They were precious to her.
None were related to her by blood. A few grew up near her home, held some of the same values as her, but none were anywhere close to her age.
All the better: she could mother them without much complaint.
It was much more subtly with those that looked visibly older, but Layla didn’t mind. They were the last of their species, the last true Cattlayans in the universe, and they were all very important to her.
The children were the future of their race, and she would protect them. Teach them, guide them, help them grow. Scare away those that threatened them.
She never had a chance to have her own children, swept up as she was, away from her home and culture.
Layla knew they talked some behind her back, about how old she was, what she’s done, what she tends to do. Her methods and habits.
She doesn’t really care. It’s kind of amusing whenever they question her about her age, after all. She can feel how old she is, ultimately. She can feel it in her bones, see it in the tiny lines around her eyes. It didn’t show much, but the signs were still there.
She was old, unlike the others.
Things were different now for everyone. A mix of old and new culture, people trying to decipher who they were now that their home was destroyed.
The children of this era were given a baptism by fire, sometimes quite in the literal sense.
Layla tried to be there for that part, to prevent it if she could, but she was almost always there for the aftermath. The cold that seeped in and broke people from the inside out, tore them down to their very basic nature.
No one deserved that.
dOES IT FEEL
KNOWING YOU TRIED,
KNOWING YOU’RE ALL THAT REMAINS i hate this part but im just gonna put it here for record purposes