"I don't want you to do it," Chalis said. She twisted her foot in the earth and a flat piece of bone came up, dug out of the soil. A shoulder blade, maybe, not that she knew. It was dull and grungy from dirt, seemed worn. She looked at her brother and shuddered, but he didn't see it.
Gavrun was standing next to Katha, staring up at the trees, and he didn't answer. The autumn wind was pulling his hair across his face and he kept having to tuck it behind his ears to keep it out of his eyes. His hair was too long, womanly. Their mother tsked about it all the time, shaking her head and saying he'd never find a wife if he looked fit to be one, but Gavrun would just grin back at her, never caring to cut it.
"Look," Gavrun said. He pointed at the grove of trees, and Chalis followed his finger with her eyes. A seed fell with the wind, spinning away from the tree as it drifted to the ground. It was dull yellow, round and thick as the end of her thumb. The wind gusted again, pushing it up onto its side. It rolled a little before finally settling in front of her. Chalis stepped back and glanced at her brother again. But Gavrun was still looking at the trees.
"I see them," Chalis said. She crossed her arms over her chest, though the wind wasn't strong enough to chill. Another seed dropped from the tree as she watched, then three more from the one beside it; dull yellow disks twirling to the brown earth.
"I don't want you to do it," Chalis said again. She turned to look at her sister. "Katha, tell him not to do it."
Katha was sitting on the ground, looking pale and flat as the sky. She had the blanket Gavrun had brought for her wrapped tight around her shoulders, though she was still shivering. Katha lifted her head and drew breath to speak, but just started coughing, ducking her head and covering her mouth with the blanket. Chalis waited while Katha gathered her air back, unconsciously tightening her arms against her own body each time her sister's back heaved.
Gavrun watched the trees. The wind pushed the hair forward so Chalis couldn't see his face.
Katha wiped her mouth with the blanket, and her arms were shaking. "Don't do it, Gavrun," she said. "Please, don't."
"I can make it," he said. "It wouldn't be so hard."
"You don't even know," Chalis said.
"I do," he said. He looked at her, and pulled the hair away from his face, and his eyes were angry. "I'm fast enough. More than fast enough. I can make it. You've seen me run."
Chalis nodded. There were many seeds on the ground now, yellow disks scattered away from the trees. Chalis wondered if they were already sending roots down into the soil to worm their way among the bones. She took another step back from the trees.
"No one can outrun the wind," she said. "Not even you." But she knew Gavrun had stopped listening.