© 2002 Charmbrights Ltd. All rights reserved.
The author has asserted moral rights under sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
The Emirate of Kobekistan is one of those wonderful places where a visitor feels that they have stepped back into a more leisurely, more dignified era of history, but without sacrificing any of the more useful gadgets of modern civilisation. Air-conditioning protects the inhabitants from the rigours of a sub-tropical climate. Motor cars whisk them from one building to another. Desalination provides ample water. The most modern medical advances are practised in the hospitals. Television shows umpteen channels. Education utilises the most modern computer-aided systems. Childbirth is no longer as dangerous as it used to be, even though eunuch doctors are the only ones available to the women of the harems. Becoming a eunuch is very rarely a fatal operation since it is carried out by experts in surgical conditions second to none. A girl being cut and sewn to make her incapable of sexual pleasure and virtually unusable by a man (except for sodomy) now has a less than one in a thousand chance of the patient contracting a dangerous infection. Moderation in all things is the watchword. Toleration extends to allowing alcohol to be sold to foreign workers in the country, though only within their company compounds. Women are taught to read and write, at least in some harems.
Of course, these facilities are not all available to all the population, but for all those who matter, the better families, they are taken for granted. A field slave might not benefit from all of them, but the medical services ensure that a slave no longer has to be put down if an over-enthusiastic owner damages it somewhat while administering discipline.
The disadvantages of civilisation as it is understood in the West are nevertheless kept at bay. Advertising is negligible. Tourists are not permitted to enter the country. Women are not allowed to show their faces on the streets. Marriages are arranged by parents who are wiser in their choices than the impulses of youth would be. There is none of the political brouhaha since the country is ruled by the Emir whom Allah has appointed. His word is law, literally. Were he to say "Off with his head," the miscreant would be executed in public within the hour.
All of this is made possible by the oil on which the Emirate rests. When all the oil reserves have been extracted, in some centuries time, the level of the land will have been lowered by an average of ten feet. The oil is a 'heavy crude' which is dug out of the ground in lumps looking for all the world like treacle toffee. There is none of the messy liquid to process and no unsightly wells.
In years gone by, when the Emir had considerable respect for the Allies who had just defeated Germany, his eldest son, Prince (later His Magnificence the Emir) Ibrahim, was sent to Sandhurst to learn the finer points of being an officer and a gentleman. He returned three years later having acquired a second wife, who was English and minor aristocracy, and a love of hunting, which he had first discovered while holidaying in Leicestershire. Indeed he had ridden with the Quorn on several occasions.
It was when he returned from his stay in England that his father made him Crown Prince and it was during that ceremony that an unfortunate incident occurred. A disaffected faction had seized on the younger half-brother of the new Crown Prince as a figurehead to topple the Emir and replace the old Establishment with a new idea they called democracy. Their idea was that Kobekistani citizens would have the vote and elect a government and a President. Naturally only sensible citizens would be allowed to vote and equally naturally only sensible candidates for President would be allowed. The protagonists of the change would, of course, decide who was considered sensible.
A crude bomb was thrown at the Emir. Fortunately for him it was actually caught in flight by one Mansur El-Najjar (later Hajji Mansur El-Najjar) and thrown back, but it exploded uncomfortably close to this heroic defender of the Emir's life and he lost one hand and one eye. The Emir immediately took him into the closest circle of Royal Advisors and he remained an honoured hero in the country until his death at a ripe old age. The miscreants were caught and such as had not managed to die in the fighting were publicly flayed and when the skin had been removed their remains were left for the dogs to eat. It was some days before the dogs felt really hungry again. The figurehead young prince was smothered and his mother was strangled, just in case.
The Emir himself lived another fifteen years and died in his bed, mostly of overindulgence in his bedroom. The Crown Prince inherited the Emirate and one of his first acts was to set up an artificial hunting ground close to the palace. It had grassland, swamp, forest, desert, hills, caves and all the other things the Emir deemed necessary. Thirty years later, it had grown into a tract over which decent hunting was possible, except for the long gallops, and the Royal Hunt met regularly.
