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When Nil is stressed, he talks. The silence is vast and scary, a void he cannot fill, and some nights he still wakes up in the middle of the night, covered in cold sweat.

Flick rarely wakes up when he grips at her in panic, desperate to hear anything, to feel less alone.

He learns to be quiet to hear the noises people make all the time, unwilling to drown them out with her words.

When Garl speaks to him for the first time, he nearly gets a heart attack.

Flick keeps glaring at the altar, and there’s a god (a gnome god, voice in Nil’s head says with something like wonder. A god of gnomes accepted him, he will remember every time when he hears he’s not good enough to be a part of this family.) whispering a plan, giggling, straight into his head, then laughing out loud when they succeed. Nil beams at Flick and she forgets to be angry at him, when he spills every single detail. In the back of his head Garl just whispers with badly faked hurt: “tattletale!”

It’s a few days before the nightmares come again, he falls quiet again, almost crushing Flick’s hand in his. When he whispers to the god he gets the answer, bit sleepy but there , and Nil spends nearly an hour just thinking at him, about everything.

It’s like something broke and he can’t lock the door anymore, so when Flick finally wakes up his eyes are already red, and her sleeve is wet with tears. He can see her panic, and manages to calm her down, just a little, when suddenly her eyes go angry and distant. She gets out of the bed and points at the sky.

‘Don’t make my brother cry, or I’ll go and… do something ! I’ll eat your last sandwich!’

The amusement in his head and Flick’s voice, ranting out loud, surrounds Nil like a blanket, and he doesn’t wake up for the rest of the night.