Maris’s youngest daughter, Singer’s sister Mirra, was a few years older than Caela. At first this was a big difference. Mirra had quasi-adult status to her younger charges when she was assigned to watch over Caela and Singer, keep them from too much mischief, while the grown-ups worked. Once they were grown, of course, the age difference was negligible. Caela and Mirra became great friends. As it happened, their daughters, Felicity and Maea, were much closer in age than Caela and Mirra. The cousins grew up more like sisters within their close and complicated extended family. They shared secrets, and giggling pranks. They honed their social skills through their squabbles and reconciliations, honed physical and mental skills through fierce competition, learned the consequences of their actions after daring each other into ill-conceived adventures.
The girls were fascinated with learning to find, refine, expand their potential healing abilities as they watched Caela, and experienced directly her skill in encouraging the healing of their broken bones, contusions and wounds. Eventually she merely supervised as they practiced on each other’s active child injuries. Caela was happy to teach them what she could, answer their curious questioning, open her own memories of learning to their eager perusal, let them watch, when convenient and appropriate, as she worked with others’ wounds and illnesses. Thus both girls grew to be healers themselves, as part of the service they could offer in their community.
“We get to be wonderful,” Felicity was remarking.
“We are wonderful!” Maea mirthfully chimes in.
“We are wonderful,” continuing on her train of thought, Felicity ironically marvels: “because we revel in all the pain and suffering no one else wants to be near. Kind of like compost keepers.”
“Though we all get that honorable chore from time to time.” Maea points out. “We get to be especially wonderful because we went through the initiation to learn the (shhhh) secret ways. We can protect ourselves from the pain and give that protection away.”
“Have our calmness, and share it as well?” Felicity remarks as querent.
Caela laughs with them, a deep chuckle at some impossible mystery that binds them. This mystery for them is mundane reality, yet serves to remake reality for those to whom they are seen as special.
Singer too is special, in his own charming way.
“We have a special family,” Caela allows, still chuckling with a merry twinkle. “Witchy we might be called in another time and place.” But that thought brought shudders from some protomemory she has no desire to pursue. Rather than become quietly thoughtful and put a damper on the get together, Caela rallies her true interest in the goings on of Felicity and Maea’s current gossip.