Thorn: Hey, you want we should do a cute, happy, non-traumatizing strip today? Ask some questions about my kitty.
Leif: Gladly! Can soulbonds happen with any animal? or does it take a special one?
Tiernan: I am so cute! Why isn’t there a plushie of me yet??
Thorn: They’re not extra-magic, if that’s what you mean. But there are some general standards . . .
– Age: young. The process fails more often with older animals. It’s as if they get too “set in their ways” to accept a soulbond.
– Species: domesticated and fairly smart*, travel-size. Cats, dogs, and birds such as lories or budgies are most popular.
* But not too smart. No unicorns, or Tamaputians, or other humans.
– Temperament: friendly, quick to learn new things, not too anxious or easily-distracted. Like any other service animal.
Leif: Is there a limit to how far a person can get from their soulbonded animal? Or how long they can be apart?
Tiernan: Nope . . . we are a little different from daemons.
Tansy: No! Tiernan stayed with my family while my brother was stationed at the observatory — far from Central, and it lasted the better part of a year. The idea was that, at such an isolated post, it would be good for Thorn to have a direct feed of familial love and support through the soulbond. Also, we figured it would be really bad if his soulmate got eaten by a mountain lion.
Leif: Do you and your pet change each other’s preferences or feelings, through the bond?
Kale: Soulbonding makes the animal smarter. Lets them “get” more complex emotions, make plans, mostly-follow your language(s). And it can permanently change the human’s tastes . . . I like liver and bacon a lot more, now.
Thorn: While my favorite food went from “vegetable curry” to “fish curry.” Favorite drink is still bhang lassi.
Tiernan: You’ve all looked up what that translates to by this point, right? Can we just start saying “weed smoothie”?
Leif: Are you full-on telepaths now? I mean, can you hear each other’s thoughts?
Tiernan: We can get general emotions and sensations from each other. But our humans don’t hear exact words, no. If they did, I couldn’t get away with all my great fourth-wall-breaking jokes.