In honor of completing the draft of my fantasy WIP, Mind Crafter, I'm putting up a snippet from that work that gives some insight into the protagonist, Shala. She's a scholar-mage who doesn't quite understand why everyone doesn't value knowledge and access to knowledge as much as she does (btw, a crafter is a type of magic user and silja is an abstract strategy board game kind of like a cross of chess and go):
Ansa looked down at her hands, an uncomfortable expression on her face. “Mistress, I don't know how to read. I can write and read the characters for my name, but no more. I am sorry. You shouldn’t have been sent such a foolish girl.”
“A mind that can grasp silja with such ease is never one I would call foolish,” Shala said, keeping her voice neutral. “Well, I suppose I must teach you how to read. You will find it a useful skill. With a quick mind like yours, I am sure I can teach you many of the most common characters in a rather short time.”
The ways of the palace befuddled Shala. Not cultivating basic reading in the servants of the important officials seemed absurd. At House Lran, none of her fellow crafters would tolerate an illiterate servant.