Tariq of the Tuareg

The Tuareg are a nomadic Berber people who inhabit the Saharan regions of North Africa. Tuareg is an Arabic term meaning abandoned by God. The Tuareg  who consider themselves white call themselves Imohag, meaning free men. Their language is Tamachek which is spoken by 6 million residents. The origin of the Tuareg , where they came from or when they arrived in the Sahara is unknown. They are nomadic, using camels for transportation and milk.

In their early history, the Tuareg used the trade routes to transport salt and spices, and slaves. Unlike most other north African tribes, they are matrilineal. Women maintain prominent places in Tuareg society and maintain their own possession. The men are known for wearing a dark blue veil that covers their head, neck, and face which they begin wearing when they are young adults. For this, they’re called the Blue Men of the Sahara or Men of the Veil. The Tuaregs adopted Islam but still practice their animistic religion.

In my debut novel HIS OBSESSION, the harem master – Tariq – is at the docks of the pirate Republic of Bou Regreg when captive Emmeliese Alexander  arrives to be sold in the slave market. Determined to survive, Emmy who is descended from a Tuareg noblewoman convinces Tariq to take her into his master’s harem. Check out the super short excerpt below.

1788, The Pirate Republic of Bou Regreg – The Harem

     Emmy started when the door leading to the master’s private apartment opened. Tariq entered wearing a loose white robe and trousers with a jeweled dagger in the wide golden belt at his waist. She attempted to cover herself as best she could then hung her head while he surveyed her.

     He placed a large hand on her shoulder. “Wiza, there is no place for modesty or shame in the harem, especially with me. We all serve the master.”

     The harem master was a darkly handsome, imposing man of mixed ancestry who had shown her kindness. When Aliya had explained the abuse he had suffered, her respect for him had grown. Not many in his circumstances would have extended a helping hand to a nobleman’s castoff.

     With each hour, she lost a little of herself, but she would always be modest. She could not flaunt herself almost naked, bargain or no. “You are a man, maybe not like others, but a man nevertheless. My savior.”

     “Thank you for that, Wiza.” He offered her a shy smile. His fingers caressed her cheek. “Aliya has done well, but I am not surprised. You are a true beauty. The master has agreed to our plan, if he finds you pleasing.” He glanced at her once more. “I have no doubt that you will please him.”

     Emmy had spent the day preparing to be presented to the master. Following a long bath, Aliya had washed and brushed her hair to a golden sheen. While she recited poetry and sipped wine, the gentle woman oiled and buffed her body. Two weeks ago, she would never have let a woman touch her like that. Today, she was grateful for Aliya’s attentions and kindness.

     “I will do my best.” She felt unusually calm, considering the fate that awaited her. She hesitated. “You were not born a slave. How have you survived, Tariq?”

     A shadow flitted across his face. “I learned what was expected, then played my role well. Before performing, always don your mask and prepare yourself. Your life may depend on it.”

     She nodded. She would heed his advice. “I will learn.”

     He nodded and extended a hand. “It is time, Wiza.”

HIS OBSESSION is available at: http://www.bookstrand.com/his-obsession (eBook $3.99)   HIS DESIRE is scheduled for release May 24, 2012

Tomorrow, Topkapi, the Ottoman Emperor’s Harem      Rita Bay

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