Photo via Visual hunt
Lilavati opened her bedroom door and found her mother sitting on her bed. “What did he offer? Some trifle?” her mother asked angrily. Lilavati told her. Her mother snorted. “He won’t deliver that.”
“Then father will not let him take me,” Lilavati said. “But I think Manas is an honorable man, Mother. He’ll keep his word.”
“Manas? That’s his name?” Her mother seemed surprised. “He wouldn’t give his name to anyone, other than your father.”
“I asked him for a name of the man I was marrying. He gave it to me,” Lilavati said. “Father sent me in to prepare myself since I’ll be leaving at seven tolls in the morning. Please excuse me.” She started pulling things out of the chests and the many drawers and cabinets. She packed those things she wished to keep at the bottom of the saddle bags she’d been given.
Then she went to her clothing. She looked at it all. She chose the least ragged outfits, though not were in very good repair. “You’ll look like a pauper in those dresses,” her mother said.
“Well if you and father took care of me the way you do Kavi and Uma, I would have a far finer wardrobe,” Lilavati shot back. She finished packing and carried her bags to her father for inspection. He looked inside and handed Lilavati a large pouch of coins.
“No daughter of mine will look as if she stepped out of a poor man’s hovel,” her father said. “Go purchase a wardrobe fit for the treasure you are.”
“Yes Father,” Lilavati said. She once again left the house and went to the dressmaker her mother used. He was shocked to see her, but quickly helped her find several beautiful outfits. She hesitated, but decided to get the crimson and silver outfit that wasn’t quite a wedding dress that would if Manas didn’t provide her with anything.
She took all of her purchases home and presented them to her father. “These are far more suitable,” he said. He helped her pack them into her saddlebags. “It is time for our evening meal. You will join us.”
“Yes Father,” Lilavati said.
The meal was strained. It was obvious her mother didn’t approve of the match. Kavi and Uma looked confused. Finally, after the last of the dishes had been cleared away and the adults were drinking their after meal glasses of scolak while the younger two had mugs of fresh milk, her father cleared his throat. “Lilavati is leaving us. She will be joining the man she is going to marry and traveling to his lands tomorrow before we normally rise. We won’t be attending her wedding, at the request of her husband-to-be. Now, come with me.”
Everyone rose and followed him out to the back courtyard. Lilavati smiled. There were all of the slaves, the horses were being led to the stables, and the bags of gold coins were being hustled into her father’s treasure room by several of his personal slaves. They were carefully watched by his slave master and his master of coin.
“The full bride price was paid,” her mother said, shock in her voice and on her face.
“It was,” her father said. “You thought differently?”
“Who would pay such a high price for someone so ugly?” her mother asked.
“His idea of beauty is different from ours,” her father said. “So this is his response to liking what he saw in Lilavati.” He turned to her. “Are you prepared?”
“As much as I can be, Father.”
“Then go to bed. I’ll send someone to wake you early enough to dress before he comes for you,” her father said.
“Gods bless your dreams,” Kavi said, hugging her. “And your journey.”
“Gods bless your dreams, Kavi,” Lilavati said, returning the embrace. She planted a kiss on the top of his head before making her way to her bedroom.
to be continued…