Authors: Constance O'Banyon
Tags: #Historical, #Romance, #Fiction, #19th Century, #American West, #Native Americans, #Indian, #Wife, #Disappeared, #Beloved, #Continuation, #Reuniting, #Lagonda Tribe, #Marriage, #Husband, #Queen, #King, #Night & Day, #White People, #True Love
Table of Contents
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This book is dedicated to someone I watched face life as a challenge to be met. When life became hard, you only grew stronger. I watched with great pride and love as you reached for the sky, knowing anything you wanted out of life you would obtain. When I was teaching you about life, I learned from you. When you were small you gave these words to me, I now give them back to you. I love you more than all the leaves on all the trees, in all the world: my son, Rick.
Speak to me of yesterday when we laughed and loved in the sun.
A gentle touch, a soft caress as our love had just begun.
Reveal to me a time gone by when my world was free and light.
Whisper to me of the love we shared on a bright, star-filled night.
My tortured mind reaches backwards to a not too distant past,
To a soft-spoken word and a gentle kiss and a time that could not last.
I am now lost in a faraway place, not to hear your voice or to see your face.
I cry out for a time gone by, and the abiding love that will not die.
The many tales and legends of the Seven Cities of Gold have long held a fascination for me. What was it about the legends that caused such outstanding explorers as De Soto, Friar Marcos and Coronado to search so diligently for the cities without ever finding them? Were they driven by the promise of riches that the Seven Cities were said to possess? Was it in search of a highly advanced civilization, ruled by a mighty king who lived in a magnificent palace?
Come with me now as we journey back in time to a virgin wilderness that had not yet felt the destructive scars the white race seems to leave on the land it populates.
Come with me to a secret place, an Eldorado, an Eden ... the Seven Cities of Gold.
It is a land rich in silver and other wealth. And has great cities; the houses are of stone, and terraced like those in Mexico; the people have weights and measures, and are civilized. They marry only once, wear woolen clothes . . . and are ruled by a king.
We dwell in an Eden beneath a bright starlit sky.
We dwell in an Eden, my love and I.
The tall Indian dismounted silently and quickly ducked behind a pine tree. The evening breeze stirred his long ebony-colored shoulder-length hair. He wore white buckskin trousers with a white vest to match. His handsome face creased into a frown as his senses became alert. He could hear the splashing sound coming from the pool that was barely visible from where he stood.
The soft leather moccasins made no sound as he stepped to the side of the pine tree so he could have a better view of the pool. His dark eyes moved over the rippling surface and he watched quietly as a woman surfaced and with swift strokes swam toward the bank.
He slipped behind the tree once more to conceal his presence from her. His eyes fastened on her golden hair that streamed down her back to her waist as she emerged from the water. His eyes blazed when he noticed that she wore nothing. Her beautiful body was perfect. Her waist was tiny and her hips well rounded. Her breasts were full and firm. On her lovely face was a smile, as if she were having private thoughts known only to herself. The white woman slipped into a soft robe and stood gazing off toward the setting sun.
The tall Indian noticed the way her robe clung to her wet body, emphasizing her soft curves. He was close enough to see the deep green of her eyes. His heartbeat accelerated as he stepped from behind the tree and grabbed the woman. She did not scream, but her eyes widened as she tried to wriggle out of his arms.
"You are my captive, it will do no good for you to struggle, white woman," he said in a deep, passionate voice.
There was still no fright in the emerald-green eyes she turned up to him. "You would do well to release me. My husband is a fierce warrior and it is said that he guards his wife jealously."
"Should I fear this man who is your husband? Perhaps you would prefer me to him?"
"I prefer no one to my husband. Men have died for touching me," she told him, struggling for her release.
"Silence, woman. I would hear more about this man who is your husband," he told her, tightening his grip.
The woman's struggling had caused her robe to slip from her shoulder, revealing a creamy white breast. The Indian resisted the urge to touch the satiny skin.
The woman gave him a look that said she knew what he was thinking. "My husband is Tajarez, King of the Lagonda tribe and ruler of the Seven Cities of Gold," she said proudly.
"It is right that a woman such as yourself belongs to a king. If he is a king, are you then a queen?"
"I am his queen, yes."
His hands slid around her shoulders and down to her tiny waist. His eyes blazed as he looked at her parted lips. "I would see what it feels like to kiss a queen." His lips descended and the woman did not pull away but met his descent halfway. His mouth seemed to scorch her tender skin, and he felt her arms move around his shoulders. The hands that rested about her tiny waist pulled her tighter against his long, muscled body.
When the Indian raised his head, his eyes were passion-laced, and the white woman smiled, recognizing her power to move him.
"Tajarez, it has been so long. I have missed you so much! When Jeffery brought me word that you wanted me to meet you in our Eden, I lost no time in getting here."
He lightly touched her golden hair. "Two weeks is a long time to be parted, beloved. I wish we did not ever have to be separated, but as king of the Seven Cities, my duties must often take me away from the palace."
"How long can we remain here?"
"I can spare no more than seven days, then we must return home."
Her lovely face eased into a bright smile. "If seven days are all we have, should we waste time talking?"
He laughed and picked her up into his arms, carrying her toward the white tent that had been erected for their comfort. It was dark inside the tent, but Tajarez did not bother lighting a torch. He laid her onto the soft fur robe and lay down beside her, pulling her to him so her head rested on his shoulder.
