Dala is a young woman who was chosen to be a slave for a dominant alien race. The only task she has is to carry water for her master family so that they can perform their daily ritual cleansing. She lives with the family, gets good food and lodging but isn’t allowed to communicate with her family or other humans. A harsh restriction she nearly can’t bear. One day, she is able to slip out of her duties, and a rebellion starts.
Carey doesn’t write lot of short fiction, she is better known for her Kushiel Legacy novels – this novelette hasn’t got any connection to other work from her. I loved reading this standalone work, the world-building with two competing alien races, their history and strange cultures, the coming-of-age character development and the plot with a very nice ending. There is a bit of moral tension in it when Dala has the choice of participating in the rebellion, and saving family members of her masters.