Update on attempted rewrite:
Changes aren't as dramatic as I first thought. I'm moving the focus from two minor characters who were bogging everything down just to prove a point.
Intermediate plan was to make her cheerful and curious so as to give her the secondary roll of explaining both hers and Peter's symptoms in a colorful way. Her friendship then helps us get to places we couldn't before ... which was all well and good except I found myself stretching for ways to include her.In the end there was far too much emphasis on this tiny character we already know isn't coming along with us for the long haul. It was causing me a lot of stress so I decided to take it out.
New and updated plan is to make Edana very timid. Her mother is a force to be reckoned with... she's a conflicted person who needs to be developed far more than her daughter. I will use Edana to describe how Fire Curses degrade, but Isolde is the one who'll be doing all the talking and making all the decisions. I feel much better about this. It'll take some rewrites, but it'll put the emphasis in the story in a more adult place and keep stuff from getting too cute or confusing overall.
I'll report in again when rewrite on this section is finished. I'm salvaging most of it, I hope to report great success by the end of the day.