He felt the moment she caught sight of him, like all of the energy he had felt before had become an arm that coiled around his throat, holding him helplessly in place. He wanted to obscure himself far behind the others in the crowd, but as Valda tapped her sister on the arm, he knew it was futile. The other twin noticed him and it was as if there were now two hands on his neck, both of them squeezing gently.
‘Avaric,’ said Marinia, her voice lacing the name as if it was the answer to a great mystery, or the reveal of a secret. The crowd reacted as if it was so, following the twins’ gaze and seeing him, backing away with eyes full of curiosity, stranded in space with only Tayna and Andrel to latch onto.
‘He’s not what I imagined from what you described,’ Marinia continued. ‘He’s…weaker,’ the word was toxic in her mouth. With it, the force on his throat increased until Will let out what was closest to a strangled whimper. He could see nothing there, and yet he could feel as if there were fingers pressing the air from him, each strong enough to leave its own bruise. Whatever connection the twins had forged, he willed it away with all mental effort.
And then it was gone, but he soon realised it was not by his own doing. Tayna stepped forward, knowing the situation from just a brief glance. She swiped her hand through the air, in the space between Will and the twins, as if brushing away a tricky cobweb, and instantly the pressure was relieved, and he gulped down air as if it was the first in his life.
‘Stop this,’ Tayna warned, stood in front of Will like a personal guard. ‘You want respect for our families when you won’t even respect him?’
‘It was hardly disrespect,’ Marinia quipped. ‘I’d say more…experimentation -,’
‘I don’t care what it is: cut it out.’ Will had so far thought that nobody in the room could match the twins, and now he wondered if he was wrong.