Sighing, Enris took her fraught hands into his and led her to a seat. “Sit.” She did, reluctantly, and he then hunkered before her still holding her hands. “We went to a place where the path is cosmic and the air is made of stardust. I know how that sounds, but that is the best description I am able to offer you. It isn’t a space of either the living or the dead; it simply is. That is where Iliri chose to stay. Do you know who she is?”
“My twin,” Iniri whispered.
“Indeed. You were healthy when born, but she was weak. She actually ceased breathing and everyone thought she had died, including our father. The decision was made to never speak of it, for everyone knows a twin birth has its own set of rules and no one desired to burden you with those.”
Releasing her hands, Enris rose. Inhaling deeply, he stretched before taking the seat beside hers.
“I was seven at the time and snuck into the birthing chamber. Mother was asleep and you were nestled in beside her and I sort of looked at you two for a while wondering how my life was going to change. As I was about to leave, I saw movement in the next chamber.” Enris swallowed and rubbed at his cheeks convulsively. “I found Uncle Lorn bending over a crib. There was another baby and he took her into his arms and breathed on her. Then he saw me and told me to meet my little sister before she went to the otherworld.”
“By the stars,” Iniri said.
Elbows on knees, Enris hung his head and spoke from that lowered position. “I don’t know what Lorn did, but I was the only one who could see Iliri. She did not die, but she was also not alive. I saw her; I spoke to her all through the days of our childhood. Then she vanished and Lorn told me it was all in my imagination. Time went by and I accepted that, until the invasion of Massin began. We arrived during the third battle, the one Massinians mark as the final battle of so-called ancient empires three thousand years ago, although there were more battles than history here tells of. Inside Arc Iliri returned, and we fought together. She was quite something in battle, I tell you. Everyone died there, as you know, and that was the last time I saw her.”
Mirlin leaned forward. “She was real?”
Enris nodded. “And everyone saw her; I was not delusional. I think it was all right for her to take on form far from Makaran and that is why she was real for Arc, but elsewhere no one is able to see her.”