My Dearest Sh'n'ai...

My Dearest Sh'n'ai...

My Dearest Sh'n'ai,

I write this directly to you because I know you will be the first to find it. You will probably wonder where I got the paper and ink, but it will be explained. By the time you get this, I will be very far away, likely to never return, and possibly dead. I have written you a story. You know I have been acting strange lately, but it is so hard to speak of these problems. I trust that you will understand and do your best to explain things to Father, Mother, and Sh'k'rine.

I knew you would be able to sense where my former presence was here, be able to find this letter... I have done all I know how to do to draw you to it, for to search all over this rocky mountain of M'sar'kif without a trace it would almost be impossible to find me. Perhaps our old link will help... perhaps the scents... or perhaps you will not find it at all... but no. I must trust that you will find this letter from your little sister, S'kebi. After all, this is the place of some of our fondest memories, nai? It was here that you brought me when I was only ten summers old, you thirteen. You were already a magnificent and respectable hunter, but you had also come of age, and you were seeing females much differently. It was then that you also knew it would not be long until I was of age, and that males would see me much differently as well. This is why you took me to M'sar'kif: to learn to hunt, and to learn how to protect myself. You, Sh'n'ai, have probably taught me more about self-control, discipline, and respect than either Father or Mother, and I will forever be grateful to you for that. It has kept me out of a lot of trouble.

Everything comes back to the rocky, cavernous mountain of M'sar'kif. As it only rains once or twice a year in the desert we call K'nar (though other tribes call it different, and who can say what the cities have named it on their maps), we must have wells and places which can hold water. We Xenexians have learned how to dig for them and even make them, but of course most creatures cannot. This is why, so you said, M'sar'kif is ideal for hunting. The water stays inside the caverns always, and the creatures of the desert often go there for water, and the larger predators know they can always find prey. It is a shame all the tribes of the desert cannot live close to M'sar'kif in harmony, but we would all battle over it if any one tribe ever attempted to draw nearer this sacred and merciful mountain, abundant with Tuli's blessings. As if the desert is to be owned... I apologize, I keep remembering my home... the things I love and hold so dear... the things I am leaving behind...

"You must be very quiet, S'kebi, and walk as gently as one of Ran's desert spirits, for the creatures do not fear them," you had instructed me as we neared the mountain, so long ago. I had clutched my spear close, feeling very safe under your watchful eye and amazing strength.

I remember watching you when we entered the largest cave, the one you said held the most water... and danger. My heart was pounding as I kept to your heels, not wanting any stretch of ground between us for fear that something might get me, though in my heart I knew your instincts would sense anything in plenty of time.

And they did.

You turned around and stabbed the rock dragon, a bar'k, in its gut and killed it long before I knew I was in any danger. "You must be more careful, S'kebi. Pay attention. With the Gifts you have, you should easily be able to sense these things long before they happen." It was one of the first times you had ever mentioned my Gifts directly to me. In my mind, they were nothing but a passed-down myth from Mother, who said that we were descendants of the Sun Goddess, Sh'rine, but only a select few carry the Gifts, the few who have a radiant glow about their skin, and I was one of those Gifted. Sh'k'rine is too, and perhaps my dear little cousin will soon discover her Gifts as much as I have my own.

"I am sorry, Brother," I whispered in complete awe of you. "I will be better."

"No," you responded in a sadder tone. "You will never be better unless you practice your Gifts and find the inner-beauty you possess." Here you smiled and placed the sword you always carried at my feet. "Pick that up, S'kebi."

I smiled and eagerly bent down to grasp the handle. Its slender appearance proved to be deceiving. I can see you now, knowingly grinning down at me as I was only able to lift it a small distance from the ground with the tip still touching, before I had to drop it. "You are very strong," I said.

"And I will make you just as strong. It is necessary to..."

You were interrupted by a bar'k leaping at you, and to this day I still do not know if you intentionally let it have at you just so I could learn a valuable lesson. I recall you being there, then the next second you were not. I looked to see the giant bar'k, much larger than the first, so far succeeding at scratching a deep wound into your arm. I remember watching, horrified that you had for once been caught off-guard, and worse, without a weapon.

"S'kebi!" you cried weakly after receiving a rather violent blow to the head, "The sword... help me... you must..."

