Mertic chuckled as he listened to his wife putting the boys to bed. He loved this part of the day, the farm chores completed, supper over, he could sit in a chair by the fire, warm and snug in the house, satisfied with the day. Sometimes, Twirin would sing a lullaby, sometimes tell a story, but bedtime always included a Prayer to the Light.

May the Light surround me on the shadowed night

May the Light guide me through the darkest path.

May I live in the Light in all my days

And the Light be with me always.

Tonight, as usual, he could hear three-and-a-half-year old Lanch trying to repeat the lines after her. Then he frowned in puzzlement as he heard another voice, this one repeating the lines with Twirin. A sweet high-toned voice, but not Lanch. Could that be Elden? There were only two boys in the loft, what other voice could it be?

The prayer stopped and he stood, a bit confused. There was a moment of silence then a few steps as his wife moved to the ladder. He steadied it for her as she descended. Once below, she grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the table. Her eyes were moist with tears.

“Love, what’s happened?” She sat heavily and pulled his hand.

“Elden,” she whispered. “It’s Elden. He knows the words, all of them. Said them with me. Mertic, he’s just a baby, barely weaned, and he spoke the words with me. And then . . .” Her face flickered between awe and fear; she gripped his hand.

“Then? Love, you’re frightening me.”

Twirin bit her lip.

“When I bent to kiss him, he said . . . he said, ‘I love my baby sister.’ Just like that, ‘I love my baby sister!’ How did he know? We’ve told no one. I’ve not begun to show. And a sister? How could he know?” She clasped her abdomen, feeling the tiny swelling there. “He spoke early, yes, but this?”

“He’s just a little boy, ‘Rin, just that.”

“Is he? Or is he truly blessed by the Light?” She stared at the loft through the dimming light of the fire and wondered.

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