I'd lived in Kehahn all my life, up until yesterday, so you can imagine how strange it felt to ride out on Paha'Amit, my favourite six-legged orange Bearing Beast. beyond those great gates and down the Winding Path to the Tunnel.
I think I was even more nervous than when father first let me speak on the Council, when all I could do was blush and turn pale by turns until I had to give my speech. Of course, afterwards there was applause, and even at fourteen I think I knew I had made a contribution. But riding through the Tunnel under the muontain and into the First Meadow, I was terrified.
I know that if I had been given any food I should have been sick or worse, and the servants would have been ashamed of me. I survived, though, and at the end of the Tunnel I remembered to stand up and wave the servants back, and to give the Great Yell so they would know to close the gate.
When the Gate is being closed you can hear it for rooms and rooms away in the open Meadow, for at every hand-breadth as it lowers a mighty gong suonds. I was outside and alone, with no-one but Paha'Amit with me. I curled my toes into his orange fur for a moment to stop him, and turned slowly around.
How can I describe the meadow to you, O my brother?
There are no walls, and the floor is soft and green. Where there should be walls, on either side, there is simply more Meadow, as far as the eye can see! And of course there is no ceiling, it is like the Outer Courtyard where the Third Lord was killed by a Dragon, and that is no longer used except for the Rite of Passing, when we were eight. Above me, only sky, that rich blue that they use on the shawls of the Thirteen Mothers. Hot it is, in the Meadow, so that if I did not have to keep a watch I should prefer to ride in the belly-pouch; instead I sit upright, sometimes hugging my knees for comfort.
I had been told to let my Beast eat whatsoever he wished, but I had no idea that he would eat the carpet, and for a while I wondered if I ought to stop him. I let him eat, and later I am glad, for he gves me my food and drink. It tastes the same as in the Practice Room, which means awful, but I know I can live on it.
The beast is getting tired, and soon I must stop this Sending, but first I want to tell you that I saw People, too, my first Outsiders!
There were three of them, I think a man, woman and child. They had some sort of skin disease, so that their skin was coloured and looked strange; they were by a pool, and the man had shed his skin. They ran away when I approached, and here the strands of carpet are so tall that a man can hide in them, but he left his skin behind. I did not touch it. I hope I do not catch this disease.
I remain your loving brother, servant and slave in all things, Heir to the Second Seat in Kehahn the Impregnable, Sealed With the Blood of Many, Kadhi.
May you walk on the innards of your Enemies.
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