Study Guide

Beneath a Marble Sky Chapter 10

By John Shors

Chapter 10

Brothers as Princes

  • Ladli and Jahanara have an emergency secret meeting in one of the secret tunnels under the Taj Mahal.
  • Ladli called the meeting to warn Jahanara that Aurangzeb plans to kill Dara in three days.
  • It's actually a pretty ingenious plan: Aurangzeb will kill Dara during an ambush by fake Persians, and that way he can steal the throne and make war with his favorite enemies. It's win-win for Aurangzeb, really.
  • Jahanara is dismayed to discover that Ladli got this information by becoming her terrible brother's mistress. Ew.
  • Ladli reassures Jahanara that she knows what she's doing; she's even secretly using the money he gives her to build a Hindu temple as revenge.
  • They can't poison Aurangzeb, because Balkhi tastes all his food and even sleeps nearby at all times. Dangit.
  • Jahanara goes in the middle of the night to warn Dara about the plot against his life.
  • Dara's kind of a jerk about her warning. He pooh-poohs her distrust of any men in the army and tells her that her "theatrics" are annoying.
  • Geez, you're welcome, big brother.
  • Jahanara is convinced that Dara is underestimating Aurangzeb's treachery—as usual—so she's going to take matters into her own hands.
  • Jahanara goes in disguise to the doctor who attended her mother's labor and death. She can trust him.
  • Jahanara persuades the doc to participate in a plot: the night before he's supposed to go on the trip with Aurangzeb, Dara is going to eat spoiled meat. When the doc is called, he's supposed to tell Dara that he has malaria or a serious fever and shouldn't leave his bed.
  • Then, Jahanara looks for Nizam, because she needs his help, too. He's the one who tastes the food that she and Dara eat, and he will be the one to add the rotten meat to Dara's dish. He's in. Nizam loves a good secret plan.
  • After a good nap in the harem, Jahanara joins her father, Dara, and Aurangzeb for dinner.
  • Aurangzeb is being a jerk to everyone, as usual.
  • Dara is served the rotten meat…hopefully.
  • The tense family dinner finally ends, so Jahanara goes to bed, hoping her plan will work.
  • Nizam wakes Jahanara up in the middle of the night to report that Dara is very ill.
  • The doc arrives and does as he'd promised Jahanara he would do: he tells everyone that it's probably some terrible fever, and Dara likely won't recover soon, if at all.
  • Jahanara is worried she might have accidentally made Dara too sick. Whoops.
  • The plot is working, though: now Aurangzeb is going on the trip to Persia without his brother.
  • The next morning, after Aurangzeb has left, the physician announces that Dara is going to be fine. Phew.