The Sport of Emirs
For his eighteenth birthday, as he was now growing up, his father arranged for Ramzy El-Najjar to go hunting with the Emir; this was no holds barred full scale traditional English hunting, but in Kobekistan. An outfit of hunting pink was made for him and he was instructed in the etiquette of the chase. He was not yet a man, in Kobekistan that would not be until he attained his twenty-third birthday, and so must not be in the forefront of the hunt, but should trail a decent distance behind the Emir. He was not yet a man, so he should not participate in the 'kill', though he might watch his elders and betters take their turns with the 'quarry'.
An Englishman transported to Kobekistan and not forewarned might be forgiven for being confused by this hunt meet. The men, to be sure, were mostly of Arab appearance but that was to be expected in this country. They were mounted on superb horses, but that too was to be expected, since their forebears had been nomadic and were experts in breeding fine horseflesh. The costumes were perfect fitting absolutely correct pink, but Kobekistan was a rich country and the outfits were mostly made in Saville Row.
The first surprise was the hounds. They were hounds, it is true, but not foxhounds; the Emir's kennels contained the largest pack of pure-bred Irish Wolfhounds anywhere in the world. The chances of a fox against these pursuers would be slim indeed, but there were no foxes in Kobekistan. If our hypothetical Englishman were to follow the hunt until he caught a glimpse of the quarry, he would be even more surprised to see that it was some five feet at the shoulder, had little or no fur, except the great mane on its head, and used only two legs. It would be difficult to discern any other details against the rough country through which they hunted as its markings were an almost perfect camouflage. The dogs, of course, hunted more by scent than by sight, but men do not have that privilege.
If our man actually arrived in time to see the 'kill' he would discover that it could take two hours to deal with the quarry, once it was cornered. The protective camouflage would first be torn off, by the hunters not by the dogs. This would reveal a naked more-or-less beautiful young woman, usually a concubine of whom the Emir had tired, but occasionally a slave bought specifically for the purpose. The 'kill' consisted of any hunter who felt so inclined making use of any orifice he fancied for as long as he chose. When all had been satisfied in order of arrival at the kill, then the woman was returned to the harem from which she had come, sometimes to be brought back to fitness for another hunt, but usually to be prepared for sale.
The contest between hunters and quarry was not entirely one-sided, however. The woman was given an hour's start, a map of the hunting enclosure, and was tutored beforehand in the arts of evading capture. Any quarry not caught two hours after the hunt moved off had won the unbelievably valuable prize of her freedom and an annuity to live quietly in Europe or America for the rest of her natural life. Perhaps only one or two percent succeeded in escaping capture, but the Emir was a man of honour and observed the prize rules scrupulously, with the result that there were nine such women alive at the time Ramzy El-Najjar attended his first hunt.
Of course, the down side of being hunted by a pack of dogs was that sometimes the quarry was injured, though rarely by the dogs; the usual injuries were broken arms or legs during the chase. The dogs were well schooled and although they were very frightening, as they stood slavering and snarling round a fallen quarry, they never bit a human. Any dog which did so would have been destroyed forthwith.
The hunt took place over a purpose-built enclave some three miles by four with the triple palace in the south-west corner. The natural features of the area had been adapted and the foothills to the north of the Golden Palace formed a natural boundary. A small river flowed from the hills in a sweeping reverse curve to the side of the palace and could be crossed easily only at one point, where there was a ford. Groves of trees had been planted on either side of the river and at the northern end an artificial swamp had been made, complete with reeds and mud-holes. In the east, just below the foothills an area about a mile across was artificially drained and the topsoil had been replaced by sterilised sand to make a small artificial desert. This was kept drained and the water was used to maintain the swamp. The south-east quarter of the enclosure was a triangle about two miles by one of open grassland where tall grass had been planted and was kept well fertilised. The whole area was enclosed by a double twelve-foot high chain link fence topped with razor wire which served to keep the quarry in and unwanted animals out.
Paths went from the meet to the ford, where two paths separated, the right hand one going through the thickest part of the woods and then skirting the outside of the desert and turning back west through the foothills to finish at an artificial lake which was fed by a small waterfall. It was not possible to cross this water barrier with a horse unless the traveller returned to the ford some two miles down stream, or nearly four miles away on horseback. The other branch of the path crossed the ford and meandered in two branches up to the swamp, where they rejoined having passed on either side of two low wooded hills. After crossing the swamp on a narrow route which was precarious on horseback, though relatively easy on foot, the path returned to the stream and turned north to the foot of the waterfall, past the entrances to some promising caves on the hillside. The path again turned west and wound its way through the foothills until eventually turning north and reaching the boundary fence after passing near some more caves.
