Sesskia’s Diary, part 13

20 Senessay (afternoon)

Well, I was totally wrong. Damn Sai Aleynten and his stupid, smug, arrogant, keep everything to himself attitude. I spent the entire morning doing pouvrin at his command. Set this on fire. Move this. Walk through this. I refused to do the last, which made him angry, but what could he do about it? And he wouldn’t tell me a thing about why he wanted all of that from me, just kept making notes on his stupid wooden board, or rather on papers he held on his stupid wooden board. Continue reading

Sesskia’s Diary, part 12

20 Senessay

There was just no time yesterday to bring this record up to date. So much has happened—and yet I don’t feel much has changed. One change is that Sai Aleynten knows about this book now. I left it on the dresser when I lay down, and then I fell asleep—I’ve been sleeping restlessly, and I suppose I was more tired than I realized. I woke to a knock at the door, and then Sai Aleynten came in without waiting for me to invite him, which might be a Castaviran custom but is more likely just Sai Aleynten being himself. “I could have been naked,” was the first thing that emerged from my mouth, and then I wanted the floor to swallow me up. Sai Aleynten just raised an eyebrow and said, “Is it a custom of your people to sleep naked?” Continue reading

Sesskia’s Diary, part 11

19 Senessay

I had breakfast this morning in that room with all the tables, eggs with funny orange yolks and some reassuringly familiar bacon and a glass of pink juice that tasted a little bitter, but grew on me over time. No one came to sit with me, and I didn’t see Terrael or Audryn, and while I didn’t exactly feel lonely—I’ve traveled alone for too long to let solitude bother me—it meant I had no one to talk to but the inside of my own head, and that made me increasingly nervous about the upcoming conversation with Sai Aleynten. It felt like I was coming at it from a position of weakness, since I’d made a mistake, and I hated—still hate—the thought of giving Sai Aleynten any power over me. I don’t know why that is; he only used magic on me to defend himself, and he seemed more concerned for my welfare than Terrael was with the whole Cap of Death incident, even if that was only because he sees me as a puzzle he doesn’t want damaged until he can solve it. I just don’t like him, that’s all. Continue Reading

Sesskia’s Diary, part 10

18 Senessay (later, same evening)

I had to stop before because Terrael came in to ask me more questions. Then Audryn—I haven’t written about her yet, I guess—she came to make Terrael leave me alone so I could sleep, but I really need to finish writing about this, because it has to be important.

So, we compared histories. After about three hours, we were both tired, and Terrael suggested we get some food. This time, he took me to a big room with ten or twelve long tables and little backless stools lining them on both sides. A lot of white-robes were sitting there, eating, and all of them looked at us—at me—when Terrael and I came in. Terrael ignored the attention and went to an opening in the far wall, like a five-foot-square window with no glass, and I followed him. Beyond the window was the largest kitchen I’d ever seen in my life, and that includes the one in the royal house in Venetry where the cook hid me while the guards searched the house. A man came to the window, looked at both of us, and walked away again. When he came back, he had a couple of plates piled with food: a slice of meat in thick brown gravy, mashed potatoes (finally, a food I recognized!), green peas that had been dried and then reconstituted, so they were mushy, and a thick slab of the brown bread perched on top of everything. Terrael handed one to me, thanked the man, and went to the end of one of the tables where no one was sitting. He went at his food like it was the last meal he’d get all week. I was conscious of people still staring at me, so I used my best manners. Though now that I write that, it occurs to me that I have no idea what these people consider good manners. Maybe Terrael inhaling his food is the pinnacle of proper eating etiquette in Castavir. Continue reading

Sesskia’s Diary, part 9

18 Senessay (evening)

Maybe I was wrong about that last sentence. Again I’m so overwhelmed by what I’ve learned I don’t know what to think anymore. So I’ll start with what I’m sure of, which is that Terrael wouldn’t meet my eyes when he finally showed up, about two hours after the end of my interrogation. The first thing he said was “I’m not sorry.”

“I was furious with you earlier,” I told him, “but since I’m not dead, I decided to be glad it worked and forgive you. But if you ever try anything like that on me again I’ll strangle you with your own robe.” (That’s actually what I said, not me being clever in retrospect. Though I don’t know how I’d make it happen. Terrael’s tall and I think he’s stronger than he looks.) Continue reading