Chapter Ninety-Nine: In which work starts on my new home

After talking further with Lord Klamath about my plans, we joined the rest of the clan and an impromptu party began. As I have said before, we dragons love to celebrate, and so we celebrated the fact that I was going to have a home of my own soon.

After the meal, the dragons gathered in groups to talk and catch up on news. I sat on the floor with a group of younglings who insisted that I tell them about my adventures in Wales. After my account was complete they began to talk about my new home. I laughed as the younglings argued about which of them was going to help with the excavation. Thankfully Juniper came up before they could come to blows and she suggested that they create artwork for the walls. “That way Lord Gryf can see your beautiful pictures every day,” she said, giving me a wink.

Some of the younglings were not convinced by Juniper’s argument so I joined the conversation. “Lady Juniper is quite right. Let the older dragons do the boring work. You young ones can create works of art that I will be able to appreciate for years to come.” A few of the little dragons gave me suspicious looks, so I put a very serious expression on my face to reassure them that I was very sincere.

Painted Rocks Edited“Well, I suppose we could do that, Lord Gryf,” a tiny little scrap said and he climbed into my lap. “What kind of pictures should we make?” he asked.

“Would you like some painted rocks?” another little one asked, leaning against my knee and looking up into my face. “We are painting rocks in art class.”

“I would love some painted rocks,” I said, and we spent the next fifteen minutes or so discussing art until it was time for the little artists to go home with their parents.

Just a few days later, at the dinner table, Lord B and Lady M showed me a document. As I read through the first page I realized that the piece of paper indicated that they had bought the land on the mountain, the land where my rocks were. They had talked about doing this before, but I had not realized that they were really going to do it. We dragons don’t really understand the concept of owning land. I suppose that we are few enough in number that we do not have to compete for land the way humans seem to do. Of course, we do not need much land as we do not build houses with gardens and yards. Instead, our homes are below the ground, in trees, in caves beneath mountains, and in lakes, rivers, seas and oceans. We do need land so that we can grow crops, but we do not require the huge farms that humans have. Throughout our history we have just used little isolated plots of land without worrying about the owners of these places. I had not thought much about who owned the rocky mountain top where I was going to make my home, but Lord B and Lady M had.

“We don’t want you to be bothered by humans who might hike up there. We will make sure that people know that it is privately owned and that it is not public land. After everything you have been through, it would be ridiculous if humans were to discover your home now,” Lady M said with a laugh.

I cannot tell you how deeply moved I was by what Lord B and Lady M had done. The land was not inexpensive and it was not land that Lady M and Lord could use for any human purpose as it was steep, exposed, and very rocky. I was the only one who would be able to make use of it.

“I cannot tell you how much…” I said, trying to steady my voice. “I do not know how I will pay you back for…”

“Don’t worry about that, Gryf,” Lord B said.

“But I…”

“It’s fine, Gryf. You are family and family members look after each other,” Lady M said.

I do not have any money, as dragons do not use money in any shape or form, but I intend to find a way to thank my human family for their generosity. Perhaps the dragon community will allow me to share some of our inventions with them, things that will make their lives easier. There must be something that I can give them in return.

*

Two nights ago we began work on my cave. I shifted to become a Great Northern Dragon and with the great strength that Great Northern’s have at my disposal, I was able to shift rock with ease. The engineers from Lord Klamath’s clan had created plans, and with their assistance I was able to begin carving out a cave that would be solid and safe.

Dragon fire is not like normal fire. When directed at rock it causes the rock to soften so that it forms a strong surface that does not crack or buckle. Typically we dig a short way into the rock and then start sealing up the roof and the sides with our fire as we carve out the cave. On this occasion we had to make the cave large enough to allow us to work before we could use our fire because we did not want the humans in the valley below to see the glow of the fire. We dug carefully, using braces and props to support the roof of the cave. When we had gone in deep enough, we put my door in place, closed it, and then began to use our fire to seal up the interior of the cave. This was tricky to do, but we managed. I have to tell you, working with dragon fire in such a confined space, with the door closed, was hot work, even for a dragon!

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