After Virid left and her voice returned, the people of the base, the 'others', took Willow in without question. All through this long war she has remained, become one of them, joined in the quest to fight back, the fierce struggle just to survive.
The 'others' are just that, a mix of people, of those who would not yield to the conglomerate. There are ancient tribes, new soldiers, and solitary settlers. There is magic and machine, weapons and music, a hundred languages and colours.
The base has grown as more have arrived. It has become strong with spirit and work. There are hundreds of ships, small and large. There are rooms for mapping, rooms for planning strategy, rooms for weapons.
There is also room for people far from home. There is magic and story and medicine. The spacecraft are marked with charms, the air rich with song and mechanics. Tobias passes for a leader, a judge or decider. Alide has the magicks in her soul, is a soldier, sorceress and ruler in one.
In the midst of it all, Willow has grown, but the child she was remains close to the surface, all angles and bright eyes. She no longer runs from others, her quickness calmed by care, but the bright fizz of her mind never dulls.
The flame of her hair matches her burn for knowing and she learns all given to her. Alide and Tobias continue to teach her, watch her mind working fast and sure. They know that Willow is special, that there is something in her that marks her out for great things. But there is a war on, and things are hard. Willow is apprenticed to work where she began, on the ships, except that she will be the one building and flying.
The war struggles on, Willow grows, becomes quicker, faster and surer. She works hard to help, although Alide has so far managed to keep her away from action on the fighting front. The others do not want their young people to fight, they wait for older and more experienced soldiers. So Willow fixes and builds, runs errands for the rest of the base. She is a sure pilot, fast and skilled, only waiting to fly and follow those into the conflict.
She is eager to talk, eager to please, and happy to find herself in the centre of her circle of friends. Sometimes in the base, friends leave and never return, arguments sprawl over the war, cultures clash, and hardships are great. It makes Willow and her friends tough, sometimes hard and sharp, but it's the closest thing to a home any of them have.
At night, the girl she was sometimes returns, and Willow climbs trees, watches the stars, and waits for Virid to return with his dark eyes and some news of the hazy puzzle that was her home and her people so long ago.