"...I knew very well that crossing the desert was dangerous, even with the protection of Uncle and the caravan. I was aware of the intense, sweltering heat during the day and the frigid temperatures at night. I remember the men telling me the barren desert was no place for a young lady of my standing and trying to frighten me with stories of unruly bandits, deadly quicksand, and poisonous snakes. Though all of these things worried me, I refused to be intimidated. I lied, saying that I wasn't afraid and, after much debating, the men finally agreed to accept my company. After all, the leader of the caravan WAS my uncle..."