Naiema's Letter to Yorhun
My dearest Yorhun, we're nearing the end of our journey now. I can see the oasis in the distance calling to us like a great beacon in a sea of sand.
It cannot come soon enough, another day in the burning desert and Yaesha may lose her mind. As it is, her spirit dwindles. She concerns herself with inevitability. She's been asking what will happen once we reach the temple and what will come of her if she is chosen by the priests.
I try to explain that it would be a great honor if she was chosen out of all the young women who make the journey this year. But she questions the necessity of it, asking why she should give herself to Horran. I try to offer reason, but I must admit my faith falters. I do not have your strength. I see the same in the others who follow their daughters on pilgrimage.
Like me, I am sure they remember the journey as young women, the anticipation and fear they felt. I remember questioning my mother's faith as well as she guided me to the temple steps. It seemed unfathomable that she would so willingly give me away; but she remained stoic and devout.
I fear I am not the mother she was. How am I to leave my precious lotus, how can I just give away Yaesha if she is chosen? If only I could tell her how I truly feel. If I could just embrace her and cry together with her one last time. But I know I cannot, I must remain strong for her.
I know how important it is for us to give thanks to Horran, to pay tribute to all that he provides. But my love, it is so terribly hard to see the beautiful young woman our precious Yaesha has become and to imagine our life without her.
I must go now to begin the final preparations as we approach the temple. I have mended the dress I wore on pilgrimage and fitted it to Yaesha. She will be the 4th of her name to wear it. Perhaps it will bring her luck. She will be so beautiful in it. Should she be chosen, I am certain Horran will be pleased.
By the time you read this, the ceremony will be over and I shall be making my journey home. Forgive me, but I pray that I will not be making the trip alone.