The Questions and The Fear
Anchoress Samarra told me I could bring nothing. Absolutely nothing. No clothes but what I will wear on the journey, and then they will be burned. No pictures of my family, no books, no jewelry, no journal. Nothing. And yet I am writing in my journal, which I found after many weeks. (Hiding something where it is absolutely safe from prying eyes, also means that sometimes it is hidden from the one who hides it.)
And yet, here I am, writing in my journal. My dear Jasreth secreted it amongst her belongings, and since she is a servant, she was passed over and her things deemed of little importance. It taught me a lesson about underestimating those who serve.
I wish my mother could have come. I miss her very much.
The last few weeks have been absolutely frantic beyond anything I have ever experienced. I practiced my positions and my vocalizations hour after hour, day after day. I just hope when the time comes I won’t look bored with the whole thing. Posturing in front of an old man. It makes me cringe just a bit. I hope he’s gentle, but I am prepared for the fact that he might not be. My father has told me that I must become pregnant immediately – the first day if that is possible. I must bear the Dragonhorse a child and bring it, and him, here … well, there, to meet my father. I know he’s planning something unpleasant; what, I have no idea, but if it is anything like what he has done to that Telenir warlord, my marriage will be short-lived. Such pain will kill my elderly husband, and then what? To whom do I belong at that point? Where will I go? Back to Equus to stand trial for what my father has done? Will my father indeed be so powerful that no planet or Affination can stand against him, and if so, will I be rewarded for doing my part? Could my reward be bringing my sister home, or will my reward be joining my sister in the arms of a Narga nobleman? And what will become of my baby?
I got to hold a baby once. It was sweet.
What if I choose not to take my husband and my babe back to Lebonath Jas? What if I can’t get pregnant at all, if he is too old, or our species are incompatible? Surely my father won’t want me back, but will the Dragonhorse keep me or cast me out? I admit it – I’m frightened half to death. And being frightened isn’t doing me a bit of good. I snuck up close to where my father is holding the Telenir warlord. I hid behind some large pots and I could see him. His eyes were closed and he was swaying back and forth like he was rocking a baby, singing to himself in this amazing, hypnotic voice. Just for a moment there, I was wishing my father had given me to him. He seemed so gentle. But he will be dead soon – dead of hunger and thirst. A harsh way to die. Why am I thinking of him, and of death? I must focus my thoughts forward. A few more days and I will be on Equus, and the fate of my world will arrive with me.