One of the caves in the complex actually went through the hills and although the hunters knew about this, it was impassable to a horse, and so provided a way of gaining some twenty minutes for a hunted woman who could slip through the hill while her pursuers had to go round. The dogs would not go through either, since a barrier of chemical which repelled them but which humans could not smell was artificially maintained about half-way through. The woods provided places where a woman or the dogs could pass, but a horseman could not pass because of the density of the undergrowth. The swamp also allowed of passage on foot, but not mounted without serious risk of losing a horse. In the twenty-odd years since the enclosure had been created it had grown into a well varied hunting ground which gave the quarry some excellent chances of escape.
On the day that Ramzy El-Najjar attended his first hunt he was totally enraptured with the whole affair. He has seen pictures of English hunts, of course, and his contemporaries at Cornell University had regarded them as one of the "real quaint old English traditions", a "must see" on a trip to Europe which few of them had ever seen outside of a cinema. The real thing was even more romantic to his eighteen year old eyes than any imaginings could have been; the hunters resplendent in their red coats with their superbly turned out horses, and the dogs pacing between then, obviously eager for the off.
In a ceremony imported from English cold weather, stirrup cups were brought round filled with an odd-tasting sweet dark red liquid, which Ramzy El-Najjar later discovered was described to the Imam as grape juice but which was actually a vintage port. In another ceremony imported from England, but from the sailing community, a small cannon was fired and the hunt moved off slowly. This cannon was fired because the Emir had enjoyed visiting Cowes Week as a young man, but it also gave the quarry the opportunity of knowing when the chase started. It could not be heard from everywhere in the enclosure, so four other cannon were fired at the same time from points on the perimeter fence.
The experienced hunters took the lead, moving off at a walk and soon raising that to a trot along the path to the ford. Here the party split with a few of the older men taking some dogs along the right hand path and into the woods. Before the rest of the party had finished fording the stream in single file, they were back reporting that no scent had been found on that path. Unfortunately none was found on the far bank either; it was quickly concluded that the quarry had gone upstream in the water, thus preventing the dogs from picking up the scent. Ramzy El-Najjar remembered that this was one of the basic techniques taught to the quarry women during their training. Two men and a few dogs were detached to go the few hundred yards downstream to check whether the woman had tried to be subtle while the rest of them moved off along the river bank, ignoring the paths. When they reached the edge of the thick woodland which came right down to the water, a couple of men dismounted and took the dogs through the woods, while the rest of them rode round the woodland on the path. Ramzy El-Najjar and another youngster were given the reins of the spare horses to lead them. They hung back so as not to get in the way of the older riders and were ambling along the path so it was he saw the quarry as she tried to slip across the path to the woods on the other side and so escape behind the hunters.
Shouting, "View," as loud as he could, Ramzy El-Najjar turned his horse, dropping the spare horse's reins and set off after her.
She had panicked and was running down the path back towards the gate as fast as she could. A human runner has no chance of outstripping a horse in open country or on a pathway and so he was catching up with her when she saw the dogs and men who had checked downstream coming up the path towards her. Veering right off the path towards some more woodland she lost her footing and fell. Quick as a flash Ramzy El-Najjar dropped from the saddle and grabbed her.
"Let go," she said indignantly, "Bloody beginner. You have me and I lie down and you hold me with your foot. Don't tread on me hard either. No manners some people, no manners at all."
Ramzy El-Najjar remembered the protocol of the kill and let her go at once. She was obviously an experienced quarry and felt nothing but contempt for the lad who had had beginner's luck in making the kill. If he had not been so far behind the rest of the riders she would have been across the path and into the woodland behind the hunt as they spread out trying to catch her. That was the best possible chance of eluding them for the requisite two hours and this boy had caught her in less than half an hour!
When the riders came round the corner out of the woodland in answer to Ramzy El-Najjar's cry of "View," they were met by a scene of some amusement. An experienced quarry was lying stock still and a very embarrassed young hunter was standing over her with his foot raised, obviously too nervous to put his foot actually down on her chest. The tag on her suit was still there also. In his embarrassment, Ramzy El-Najjar had forgotten to remove it as his claim to the kill. The Emir arrived as the riders were milling about and roared with laughter, which did nothing for Ramzy El-Najjar's composure.
