It started as somewhat bad fantasy movie with one of those typical medieval world building and style mixed of original, modern and historical. By the looks of it, it couldn’t be more than 1200 ad. A village was attacked right after sunset – you could see what went on thanks to numerous bonfires and lights, but it was still so dark that shadows filled most of the space.
The village couldn’t be big, they had reedroofs and plenty of low houses. I saw somebody runs pass me, then a hell broke loose. I turned and saw villagers being attacked, them attacking somebody right behind me.
I saw a man dressed as monk keeping a good grip on a box and yelling: “Don’t touch them! Don’t let them touch you!” I ran after him and followed him into one of the warehouses. The walls were so thin you could see the light of fires coming in and his figure, scared, hiding against the wall. He showed me be quiet. I pulled back and went back first out again. On that moment I realized I was surrounded with 6 enemy men. They looked like Mongols, only dressed in the finest Chinese embroidered outfits (black trousers, sleeveless black shirt with heavy embroidery of a huge red dragon). The best? I was convinced they were working for Ottoman sultan…
I was knocked out and when I woke I was in a harem? It wasn’t like the ones we’ve seen in the movies. It looked more like two huge 4 or 5 floors high boxes open to the centre. Something like this on the sketch here. There were sleeping quarters, living quarters, bathroom system – you name it. And they were all open to the centre like somebody had snatched one side of a house off. They did have roofs, on the area with grey, but the middle court had none. It was like a street. On both ends of the houses there were huge wooden gates (red lines). They were just as high as the buildings and you could pull them together, seperating the complex from outside. Otherwise it was fully built of wood and reed mats, which replaced the seperation walls and sleeping mats. Besides colorful and embroider filled fabrics all around, there were no other decorations. But it was golden! The sun, which seemed to penetrate absolutely everywhere, made the wood shine like gold and it was just amazingly simple and beautiful.
I did see men there. So it couldn’t be the conventional way of harem. The man, the monk, was brought there too. The women came all on the open side of the house to see his arrival. He was chained into one of the free slots in the corner. They received the order to clean him up and that’s exactly what the women did. But even so – nobody touched the skin. I knew by then that they believed our skin to be poisonous. Just as we believed it on them. We touched through gloves and scarfs, they handled us, but never came in contact with the skin.
I don’t know how long time passed, but on one morning I woke up to see a sultan with his party arriving. It happened so quietly I hadn’t even noticed. There was always calm, quiet, no yelling, screaming. He observed us for a while, then went straight to the man in chains and cut him free. They had shaved him and combed his hair and he looked rather good now. He said to him that he’d like to practice some sword fighting with him. Oddly enough, he answered with a smile you’d give to a brother!
That was it, suddenly the atmosphere changed and we started feeling like we belonged there. Who we? Have no idea. But the sun was shining again all the time and it felt homey. My last memory is about him standing on the wooden first floor, women have just finished dressing him up again, he is scrubbed clean and his hair are combed back with so much oil, it’s dripped all over his shoulders and his expensive clothing. But that’s the way of royalty. He is holding his arms out, the last two women weaving the wrist protections on place. The sultan has arrived, he has dressed lightly, head covered with turban, thick beard with pearls weaved in and holding sticks.
“Are you ready?”
The monk nods, takes the stick and they leave towards the right side gate.
That was it. The alarm clock woke me up.