"I rode to the palace to see our son and daughter before I came here. It seems they have grown since the two weeks I saw them last."
"Little Hamez is trying to walk. He has no patience with crawling as his twin sister does. He is like his father in many respects."
Tajarez smiled. "In what way?'
"He takes a few steps, and when he falls he gets very angry, but he stands up to try again."
"He is worthy to be called the prince royal," Tajarez said proudly.
She snuggled closer to him. "You may not be so pleased with him when I tell you what he did two days ago. Vista was rocking Tamera so she would fall asleep while Hamez played on the floor. After our daughter had fallen asleep and Vista laid her in her bed, she could not find Hamez anywhere. She alerted the guard and a thorough search was made of the second floor, but Hamez could not be found, so then the ground floor and even the gardens were searched, but we could not find Hamez anywhere. I do not mind telling you I was frantic until Jeffery discovered him in the antechamber curled up in your chair fast asleep."
"He is anxious to sit on his father's throne," Tajarez said. "But how did he get downstairs?"
"I suppose he crawled. I told Vista that she was to watch him more closely. He could easily have been injured."
"I do not see the harm. I will not have him coddled."
"But, Tajarez, he is not even a year old."
"Nonetheless, I think it is time to assign a man to see to his needs."
"No, he is my baby. I do not want him to be turned over to a man just yet. Could we not wait another year?"
Tajarez smiled. "Perhaps, but you must understand that as the prince royal he will be raised differently from any other children we might have."
"I know, and I accept that, but I want to keep him with his twin for as long as possible. Let him be a baby for a while longer."
Tajarez's hands moved over her soft curves, and all thoughts of her son left her mind as he bent his dark head. "I do not wish to talk of my son. I have missed you, beloved."
Mara parted her lips and surrendered herself in the arms of her husband. A week, she thought. A week away from everyone, alone with Tajarez, no one but herself and her tall, dark husband.
It was the hour just before sunup when the world is quiet and the eastern sky is lit with a soft, rosy glow. Mara looked at her sleeping husband beside her. He seemed tired. It would be good for him to have a week of rest, she thought. Tajarez had so many demands on him, for he ruled seven cities. He was absolute ruler, and it took up most of his time.
She brushed a dark strand of hair lovingly from his face, and he flinched at her gentle touch, but did not awaken. She had never thought it possible to get as close to another person as she had to Tajarez. He was as arrogant and as unapproachable as ever to others, but she knew the man behind the king, and she loved him so deeply. He was loving and kind, sharing his problems with her and telling her at night when she lay in his arms how he had spent his day, often asking her advice about some small matter. On important business he made the decisions alone, without counsel from anyone, with the exception of Sagas the Wise.
Mara lay back against his shoulder and studied his handsome face as her mind reached backward to the time when she had first met him. She had been sixteen when she was abducted by two Indians in the woods near her home just outside St. Louis. The two Indians had taken her far into the wilderness, where she had been rescued by a tall, beautiful Indian, who, it appeared at the time, could not speak. It was not until much later that she learned that he was the prince of an as yet undiscovered, highly advanced Indian tribe. Tajarez, after rescuing her, took her to a fort to be returned to her family. But by that time she had fallen in love with him and had begged him to take her away with him. He had ridden away and she had thought she would never see him again. It was a year after he rescued her that he found her again in her home in St. Louis and took her to his home in the hidden valley where she became his bride.
Their courtship had been a long and stormy one, and when Mara learned that Tajarez had come for her because of the old Indian prophecy, her anger had been renewed. She quoted the prophecy to herself:
When the Golden One comes
There will be peace and plenty
The past will be revealed
To the few and the many
One man will die
Another shall weep
There will be love
Where the Golden One sleeps.
At the time she had not believed the prophecy, but as time passed she had come to know that it was indeed true. The palace of the king had gold sheeting on one wall, and on that sheeting were drawings and ancient hieroglyphics, which Mara could decipher because her father had lived for some years in Egypt and had mastered the hieroglyphics. He had passed that knowledge on to her.
Her brother Jeffery had traveled with her to the hidden valley and was now married to Tajarez's lovely cousin, Sasha. Tajarez had made Jeffery the head of his guards. Mara and Tajarez now had twins, a son and a daughter, and Mara was deliriously happy.
Tajarez opened his eyes and stared into her face. "How long have you been awake?"
"Not too long. I was just remembering the past."
He drew her into his arms. "Let Sagas the Wise dwell on the past. You and I will look to the future."
Mara snuggled up in his arms. "What are your plans for the future?"
He smiled at her. "My plans for the future are no different than my plans right this moment." His eyes blazed and he looked deeply into her eyes. "I want to love you every day of my life. I hate when my duty takes me away from you. These past two weeks I have been so lonely, even when I am surrounded by others. I fear I have become too dependent on your love. Sometimes I become frightened at what my life would be like if you should leave me."
Mara was startled by his revelation. He was such a commanding figure, strong and self-assured, it was hard to think of him having any weaknesses.
"Tajarez, I want only to stay by your side forever. I love you so much."
He grinned wickedly. "Prove it."
Her arms went around his neck and her mouth sought his, and soon they were transported to a place where the two of them had been many times before.