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Kyrenaia has a long tradition of employing, in times past owning, handmaidens, alkhadima in Kyrenaian,

One of the most popular books, both in Kyrenaia and abroad, about the Kyrenaian Handmaidens is Silent as a cat, beautiful as a rose, mysterious as the moon. Kyrenaian Handmaidens from the times of Nudinmud to the modern day by Damir Fams, first published in 1953. Since then, a number of new editions were published, with the newest from 2018.

History

Dresscode

Altanafus min la Shay

Handmaiden

Kyrenaian Handmaiden in one of the many variations of the Altanafus min la Shay' (the Breath of Nothing) without veil.

Handmaidens typically wear the Altanafus min la Shay, the Breath of Nothing, as their dress is called. While the exact details differ from household to household, there are a few general guidelines. Colour, generally, is white, but other colours are not unheard of.

The five courts of the different Ilkhans wear their white silk enwrought with thread in different colours, the Palace of the Azure Hall with barely noticeable silver thread, the Palace of the Golden Hall with orange-gold, and so on.

Sworddancer's Dress - Fustan Raqis Alsyf

Tariqa bint-Ilia

Tariqa bint-Ilia in Fustan Raqis Alsyf, around 1940.

The other, less typical dress of a very special league of Handmaidens is the Fustan Raqis Alsyf or Sworddancer's Dress.

Kyrenaian Handmaidens today

Some restaurants and hotels in Kyrenaia, or Kyrenaian-styled establishments of that kind in the whole world, still call their maids and waitresses Handmaidens, oftentimes also including the dress.

The male equivalent were the Menials in times long past. Butlers, if a household employs male servants, or people preferring their respective occupation's name (for example stable hands), is the term used today.

Special Positions

Handmaidens can attain or simply have positions of special purpose or consideration,

  • Tea Maid: Within the Kyrenaian Tea Ceremony, the Tea Maid is one of the most important actors as it is her who makes and serves the tea. It is not uncommon for households to employ one of the daughters of the household as Tea Maid.
  • Personal Handmaiden: The Personal Handmaiden is assigned to a Prince or a Princess personally as escort, friend, confidant, helper, teacher and many more things. Unlike foreigner belief, their duties do not include mollycoddling the Prince or Princess, but to aid them - one famous example would be Prince Mahmut ibn-Idris and Shirin Bayd, the latter quizzing the former on the subjects of tests coming up. The Personal Handmaiden is usually a few years older then her charge, posing as a sort-of older sister type of person. Usually, Personal Handmaidens are members of the Order of the Tabardariyya and fully trained in their arts.

In Culture

Sexuality

Contrary to foreigner belief, Kyrenaian Handmaidens were not sex-slaves (there were dedicated sex-slaves, but they were not Handmaidens). Much rather, the Handmaidens were held in high regard and esteem, experts in their fields and expensive, far too precious to be wasted like that. In addition, ever since the establishment of the Order of the Tabardariyya, Handmaidens came under their protection.

Rumours that the majority of Kyrenaian Princes had their first sexual experiences with Handmaidens are widely overstated.

Notable Handmaidens

Several modern Kyrenaian Princesses were members of the Tributes of their respective academies to the Courts, either for a short time or for their entire school time at the Academies. Other then that, there are the following:

See also

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