You fell limp against the wall. I wondered if you were dead or alive. I stared at you, my mind racing. I could not take my eyes from you... or my mind. This was when I first discovered the power of my Gifts. My mind touched yours, sensed yours. I felt your living presence in my mind... my soul... Where I was once there beside you, suddenly we were the same.

"Creature!" I shouted, filled with a power and determination which I had never before felt as my own. "If you wish to destroy my brother, you must first destroy me!"

The bar'k turned directly to me, narrowing its huge black eyes and let go of a rumbling growl. As if began to approach me, I reached down and picked your sword up as if I had been using it my entire life, and struck at the beast with a skill which I knew was not my own. Within minutes, it was dead.

I knelt beside you, trying to caress your mind with my own. Eventually I succeeded in bringing you back into consciousness. "Are you hurt?" you asked.

"I have never been better."

Then we took the head off of each dragon and skinned it, then cut the meat which we would also bring home. This was when you taught me to bless the creature by saying a prayer before burying the untouched head in the sand. "It is necessary to thank the gods for providing for us," you explained.

"But one nearly killed you," I said, not understanding.

"True, but you learned much from the incident. Besides, it was hunting just as we were. It had every right to kill me."

It was the first of many lessons you taught me, but probably the one with the most valuable results. With the link I created from my mind to yours, you should sense where I am. Then you will feel the link disappear, for I do not know what is going to happen to me now, and I do not wish for it to cause you harm.

I promised you a story, and I have one. You will like it. It is filled with adventure, mystery, fear, struggle, victory, and even a bit of love. Alright, so maybe you will not like it, but you must read it anyway.

Weeks before Father set the task out, I started feeling things I had never felt before. Males had gradually become more interesting to me ever since the age of eleven, but after fourteen I had urges which at time seemed impossible to control. And here I am, sixteen and still untouched. I am late, I know. Most Xenexian females in our tribe are mothers by the time they are fourteen.

Now the hints you had given me as to why I must learn to protect myself became much clearer. Men were constantly speaking to me, or to Father about me. But none of them felt right as my Life-Mate, for I did not want something only temporary, and Father would never force me into a relationship. Of course none of the males of our tribe would do anything to hurt me or force me into something, considering how Father is the Tribal Leader. Yet... yet I felt so empty, not only my body felt it, but my mind, my soul. I needed to get away.

"It has been three summers since we last had rain," I remember Father saying that fateful morning. "Our last muddy well is only days from running dry. Our last chance of survival without turning to a nomadic lifestyle is M'sar'kif. It is likely, though, that even the water there is gone. No one has been strong enough to travel there for the past year. That is why I must make this request... or perhaps this order. One person must travel there to see what is left. If there is enough, then we will together fetch water back to the wells. If there is nothing, then we have risked only one life for a hopeless cause rather than hundreds. Who is willing to take this task?"

I saw you stir out of the corner of my eye, but something else was stirring as well. Something very deep inside of me. "I want it!" I shouted suddenly, leaping to my feet with the strength and determination I had acquired under your guidance.

"S'kebi," he began gently, a soft tone of surprise and concern in his voice, "you should not go. You are a princess, and you are a descendent of the gods. And... most of all.... you are a woman..."

"A woman who can take care of herself just as well as any man," I answered coldly, a bit insulted.

He opened his mouth to further protest, but you, dearest Sh'n'ai, interrupted, saying, "She is right, Father. I have seen her hunt and fight. She is very strong, and her senses are keener than anyone else's here. I... I believe that you should let her go."

He stared calmly for a while, deep in thought, until finally he turned to me. "Very well. You may take this task. If you are not back in one week, we will send a group to search for you. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Father."

"And if there is anything unnaturally dangerous along the way, you are to return home immediately. You may go when you are ready."

It did not take me long at all to prepare, for I had been waiting for a day like this for what felt like centuries. I wrapped up a chunk of dried meat in an animal skin, which I attached to the cord around my waist next to the stomach-sack of water and the very long dagger you had given me for luck. I also carried your old sword, strapped to my back next to my spear, the very sword which I had saved your life with. These were all I needed.

The first of the two days it normally took to travel to M'sar'kif were perfect. I slept under the stars buried slightly beneath the still-warm sand, the light from my own skin acting as the fire to keep away predators.

The next day was not so pleasant. I knew I would be there in only a few hours, when a horrible sandstorm began (as they often do during such extensive droughts). It was the strongest I had ever experienced. Not only was the sand in the whipping, merciless wind blinding, but I could not even keep my footing. I was being tossed violently and carelessly wherever the gods wished me to be.

