Chapter Ninety-Seven: In which we celebrate and then say goodbye

I am home, and I cannot tell you how relieved I am to be here. Perhaps you are wondering which home I am referring to. Allow me to tell you.

As Lady M drove back to Wales I slept deeply, the first proper sleep I had had since I left America weeks before. I only woke up when Mistress Lili roused me. The sun was high in the sky as we left the car, which was parked in a copse of trees, and finished our journey on foot.

My sister was waiting for us as we made our way up to the stone landing slab in front of my Clan Hall. “Welcome home, Gryf!” she said, wrapping her arms around me. “I am not going to let you go for a long time.” A heaviness filled me when I heard these words. I had not yet shared my plans with Eirin, and it was not going to be easy to tell her what I had decided to do.

That evening there was a big feast in the Clan Hall. We dragons love celebrations and this was a lively one as we had so much to be grateful for. Hearts were light and full of hope. Earlier that day the Dragon Council had sent out a message to the entire dragon community to tell them that Meister is Arwel, that he is our captive, and that he will remain so for the foreseeable future. They also told us that our scientists hoped to have cloaking devices ready for use in a little over a week. Very soon all the captive young dragons will be able to fly home.

The clan’s chefs outdid themselves and the meal we had that night was spectacular. I ate so much that I “felt fat,” a term Lady M uses after she has dined well. Lady M, Lord B and I sat with my sister and Herin, and Mistress Lili sat with some of my youngest relatives. It warmed my heart to see how easy it was for the young human and the young dragons to get along. If only the connection between our two species could always be this effortless and free.

As per usual, the meal was followed by music, and this time there was dancing as well. I laughed as I watched my human family trying to learn the steps of some of our Welsh dragon dances. Not having tails, they were not able to capture all the nuances of the dances, but they managed quite well.

Then Lady M and Mistress Lili taught us a Hawaiian dance, one they had learned in their hula class. At first everyone was very stiff and unsure of what to do, but we dragons are natural dancers and soon we understood where and when to sway, and how to use our arms and paws to tell a story. As we did not have the music for the dance, Mistress Lili and Lady M sang the song. The melody was a simple one and soon many of the dragons began to sing as well. The unfamiliar words of the Hawaiian language floated up to the highest places in the hall, filling the space with a delightful warmth that seemed to reach deep into our bones. Truly, music and dance are universal. There we were, Welsh dragons, singing a Hawaiian song and dancing the hula and it felt natural to do so.

For the next few days I spent as much time as I could with Eirin, Herin, and my other relatives. Though nothing was said, Lady M and her family seemed to know what was on my mind and they often went off to visit the local towns and to explore the countryside. I went for long walks with my sisters and we talked about all manner of things.

Bala ViewOn the third day after my return, Lady M, Lord B and Mistress Lili began to pack their bags. They were leaving later that day. I sought out my sister and found her sitting on the landing pad. She was looking out at the valley below. She turned when she heard my footfalls on the stone and smiled at me. Though there was warmth in her eyes, there was also sadness.

“I believe you have come to tell me that you will be leaving today too,” she said, turning to look out at the view again.

“Yes, dear Eirin. I will be leaving with Lady M. I know that you want me to stay but I cannot. Though I love this place, Oregon is now my home. I plan on making a cave of my own in the mountain behind Lady M’s house. I will be near Lord Klamath’s Clan Hall, and I will be able to see dragons whenever I wish.”

Just like my dear brother, Eirin worried that I would be lonely, and I explained to her that living in a cave of my own making, on my own, was what I wanted. “Who knows what I will do in the future. Perhaps I will find a partner and have a family, but for now solitude is what I want. I would like to start writing again, and there are so many books that I long to read, both human books and dragon books.”

“You always loved books,” Eirin said giving me another smile. “Just like our grandsire, you have a deep love of the written word. Will you come and visit us?”

“Of course I will, and we will talk often using the DracoVid,” I reassured her.

That afternoon I took my leave of my dragon family. It was a painful parting and I will not dwell on it here. Many of the clan dragons came down the mountain and stood under the trees as we loaded up the car with suitcases and bags. After one last round of hugs, my heart heavy, I shifted into the form of a dog and then hopped onto the back seat of the car. Lord B closed the car door after me, and then he got into the driving seat. I looked back as the car began to pull away, seeing my family one last time, their paws raised in farewell.