For some time I have been wondering whether I have used inadvertently and unknowingly semsin to bring Dimani and Jilan together, but I have discussed this with Raisse and she says I should not worry. But I have managed to make them stay in our house for another night, and they have gone out for a walk together, hand-in-hand, which is very pleasing, since both people can use the happiness of being together very well.
Today we went to the Síthi school. There are about 27 children in the Síthi school. I asked whether there were any Síthi children of the right age who didn't go to school, but apparently all go. We had two girls and one boy with lice, and none with serious illnesses. However, out of the 27 children, 15 have to report to Torin tomorrow, to have their teeth repaired and checked. All children speak Valdyan, mostly very well, and it seems that many of the lessons are given in Valdyan, too.
There are three teachers, two women and one man. The man teaches the youngest children. He used to belong to the temple of Anchuk, that is, the Nameless. However, he feels that to be an inappropriate association in Valdyas, and has decided to teach the youngest children especially in order to strengthen his association with Dayati.
The Síthi school itself is a very interesting building. It is a square building with a colonnade of wooden pillars surrounding a courtyard. It looks very foreign, so probably is very Síthi in design. The children are taught in this courtyard, and when it starts to rain, they will pull up a canopy made of sailcloth. Beautiful though this building is, they already intend to move the school to the north quarter when the temple of Dayati will be built there. Many Síthi are considering moving: there is a fear that the Síthi community will be divided in two, with the rich living in the north-west and the poor in the east.
I am not comfortable with that idea, and I have some misgivings in any case. I have heard from Kancho that some Síthi boys have taken to shouting abuse at butchers (because they are so silly they have only remembered that "you do not eat meat", not why Síthi don't eat meat, which is because they fear the wrath of the slaughtered animal taking possession of themselves upon eating the meat), which can only mean that many people will become even more annoyed at the Síthi in general.
And the Valdyans are already convinced that all Síthi look down upon the Valdyans. Of course, all Valdyans are also convinced that all Iss-Peranian customs are savage and barbaric! But we are guests here, by the graciousness and liberality of the king, and we should make sure we are worthy of our welcome. It has already happened when I made the rounds with Leva or Lyse that people asked me whether I was Síthi and were relieved on hearing that I was not. I am wondering whether this presents problems to Kancho.
I did discuss this with the teachers of the school, taking them out to a Síthi inn for our midday meal (which I paid for). They by now all know who I used to be, which is a Queen and Princess, and the Síthi are deferential enough to make that matter more than whether what I say to them makes sense or not. So they did listen to me and promised me to discuss these issues with their pupils and their parents. We are living in a country that has had two civil wars, a famine and epidemics in the past twenty years. We are living in a country that has had a perpetual and bloody strife between the adherents of the God of War and those of the Deceiver for hundreds of years. Just because the kings do not have small bits chopped off of convicts until they die, does not mean the people of Valdyas are not capable of violence against those who have earned their enmity. Maybe these Síthi did not know that: I have, of course, been instructed in the history of this country back where home used to be. But if they had only taken the time to listen to the Valdyan people speaking of the past, they would have known.
Of course, sometimes relations are really good: the new butcher near doctor Jeran's has taken to buying pastry sheets from the two Síthi pastry boys. He is selling them with a filling of meat and vegetables -- I must try those!
(Oh, and Arvi has let me taste a Valdyan sauce her mother makes, all greenish yellow with pips in it, that is very pungent and tastes very good with all kinds of baked meats. We will have that sauce tonight with our sausages!)
Note: after discussing with Rhanyn and Kancho, we have added up the numbers of the children we have seen, and concluded that over half of the children in Turenay are not going to school at all. Or maybe just for one year or so:
|Temple of Death||32||36|
|School of the God of War||4||6|
That reminds me: I must visit Rava and ask about the lessons in reading and writing for illiterate adults, since it is clear there will be many more for years to come.
There are two new cases in the hospital, both very interesting:
The afternoon, I had taken off, and I went with Kancho and Rhanyn to the bathhouse and then to painter Jilan, to tell him he could, if he liked, spend the afternoon making sketches while was weaving. I inadvertently locked him in with my seals because I was working with all my attention. I am wondering which I should do: make something for Aidan with this cloth, for myself, for Selevi or Dimani... For now, it's quite beautiful cloth. The sketches are quite good to, or so Dimani tells me. I am afraid that this is something I do not have any understanding of!
In the evening, I discussed with Raisse my worries about having bewitched Dimani and Jilan, but Raisse told me not to worry. And indeed, although they are staying at our house tonight again, they are not yet kissing.
But I am sure an understanding is growing: especially when we had gone to Ysella to admire Shab Hafte's rendition of Moyri and her new-born twins. I am not sure what they were discussing, but they seemed to reach a point where Jilan very tentatively took Dimani's hand, and she didn't withdraw, but they walked home, hand-in-hand.