I Am Afraid.

The Thirteenth Dragonhorse. That’s who my mother says I will be gifted to. Apparently there has been some sort of disturbance surrounding him, and he is not on his home planet, which is Equus. I’ve never heard of it, but my mother has. She says that in the long ago time a bride-gift was sent to the Twelfth Dragonhorse. Our history says that she did not please him and so he killed her and served her up at a great feast.

What if I don’t please him? What if all my schooling in ways to pleasure him counts for nothing and he kills me in some horrible manner and then eats me? I’m terrified.

My mother says to keep quiet about the fact that for three months now my blood has come on exactly the same day and lasted the same amount of time. If my father finds this out, he will say I am fully ripe and he will send me to the dragon people.

What am I to do? The Anchoress of the Great City says she will look further into these people – these Equi. She has access to books. Maybe she can find a way out for me. But what then? If I am not sent to the Thirteenth Dragonhorse, I will be taken to my father’s bed. I have seen him with young girls. I have seen him with children. He makes no secret of it. He parades it. The men with whom he keeps council give him their daughters and gladly.

Today he brought a girl who was only eleven years old to one of my lessons and disrobed her. She had no breasts yet, and she cried when he forced himself into her. He laughed and said the fruit was sweeter when it was taken and not given. He took his pleasure on her long and loud, then he closed his robes and walked away and left her lying there.

He is a powerful man and I know it is his right. I know it is the purpose of women to serve men. I know it would be an honor to be not only his daughter but his wife as well. But he frightens me. I don’t want to have that happen to me! Please, I don’t want that to happen to me. That little girl came into the room as a person, and crawled away as nothing. I have no idea what happened to her.

I will say it again. Better the unknown. Please, Anchoress Ensharra, bring me hope tomorrow. I so need hope. Right now my only hope is the Equi … who eat people.