blsteen: LOL! That happened quite by accident actually. For the second...the latter choice is the one you're looking for!
Persia was in turmoil. As she and Imani had passed through the country she had seen the devastation caused by rebels and soldiers alike. Whole areas of the eastern territories needed to be garrisoned by thousands of soldiers.
And yet, as she rode through it all, Talena couldn’t bring herself to care much. She was eighty seven years old, trapped in time and in the body of a thirty year old. She was tired of war, of fighting, of having to explain herself to people.
And so, she had led them south instead of going directly back to Esfahan. When Imani had timidly questioned her about it Talena had brushed her question off.
The port city of Gamrun lay on the shores of the Straits of Hormuz. It was a trading place, and ships were anchored while they were unloaded. The business reminded Talena of ants.
“Mistress, can we stop?” Imani asked.
Talena had been irritable and uncommunicative for most of their journey from the north, but now she looked around angrily. “Just leave if you don’t want to be here! I free you, now go away!”
Imani didn’t move. “Mistress, I-“ she begun.
“I am not your Mistress! You are not my slave! I hate slavery! And what does it even matter whether you’re tired now? In two days you won’t feel it, in two months you’ll have forgotten it, and in twenty years you’ll be dead!” Talena said. She trembled, either with anger or regret. “Don’t you understand? I’m older than anyone you have ever known, I have seen things that no one here can possibly imagine, and I am stuck here!”
People were watching her, and Talena clenched her fists as she fought back her sudden, unexpected fury.
Imani, for her part, looked terrified. She knew this woman her Master had sent her with was different, but just for a moment she looked as though she might lash out. Imani however was used to angry owners, and it was best to say nothing until they calmed down.
This now happened. Talena dismounted heavily and walked over to Imani. “I’m sorry, dear. It’s not your fault. I...I don’t know. I don’t want to go back to Esfahan and watch some more pointless wars. I am through fighting. I just want to...want to be myself.”
The slave dismounted and bowed her head. She hadn’t understood much of what Talena had said, but she tried to soothe anyway. “Mistress, you so not need to apologise. You are a great lady, and you are troubled by things I do not understand.”
Talena sighed. “I guess we better go back to Esfahan. Your Master won’t be happy if I keep you away.”
“Excuse me, my Lady,” a man said from behind Talena. She turned to see a young Indian nobleman, a Hindu most likely. He was dressed in white robes of very good quality. He had several servants and guards with him. He spoke good Persian, indicating that he had some experience of Persia.
“Yes?” Talena asked.
“Forgive me for interrupting, but are you the one known as Talena?”
She sighed. “That’s me. Warrior woman for hire,” she added bitterly.
“I was hoping that we might be able to talk. My father has a proposition for you.”
“Where are you from?”
“The Kingdom of Vijayanagar. My father is one of the members of the Great Council until our King comes of age and into his inheritance.”
“So what is he doing here? Anyway, lead the way.”
“My father is here to discuss trading concessions with the Ayatollah...but he has not arrived to meet us. We were planning to return home on the morning tide. Your slave should stay outside,” he warned.
“She’s not mine, but she stays with me,” Talena insisted.
“As you wish, Lady. My name is Amar. My father was Mahapradhana...Prime Minister...to the old King. However, His Majesty died leaving just his four year old son.”
Talena followed him into a large trading hall which had been taken over by the Indian delegation. Soldiers and officials bowed to Amar, all except his father, a bearded middle aged man in elegant robes.
“Lady Talena. I am Minister Jagdish Malini, Regent of the Empire of Vijayanagar.” He turned to his people and waved them away with words in a language Talena did not know. He turned back to her. “Please sit. It is a stroke of luck I have met you, as I have a proposal for you.”
Talena was annoyed, and in a bad mood. “Look, Lord Malini, I am simply not in the mood for this. Please get to the point.”
She was secretly annoyed that neither of them seemed angered by her rudeness.
“Of course. The Empire of Vijayanagar is a great power, Lady Talena, stretching from the Madurai in the south to Nagpur in the north. The late King was a great man, but his son is not yet an adult. I know about you, you are famous. I don’t want you to fight, or anything like that. I have heard you know many things others don’t. I want to use your expertise.”
Talena considered. What exactly did she have in Persia? She had the ear of the Ayatollah, but that was an uncertain asset. He was old and would die before another ten years passed she reckoned, and his councillors were less well disposed to her than he was. She had nothing to lose.
“Very well. I accept. I do not want much, just a place to live in peace and to do whatever it is you want for me to do. I am tired of fighting, tired of war.” She turned of Imani. “What did you want to do? You can come with me to Vijayanagar as a free woman, or go back to Esfahan and your Master.”
Imani didn’t pause long. “Free, Mistress?”
“As a bird. I am emancipating you. Once we reach India you may go where you wish, though I will have use for you as a maid I guess. I’ll pay you of course. You don’t have any family or others in the Shah’s service?”
“Thank you, Mistress! No, just me...my parents were sold when I was two...and I never saw them again,” she said sadly.
Talena gave her a comforting smile. “Well, you will never be owned by anyone every again.” She turned to the Indians. “I accept your offer provided we leave tomorrow.
“As you wish.”
Isma’il eventually died in 1464 after conquering more of the Qara Koyunlu lands. He left behind a war torn state which soon would become embroiled in a long conflict with the Ottoman Empire; a conflict which successors far greater then those who followed him would have struggled to win.