Study Guide

Beneath a Marble Sky Chapter 7

By John Shors

Chapter 7

Pain and Longing

  • A few years have passed.
  • Things are going pretty smoothly: the foundation work has begun on the mausoleum, Father is mostly back to normal running the empire, Dara is dealing with the nobles, Aurangzeb is dealing with the military, Jahanara's other brothers Shah and Murad are off being diplomats, and they're all married with children. Well, everyone but Jahanara, that is, because Khondamir is shooting blanks. Dude's totally sterile. Infertile. Serves him right.
  • Oh, and Jahanara and Isa are totes in love with each other, but they are too honorable to do anything about it. What a shame.
  • It's a happy time for Jahanara, though, because her bestie Ladli is also working on the mausoleum.
  • But of course Jahanara runs afoul of Aurangzeb again. This time, it's more public, and now he's ticked.
  • The short version of the story is that Jahanara publically begged for a halt to an execution that her brother was performing, and when their Father took her side, Aurangzeb perceived it as total disrespect. It probably didn't help that she spat at him, too. Whoops.
  • Balkhi even openly threatens Dara and Jahanara to their faces, on Aurangzeb's behalf. Yikes.
  • Jahanara tries to convince Dara that he needs to have their evil brother killed, but he's too stupidly honorable to do that.
  • Jahanara prays and prays until she comes up with a plan. She knows Aurangzeb wants to see her hurt and shamed, so she asks Ladli to "betray" her. Maybe a beating from Khondamir will stem his anger.
  • The worst part is that now Jahanara and Ladli can never been seen as friends again, in order to keep their ruse safe.
  • So, Ladli goes to Aurangzeb and demands he pay her for information. The information she gives is that she supposedly knows Jahanara has stolen a gold ring from her husband and buried it under a brick in her room.
  • The plan goes down swimmingly…which stinks for Jahanara. Aurangzeb tells her husband about the stolen ring, gloats about his own betrayal to Jahanara, and then Khondamir beats her ruthlessly.
  • Cast out from her own house, she seeks out Isa for help.
  • Isa cares for Jahanara's wounds, and she tells him everything.
  • It's during these moments of intimacy that the love affair between Jahanara and Isa blooms.