Early Fates 2620

Dear Bekkah,

Another Midsummer Festival has come and gone... and I had such fun this year! I think I must have danced continuously the entire evening and night. Well, at least, that's what my feet tried to tell me the following morning! It's possible I was just standing around some of the time, but I don't think I sat down at all, except perhaps at dinner. (And truthfully, Bekkah, I'm not entirely certain I didn't just nibble some of this and some of that while continuing to stand.)

I feel like I've been happier lately, too; my emotions do not seem to have minds of their own. My friend says it is probably just that I have finally stopped growing (I am as tall as Kassia now!), and I have to say I find it a relief. It is easier to concentrate -- both on my studies with Kassia and my training with Gilly and the other Verchovai -- and I seem to be less inclined to be annoyed with nearly everyone.

Well, there is ONE thing that continues to annoy me. The younger initiates (Yes, Bekkah! I am no longer the youngest initiate!) try to tease me about having a "boyfriend"... or not having a "boyfriend"... it depends on their moods of the day, I think. Two of them are fifteen, the third is sixteen... and it seems as though they think of nothing but boys! I'm afraid they will wind up being much like Irina was unless they put at least a little effort into their studies and training. Kassia will not even work with them; she has assigned them to the tutelage of Priestess Cara. They all arrived just after Midsummer last year, and I have had no peace from their nattering... "Do you have a boyfriend, Daxia?" "Who is your boyfriend, Daxia?" "When will we meet your boyfriend, Daxia?" Bekkah, I spend extra time with Kassia just to avoid them! Were there such goings on when you studied with Lady Catherine? Perhaps this is what the older initiates were like when I was "too young to understand." If so, I freely admit to being grateful for being too young!

And it did not help matters any that they caught me taking a break from dancing with Stefano, the carter's son, just has he tried to kiss me. Since that day, it's been "Daxia and Stefano, Daxia and Stefano, Daxia and Stefano, Daxia and Stefano" until I think I will be driven mad. Kassia just arches her eyebrows at me when I take refuge in the Temple library. I have probably read every scroll and book in there; I see no disadvantage to reading them again, or even memorizing them if it comes to that. Gilly and Brighteyes just laugh. At least I do have a friend who shows some compassion, and does not laugh at me... much... unless I'm laughing at myself first.

I think I do understand what you were writing about all those years ago, though, Bekkah... about boys and kissing. Some of it is very nice; it makes my lips all tingly and it's a very nice feeling. But... oh, how can I explain this? Do you remember what I wrote in my letter about those feelings I have... that lead to seeing thing? Well, as nice as kissing is... those other feelings are telling me it's not such a good idea. It's all tied up with being a Dayalan, and the path I'm on. Very likely, it's why Gilly and Brighteyes are so very much amused. When they get back to the Vale (not until Raven!), I'm going to ask Gilly if she ever had this dilemma when she was younger.

When I look back over all the letters I have written since I received your last letter, I see that very little has changed in the Vale... but I have changed quite a bit. It's all part of growing up, isn't it? And yet, the one thing that remains constant is my love for you, dear sister. I hope you will like who I am, who I'm becoming, whoever I will be whenever we meet again. Always remember that ‑‑ no matter how grown up I get, no matter how embroiled in politics I become, no matter how skillful a warrior I become -- I will always be your Dazi, and I will always look up to you.

You are always in my heart,

© Kelly Naylor
The Heartwood and all characters not otherwise expressly stated are © Kh'Lyh'ra Press / Mike Naylor