The More I Learn

Samarra was called to conference this morning, and my mother and I took that opportunity to slip away and go spend time with the Anchoress of the Ancient City. Jasreth has been bringing things in for me to see and study, because she is freer to move about than I, but what she brings does not do justice to the things I saw today!

Planet Equus is an amazing sight, like a blue and green orb against the darkness of space. They have real animals there, though I’m still not sure what that means. Anchoress Ensharra says it means they have beating hearts, and that they breathe, and live and die like we do. I am not at all sure why they would have something so worthless. Our animals eat nothing, drink nothing. They are wonderful companions and not a bit of trouble. Our people have beating hearts and they are nothing but trouble; of that I grow more certain every day. She reminded me that we have caroni for food, and that they are living things. I’d never thought of that, having never seen one except in pieces on a plate. It was kind of a shock to realize they have lives.

She showed me a picture of a caron, and it was the oddest feeling. I couldn’t remember ever seeing one, and never cared to. What else am I removed from? Surely if I am given to the Equi I will have to associate with these “real” animals. Then maybe not. Perhaps I will spend my life in the castle, watching the activities of others through my window while I bear child after child for their king. I wonder if he will share me out as a favor, like my father does with my mother.

Ensharra tells me that their king, their dragonhorse, is the most powerful single entity in the known galaxy. Something I will not be mentioning to my father. She says he has the reputation of being a kind man. I probably shouldn’t even write this down for fear of having it found out, but she gave my uncle’s brother, who is one of the ones who guards the Telenir warlord, something to ease the man’s pain, and he has spoken with the man and brought him water and some foodstuffs while he recovers from the torturing potion administered by my father. It is he who has spoken of the Equi Dragonhorse. He says the Dragonhorse, Ardenai, is a kind and gentle man, and ancient. He is one hundred years old! No one on Lebonath Jas lives to be one hundred. Maybe I won’t be bearing child after child after all. I’m sure he will try, though, and I need to be prepared for that. I wonder if he will stink like old people do.

Anyway, back to the subject of Equus. The planet is covered with green grass and rolling hills. There are trees everywhere, not in orderly rows like ours, and some of them bear nothing but leaves. They seem to have many useless things on their planet. I wonder why. Perhaps it is part of their religion – a religious icon of some kind.

Anchoress Ensharra had some pictures of the Equi people. They are interesting, being darker skinned than we are, with hair and eyes as black as night on most of them – some brown – almost no one with blonde hair and pale eyes. They look very primitive, and rather dirty. Now I’m afraid all of them will stink, not just the old ones. I remembered my old fear that they might eat those who do not please them, and Ensharra laughed and said they eat only vegetation. That may explain the grass and the trees. I wonder if they cook it first.

No wonder they seem primitive by our standards. It is a fact that the food which feeds our brains comes only from the flesh that carries blood. See, I knew that. How can I know that and not know what a caron looks like? The more I learn, the less I know.