I just had a wonderful chat with Sovrin and Audryn, who came to my room to see if I was all right. I developed a bit of a headache during my session with the God-Empress, which is unusual since normally pouvrin don’t cause me physical pain, except for when I maintain the see-in-dark pouvra for too long. It was gone by dinnertime, but I think Sovrin and Audryn wanted an excuse for some girl time, and we ended up talking and giggling until I was so tired I couldn’t stop yawning. But I saw my first kathana! Even if it was just a little summoning Sovrin and Audryn did on my floor to snatch some hand-sized fruit pies out of one of the palace kitchens for us to snack on. They pushed aside the red bearskin rug and chalked a circle on the floor—they are both really good at drawing nearly perfect circles—with single th’an at the four cardinal points and the four ordinal points. Then they chalked runes on their right palms, sat across from each other with those palms pressed together, and slowly pulled their hands apart to reveal a sort of window in the air that looked into the kitchen. Sovrin used her left hand to take hold of the window so Audryn could let go, then Audryn began chalking what I can only call instructions on the floor that made the view shift until we could see the pies. Then it was my job to reach through the window and grab as many as I could before we heard someone shouting, and I rolled out of the window and it snapped shut. Then we laughed like loons, and then we stuffed our faces.
Sovrin’s cheerful enough, but it was clear she’s still miserable about being separated from Marleya. It wasn’t a serious relationship yet, but they’d been friends a long time before becoming lovers—had grown up together, even—and losing something like that is hard, I think. And Audryn confessed, with many blushes, that she’s in love with Terrael. That left me horribly conflicted, though in the end I stuck with my policy of not interfering in other people’s business. The furthest I was willing to go was to suggest she take a chance on telling him. Audryn blushed even harder at that and insisted it was impossible, which I thought was because in Castavir the men are expected to speak first, but that’s not it, it’s that he’s her superior. Not that he is, anymore, now that the Darssan has been disbanded and there are no more working groups, but she can’t stop thinking of him as such. And she’s older than he is by a couple of years, though I still don’t understand why that’s a problem. It was one of those everyone-knows things cultures have that it takes outsiders a while to understand. I almost wished I had a lover to gossip about, since I was the odd one out, and I almost confessed that I’m still a virgin, but as intimate as the conversation became, I still felt awkward about saying that. Especially since I still know almost nothing about Castaviran sexual customs and taboos. For all I know, being a twenty-seven-year-old virgin is shocking on the level of eating puppies. (Though Castavirans might do that too. See how little I know?)
Eventually we got to the point of laughing our heads off at really stupid things, like dust motes, and I made them leave so I could get some sleep. Tomorrow we begin combining aspects of the new kathana with my magic, and I have no idea what to expect, except that I’ll have to be polite to Vorantor, which means I can use all the sleep I can get.