Rilashul’s body had been beautiful, if she remembered correctly, and if Mellin was to be trusted. She had memories; in so much as she could have them, of dark caramel skin and of soft, woolly curls which hung tightly about her face.
In the moments when her consciousness regressed into its own core and became little more than an intense stream of thoughts, she wondered if her brother would have been her masculine other. Would he have carried the same trepidation about his trials to join the order? Or would he have been better with a boomstick than a book? Perhaps he’d have been a great intellectual? Would he have liked Mellin?
Rilashul had asked these questions so many times that she’d constructed an entire persona for her stillborn brother. His name would’ve been Isses; cunning and hot-headed, he’d have had an affinity for the sword and only studied magic to aid him in his pursuit of perfect swordplay. He’d have been very hard on her as a child, wanting her to be absolutely ready when the time came for her to take up her birth right, for he’d surely want nothing to do with immortality. But at night before he went out to cavort with girls he’d slip into her chambers and tell her stories about the great fighters and their grand adventures and he’d promise her that one of these days, that adventure would be his and she’d be proud of him, even if his destiny weren’t as grand as her own. He’d say this with ill-concealed bitterness in his tone. Then he’d smile sweetly and be gone.
Now she hovered over the gravestone she’d been told was her brother’s. In her present form it was a simple thing to traverse from the continent of Haerith to Rilari. The strange state between oblivion and being had joined her with the Zhaunil in a unique way that allowed Rilashul to flow outwards from any point then focus her energies on a single point to ‘re-emerge’ in her entirety. It had taken a long time to muster, and she’d never admitted to Mellin just how often she had come to the edge of oblivion and only barely managed to pull herself back together.
What if she let herself pass over that threshold into oblivion? Would Isses be there? The truth of a twin’s existence was joined to that of their other, mystics believed. That was why it had long ago been decided that twin monarchs would rule together and whomever’s child was born first would be the heir. To force one into subservience always led to strife. Why wasn’t this the case with magi?
Logically, of course, it was necessary. Two magi from a powerful line could wreak untold havoc on the world. Especially two magi from her great line. The sigh which escaped her came into the world as a warm wind which caused the flowers about Isses’s grave to sway lazily. There was no one about to witness the strange breeze because it was the pitch black before dawn, so long had Rilashul been here. Now she wondered, was her brother truly dead? And if not, why hadn’t anybody told her? How was it even possible? Thoughts buzzed about her being, causing the breeze she had created to become a swirling wind, slowly gaining in ferocity as her confusion and anger grew. Finally the wind gusted violently about the singular grave; its only witnesses the trees which bent and howled at the night- hunting creatures which scurried away uttering shrieks of protestation.
As she travelled from the place this violence followed her, clearing a path from the mainland to the Mile Ocean, where she allowed her emotions to reign terror on an untraveled expanse of water. Her mourning whipped up a vicious storm and her rage called lightning and thunder down for hours until Rilashul finally exhausted herself. She thought once more to her brother. He would have been Isses: cunning and hot-headed, the proud stallion leading an army to glorious and tragic conquest.
As she quieted and allowed herself to begin to flow outward, she felt a coldness sweep over her, chilling the waters below. She was Rilashul: the sound which covers sorrow, the solemn bird which circled the battlefield and sang for the dead. Now she sang her own sorrowsong, a whispering on the waves, as she drifted further and further apart, her consciousness slipping and unweaving itself to join with the Zhaunil. Perhaps on the other side she would see Isses, and he would tell her his great tale about conquering death and the natural law itself.