Emery looked outside the window of the room that he and his brother shared. His brother had felt him coming – had felt the excitement that Emery felt to be outdoors, he’d said. He’d felt the birds as their wings were chopped off as a dim echo in his own shoulders. Was Miles right? Were they gifted like their father? Did they have more than conventional magic?
He looked up at the sky, so full of stars. Somewhere, under those same stars, was their father. Emery felt sure he had the answers to his questions. If only the man hadn’t disappeared just as their more unusual gifts were emerging.
**
Far away, in the cave system known as the Stevrim Caverns, Nathaniel watched his son gaze up at the stars. Miles and Emery had his gifts, as he feared they might. Off-magic, and all that came with it, had been inherited by his children. He prayed as he looked up at the stars that his sons would fare better than he had. He prayed that they would never come to know the pain and anguish that had caused him to leave his family rather than face it again.

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