing when she was fifteen but never did much about it until she was older. She has had books published with Mojocastle, Liquid Silver Books, Dark Eden and Shadowfire Press.

In a chequered career she has been a knife thrower's target, a homeless vagabond, a housewife, a mother and on several occasions a feline midwife.

She now lives in a small house in Manchester England with a heap of dragon figurines, far too many books and her trusty laptop.

She has blue eyes but her hair color and length changes at a whim.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/532668560216610/

https://twitter.com/auburnimp1

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For more information, please visit the author's webpage.

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