My mother has kept me home from my usual routine, saying she thinks I am ill and feverish. I don’t feel ill, but I am beginning to feel very strange, as though I am in two places at once – caught between what Anchoress Samarra says is important, and what my mother and Anchoress Ensharra say is important. I feel like two different people trapped in the same body. My mother says it is because Samarra is drugging me. I cannot believe that of her. My friend, Jasreth, says I should listen to that part which feels most deeply like the truth, but that makes no real sense for me. I have to focus on what is most politically correct, and sometimes I’m afraid that is not truth, but expedience.
Mother told my father that Anchoress Ensharra has herbs that will help regulate my menses, thereby assuaging my feverishness, and so he gave his permission for me to go with my mother to see her. It was nice to be back in my old classroom. I could feel curiosity stirring in me again. Ensharra had some herbs for me to take, but more than that, she had maps, and a whole history lesson about Equus! Jasreth and I sat down with my mother, and Ensharra instructed us.
There are three huge continents – Benacus, Andal and Viridia, and a scattering of islands large and small. One of them is called Anchor, and it looks just like its name. Maybe I’ll get to visit it. On the west coast of Viridia lies the great city of Thura, which is their planetary capital. If these people are truly backward, their architecture is the exception to their stupidity. It is true that almost all of them are farmers, and that they are an agricultural planet, which does not speak well of their intelligence. Here, only the lowest classes would even think of grubbing in the dirt, and on Equus they all do. I wonder what they’re really like.
Two years or so ago I saw some Equi. There was a woman – her name was Ah’krill – and she was their most powerful Anchoress. I was not allowed to speak to her, but I was introduced at a distance. Then, later, in a much more private setting I was presented to a man named Sarkhan. Again I did not speak, nor did he, and again it was at a distance, but my father said he was a very powerful man – a Telenir. What that was all about I do not know, but now it makes me wonder.
Anchoress Ensharra says the Equi are the most powerful Affination of planets in the Seventh Galactic Alliance. I’m not sure what that means, but if that is my destiny, I think I’d better be finding out. Jasreth continues to go to school without repercussions of any kind, and she says she will bring me schoolwork, and information as Anchoress Ensharra can collect it.