Amara speaks to a despondent Khaska

A short dialogue created by SayyadinaAtreidesSayyadinaAtreides and ThevarouThevarou over instant messenger. The conversation takes place in Codex III-Chapter 1.

Amara looked over her shoulder, ensuring that she had not been followed, and knocked on the door to Khaska's quarters. Khaska, who had been concentratedly meditating in a chair, was startled: people didn't come and visit. He got up and said, "Who knocks?"

"Something most commonly discerned by opening the door, one would think." The steps were light, and the voice was Amara's. Why does she call on me? and why now? Khaska came to the door and opened it, not wide. Amara chuckled quietly at Khaska's behavior, though not unkindly. "Do you mind if I come in for a few moments?"

"Greetings, Amara." This forwardness was not something Khaska was prepared for. Neither he nor his room was ready for visitors, and the fact that she—a foreigner woman—would be the visitor was highly improper. "Is there something you wish to discuss?"

Amara's smile took on a slightly mocking edge. "On the contrary, I regularly knock on doors for no purpose but its own."

Khaska hardened his features somewhat imperceptibly, and then asked, "What is your purpose at present?" She was a friend, but being the target of her amusement was an unpleasant sensation.

Amara sighed slightly but relented. "Conversing with you, as you first inferred. Alone, as you may also have inferred."

Khaska stood motionless in the doorway, turned to inspect the room—there was only a chair and a bed on which to sit—and then turned back to Amara. This is highly improper and unusual. The others have shown little knowledge for our customs, and she has shown disdain. She does not know that I have never been alone with a female. But I came on this venture, anticipating the challenges. She is not Maha'i. And I will make restitution afterwards. He opened the door more. "You may take the chair." He sat on the edge of the bed. Amara smiled (without even a tinge of condescension or improper amusement, remarkably unusual even while only with the party) and nodded her appreciation of Khaska's courtesy. As she entered the room, she closed the door behind her before gracefully arranging her skirts and sitting. "You seem quite upset of late—ill tidings from the seminary? Or were the Knights less than helpful in your search?"

Khaska had hoped that none would notice. And of all people to do so—Amara! How can I explain it sufficiently, without giving up the knowledge, the secret I have learned, and which still burns in my mind? "The Knights have been helpful." And the rest? "I have learned that, as the saying goes, 'truth swears loyalty to no one.' "

Amara raised an eyebrow. "That is a fascinating saying…and wise of truth, I daresay. Is it taught as a moralistic caution, that liars will inevitably meet a suitable end, or as an encouragement to continually question the 'truths' taught by your elders?"

"Neither," Khaska replied flatly. "But that truth … truth is not something any person can claim. It can harm the person it has previously helped."

Amara blinked, slightly taken aback by Khaska's vehemence. "I thought it was the teaching of most priests that truth is something to be sought after regardless of the cost. How, then, can truth do harm to an honest person?"

"Seeking truth means we must not ignore the chance of harm, which comes from ignorance," he says. "But knowing that harm might come does not mitigate the harm done."

"What form, then, does this harm take? I do not understand how one may say that ideas or facts—truth, if you prefer—cause harm."

"Perhaps you will learn someday." With this, Khaska raised his eyes to look into Amara's. For a moment.

Amara's gaze softened a bit. "Why are you so unwilling to share this burden?"

"There are some things that are to be borne alone."

Her gaze sharpened. "Why? No truth should be unquestioned—is this not one as well?"

"Thus run destinies; and that one is known."

"Known to whom?"

"Perhaps the saying is not common outside my people's lands."

"Indeed it is not. And you have yet to answer my question."

"Which question? I have answered each."

"Why must some things be borne alone?"

"Thus run destinies."

"Destinies are rarely learned in a moment, if even they exist. It is not a destiny which has upset you so."

"So you assume." She seemed to take a sort of pleasure in arguing. To what end, he knew not. "But some things cannot be spoken."

"Yet you have learned it in some manner—if not spoken, then written."

It is true; it seems Amara's purpose was obscured by her dissection of my words, and I did not wish to have a debate. "What would you have me do, then? You came for some purpose."

"You know why I came. Something is troubling you, and it cannot be something of little import judging by the magnitude of your reaction."

"And what do you propose?"

Amara glowered for a moment. "I propose that you stop pretending either one of us is a fool." Her expression calmed slightly, but the intensity of her gaze did not falter. "From what the others mentioned, you laid serious accusations against the Knights, and then left to peruse their library. What were you looking for?"

"I do not wish to speak of it right now. I am sorry, but I am attempting to heal wounds I cannot mend with a spell." Khaska felt a twinge of guilt at not acquiescing to her request to tell her the details of his search, but it was like withdrawing a barbed arrow; too fast and it tears muscle and skin. "Thank you for your concern. I will not forget it. For now, however, there are things that I am forbidden to share."

Amara shrugged. "As you will." She stood, but before leaving she looked at him once more. Her tone and expression were far more thoughtful—perhaps even compassionate—than Khaska had ever seen from her. "I cannot say that it has often been of benefit to me, but I hear often that sharing your pain will help ease it."

Khaska nods in reply while standing. "Be well."

"And you as well."