Sarkhan Is Dead.

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.

My father is beside himself with … I don’t know … rage, I guess. Anyway, it was this afternoon. He came to watch my lessons, and someone came and gave him a message that set him into a near-frenzy. Apparently that man I saw a couple of years ago – Sarkhan? Apparently he has been killed, and my father’s plans for the conquest of Equus are falling apart. He stood there and yelled at me, as though I had something to do with it. Now I would no longer be gifted to Sarkhan, who was supposed to be Dragonhorse, but to a man named Ardenai. Now my father would have to approach the Telenir from another angle in order to invade Equus. Now they would have to send me to Equus with a delegation and bow and scrape before this Ardenai person. Now I would have to be a gift of peace instead of spoils of war, at least until my father could figure something else out to be rid of Ardenai. On and on like that.

I have to say, none of it made a bit of sense to me. I have had it hammered into me from day one that I was to be the greatest gift of peace my planet could offer. Apparently there is another whole agenda to which I am not privy. My father stood there, practically frothing at the mouth, and finally he shouted, “Just do your part! Just do your part! Just be ready to go!”

I said over and over that I would. I was afraid he was going to beat me like he’d beaten my mother, and as soon as I could, I escaped to the relative safety of the women’s quarters. I’m no longer sure what my part is, exactly, but I’m once again hoping it involves being far away from here. I’m sure my father isn’t planning a war. I’m sure he was just upset by Sarkhan’s death. It was just crazy-talk. I need to apply myself to my lessons and “be ready to go.” And I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. Absolutely shut.