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Well, thanks, Arill. And hm. Thinking, not having childhoods is something the gliders have in common. All of them were either born to the mountain, a cold, empty place where laughter and childishness is lost in the darkness and dust. The silliness, the foolish, delightful, whimsy seems out of place there, seems to intrude on the silence.

It's like they're born an adult....or enough of an adult to survive in a world where every comfort is available to them. They are never hurt, they have plenty of food, they have giant halls, they have beautiful clothing...but for the Eight, they can REMAIN children...the odd, ancient-children that they are raised as.

And the others, the ones born outside the Mountain, why, they lost their childhoods in exactly the opposite way, by being FORCED to grow, forced to fend for themsleves and their companions, being forced to survive. There, too, in that maelstorm of desperation and hunger and fear, a child's curious laughter is wrong, is out of place, is smothered. There, too, they are forced into adulthood - or some form of it.