We’nell had often been curious about what it was like to have a lot of siblings. She had three - all boys - but they were much older than her, and had already been thoroughly occupied with their crafting apprenticeships when We’nell was born, so she’d never gotten to know them well. She thus considered herself partially an only child, and regarded people with siblings of a similar age with a touch of wistful envy. She wouldn’t kid herself into assuming it was better than being a singleton in every way, of course; there were obvious disadvantages, as Soraya’s story indicated. One thing that We’nell realised quite abruptly was just how much loss Soraya must have suffered - she said she’d had lots of siblings, but that she was now all Pelantyr had left… It didn’t bear thinking about. Really it was amazing that Soraya seemed as collected and composed as she did. From what little We’nell had seen, it seemed that Soraya had coped with her loss much better than her brother had.
In any case, We’nell wasn’t sure what to say. She wanted to be sensitive and offer comfort, but she had little experience in such things, so she just listened with an open, sympathetic expression, and nodded to show that she understood. “Maybe he feels a little responsible for… But I mean, hopefully, once you’ve been here a little while, and he feels safer...” She swallowed, worrying that she’d inadvertently say something upsetting, “Hopefully then he’ll give you a bit more space.” She gave what she hoped was a kindly smile as the doors to the lift closed and it began to move.
She was a little relieved when the conversation returned to dragons, just because there was much less risk of her putting her foot in it. She smiled as Soraya mentioned the strangeness of having a dragon speak to her, then tilted her head to the side thoughtfully when the girl asked her if she didn’t miss her privacy, having Vero hear all her thoughts. “No…” She began, “Not really. When I first Impressed, I did find myself sometimes thinking things and then wondering if I’d want Vero knowing that, but… I got over that very quickly. Vee already knew everything about me from the moment we were together, so there wasn’t really anything to hide. It feels like family I guess. When you’re a little kid, your mother knows absolutely everything about what you do. It’s kinda’ like that, but it goes both ways…” She paused, frowning as she tried to think how best to put her thoughts into words. “It is a very close relationship, but it doesn’t feel invasive. You know you can trust each other completely; your secrets are safe because you’re so much one thing, that their secrets are yours, too. Does that make any sense?” She glanced at Soraya to see if the candidate seemed to be following her words.
The door of the lift slid open on the first level, and We’nell stepped out.
The largest of the Islands is home to a sprawling complex, dusty with disuse but slowly coming to life. Little is seen above the pure rock that makes up the top of the Island and its lone mountain, except for a signal tower and a few gleaming spires and air tunnels that draw fresh air down into the complex below.