Nurimukesh-Ninu sighed. Yet another lonely night without her husband in their echoing, palatial home on the hill. Below, she could see the flames of the slum fire, raging out of control. Troubling.
She was, of course, not worried, yet. After all, it was only the poor folk who were burning. But, there was always the chance in the crowded city of Korach for a fire to explode beyond any hope of defeat. That would be the time for Nurimukesh-Ninu to be worried.
So she turned away from the window, and lit the taper of the oil lamp in the sconce upon the wall. Her husband had dispensed the servants soon after marrying her, except for the cook.
She thought of her husband. He was not her first. Beautiful women like Nurimukesh-Ninu were rarely married less than her three times, for Korachi parents paired their daughters off to much, much older men as early as four. Her first two husbands had been dreadful old men, probably Masters or at least Retainers in Korach politics. But her current husband...
Now he was a real man.
He was not like a Korachi. She supposed that he came from one of those dreadful barbaric lands that you were always hearing about, lands in the bitter north. He had golden, sun-touched hair, shiny and curly, not like a Korachi, who would have black or red hair that was dull and lank. He was sun-tanned, but not brown-red, like a Korachi, and his eyes...They were most stunning- they were a deep, indigo blue, unlike anything.
But he was not what she had thought he was at first. There was, first of all, the fact that he was dreadfully nocturnal! She never saw him during the day at all. And he never ate, save when she made it herself, and she suspected that that was to spare her feelings. He was dreadfully lusty in their bed-chamber, as well. Not like a proper Korachi. Of course, like a dutiful Korachi woman, she adjusted. She had even taken to sleeping during the day sometimes, and she found that very relaxing.
"Nuri?" she heard, drifting from the entrance way.
She smiled and applied a new line of kohl to her eyes, and then went to him.
"My husband, are you well?" she said, bowing.
He returned her bow. A black feather drifted from his hair onto the green marble floor. "I am well. Nuri, have you seen to the payment of Retainer Sen-Senipul?" Nurimukesh-Ninu, as his wife, was responsible for seeing to their household's debts and taxes and such monetary matters.
"Yes, my husband. And I have sent the persimmons to Cousin Master Urnuraduk. Shall we retire?" she replied, indicating the stairway to the bed-chamber.
He gave her a swift kiss. "I cannot dally. I must be off right soon."
"Yes, my husband."
As he left, carrying his sword under his arm, wrapped in a cloth, he said:
"Nuri, my beauty, what have I told you about calling your Korachi formalities?"
Nuri said "My apologies, my love. Be well at your business, my husba...Axinos."
He smiled that peculiar, close-lipped smile of his, and turned out of the door into the night.