What does “twinborn” mean?
The twinborn are those who exist in two worlds. Much as Tellurak and Veydrus are linked as worlds, largely mirrors of one another, but differently shaped by their histories, so are those who exist in both. They are identical twins in body, fraternal twins in Source. The Source is the key difference. Importantly, the twinborn are the ones who are aware of their connection, that the world they see in their dreams are not dreams at all, but a window into the world of their twin.
Who can become twinborn?
Like many poorly-understood phenomena, the origins of a twinborn pair are a matter of tendencies, general rules, and occasional anomalies that keep those rules from becoming more than “general”. The most common trait among twinborn is that one is strong in magic. For a twinborn to be born, a Source must split between two worlds. For this to still result in two healthy newborns who live long enough to realize their connection, there must have been a good, sturdy Source to begin with. When the Source splits unevenly, it often results in a very strong Source in one world (far more commonly Veydrus), and a weak one in the other. There are exceptions upon exceptions though, and Kyrus and Brannis are a perfect example of the stronger Source ending up in the “wrong” world.
Heredity and twinborn
Is a twinborn the offspring of the same parents in both worlds? It’s possible and fairly common, but not so in every case. Usually at least one parent is common to both worlds, whether that parent be twinborn him/herself or not. Sometimes there is no connection at all between the parents in one world and the parents in another. Rarer still are times when both parents are the same and twinborn. This is a case where love can transcend worlds and bring two (pairs of) people together.
How many are there?
No one would be able to guess at a number with any authority. There are too many factors to be weighed. The two most obvious obstacles are secrecy and ignorance. Most twinborn learn to be careful about revealing their status; non-twinborn might think them madmen, other twinborn might turn out to be enemies of theirs in the other world. There are also an unknown number of connected Sources that just are simply unaware that their persistent dreams are anything more than dreams.
Discovering a twinborn connection
How an individual discovers they are twinborn varies from person to person. First they need to remember their dreams, and the strength of those memories is what carries them across the rift between worlds. Traumatic events can speed the process considerably, but even amid placid lives, eventually enough memories accumulate that they start weighing on the mind in waking hours.
Clues from the other world are another catalyst. Certainly running into another twinborn, especially one known in the other world, can cause quite a spark, and having someone explain what is happening can greatly ease the dissonance that the thought of being two people can cause. However, the major catalyst is magic. Learning magic from one world and being able to apply it in the other is the possibly the most effective way for a twinborn to convince themselves that both worlds are real.
Just because one twin is awake doesn’t mean the other is asleep. However, most twinborn are not able to perceive the other world while they are awake, so those new to the idea of being twinborn can easily mistake that for being the case. However, while both twins are awake, they are still generating common memories that they will share, they will just not get the visceral feeling of experiencing them the first time. Brannis and Kyrus are fortunate in that Acardia and Kadrin are separated by enough distance East/West that they are on shifted daylight hours. That means that their nighttime hours are also offset, allowing them longer times to view each others’ worlds. Many twinborn who don’t have this luxury tend to naturally slide into a noctural cycle in one world.
Wow, this all sounds great! Why wouldn’t everyone want to be twinborn?
Sure, it’s all hot cocoa and puppy-dogs when things work out well. You get to play with magic in a world where (almost) no one else knows about it. You get a friend and confidante who you can trust completely. But not everyone is so fortunate.
First off, there are complications. While many twinborn can leverage their knowledge of two different worlds into positions of power and influence, most often one twin is a liability. Gaining control over one of them can force their twin into uncomfortable compromises. That can take the form of either legitimate authority in one world (a king, a superior officer, a parent), or go so far as outright kidnapping and coercion.
Even in the absence of such a conflict, most twinborn develop at least some small degree of paranoia by worrying about it. When you realize that the beggar in the street who keeps looking at you oddly might well be an assassin stalking your twin in the other world, people take on a sinister aspect. They start dropping subtle clues, watching for reactions to things that only a twinborn should understand, listening to overhear snippets of otherworldly language. It can be almost as damaging as actually being on the wrong end of a power-play between worlds.
Then there are the unfortunate ones whose connections do not work out so advantageously. Seeing another world in your dreams is fine. Seeing it while you are awake, unable to block it out, can be maddening. Whether as a constant distraction or an inability to draw distinctions between worlds, it makes a twinborn almost incapable of functioning.
Are there just two worlds?
Hmm, now that is and interesting question now, isn’t it? Well, I don’t recall there being any others, but that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t. If there are other worlds, presumably they’d have their own twinborn (Triplet-born? That would just be silly!). I suppose they would be harder to spot, if you were only aware of Tellurak, or Veydrus, or both. What would you even look for?
Still, I suppose it’s possible…
Am I twinborn?
Do you dream of the same place each night, as the same person? Do you not remember details of your dreams at all, but remember that they seemed so vivid at the time? Do you occasionally show skills that you never learned? Do you see people and know that you’ve met them somewhere before?
Have you tried the magic? Go on…try it. There’s nobody around. What would it hurt?
Anything I left out? Anything more you wanted to know? Leave a comment.
Or if you think you might be Twinborn, tell me your story.