It has been a whirlwind for Khalani. The tragic accident, the fire, the service, the cremation and now nothing is the same, nor ever will be again. As the eldest of the children, the title of Baroness does not come as a surprise to the young Khalani, but her father was young! It should not be placed upon her shoulders for years yet. Her mother's death was not such a surprise, she had always been delicate, and even all the abilities of the best Healers of the Isle could not stay the hand of fate. She died days after the birth of Khalani's youngest sister, leaving four girls as the heirs to the Barony. It was rumoured, amongst the servants, that the Baron's sparkle left that day. He loved his wife dearly, and it's true, something was lost from the small family with her loss. Khalani and her father grew close.. she looked very much like her mother, perhaps that helped, and there was an acceptance that now, there would be no brothers for the four little girls.
The late Baron was a skilled alchemist and healer, it should not have happened. He knew how to mix reagents safely, and rumours fly on what happened. Some say he got poor quality reagents, some say he was working on experimental and volatile compounds, some even murmur about foul play, but those soft whispers are quickly shushed and kept from the children. What really happened.. it is hard to say. The Baron was working in his lab, nothing out of the ordinary. The house was awoken abruptly by the explosion, and the fire. The servants quickly roused and bundled the children out of the house, the bedrooms are far from the Baron's workroom for just this eventuality. The fire was too fast, too hot, many tried but none could get near to the workshop until it had burned itself out. A bucket brigade kept most of the residential part of the manor intact, only the rooms nearest the workroom filling with smoke and fire.
Khalani had often been the responsible one, the eldest of the quartet, and she naturally tried to take the maternal role after the death of her mother five years before. There is a gap in the ages of the girls, Khalani at thirteen and then her sisters Natalia at nine, Meliana at six and Shala at five, there was another pregnancy, when Khalani was only two, but she does not remember the miscarriage, nor her parents' disappointment. She does remember the joy and excitement of Natalia's arrival, all the more sweet for the disappointment only a couple of years earlier. Even at only eight, she stepped into the responsible role as best she could, and came closer to her father in doing so. They were, of course, hardly alone as another family might be. There were servants, and housekeepers and those to help the Baron with his young daughters. It was decided, amongst them, that Khalani should take advantage of the generous offer from the Duke and Duchess. Her sisters are young enough to stay on the Isle of Draught for now, but she is a Baroness. Her formal education should continue, and the best place for that now is away from her home. It's for the best, really.
Gateway came as a surprise to the young woman.