Lyra reaches across the scarred table to grip Horin’s hand. “I am so sorry this is happening to you. At your age, dealing with so much, changing so much …”
He grips her hand fiercely. “Lyra, this isn’t new to me.”
She leans forward to place her other hand over their clasp. “What do you mean?”
“I have always known this time would come.” Horin too leans in. “I know it sounds strange, but I am finally becoming myself. I am not eight years old.”
Swallowing, she stares at him. “I was there when you were born.”
Sighing, Horin sits back, disengaging their hand hold. “Damin says the same.” Both send me a glance, before again gazing at each other. “Yes, I was ‘born’ and yet it was merely a means to entry. The person I am inside spent eight years waiting to step forward, often frustrated with the limits of form …”
“You were a sunny boy!” Lyra interrupts. “Horin, I left you in Grenmassin a few weeks ago, a boy who winked at me and told me he would take care of our mother!”
He closes his eyes. “In that I failed and I am sorry.” Opening them, he says, “The day you pushed the tidal wave aside is also the day I began to assume my true form. We are connected, you and me. Every time you use your power, mine becomes more, as yours intensifies when I deploy mine.”
Lyra stares unseeingly into the distances of the mind. “How?” she asks softly, after a time.
“When Arc was formed, those who hid here did not come alone. The old ones chose a different form of longevity in the greater spaces of this world. Death, birth, a cycle of original souls through the generations to follow, until time is made new.”
Even my mouth hangs open at this point.
“Lyra, the beings of Arc are our sworn enemies.”