The lashing felt like an eternity before my body grew so weary, I had nothing left to do but fall exhausted into the sand. I do not know how long I slept, but the dream I had has remained with me ever since, and perhaps is the entire reason I was left with no other choice but to write this for you and do what I must do. In my mind I saw myself standing on a bronze flat platform which seemed to be surrounded by nothing but black space. Suddenly in the distance I noticed a dim glow, which gradually brightened and grew as it neared, finally revealing itself to be the Sun Goddess, Sh'rine. She floated just beyond the edge of the platform, smiling gently and holding her arms out to me, as if wanting me to come. I walked towards her, but just as I took one step off, everything went black... yet I felt so free.

"I was wondering if you were ever going to wake up," a gruff, masculine voice said next to me.

I turned my face in the direction of the voice, my eyes yet being slow to open and focus. I recognized the voice immediately as belonging to one of the T'sir'k tribe due to his harsher accent. This worried me, for, as you know, our tribe has had a history of rivalry with them. "Who... who are you?" I asked, my voice weak.

"You are the princess of the K'nar tribe and descendent of Sh'rine, are you not?"

"I am," I said, finally managing to see his face. He was not much older than myself, and very handsome, though his body seemed weary and was covered in scars and even a few fresher wounds, his purple eyes cold and suspicious upon me. "Where am I, and what am I doing with you?"

"I am S'k'r'vin ut T'sir'k," he responded slowly, turning his piercing gaze away. "I found you half covered by sand, hardly breathing. I put some of the little water I have on your lips and tongue, and I suppose that is why you are alive. You should be grateful, K'nar."

I sat up carefully, not feeling as tired as I thought I should after such an experience. "Please, call me S'kebi."

"What are you doing out here alone, woman? Do you not know how dangerous it is?"

"I do."

"Oh, do you really? Then can you please tell me what has happened to the rest of the T'sir'k tribe, because if you cannot, I can certainly tell you." His eyes were fire upon me as he awaited a response which I could not give. "I suspected as much. They have all been murdered or captured, except for the few who managed to escape, however much they wished they could have stayed and died fighting with the rest."

My heart seemed to drop. "Murdered? Captured? By whom?"

"The Danteri."

The Danteri. We have met but a few, have we not? Traders from a nearby planet who do not seem so trustworthy, however much more advanced they may be as far as technology is concerned. Yet I did not expect them to do anything like this.

When I expressed my thoughts to S'k'r'vin, he responded with, "You have no idea what has begun, do you? I did not think that the K'nar really kept to themselves as much as is rumored, but you are living proof that the stories of their ignorance are true! The Danteri are a ruthless, greedy people, who have found isolated desert tribes such as ourselves to feed their desire for cheap labor. They kill our men, steal our children, and rape our women. It will not be long before these disrespectful hunters find your people, as well."

As he spoke, his voice became tighter, until by the end of his story he was crying tears of remorse and loneliness. "S'kebi... go back... I will help you... You must warn your family... your tribe..."

I moved closer to him and stroked his face to comfort him. He fell into my arms, weeping. I wanted to calm him, but nothing I tried worked. Finally, I reached out with my mind and gently touched and caressed his until he fell silent.

The sun was setting by the time we sat together calmly, eating the dried meat I had brought. "We will leave for your home tomorrow," he said.

"How far are we from M'sar'kif?"

He was surprised by the question, but he seemed to understand. "Your tribe needs water, and they sent you to find it, nai?"

"Nai."

"Why you?"

"I asked.

"That is a strange request." He grinned and took a quick bite of meat. "Less than a day, we can stop there first."

Something about his voice... his eyes... his body... the desires and urges once again became very strong. I moved closer to him, my eyes staring into his. He looked back and grinned. "Alright, S'kebi. I know what you are after." He took the hide he wore around his shoulders off and approached me.

"I... I..." I stuttered, but was interrupted by a rather forceful kiss (which I must admit I did not dislike). His hands worked at the strings which laced together the hide over my breast, but I backed off lest I get myself into a situation in which I lost all control. You would have been very proud. "I apologize if I sent you the wrong message."

"Oh? You do not wish to mate?" he asked, his expression and voice honestly curious.

"No... I... I want to find a Life-Mate," I said timidly.

