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.
It may have been awhile since I last wrote in my journal. Somehow it doesn’t seem as important anymore. I am focusing single-mindedly on my lessons, and things seem much simpler. My routine has changed. I am having morning meal with Anchoress Samarra each day. We visit and drink tea, and have something to eat, and then I go off to, what for me, is school. I practice my language and my positions and I find great joy in them. I have read back in my journal and I have to laugh at some of the things I have said about being afraid of my father and afraid of my fate. How silly of me.
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.
Father is suspicious of me, I know it. He has started watching me out of the corner of his eye, and coming to my training sessions and asking questions of my trainers. I can see them talking, though I cannot hear what is being said. He sits with folded arms and watches me as I go through my poses. I practice my breathing and my vocabulary of seduction, and he leans forward and puts his hands in his lap. I remember his words to me – that he would be the one who took my fruit, and then I would be cast aside. When he looks at me like that, I know he means it, that he would enjoy it, and that he would not be gentle in the taking.
I can still hear him – my father – yelling at my mother. She was crying, and when I saw her later she was bruised and bleeding, and it is my fault. My father, who rarely even acknowledges my existence, much less asks me to sit and chat for a bit, asked me how I was enjoying my training. Now, I know I’m not supposed to mention that my mother is sneaking me off to school when she can, and that we practice in secret the letters and numbers. I know I am supposed to be a pleasuring gift to some king or other. I accept that.
Mother and I nearly got caught today. I thought it was kind of fun, hiding from my father’s palace guards, but my mother was truly terrified. I know that going to school is forbidden to me – at least school in the sense that it applies to males – but my mother thinks it is important for me, so we both take the risk. I enjoy school, though when I should ever get the chance to use it in my life is beyond me.