My camp tonight lies close to the escarpment below the Arrakesh Forest. It’s a balmy night and I can smell the leaves on the breeze. It's such a strange smell, almost surreal to a Carlikan like me. Tomorrow, I'll climb the path and test whether or not I can enter into the trees, for no one can travel beyond the Veil that protects the forest unless the forest itself decides they present no danger.
Last night, I camped alongside two Arrakeshi youths on the first leg of their ‘sharesh’, a year out of the forest that almost every Arrakeshi (male and female) undertakes at the age of eighteen. They were excited about their journey, yet seemed overwhelmed by the enormity of Carlika and the relative absence of trees in this country. They had few plans, content apparently to simply wander at will, explorers like me in a completely new world.
The two boys advised me to come this way. The path from here will lead me to their home. They promised me that should Arrakesh will my entry, their people, the Fifth Tribe of Arrakesh, will greet me with kindness. Their village lies some distance into the forest, but the path, they said, is clear and easy to follow. I look forward to making friends with these people and learning their ways.
In this diary, I will record all I see, hear, feel, taste and smell; for only by experiencing the life of another person can we appreciate why they behave as they do.