"Well, lad," said the Emir, "What's your name?"
"Ramzy El-Najjar, Master," came the shaky reply.
"Oh, yes. First hunt isn't it? Your father cannot hunt because of a wound sustained saving my father's life?"
"Well you have my permission to take the trophy tag. I am pleased that you have been taught the finer points of hunting so thoroughly."
Ramzy El-Najjar had no idea what the Emir meant until the older man started to lecture the assembled group.
"This young man is a credit to his illustrious father. It is his first hunt and he manages to kill the quarry, probably by accident if I know this girl, and yet remembers that it is considered the best honourable practice not to take the tag of your first kill until the Emir arrives. Later kills are fine, and taking the tag immediately ensures first bite of the cherry at the kill, but for your first kill you wait until I arrive and permit it. You did not remember that last week, did you Abu Yahya?"
One of the riders dropped to his knees an pressed his head on the ground.
"Master," he breathed, trembling with fear.
"I should leave you there like that for a few hours," said the Emir, "But I won't. You may leave to see if there is a problem at your home."
The disgraced rider walked away leading his horse amid general laughter.
"Come and see me tomorrow," shouted the Emir after him and that seemed to cheer him up.
The following day when Ramzy El-Najjar discussed this with his father he was told that that meant that the disgrace was only temporary. "A sin-binning rather than a red card," was the phrase his father used.
"Well now, the helicopter is arriving," said the Emir, and just then one of the big twin rotor Chinooks landed on the path some fifty yards away and a small army of eunuchs and slave girls ran from it carrying all the paraphernalia for a picnic suitable for the Emir, and a large divan bed. The quarry now rolled from under Ramzy El-Najjar's foot and stood up, handing him her kill tag which had been firmly fastened to her camouflage.
"Cheer up, Little Master. The Emir's pleased with you. And you get to fuck me first, or are you a beginner at that as well?" she said as she stripped off her camouflage and went over to lie on the divan with her legs well apart.
"Ramzy El-Najjar," called the Emir, "Are you going to let her call you 'Little Master' and imply in public that you are a virgin? What do you propose to do about it?"
"Master, I heard nothing," replied Ramzy El-Najjar, "Is it not written that the words of a woman are as sand blowing in the wind?"
The Emir roared with laughter until tears ran down his face.
"Your wisdom more than compensates for the brevity of today's hunt. Come and sit beside me," he said, "and ignore her. Let the others perform the kill and you shall visit the Golden Palace after we have eaten, unless you have other plans for the evening?"
"Master, I would like to do one thing before joining you," Ramzy El-Najjar dared to say, causing the assembled riders to fall silent at the temerity of this young man.
There was not one of them who would not give his eye teeth to be invited to sit beside the Emir at a meal, however informal, and the invitation to the Golden Palace was certainly going to include a visit to the Emir's harem. Now this youth was risking all that by asking a further favour of the Emir. Truly youth is impetuous and foolish.
"Be my guest," said the Emir.
That was judged by the experts in the ways of the Emir to be a neutral invitation to go further without necessarily granting the favour. Ramzy El-Najjar strode over to the woman and turned her on her stomach. Then he pushed the kill tag into her arsehole.
Returning to the Emir he said, "Thank you, Master," as the Emir again roared with laughter.
"Come and sit down," said the Emir through his laughter, "and try one of these chicken legs. They are delicious."
The others marvelled at the young man's good fortune in pleasing the Emir. To be offered food by the Emir personally was a mark of esteem rarely granted and this young man would be talked about far and wide. As he enjoyed the chicken leg Ramzy El-Najjar's attention was drawn by the sight and sound of the riders taking turns to fuck or sodomise the woman as the fancy took them. Some were also striking her with bare hands or with riding crops and she was already sobbing from the pain.
The Emir stood up and everyone else followed suit; turning to Ramzy El-Najjar he said, "We'll go back the easy way, I think," and strode off to the Chinook.
Ramzy El-Najjar hastily followed and the two were soon in the air heading the mile and a half back to the Golden Palace. When they arrived the Emir led the way into the Golden Palace harem anteroom giving Ramzy El-Najjar no time to take in his surroundings.
"Tell your father to come and see me tomorrow," said the Emir, "If you can remember after a night in my harem."
Then the Emir was gone and the Chief Eunuch appeared, saying "When the Master pleases, the hostesses are ready for your inspection."