It was weightless and yet heavy here. Weightlessly heavy? Sure, that sounded plausible.
But it was cold and lonely and filled with a feeling that was as indescribable as that weightless heaviness that pressed against skin that screamed and cooed simultaneously at any contact.
Was that fear? Was it curiosity? Hope? Hatred? Worry? Elation? Anguish? Mourning?
Too many to tell, flying by too quickly to get a good enough grasp of.
Every movement was slow and yet lightning quick, like Time and its passage and marking were immaterial here. Wherever here even was. And that should be frightening but it wasn’t. Not really.
“Where am I?”
Millions of voices answered at once, Where you do not belong.
Her vision blurred as she spun around in a tight circle, trying to track down where those voices came from but the darkness shifted incessantly with darker shadows, the movement rapid and endless and it made her nauseous.
“Why don’t I belong here?” she asked.
Because only the living who have died can stay here, those voices answered, hushed with what she would call anticipation if she wasn’t so disoriented already.
She frowned, turning in another circle, wondering with a creeping terror why those shadows had stopped moving; unable to shake the unmistakable feeling of millions of eyes watching her. Waiting. Though for what, she didn’t know.
“But I was alive when the Palace collapsed,” it was a statement that she spoke like a question and the sense of anticipation was more intense now, thickening the air that was heavy against her skin, that pressed against her lungs like the tiny hands of over-curious children.
Those shadows shifted and with the movement she got the sense she was being laughed at.
Breathing with a heartbeat does not make you living.
What? That made no sense.
Rubbing a hand down her face, a habit she had picked up from Rhyshladlyn and hadn’t been able to break, she huffed an annoyed sigh. It was like talking to a Dragon, nothing but riddles and dancing labyrinths.
“If I’m not a living Dhaoine then what am I?” she asked and as she did that anticipation shifted and she stumbled under the force of a single shot of emotion that stabbed right in her chest, followed by joy.
Other, came the million-voiced answer. You are Other.
A step forward, hand outstretched as though to grasp whichever shadow-voice was nearest, to demand more answers, but her hand grasped at nothing. Her skin howled with the feel of wind on skin scorched raw and aching. Her throat and lungs burned with that same cool whisper of wind that wrapped around a howl that made her ears ring.
In the distance she heard an answering cry, a yip-yip that she would know anywhere, and relief settled deep and fast because it signaled that her little brother was close, that he was coming to save her.
Just before consciousness left her again she could have sworn she heard those voices in the wind the danced around her, that caressed her face.
And what effects the living doesn’t have the same effect on your kind.