“Please, Important Man,” she chided, narrowing her eyes and scrunching her nose just a little. “I know everything.”
She leaned once more on the fence, and he found himself wanting to stay and ask her what else she knew. Then her expression changed, her chin jutting toward him, her eyes wide and intent. He almost felt her grabbing him, even though her hands were tucked onto the railing. Sabbah felt oddly cheated that he felt that fervent grip, but did not have it in reality, even though she had him rooted to the spot. He had the entire market to order and organise, and she had roped him about with one urgent look.
“You need me in your life, Important Man,” she instructed him, voice low. “Buy me. I’ll run your house, cook your food, sweep your floors or shake your foundations. Whatever you want. But buy me. Because you need Tison in your life.”
- Title: His Housekeeper’s Golden Eyes
- Series: Slaves of Marrakech
- Themes: Belonging; Freedom; Being needed; Self-care and Self-discovery
- Tison; Ethiopian slave sold in Marrakech; a heartbreak in her past but with determination to make the absolute best of herself and her situation;
- Sabbah; the Muhtasib of Marrakech, he is one of the most important men in the city; he is lonely and stuck in a rut having achieved early in life;
- Setting: Marrakech in the 1190s; a city of trade, wealth and a hotpot of different cultures changing and shifting in a volatile time;
Slavery was the norm in many cultures during the 1100s. It is not easy to write about without feeling massive white guilt (and you don’t get much whiter than welsh). However, the system in Almohad Morocco was sort of wonderful! Owners made arrangements with their slaves, a written document called a Mukrajah, which detailed how long it would take to earn their freedom, or whether or not they could earn a living outside of their owner’s household. Slaves could have a trade of their own, which the master was not allowed to interfere with, and buy their freedom if they chose. Those on the verge of poverty could sell themselves to avoid starving and homelessness.
It’s a fascinating era in a fascinating city. I have so many stories to tell in Marrakech. Tison is a strong woman who has been made to feel as though she is weak, and she will not allow people to break her again. She sees in Sabbah a good man who can help her and whom she can help in return.
He is a bit of a poppet, and I’ve found that to stop a good man being a boring man, I have to have a lot more incidental scenes than I would usually include. I am hoping they don’t end up as deleted scenes, because he is a warm man with good humour and when he relaxes he is the sort of man you could talk all night with and fall asleep snuggled up to his shoulder.
All we have to do is get Tison chilled out enough to let herself do that.