17 ii) "Master Davit took me up to his plateau"

“Master Davit took me up to his plateau after my name day,” Shyan begins. “At first, I hated it. The lush vegetation of my youth gave way to a barren hillock, and dalliances with friends were replaced by ritual training.”

Abia nods. She knows a thing or two about ritual training, of another sort.

“Master Davit drilled me in a dozen martial arts, most of which I had never heard of,” Shyan says. “I stood like a flamingo in the rain for three days. “A caterpillar took its home in my open palm and spun its way into a butterfly.” She chokes up, takes a moment to find her words. “Years later, I killed him,” she says, as fresh tears fill her eyes.