Outside of Schönbrunn 30 July 1683
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“But he’s everything I’ve ever looked for,” Katrina said, as she looked beyond the stockade and over the endless tops of tents and banners beyond. There was a war on – this they constantly heard – but not for her, any more she imagined. Whatever happened it would happen to her far away from there.
Ina looked at her as if she were on fire and Katrina hadn’t noticed and gasped, “What? Are you insane?”
“I mean, he’s tall, well sort of tall, dark, not bad looking. A clever trader, a real take-charge sort of man. A real achiever, you know? Not like the men back in whereversdorf.”
“Tall? Tall compared to what?” Ina stared at her friend again. “Wait, why are we arguing about this? You’re insane. Maybe that’s why you think he’s tall. You’ve lost your mind. And “not like the men back in whereversdorf”? Oh, you mean Perchtoldsdorf? And you mean our men. They’re all dead. Remember?” Ina’s world now made even less sense to her than it did a couple weeks ago when the Turks rode in and cut their way up to and through their town.
“Yes I know Ina. You think I don’t know?”
“They’re slaves, remember? We’re slaves, for fuck’s sake!”
“You’ll never get anywhere that way. Just keep quiet. We have no choice in any of this.”
“You mean, I’ll never be sold to a man that way? What the hell else is going to happen to me?”
“Well, I don’t know. Listen, Ina.” Katrina grabbed her friend’s hand and squeezed it, hard. “Things are bad, but this is what we have now. There is nothing we can do. Nothing. Maybe I can talk to Bariş for you. Maybe he knows someone.”
“Wow, could you? Could you please get me sold to some dirty Turk even quicker?”
“They’re not dirty, really. They’re not dirty at all – they bathe quite often. Did you know they have a hammam here in the camp? Can you believe that? A public bath with hot rooms you go into to relax! Just like in Constantinople, Bariş tells me. Its not very big, but they’ve very orderly and Bariş says the Osmanli are actually very just and refined. They just have a bad reputation. But that’s not the point…”
Ina shook her head, open-mouthed, and stared as her friend as she hurried away, like she always did, only this time further and further into a new world as she imagined the life she drew out before her.