[This post is from Matt Astoris’s point of view.]
Matt paused, looking away from Lin and into the forge itself, staring at the embers that glowed faintly. His nephew’s announcement was neither a surprise nor did it make the bottom drop out of his stomach the way he’d expected it might when this day finally came. Instead, he just felt…empty. Empty and a little sad.
He took a deep breath. He must have been silent for too long. Matt bowed his head, shifting the metal in the coals for a second, then finally spoke. “When do you think they’ll leave?”
“You’re—you’re not going to fight me on this?”
Matt sighed and shook his head. “They warned me that the moment would come someday—and even then, they didn’t have to. There was always going to come a day when you wanted to see well beyond the walls, to learn the truth of the world you were born into. All of us knew that. I was just never sure what the context would be.”
“Then you’re not mad?”
“No,” he said, then sighed. “Worried as hell? Yeah. Yeah, that’s something I am. But I can’t be mad. Do they know about this decision?”
Lin shook his head. “No. I really haven’t outright told anyone. Aunt Caro, but she found me out by the graves. We talked. I just—Uncle Matt, there are questions I’ve got that won’t get answered if I don’t go with them and I think they’re going to need me, and not just them.” He wet his lips and stood up, coming to stand next to Matt. “…I think that Mom and Dad are going to need me, too.”