He smiled. "That is very cute. You are a virgin awaiting her Kat'n. Adorable."

I bit my lip and felt my cheeks flush.

He laughed. "We should sleep then, S'kebi! Tomorrow is going to be a very long day."

It was a very short day for him, may D'kari grant him peaceful passage to the Afterworld. We had entered onto one of the rockier areas early on, a sign that meant we were going the right way. But suddenly, a dark-skinned person leapt in front of me, trying to reach out and grab me. S'k'r'vin blocked him from me, and was rewarded by a hit from the man's fire-weapon, the kind we have never encountered. S'k'r'vin fell and died immediately.

I threw myself on his dead body, weeping. He had saved my life by allowing his own to be taken.

"Da jaf veb kaj," the man said. I turned to him from my place on the ground. It was my first time to get a good look at him. After hearing the language he spoke, the look only proved my initial suspicion. This man was Danteri.

"Du v'r'ke k'fe gral!" I shouted, standing up and backing away as he took a step closer, my spear now tight in my hand.

He laughed and shot something from his fire-weapon which scratched part of my spear very close to where my hand gripped it. I let it fall. He moved closer to me, but I did not back off, knowing that if I did he could easily kill me. He spoke in his deep, mumbling language, a smirk playing across his lips as he now stood just in front of me. My heart was pounding, for I knew what Danteri males were known for doing to Xenexian females lost and alone in the desert. There was nothing left for me to do but use my Gifts and hope for the best. Perhaps if I could at least find a way to speak to him... to understand him...

I reached up and touched the sides of his head lightly with me fingertips. He grinned and continued his droning, one-sided conversation. "Je, da majjer meh hav. Da te desaj vesaraj? Je, da majjer meh... me, and I rather like you, too, as far as that savage yet lovely body of yours is concerned, but it will not keep you from harm. As soon as I finish using you for all you are worth, I will kill you. It is wonderful that you cannot understand a word I am saying. Ignorant savage."

I had succeeded, but he did not realize what had happened. I smiled and took my hands from his head. "Do I not?"

His smile seemed to evaporate like a faint mist in the stinging desert heat, his eyes flashing with anger, and perhaps a bit of fear. "Evil witch! Using your primitive powers of darkness on me... You will pay for that!"

He lifted his fire-weapon and sent its demon upon me, but at the same time I shouted, "Gra, S'kebi ut K'nar, ga ni k'te d'me ut N'm'da Sh'rine!"

A blinding white light shone from around me, in which time seemed to slow. I do not know how long we lingered this way, but after the light was gone, I heard the demon flying away somewhere behind me. I smiled as I watched the Danteri's shocked expression. I had finally uncovered the extent of my powers.

"Please... do not hurt me..." he said, his voice choked as he fell to the ground.

I did not know what to do. Part of me hated and wanted to kill him for killing S'k'r'vin, yet another part of me knew that it would be just as wrong. I knelt next to him and touched him gently on the shoulder. "Will you help me bury and bless my friend?"

He nodded, his black eyes gazing up at me. In his mind and heart I could sense his fear... and loneliness...

S'k'r'vin was buried beneath the rocks. The Danteri man was silent and quite agreeable as I said my prayers for my dear friend. When I was finished, I turned to the man and asked, "What is your name and why are you here?" He was silent, so I tried to encourage him by answering my question first. "I am S'kebi of K'nar. I am searching for water for my tribe because of the drought. I was on my way to M'sar'kif."

"What is 'M'sar'kif?'"

"You have to answer my question first."

He sighed, his expression making him seem so vulnerable. "My name is Jaii. I was ordered here along with seventeen other men to do what Danteri are generally ordered to do when they come to Xenex: pick off the weak ones."

I was silent for a while as I stared at him. He seemed so afraid... so alone... "Where are the others then?"

"When we left the village with out prisoners to head back towards our ships, a great sandstorm came up and blinded us. In the chaos of it all, the Xenexians we had captured escaped and killed a number of our men in the process. The ones who were not killed I have not seen since, for we were separated in the storm. Now here I am... and to add a cruel twist of fate, my life now lies in the hands of a young female Xenexian.... I hate this planet."

I smiled, trying to comfort him and send him a sense of relief. "I will not harm you as long as you do not try to harm me, understood?"

"Of course."

