Day 6

I have moved into my own cottage. Though small, it has all I could need; a fire for warmth, a shingled roof, dirt floors, a small table with cushions for seating, a wooden chest in which to stow my belongings and a mattress with furs for sleeping. It will allow me to write without disturbing anyone, while at the same time relieving others of the ‘need’ to accommodate me. Megda insists that she will see to it that I am fed, but I hope that I can soon persuade her of my ability to look after myself.

The cottage is right next door to that of the Treespeaker, Jakan. I knew it to be his even before I saw him there, for there is a carving on the door of a tree, exactly like the tattoo he bears on his wrist. He remains aloof, but Kattan tells me this is probably because as Treespeaker, Jakan could never take his sharesh and so knows nothing of Carlika as the others do. The Arrakeshi believe that should a Treespeaker leave the forest, he would die within a very short time. As soon as he stepped through the Veil, his spiritual tie with Arrakesh would break, a loss he could not survive. I hope that I can befriend this man, for he is the holder of the lore of these people and belief systems are of particular interest to me.

These villagers are such a gentle, giving people that they seem childlike. Their small stature adds to this image. Yet they’re not weak. The children argue and play rough and tumble, just as our own young do. The adults have disagreements and I have heard raised voices from across the village. Such arguments though, are resolved without resort to real violence. There is a certain strength in their ability to resolve issues amicably. Whether this is something to do with Kattan’s gentle leadership or the spiritual guidance of Jakan, or whether it is a general Arrakeshi trait, I have yet to determine.

A boar was captured yesterday and all day today it has been roasting over a fire in a clearing at the centre of the village. Tonight everyone will gather to feast on it. My mouth already waters at the smell wafting in through the window.

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