FYI: If you can hear accents in your mind's ear, the mother's is West Indian - mostly Trinidadian - and the father's is lowland Scottish.
One moment Kīl'Lēn wanted to run in fear. The next she was almost dancing with excitement. Either way, sitting still at the dinner table was torturous. It was set with appetizing food and her stomach growled, but she couldn’t bring herself to eat. Tomorrow she would begin her Journey.
Over a year ago she had passed her Journeyman Challenge, demonstrating her skills with all the machines of her father’s tool and die works. After, she had complained bitterly, pleading to be allowed to join a Caravan at eleven, to study with the travelling Masters. For weeks she was consumed with anger. It took the shock of losing the Little Blessings of Vral’Lor for Kī to realize how she was behaving. Atonement had not been pleasant but she was glad she had regained a place in the designs of Vral’Lor, the Maker.
Kīl’Lēn realized her parents had fallen silent while she picked at her dinner. She looked up to see them watching her and ignoring their meal. Her father’s pale freckled face was as inscrutable as ever under his mop of red curls. Her mother’s black eyebrows arched high on her dark brown face. Bright red lips were pursed, holding in that brilliant grin.
"I'd tell you to relax into the Cycle," her mother said, "but you're too much your father's child."
Kī loved her mother’s lyrical accent. Tonight it set her on edge and she failed to smile reassuringly, judging by the way her mother’s expression shifted from suppressed glee to open concern.
In his deep, smooth voice her father said, "I have something that might help." He muttered a quick prayer to keep his dinner fresh and stood. Using the hand-signs of the forge and the mine – for times when spoken words were too quiet or too distant – he said, ••Follow me.••
"To the ’shop then?" her mother asked. She could read, but not speak, the hand signs.
Kī looked for a hint in her father’s expression but he was as unreadable as ever. Dryly, he said, “Vral'Lor grants calm in forging ahead.” Invoking his God’s name made his eyes spark. Kī had seen this before, but her eyes widened as she felt the heat of the forge on her face. Her father’s hair glowed like coals under bellows. For a moment she felt the lust for life that he contained and concentrated as in a forge.
“Nav grants calm in the Cycle,” her mother replied with a small smile, invoking her own Goddess. Her skin rippled like the disturbed surface of a glassy pool, with flickering flashes of light shimmering around her for a moment. When they passed, her expression was calm and focused.
Kīl'Lēn knew her parents had shared several lifetimes but this was the first time she felt the depth of their connection. Her father kiss on her mother’s upturned cheek was perfunctory to the natural eye. In her godsight Kī saw an act of passion that deeply embarrassed and confused her adolescent sensibilities.
Her father was headed to the door. Kīl'Lēn hastily preserved her meal with a prayer of her own, enjoying the little blessing as it flowed through her fingers and into the food. For a moment she wondered what her parents saw when she called a little blessing, but the continuing glare of her mother’s passion drove her to move. Following her father’s lead, Kī pecked her mother's cheek and hurried out into the frigid mountain air. She welcomed the chill of the cold, still air.
The night was bright with stars that seemed to spill down from the sky to become the lights of the town, on the mountainside a few kilometres away. The bracing cold settled on her with comfortable familiarity on the short walk to the workshop. The intense, dry heat that greeted her at the door of the strong stone building was just as welcome.
The interior was dark, with the forge fires banked and the glass furnaces sealed. Automatically, Kī prayed for mine-sight. Her eyes tickled with a little rush of magic and the darkness faded away.
Her father was on the other side of The Workbench – a massive slab of granite two meters across and six metres long. She had spent years under that table, and something was wrong. "Where are your legs?"
"You need to come over here to find out," her father said. Kī was shocked to see a huge grin split her father's face. His friend-name was "Straight" as much for the lack of expression on his face as for the quality of his machines and tools. He cracked people up. He didn't crack a smile.