Their whispers were much clearer to him now, especially when they rested. In those quiet, private times when he removed his mask and listened Indra could hear them. Sometimes it was just a quiet susurration of noise that could only be the artifact of a mind, and just perhaps a soul. But tonight their words were clearer, if night it was in the timelessness of the ship. It mattered not that they were sealed in the silent darkness of the hold, their voices still carried.
One whispered, “What… what was it like?” “I don’t remember…” he heard from another.
“I would like…” They spoke slowly, for they had all the time in the universe.
Indra’s eye flashed wide open. This was something new, something he had not heard from them before, or did not remember hearing. While they had slept the past millennia away, he had seen them all, and there was so much to remember. So he filled books with notes and memories lest he forget.
There was a long pause, and then several voices spoke at once, overlapping in his mind, “Remember... remember... what... remember... what... what...”
“Remember what?” A chorus of whispers in rare unison overlapped into a stunning crescendo, and Indra dropped his quill in surprise, ink spilling out of it onto the page.
There was silence again, for a moment, and Indra took up his quill again and wrote next to the small stain of ink, “Remember.” He strained, listening for some response, but for a long while there was nothing but silence. His hands shook from the tension of his attention, and another drop of ink was dislodged from the quill to land next to the first.
Even under the weight of his regard he almost missed the quiet response of one voice, “How to feel...”
Indra’s heart rose, and his eyes grew tight, and his vision blurred. The ink on the page was diluted by a single tear, then a second. He wiped his eyes dry with his left hand, and dipped the quill slowly. Below he wrote slowly, so as to steady his trembling hand.
- Old brother wraiths
- Longing in icy whispers
- Wring lost tears from me
He let the quill fall again, blinked, and felt the scar tissue on his face pull at the corners of his eyes. He wiped at the still damp recesses and said quietly to no one, to everyone, “I am sorry.”
But it was far, far too late. They would never hear. But then they did not remember either, remember betrayal at their grandfather’s hands, salvation at their father’s, and damnation at their brother’s. So he must remember for them, remember for them all. Lost names and faces, battles lost and won. And as the millennia stretched back Indra found there was so much to remember that memory became a great weight that bore down upon him relentlessly. So he resolved to end to it all, reversing the course before it could begin again.
Grandfather’s body was a crippled shell, but his spirit was strong, and longed to be born again. When he was Indra meant to be there, and before the ancient betrayer could set the wheel forward once again Indra would cut him down, and sever the axle of time.
Then he could rest, and forget.
Korvus 18:15, 11 February 2008 (UTC) Nicholas Cioran