In the humid and stifling heat of the hamam, the women of the harem were taking care of themselves. Fatima, lounging by the side of the pool, called out to one of the concubines.
"Oda, by the One above, by the Almighty, have pity on our boredom. Tell us of the princess Layla."
"Again?" she protested. "May Allah be kind and spare me having to tell that whole tale again!"
"Oh Oda, do tell! Please, Oda, please tell us the story!" came the answering calls from the other bathers.
Oda gave a weary shrug, admitting her defeat, and began her tale, a wide smile upon her lips. "Princess Layla bint Suraya bint Javaira, may Allah watch over her, was a young lady, as beautiful and as sparkling as the stars in the heavens. Her eyes were like emeralds stolen from the most precious of all antique treasures, her skin was as soft as the silk of Alexandria, her ebony hair cascaded down over her fine shoulders, as light as the wind itself, and the sound of her voice as she sang was as clear and refreshing as falling rain on a baking hot day. Her mind was as remarkable as her body: in his great kindness, Allah had given her a sharp intelligence and an exceptional gift for the arts. She also possessed a deep knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the most advanced scientific texts, as well as an innate mastery of the major arts of painting, poetry and music. She was courted by all the greatest and richest princes of the whole Empire.
To the great dismay of her parents, there was only one dream in her heart: to emulate the greatest general of all the believers, the famous Saladin...
Miniatures are supplied unpainted and assembly may be required.