Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang

Geography Cultures

By Dori Jones Yang

Athletic and robust willed, Princess Emmajin's made up our minds to do what no lady has performed sooner than: develop into a warrior within the military of her grandfather, the good Khan Khubilai. within the Mongol international the one method to in attaining recognize is to teach bravery and win glory at the battlefield. the very last thing she wishes is the distraction of the foreigner Marco Polo, who demanding situations her ideals within the gardens of Xanadu. Marco has no talents within the "manly arts" of the Mongols: horse racing, archery, and wrestling. nonetheless, he charms the Khan together with his wit and story-telling. Emmajin sees a unique Marco as they commute throughout 13th-century China, looking 'dragons' and combating elephant-back warriors. Now she faces a distinct conflict as she struggles together with her appeal in the direction of Marco and her extraordinary objective of successful popularity as a soldier.

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The courtyard full of noisy people made him skittish and uncertain. Normally, I rode him on an open plain outside the north city gate. I took his reins and put my hand on his warm shoulder. His body was quivering. I stood near his head and looked into one of his large brown eyes, which were the same height as my eyes. “Baatar,” I said. ” We had little time, but he seemed to relax at my touch and voice. I stroked his shoulder. After two years of riding him, helping train him from his youngest days, I loved this horse.

We three competitors stood in a row and bowed toward the Great Khan. Three times, we performed the kowtow on our hands and knees, touching our foreheads to the ground, showing our loyalty and obedience to the Emperor. After the third kowtow, we waited with our heads on the cold flagstones. Everyone in the crowded courtyard fell silent. ” The Khan’s voice boomed. ” I stepped forward, my head bowed. ” the Khan commanded. I looked up the marble stairs at my grandfather, at his round head and thin, pointed beard, his huge ears and narrow eyes.

I wished Suren could rally enthusiasm that way. ” Temur shouted. ” Suren asked, with an edge of challenge. Temur’s eyes gleamed in the firelight. “An archery contest. In one of the public courtyards. All the boys of the court. ” My heart leaped. Archery was my best skill. I had spent years perfecting it, both still and mounted. At an age long past that when most Mongol girls gave up, I had persisted. This could be my chance to show, in public, that I was better than any of my boy cousins. But would they let me take part?

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