Darien lay in bed listening to it. He’d thought at first it was another nightmare but then he knew he was awake. Frightened, though. He pulled the covers up over his head to try and muffle the voices he heard in the wind.
They were calling. Calling him to come and play outside in the wild dark dancing of the storm. To join them in this battering of wind and snow. But he was only a little boy, and afraid, and he would die if her went outside. Even though the storm wasn’t so bad where they were.
Finn had explained about that. How even though Darien’s real mother couldn’t be there with them she was protecting him all the time, and she made the winter easier around his bed because she loved him. They all loved him; Vae his mother and even Shahar his father, who had been home from war only once before they had come to the lake. He had lifted Darien up in the air and made him laugh. The he had said Dari would soon be bigger than Finn and laughed, himself, though not the funny laugh.
Finn was his brother and he loved Dari most of all and he was the most wonderful person in the world and knew everything besides.
It was Finn who had explained what Father had meant when Dari came crying to him after, because there was something wrong with him being bigger than Finn. Soon, Father had said.
Finn had dressed him in his coat and boots and carried him out for a walk. Dari liked it more than anything when they did that. Finn would throw Dari in the snow, but only where it was new and soft, and then fall in himself so they both got all white, rolling about, and Dari would laugh so hard he got the hiccups.
This time, though, Finn had been serious. Sometimes he was serious and made Dari listen to him. He said that Dari was different from other little boys. That he was special because his real mother was special, and so he was going to be bigger and stronger and smarter than all the others boys. Even Finn, Finn said. And what that meant, Finn said, was that Dari had to be better, too, he had to be kinder and gentler and braver, so he would deserve what his real mother had given him.
He had to try to love everything, Finn said, except the Dark.
The Dark was what was causing the storm outside, Dari knew. And most of the time he hated it like Finn said. He tried to do it all the time, to be just like Finn was, but sometimes he heard the voices, and though mostly they frightened him, sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes he thought it might be nice to go with them.
Except that would mean leaving Finn, and he would never do that. He got out of bed and put on his knitted slippers. He pulled back the curtain, past where his mother slept, to the far wall where Finn’s bed was.
Finn was awake. ‘What took you so long?” he whispered. “Come in, little brother, we’ll keep each other warm.” With a sigh of pleasure, Dari kicked off the slippers and crawled in beside Finn, who moved over, leaving Dari the warm part where he’d lain.
“There are voices,” he said to Finn.
His brother didn’t say anything. Just put an arm around Dari and held him close. The voices weren’t as loud here, when he was beside Finn. As he drifted to sleep, Dari heard Finn murmur into his ear, “I love you, little one.”
Dari loved him back. When he fell asleep he dreamt again, and in his dream he was trying to tell that to the ghostly figures in the wind.
[Pages 143-145, from The Wandering Fire by Guy Gavriel Kay]