I … have to keep writing.  I have to keep telling myself that I am still me.  I have been told that I have this incredible future in front of me – this future that lasts forever – and all I feel is a sick dread.  I have nowhere to turn!  My parents are gone, my friends are gone.  The man with whom I’d planned my future – My future, is gone.  I had hope.  I had certainty, and most of all, I had reality.  Now, I have nothing. 

I am going through the motions because I don’t know what else to do.  I suppose I could throw myself off a cliff, or under a bus or something, just to see if I’d really die.  I could get somebody – though I have no idea who – to lop my head off.  Maybe just a hand, to see if there are gears and wires and oil.  I am so afraid.  There is such imbalance in the power to accept immortality, such degradation in the thought that I am destined to be a whore, not just for a lifetime, but for eternity.  

I have been going to my classes, though I’m sure they think I’m a dolt.  I find myself staring off into space like I’m ten years old.  Actually, when I was ten, I paid more attention.  I just sit there wondering why I’m doing this – going to Lycee.  Will I ever be a cartographer?  Will I ever help guide my planet out into the galaxy?  Probably not, because what I wanted, does not matter.   It is my glorious destiny to lie with a man I do not love – allow myself to be used forever and forever both physically and mentally while I whisper what I am told to whisper into his ear while he satisfies himself on me. There is supposed to be joy in sex, in lovemaking.  Of course that’s because you’re supposed to be doing it with someone you love.  I will never be able to love anyone. Right now I’m not sure I could.

I have been back to Mountain hold three times in the last week.  I leave my student self behind, step into that small room, and emerge as an insuperable being in the halls of that ancient fortress.  I am always greeted with respect.  I always get a warm hug from Harrier, and Lark has spent many hours showing me the wonders of the place, but the moments when I can feel joy, and hope, are those I spend with Chirion.  I think that’s because my first twenty-six years as a child – the whole virtual reality idea – was Harrier’s, I think he feels a little too responsible for me, and tries a little too hard to make me feel “normal,” which, at this point is downright ridiculous.  Lark is lovely, but she is trying too hard to make me feel at home in my new reality, which I can’t even reconcile as reality yet, so we seem to hit more than our share of conversational dead ends.  Kestrel, whatever else I have to say about him, is consistent.  He remains an arrogant, condescending ass.  His is the mission of seeing that Mountain hold runs smoothly.  The rest of us and our petty concerns are but shadows in the corner.  If he could have, “Get over it” tattooed backwards on my forehead, I’m pretty sure he’d do it.

Chirion, he of the long white hair and the weathered face, just seems so … for the lack of a better word … solid.  There is no sense that he is “trying.” There is no sense that he has learned to love the place, grown accustomed to his lot or anything like that.  There is in him this … joy, this radiance, this incredible package of brilliance and humility with which he is perfectly at ease.  The questions I ask him, he answers.  Simply, honestly.  He knows exactly who he is, when he was created and by whom and where, and what was and is expected of him.  The lesson I’m beginning to learn from him, is that there is a good deal of living beyond what is expected from Mountain hold.  That I absolutely can go on with my life.  That I absolutely can be a cartographer.  That I absolutely can.  And for the time I am with him, discovering the wonders of the Great Library of the Dragonhorses, exploring the huge, underground gardens, telling him what I’ve learned so far in school – for that time, I believe him, and I feel solid, too.  I feel like I could put a foot forward and tap the future with my toe, maybe even step out into it. 

And then I find myself back here in my room.  And I am alone.  I cannot talk about what I’m doing as Ah’ren of Mountain hold, Whore in Training … and somehow, talking about home and my parents seems so … deceitful.  Like I’m making up a lie about my perfect upbringing and my beautiful, verdant home on the island.  Will there always be this fracture?  Will I always feel like two people or nobody at all?  It is one thing to choose to be a whore.  Being created for the purpose of being a whore, seems just now insurmountable, and it’s where I always end up when I try to think this through.  My destiny is to be a whore.  A Dragonwhore.  That, is what defines me, and my future.