I looked up at the sun. "Most of the day is already over, and we have a while yet until we reach M'sar'kif. Perhaps it would be best for us to rest here for the night. We will have to hurry tomorrow, though."

"You mean... I am coming with you?"

"Of course."

He grinned as we searched for a safe place. When we found a spot he lit a fire for us. I offered him some of the meat, but he made a funny disgusted face and ate some kind of green food he had with him.

It was very late, and still I could sense Jaii's restlessness. Do you want me to tell you a story?" I offered.

He gave a short laugh as he lay on his back, gazing up at the stars. "Sure, why not. I will not be able to go to sleep any time soon, anyway. Not on this planet."

I thought of all the many stories I had heard about the gods and goddesses, and finally settled on the story of the God of Death, D'kor, and the Demoness, R'kani.

"A long time ago, shortly after the discovery of fire but long before any Xenexian moving tribe had learned to settle in one area, the pantheon was trying very hard to create order. Ran, the Desert God, made certain that his desert people were protected and nourished with the help of his wife, the Goddess of Water and Mercy (for they are one in the same on a place like Xenex), Tuli. The Sun Goddess, Sh'rine, was sure to help the young girls grow strong, while her brother, the Moon God D'v'rin, protected the boys. And it was promised in that time while our people still were close to the gods, that every boy and girl was destined to find their Soul-Mate, provided by Tuli's older sister, the Goddess of Love, Beauty, and Fertility, Kata. These Soul-Mates, or Kat'ns, when one died, the Dead's spirit would remain by their Kat'n until they, too, died. Then together they would continue on their journey to the Afterworld where the gentle God of Death, D'kor, awaited them. But D'kor, who had lived in darkness his entire life, had grown silent and drawn-in, for people often feared the cold, sun-deprived touch of his icy, white, bony fingers. The Afterworld was a blessing for most, but not for its Master.

"Not everything worked for the people of Xenex, of course. D'kor had a brother, the God of Hate and of Chaos, Kurn. Kurn had four Demons which he always sent into the world to cause trouble. The quietest of these was the Demoness, R'kani, who most often tormented people in the most intimate of ways: directly through their minds and their souls.

"R'kani was sent on one mission in which she was to cause a man who had lost his Kat'n to disease to betray his dead Soul-Mate. She told him that he should find someone else to call Kat'n, for the woman he had blessed with his soul was not waiting for him to go the Afterworld as she should, thus, as the Demoness claimed, proving that she did not truly love him as a Kat'n. She was trying to get him to claim two Kat'ns, for if a Mortal does this, they are forever damned. But until his dying day, he never betrayed his Kat'n, thus R'kani could not fulfill her mission.

"She did not want to go back, for her Master would be very angry, so she followed the couple into the Afterworld where she met D'kor. D'kor was stunned by her beauty, and reached out for her hand. He was astonished by her warmth, for Demons are always warm. But in surprise at the icy feel of his hand she drew away, for any contact between a god and a demon was forbidden or the demon would suffer from the never-subsiding chill. Yet the two continued to talk, and occasionally touch, and soon they fell in love.

"R'kani knew the only way for them to be together was if all the gods agreed that she was worthy to be released from the bonds of wickedness, but Kata refused to bend, for she felt challenged by the Demoness' beauty.

"'D'kor,' R'kani cried, 'I want to be with you more than anything... but there is only one way I can.'

"She walked towards the Pool of Mortality, where truly evil souls of damned mortals would spend their eternity in a boiling realm of pain and suffering, and jumped in. D'kor ran to the edge of the pool, but she was gone, he believed forever.

"Minutes later, though, she resurfaced, and climbed from the pool as quickly as possible, coughing and breathing deeply.

"D'kor ran to her and held her close, realizing that for once she did not shudder at his cold touch. 'What happened?' he asked.

"'I am Mortal... and I am dead,' she answered. 'Yet here I am to spend the rest of Eternity by your side, my Kat'n.'"

I stopped and looked at Jaii's peaceful expression. His eyes were closed and he was breathing steadily. "Sleep well, Friend," I whispered, and went to sleep as well.

The next day we started off before sunrise for M'sar'kif. He was very quiet most of the time, yet still friendly. There was something about the way he acted that confused me, though. He seemed so polite, yet nervous, as if he had to be careful not to offend me.

"There it is," I said about midday, just after we reached the top of the last small rocky hill.

His black eyes widened. "This... this is M'sar'kif?"

