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Muse Voices

From 'Memory Awake:' At Falkenstone Hold

After dinner, Aerden's family gathered in the sitting room, and Aerden at last decided to broach the subject.

Odd question, he signed, gesturing for his parents' attention. They gve him curious looks and nodded for him to proceed.

Old person frozen to death long ago--you know?

Maregal gave him a startled look, while Selaerind's expression was horrified and deeply pained. He seemed to draw into himself.

Remember--You don't? Alessandre signed. You--here when happened.

Aerden signed back a crisp negative. Not remembering.

Maregal peered at him, incredulous. How forget?

Remembering only room, open window, snow, white hair, frost. Aerden sketched the layout with his hands through the signs, describing precisely where he stood in relation to the window and the white-haired person in his mind's image. He concluded with a dizzy sway, a slump of his shoulders, and a closed expression. Sick afraid.

Selaerind let out a breath and grimaced, his signs looking as if they had to be dragged out of him. Aunties, Uncles, all. Winter before Pass began. On stairs I told you. Funeral--you helped. Remember?

Slowly, Aerden nodded. Funeral--remembering. Then a shocked spread over his face. Many, many.

Twenty-one, Selaerind answered, as if the number had been etched into his mind.