I don't think about it now, not if I can help it. The bleeding shock of the discovery is still fresh in my head, as though it happened not decades, but moments ago. When I tried to grasp the depth of betrayal in that windowless room -- well, frankly, it's impossible to explain completely to someone raised outside the Conscient, but I'll try.
In our tradition, the commonplace-book provided an inviolable refuge, a kind of cross between a grimoire and a confessional. In the Conscient, where knowledge was highly prized and not even your thoughts were guaranteed to be private, you could write things in your commonplace-book that you would never reveal to your best friend, your parents, your lover. We were taught from infancy never to touch anyone else's commonplace-book without permission, never to read from one. Each book represented the distilled wisdom of a life; each had scribed into it the thoughts of a unique soul that never had been before and never would be again. Thus, when people died, their commonplace-books were buried with them. That had been our way since the founding of Corey.
And Mrs. Townley had violated that trust. If you want an approximation of what I felt, imagine going down into your best friend's wine cellar to pick out a bottle for dinner, only to find the room filled with the rotting corpses of your missing family.
Enough. I can't bear to think about it now.
It's grown warmer here as spring slowly edges into summer, pleasant enough for me to sleep in woods and wilds even if I'm often wakened by a late rain falling on me. Besides, I've been avoiding humans ever since that last visit to Raffini's circus. I'd forgotten how depressing these encounters can be, how the disappointment takes a few days to properly sink its claws in you. Sooner or later I'll have to connect with people again, if only because I can't forage for food indefinitely. But for now it's a relief not to feel the constant background drone of their wishes and worries in my mind. Trees and animals, for the most part, don't have secrets.