It keeps running through my head that the Equi eat only vegetation. I keep seeing all those trees, all that grass, and I wonder if that is what I will be forced to eat. Will I die of starvation? I hear through the cracks that the Telenir Warlord whom my father holds prisoner, is slowly dying of starvation. It seems he cannot keep our good food on his stomach. He vomits it up. They say he paces, paces, paces. Sometimes he sings. Will I pace in my cage, slowly dying of starvation? Will I be brutalized? Will I be tortured for information? I certainly hope not, because I don’t have any information. If I can’t get by on my looks and my sexual prowess, I’m going to be absolutely worthless. Maybe the Equi will give me to the Nargas and I’ll get to see my sister. In any case, I’m about to find out.
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!
When she teaches, she pounds the table, like a drum. Like the sound of the drums they beat at executions. I can hear them in my sleep.
I saw someone very interesting today. I was, I admit, somewhere I probably shouldn’t have been, but I was there for a good reason.
It is hard to live in a world where nothing is known of the worlds outside. So much is based on conjecture, and much of that conjecture is based on fear. Am I really going to be given to a man who will eat me if I do not please him? Am I going to be brutally handled? I have seen sex demonstrated and it is violent. At my last training session we went into a part of the palace where one of my father’s concubines was giving birth. She was my age. She was crying and screaming in pain and the only concern of the women attending her seemed to be the welfare of the babe. There was blood and feces and it stank and the screams reverberated off the high walls. She was terrified. So was I. Is this what it means to be a vessel? Is this a woman’s place in the world?
I am so stupid! I mentioned to Anchoress Samarra that my mother fears she is drugging me, and I asked her if that was true. While I got a mollifying answer, I also got my mother beaten half to death. Samarra told my father. I half wish I could return to that place I was a few weeks ago – that comfortable place where everything Samarra told me felt like the truth, and I didn’t feel so divided in my thoughts and loyalties. I do know she is drugging me. She wouldn’t have reacted so violently if it were false. Anchoress Ensharra is giving me something to counteract what Samarra is giving me, and I have, through bitter experience, gained enough sense not to mention it to anybody, not even Jasreth.