"Yes. Hey-" Merlin leaned forward with a slight frown. "I know it's a lot, but they're alright. And if they're not now, they will be. They all have support networks. It's not on you to get lost in other people's pain, my dear." He counted Thalia as a dear friend, and seeing her fold in on herself worried him. Had something else happened while she was away, perhaps?
"Thalia. Are you listening? These conflicts are a tale as old as they are. The Sheriff of Nottingham is ever after them, and sometimes he wins, and sometimes they do. It isn't easy, but it's written into their blood." He was watching her carefully. Holding out his hand, he whispered a word, and a bright robin redbreast appeared on his palm. The bird flapped onto the table in front of Thalia, and trilled and fluttered its feathers in a comic way, looking cheekily up at the downcast muse to give her a wink.
"Just an illusion, dear, to make you smile," he murmured.