DAY 1:

Talibah watched critically as she applied her eyeliner, examining each line for flaws. She redid first her right eye, then her left, and then her right once more. Finally satisfied, she lay the eyeliner on the tabletop and rose from the low cushioned stool. Deftly, her fingers fixed her scarf over her hair and ears, tucked it neatly beneath her chin, and tossed the tasseled ends casually over her slender shoulders. She walked cheerfully into an adjoining room and grinned at the grizzled man seated on a mahogany and intricately carved bench.

"Hello Uncle Eshan," she said.

"You're certain you wish to leave the manor? It is dangerous outside, especially for a young lady of such promise from a wealthy family."

"Of course I'm certain. Come on, I can't leave the grounds without you."

"You could have your brother take you."

"Pah!" Talibah exclaimed in disgust. "Why should a child escort their elder?"

"You are not much older than he," Eshan said amusedly.

"I'm fifteen and he's only nine! Six years is a significant age difference."

"Yet you are a girl, and that evens things out. It is well documented that when a woman enters puberty she loses her limited ability to control her emotions and can not make good decisions. Do not be dissatisfied with your place." Eshan bin Muhammad Hasan paused and leveled a hard gaze at his niece. "The sooner you accept this the happier you will be. Now let us be on our way. The Azad University of Hadrat is going out of its way to allow you to see this rarity, it would be best not to keep the professors waiting."