Yes, please sit down. I no longer follow the palace protocol, you know. (posturing of lethal liars!) I've sent my daughter Asila for refreshments, take your ease. It's frightfully warm this time of year, isn't it?
Well. To begin: My name is Zahrah al-Zarqa. My name means Grey Desert Flower, Blooming. Were you my beloved, you could call me Sarah. ...If you were my beloved.
You already know that I'm a royal, though now untitled, of the House of al-Sa'ud. I am descended from the fabled Al-Hamdaniyeh; my other ancestors are Taamri, Rudann, Turfa, and Fadl. There are others of course, all of them as pure as any Asil that ever lived, but for now you shall accept my purity as a given.
Indeed... would you be here if you had not already? Yes.
You ask, "What is purity?" I will tell you.
Purity is submission, willing or unwilling. Purity is rebellion, rightly or wrong. Purity is the start and end of all that is goodly, and evilish, and happyful, and despairing.
Such a polite and discrete laugh you have at my choice of words! I like you. But, listen.
Purity is the way the world looked and felt that day when I carried my wounded, barefoot beloved to the crest of that grassy ridge, where we beheld storms gathering with that muffled thump of thunder miles away. We were weak from hunger. My beloved was fouled from the flux, cramped and often retching over my shoulder. He frequently fainted and fell off. The sun was over our right shoulders making that special light of autumn at hand, and the tall dry grass waved in the wind making that dry, whispery sound. The air seemed stretched to a high keen of a pitch that can't be heard, torn between the dying heat of summer and the coming season's cool. My beloved looked through my eyes (he could do that), and for a single vanishing moment, we both felt something only distantly happy.
I mean Joy.
Of course, given our proscribed status (so unfair!) we were both certain we would shortly be killed, but looking back on that moment on the grassy ridge with my poor beloved, I now believe that, without the imminence of our murder, the moment of Joy could not have been. It was a gift, a sign. A command to be alert for greater wonders combined with deeper despair. Yes. I see it all now, safe in my exile, comfortable.
Purity is all of this, none of this, and something else again.
Ah, here are our refreshments carried by my ever-tardy Asila.
You little twit, you forgot the cakes! You what?! NO, they were NOT for you! Tell Cook to make another batch, and keep your nose out of them! Go!
Yes. Well. I love iced drinks. Especially good in this heat. Don't you agree?
There. Are you comfortable? Good. We have much to discuss. You shall be my honored guest. You are under my protection.
We shall be friends.