"Yes... Why?"

"Oh... N-nothing. Come on, we need to check on that water for you, right?"

"Nai," I answered, and hurried towards the mountain, Jaii following close behind, looking around warily.

I was relieved to find the rivers as abundantly filled with water as usual, granted there was a bit more dirt in it. Though by the time you read this, Sh'n'ai, you will already know that, I would think.

I dipped my hands in the water and splashed, laughing and drinking happily. Jaii took a few drinks, but stayed in his wary posture. "Do not worry, you would be able to protect us from the beasts with your fire-weapons easily!"

"It is not the beasts I am afraid of encountering."

"Jaii! I thought I heard your voice!" The exclamation came from another Danteri man who had two others with him. They all looked very weary and battered. "You manage to find a little whore to bring back after all?" he grinned.

"Actually, she helped me find my way here, and for that I am releasing her," Jaii answered carefully. I knew he was lying, but only to keep both of us safe.

The others laughed. "There's no point in getting here except for the water! All the ships but one were destroyed and that one needs more energy, which I do not think we will be able to find here."

"Show me your ship," I demanded.

The men looked at me as if surprised to see I knew how to speak. "So you know the language? That is a decent start to becoming civilized."

"Show it to me. Now."

"Do what she says," Jaii agreed. "I think she really can help."

They reluctantly led me to the ship. I had never seen one before, and was naturally fascinated by it. "Okay, so what can you do?"

"Where do you need the energy?"

He led me inside, and finally we reached a sort of box with many of the strings which make the ship work coming out of it. I placed my hands on it and whispered, "Gra, S'kebi ut K'nar, ga ni k'te d'me ut N'm'da, Sh'rine." Suddenly the entire ship began to hum with its electronic life and radiated a light similar to my own.

The man watched then smiled an evil smile. "Thank you for your help, Witch. Now you will have to die."

He pulled out one of the fire-weapons and sent out one of its demons. I was unprepared for this and could do nothing to stop it, but Jaii did. He leapt and pushed me out of the way, taking the blow for me.

"You like your little whore that much, Jaii? Perhaps you are under the Desert Witch's spell. You know the only cure for that, do you not?" He aimed the fire-weapon directly at Jaii's head.

"Yi! I will not let you!" I cried, and threw myself over Jaii's quickly dying body. "Gra, S'kebi ut K'nar," I began prayerfully, reaching deep inside myself for the powers I had yet to try, "ga ni k'te d'me ut N'm'din, D'kor!"

The three Danteri men had no idea what was going to hit them moments before their lifeless bodies toppled to the ground. I knelt down and cried on Jaii's chest. I had killed...

"S'kebi," he said, with a laugh that ended with a weak cough, "You are crazy. I am going to die anyway, you know..."

"No, do not say that," I cried. "Why... why did you do it...?"

He was silent for a moment as he tried to catch his dying breath. "I never told you... how beautiful your story was..."

I stared down at him. "What...?"

"That is how I feel about you... I love you... but look at us! We could never be together, could we? I am Danteri, you are Xenexian... thus, I will take the next best choice, and be a spirit by your side until the day you die. I... I want you to take the ship and go... go far away from here, S'kebi... I know you want to, your spirit is so wild... so free.... Perhaps this is the reason I had to die for you.... It was plenty enough of a reason for me... I love you...."

It was his last breath. I kissed his face and found a place to bless and bury him. I had had no idea how he felt for me... I could not say I returned the feelings, but...

Oh, Sh'n'ai! Do you know how much else is out there? I feel as if the gods are calling me! They send a Danteri to offer me this passage, and the dream... I must go! I cannot be confined to this single desert planet when there is so much more. I do not belong here! I have never felt as close to anyone as I was to Jaii, though I know he was not my Kat'n... I will not find a Kat'n on Xenex, for I am not happy here. That is why I must go. This is why I am taking the ship and praying I can figure out how to get where I must be. Of course, if it is fate for me to leave and find something else, fate will guide me, nai? I wrote all of this with paper and ink I found in the ship, then brushed it with the oils I rub on myself in hopes you will be able to follow the scent. This letter will be lying on Jaii's grave. Bless him, Brother, and bless him well. He saved my life and opened a new path, and now I will go on into the deep unknown. I love you, Sh'n'ai. Keep me in your prayers.

Kat'k,
S'kebi