As he crouched in the dark, he tried to open up all of his senses the way the men in the village had taught him when they took the children out for training. Rabin caught a glimpse of fires burning from below the belt of trees that surrounded the village at the bottom of the hill. Cabins must be on fire, he thought.
Again, he sniffed the smoke that wafted up the hill. Rabin caught the strong scent of burning wood and perhaps, a faint odor of roasting meat. The smoke had not permeated into the cave, so he already had a bit more of the information that Del sought. On the other side of the village, through the belt of trees, Rabin caught a glimpse of smaller fires that looked more like campfires than burning buildings.
Once in awhile, a shadow passed before those smaller fires, and he was sure those belonged to men. He thought it unlikely that the village adults would set up a camp on the other side of the trees and not come to fetch the children. Of course, it could be some sort of complex ruse that his mother or Captain Gerson had devised. He had no way to know who camped on the other side of the village.
Still, Rabin had learned something and could have scooted back to the relative safety of the hidden cave. He pictured discussing the burning campfires and cabins with Del and knew he’d just provoke more questions than he answered.
He didn’t know what to do. Crouched down behind the outcropping, Rabin closed his eyes and tried to dig down as deep as he could for what he called his secret eye. He didn’t do it often as the effort tended to burn more energy than it seemed worth. Sometimes it brought on migraines. It was as if the secret eye usually resisted Rabin as much as he resisted it. Once in awhile it called to him, but mostly, he kept it buried like a dirty secret in the cellar of his mind.
Yes, he had lied to Del about this one thing. Rabin had slid around the truth about it before to others and usually pretended it didn’t exist to himself.
Mostly, he knew that the purebreds, particularly his mother, didn’t really want to hear about it. Even Mayor Morgana Grantree, who had been the consort of the High Prince of Moquel for two years, wouldn’t want to hear about any secret eyes.
Rabin was the twin she had chosen. She had taken considerable trouble to carry Rabin, then only three, back across the Known Lands to her father’s house in The HIlls. She had taken Rabin, but she had left Rachim.
The older twin, she had explained, had too much of the sight and not enough of what her father would have called horse sense. He wouldn’t have fit in, she said. It would have been cruel, she explained. She took the younger one and left the gifted and older twin for the High Prince. It only seemed fair.