Midsummer 2614

Dear Bekkah,

You can always call me by my nickname, of course! But you are right, I am not so little anymore. I am as tall as Daneel now, and she says I am not yet finished growing.

I am so proud of you, Bekkah! To be able to heal with Lady Attera's love and blessings already! Is it so unusual to be able to do that when you are twenty? Perhaps this is just a sign that you will be a truly great Healer.

You might be right about the water buckets, though it would make more sense to carry the good bucket with my sword arm, to give it more strength. But she makes me carry the leaky bucket with my sword arm. That might be part of, but I think Kassia is even more clever than that. There is still something more I have yet to figure out. And I will remember what you said about her, and try not to become too upset when she is cross with me. If she sees a lot of promise in me, I want to do my best not to disappoint her.

I am not spending as much time with Irina these days. She is spending most of her free time with the son of the baker. Bekkah, I still do not understand all the interest in boys! I do not understand Irina's interest in Derek Bakerson, and I don't really understand your interest in Marcus... although he sounds like a nice person. How old do I have to be before I will understand? I feel lonelier than I have in a long time. I even asked Kassia if there was something else she'd like me to learn. I believe I actually surprised her! But she gave me a few old scrolls and told me to puzzle them out. They are very hard to read, and they are written in Ancient -- and I am still not very good with Ancient -- but what little I've been able to figure out is interesting. They are stories about the First Age. Well, to be honest, I'm not sure if they're stories or actually written histories, but right now it doesn't matter. I'm learning to read Ancient better, and if these stories are true, I am learning about the very early Dayalans. And if they are just stories... well, I am kept busy and entertained.

I don't know if I ever wrote about Sinya, one of the older initiates. She is older than you by at least a handful of years, so I have not talked with her much. Well, an interesting thing happened at the beginning of Dragon. She rode out of the Vale on a beautiful bay mare, in armor, with her very own sword and a pack full of provisions. It seems when an initiate's teachers think she is ready, an initiate is required to go out of the Vale and... I'm not sure... just wander around? It's called Duksheviya. I'm sure there must be more to it than just wandering around, but no one will really tell me anything else about it. I even asked Kassia about it, and all she said was, "I will tell you everything you need to know, Daxia, when you need to know it."

But you worried years ago about me leaving the Vale; I don't think you need to worry. I won't be be leaving until Kassia is convinced I am ready to leave.

I miss you very much lately, and wish there was a way to come visit you. But I know that isn't possible, so I continue to simply think of you being happy, because you do sound so very happy, Bekkah. That does cheer me up.

I love you, dear sister,

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