Morgana had told Rabin that they were not identical twins. According to her, Rachim also looked a bit more Moquel. Rabin appeared a shade more Old Race. Still, Rabin imagined a boy who might have looked a lot like himself. He pictured him on a bed with silken covers getting attended to by servants and protected by guards. He grinned at the thought that he was supposed to be chosen by his mother. Some people have all the luck, he thought.
However, Rabin knew what his mother meant. The Hillmen could handle Rabin’s slightly off-color reddish hair and beryl green eyes. They could even get used to the way that his eyes seemed to shine in the dark. Rabin knew that this was a different issue, and he didn’t need anybody to directly tell him so.
The HIllman were a tough but generous people. They could grow used to a boy who looked a little different or even quite a bit different. This was particularly true when that boy made himself useful and seemed to promise to grow up to become what Chief Grandtree, Rabin’s grandfather, would call a sturdy enough Hillman.
However, Rabin knew the thought of a boy in their midst who might know things they don’t know would strain their good will. Even though Rabin had just turned twelve, he already understood, that the knowledge people feared might be secret things about themselves. As Del had explained to him back in the cave, his mother might have kept secrets from her own husband. Maybe there were other secrets.
But tonight, as Rabin still touched the outcropping and tried to shut out his normal senses, he felt a little rebellious. This rusty other eye resisted his explorations. Rabin felt pressure behind his brow. At first, he just felt pinpricks of sensation from behind him. Again, it seemed as if he tasted Del’s terrible anxiety and his sister’s childlike fear. Del had taken great care to stay steady, and Rabin knew he wouldn’t want anybody to know how scared he truly was.
Then, It felt as if the secret eye opened up and Rabin fell through. This had never happened before. The earth seemed to shake and Rabin found himself in a different place. This is different than the whispers in the dark, he thought. He wondered what he did.
Instead of standing a little above a footpath under a black and starry sky, he stood on a bridge under a sky of swirling colors. A small crowd of people slowly marched from one end of the bridge to the other. The boy stood in their midst. As he tried to catch the eyes of a man here or a woman there, the people’s features blurred.
Up in front of the small crowd, Rabin saw a tall woman with golden hair moving away from him. A tall man with a smith’s wide shoulders waited for her on the other bank. “Mother,” he cried out. He tried to push through the bodies to reach her. As he touched one or the other of the people, his hand seemed to pass through them as if they were creatures of smoke. “Morgana Grantree,” Rabin tried to call again. “Mother, it’s Rabin!”