The woman who makes the bells sees them with her fingers, feels their vibrations as a taste on her tongue, as complex, subtle colors in the air. She does not hear them, but she knows the shapes of their sounds like a lover knows their beloved.
The bell was cracked. The smallest of the set. A hairline fracture, not all the way through the metal, the barest irregularity in the lip that vanished before it reached the waist. Cracked. Faulty. Broken. The spirits of the dead will not listen to a broken bell. She ran her fingers around the rim carefully, grieving for the loss.
She cradled it in her hands, tiny and silent, thumbs caressing the smooth surface, gentling it, alive to every grain of its metal, the tactile song of copper, tin, and silver. That song would never sound, not from this bell, but she could feel it, know it. She would remember it, as she remembered all her children, every mouth that sent vibration out into the world from her hands.
Then, with stern sorrow, she laid the bell in the crease of the anvil. She took up her hammer of Unmaking, and shattered it, Speaking its name only in her heart. As she swept up the fragments, sharp and glittering against her fingers, she set a seal on that memory, putting it away.
Another bell would be born of that metal, but it would have its own quality, its own vibration, its own Name.
An Abhorsen's bells all have ancient, traditional names; names of power, of meaning, of resonance and history. What no one but the woman who makes the bells knows is that every one has a name of its very own, singular to it, and each is held in the heart of their maker.