I apologize for being late posting this installment.
It is difficult at times to write the yearning of the heart and the sadness of parting.
Cras’mul and Haf’nad the two golden dragons who accompanied Graf’tal to retrieved Tal’on landed in the meadow joining the other four dragons and Delevy.
“There is a village ahead as Delevy indicated. It is perhaps one hundred wing strokes from here,” Cras’mul announced as he landed in front of the others with Haf’nad at his side.
“You’re sure they will accept you and give you shelter?” Graf’tal asked Delevy.
It had already been established that Delevy could understand them, but only Tal’on seemed to possess the power to understand her.
She nodded her head at the dragon Tal’on referred to as his ‘Great.’
“They are my mother’s people,” Delevy explained. “I have never been out of the city, but she often spoke fondly of the family she left behind and her people. I am sure I will be welcome. The only reason she left was she fell in love with father. He was a traveling merchant and his business led them to the city.”
“I wish you could come with us,” Tal’on lamented yet again.
He collapsed, sitting down on his haunches in defeat.
“We’ve already been over this, Tal’on.” Delevy sighed and took his head in her arms cradling it against her chest. She ran her hand along his jaw and ended the stroke by gently scratching him under the chin. “I can’t do your ‘picture talk.’ We have tried over and over. All it does is give me a raging headache.”
Graf’tal waited until the female was finished speaking and then uttered once more, “She can’t come if she can’t see.”
The Great could feel his young charges’ pain. It was a cross species love the two formed over the years Tal’on was separated from his own kin. It was something unexplainable that happened during stasis which brought their hearts and minds together. It would not be easy to separate them. But, the youngling could not stay. The impossibility of that had already been proven. It was a danger to both of them.
Bel’lar and Ere’lee looked on. Ere’lee placed a loving wing over Bel’lar. They were a heart bonded pair. They had an idea of what Tal’on was going through. If he truly bonded with the human then being separated from her would feel as though one of his wings had been severed. Bel’lar and Ere’lee were never far from each other’s side. Only the birth of a hatchling allowed a bonded pair a bit more freedom because nature made it so. It allowed one of them to hunt for the family while the other tended the young, but there would be no chance of a hatchling to ease Tal’on’s pain.
Bel’lar slipped from under her mate’s wing and went to Graf’tal’s side. The old male had never had a mate. He could not relate to what his young charge was going through except in concept. His only thought was for Tal’on’s safety. He wanted to push to get them away from this place and its danger to his charge.
“Let them have the rest of this evening together,” Bel’lar coached softly in Graf’tal ear. “Tomorrow morning we can see her safely to the village and be away.” She nuzzled the old Great’s neck. “They need time to say their good-byes.”
Graf’tal sighed heavily. He wished to be away from this place, but he could see Bel’lar was right. The youngling had gotten himself in a terrible fix, one his Great could not help him through.
“We will rest here for the remainder of the night,” Graf’tal announced looking up at the double moons in the night sky. “Tomorrow we will see Delevy to her new home and safety.”
The five dragons moved away from the couple. Bel’lar and Erelee found a sheltered spot and curled up together, wings and tails wrapped over one another as though they wished to be one being. Cras’mal and Haf’nad curled up under the trees at the edge of the meadow. Graf’tal appointed himself first watch in order to keep them all safe and give himself time to think about what he must do to help his young charge through this trial.
Tal’on laid down in the grassy meadow and pulled Delevy to his chest. They lay as they had so many nights before. She curled up in the croak of his front legs, stroking the scales of his leg and paws. Her touch was so soothing. Tal’on could not imagine being without it. They did not sleep. They did not speak. They huddled in desperation against each other as soft tears flowed down both their cheeks.
“I want you to take the Sollen,” Tal’on finally said, as dawn began to crest over the tree tops and they were still awake.
He pulled the stone from its place in the pouch of his armor and handed it to her.
“If you ever need me,” he said in a choked voice, “you need only hold it and I will hear. I will come to you.”
He nuzzled her and purred softly. Delevy stroked the large stiff plates of his chest. She knew they felt hard, but it did not stop him from feeling her need, her desire to be close to him. She placed the Sollen in the pouch at her waist. She leaned her head against his chest. She could hear his massive heart, feel the rise and fall of his breath. She sighed deeply and then matched her breathing to his. They were one. They would always be one, no matter how far apart they were. She would always love him.
Tal’on’s purr grew deeper. His heart was breaking. He did not want to leave, but as Graf’tal pointed out to him privately, leaving was the only option. If he stayed he only put Delevy in more danger. She would never have been in this situation without his presence.
“It is time to go,” Graf’tal announced, as he rose to his feet at the edge of the meadow.
It was not a verbal announcement. It was projected to Tal’on in his thoughts. The young dragon nudged Delevy as the other dragons, who also received the old Great’s picture, rose to their feet.
“We have to go,” he said softly. “It’s time.”
Delevy rose, adjusting her tunic in order to give herself something to do with her hands rather than reaching out in desperation to her dragon. Tal’on extended a wing and she mounted. There was no laughter this time as they flew toward the village. Tal’on only felt the unrelenting grip of his loved one around his neck as he flew the last few wing beats to her mother’s village.
The villagers were frightened and hid in their homes at the arrival of the six dragons at the edge of their hamlet. They only ventured out when they saw Delevy dismount and hug Tal’on, reluctant to let him leave.
“I will come back to check on you,” Tal’on informed her. He had decided overnight he could not possibly part from her permanently. He would have to return. He would have to see her again, feel her touch, smell her hair, see her smile.
“I will be waiting,” Delevy said. She smiled trying to be brave when all she felt was despair.
Tal’on lowered his head to her chest for one last hug – one last embrace. When Delevy pulled his head down to cuddle it, he placed his paw behind her back and pulled her in close. He huffed into her trying to give her comfort, and him strength, for what was coming.
When she released him, he stepped back joining his kin. Large tears streaked his cheeks, but he gave her a toothly grin trying to reinforce their decision to part. Unexpectedly, he threw back his head and gave out a deafening, pain-filled roar.
In the blink of an eye Delevy stood alone at the edge of the village staring at the empty field where her dragon, her love, had just stood a moment before. She fell to her knees and buried her head in her hands, and cried.