Sesskia’s Diary, part 31

2 Lennitay

I’m writing this from the rear senet of the loenerel, where I can have a little privacy because it’s noisier than the others and no one wants to endure that. Everyone else is gathered in the senet just behind the collenna, which is the thing that makes the loenerel go. I’m so full to bursting with new words and ideas that I feel dizzy, a feeling not helped by how fast we’re traveling across this horrible, hot, arid wasteland. I remember now what Cederic said about my not being safe outside the Darssan. I didn’t realize he meant that literally. The Arabel Mountains, under which the Darssan is located, sit squarely in the middle of the least hospitable desert I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen more than a few. I looked back at them when we left about an hour ago, before the loenerel kicked up so much dust I couldn’t see anything, and they were these jagged black hills like the desert’s teeth, jutting up toward the sky. Now they’re far in the distance, and I wish I were back there safe beneath them. Even if it meant not seeing the sky for a few more weeks.

It’s been a few days since I was able to write anything, and they were such eventful days that I’ll only try to record accurately a few important conversations, because I’ve already forgotten most of the details. The night after my last entry wasn’t eventful. I practiced the concealment pouvra and did a little sneaking around before I felt guilty about it. Even though I wasn’t trying to spy on anyone, and I only wanted to test its effectiveness, I knew they’d object if they knew about it. So I went back to my room, but discovered I was unexpectedly tired, so I told myself I’d write more

Cederic just came in and told me I was expected to join the rest of them. He was more expressionless than usual, which told me he wasn’t happy, but then he hasn’t looked happy since Sai Vorantor arrived. Not that I should call him that, but I don’t know what other name to use. Cederic addresses him as Denril, but I’m guessing my calling him that would be inappropriate even by Castaviran standards. So I’ll call him Vorantor in these pages and try to avoid addressing him personally.

He also said, “Don’t let anyone see that book.” When I asked why, he said, “The Empress does not like not possessing information she believes is important. A book she cannot read would fall into that category. She would likely have it destroyed.”

I thanked him, and told him I would follow shortly. He never asks what I’m writing, though I think he’s curious. I’m sure a foreigner’s impressions of Castavir would interest him, even if I weren’t writing about people he knows. But he’s too polite to pry. So I’m putting this away for now, but I intend to find more chances to write about what’s happened in the last three days.