Shadowed Moon Chapter 27 and Epilogue

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 9/6/2011

 

I stepped inside the house softly, cautiously, hoping that no one had invaded while I was gone ridding the world of the very witchcraft I had been believed to be part of. A familiar blackbird sat on a tree nearby. A blackbird who had done nothing but fly in careless circles and sing merrily in his crackly voice since I had arrived. Black-claw still called my Lara-Lara. I still minded. The house was still large and well taken care of. Many things hadn’t changed.
            And, still, many things had changed. I was no longer the timid girl who had grown up here. I wasn’t the scared child who had been threatened with execution. I wasn’t even the girl who had crossed the ocean to an unknown land, who had led an army in a battle against powerful evils. And I wasn’t the girl who was willing to live life without asking questions, without understanding. I was also not the girl who had lived in the shelter all her life, who had never stared pain in the face. Who had never faced death. Never faced the huge loss that came with our victory…
            I was the girl who had stepped into a world filled with dragons and talking beasts and magic. A world where it seemed just a little clearer to see HolyOne’s presence, and his working hand everyday—even without a prophesy to guide my steps, nor an angel to give me strength. I could only hope that who I was now was someone my father could accept.
            I stepped into his study, meaning only to breathe in his scent, to look at his books and papers and rub a hand over his polished desk and smile for the day ahead when he would return home and I would see him again.
            But as I entered, I saw a man sitting in my father’s chair. He was a bearded man, with dark hair and harsh, weathered expression. There were traces of grey in his beard and his eyes were blood-shot. He saw me enter and inhaled sharply. He raced a hand to his face and I watched it tremble.
            I couldn’t stand in the door for another instant. I ran forward, around the desk, and threw myself into my father’s arms. I cried. And then his body began to shake and he cried too.
            “I missed you so much,” I said as we embraced.
            He pulled away from me enough so that he could see my face and I watched his eyes trace my features. “Where were you?” he asked in a voice that didn’t seem to have been used in many days. “I was so worried, so worried.”
            “I don’t think you’d believe me if I told you.” I answered quietly.
            He studied me again and fresh tears streaked his face, glistening in his beard. “I believed your mother. You are more like her than you can imagine.”
            I wrapped my arms around him again. “When I finish my story, please tell me about her.”
            He laid his large hand on my head, stroking my tangled hair. “I promise. I was so worried about you Lara. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”
            “It’s alright, Father. Everything will be fine. I love you.”
            “I love you.”
            This time, I was the one who pulled back and, even though I was much larger than the last time he had held me on his lap, my father held me there as I spoke. “After I escaped I met a dragon.” I said, not knowing of anyway to put that gently. At least that part was out of the way now.
            My father, the rough seaman, shuddered. “Dragon?”
            “The sweetest, most silly dragon I thought I would ever see.” I said. “But I was wrong; there are a lot of them.” I couldn’t hide my smile.
            I then told him the whole story as best as I could, as wholly as I could. There were parts were we both laughed, parts were I couldn’t go on for crying. But eventually I had told it all, had handed over the most recent chapter of my life. There was a second after I had finished when we both sat in silence.
            “I’m proud of you. I believe you.” my father spoke into that silence.
            There was one more thing my father needed to know. The better my father could accept these two things, the better he could understand what I had told him. “I wanted you to meet someone.” I stood and gently broke my father’s embrace. I went to the door of his study and called into the hall. “You can come in now.”
            A figure moved out from the hall and into the dimly lit study and at first, I could tell my father was trying very hard not to admit to himself what he was seeing. Then his puzzled expression gave way to shock and he gripped his desk, his eyes wide. Now really, he perhaps shouldn’t have been so startled, after all, I had already told him about this friend of mine. But still, I knew it was hard for the father of a young girl to comprehend what had really just stepped into his home. “Him?” he asked, he raised a hand in the air but didn’t know what to do with it and brought it back down.
            I waited for his shock to settle a bit, and then said. “Father, this is Faylin.”
            Faylin, looking rather less dignified than he would have preferred because of his bandages, bowed his head to my father, his tail wagging slowly.
            “Faylin, this is my father, Captain Ronertan.”
            Faylin smiled, but my father saw teeth.
            My father said ‘it’s a pleasure’, but Faylin only heard a mumble of noise.
            This was how it was, how it would have to stay. But at least my father now knew. And at least Faylin was recovering—after having nearly slept four few days straight and grumbling incessantly. And at least I had been chosen for both the pleasure and the burden of having this canine for my friend. And at least I was home.
            Ah yes, and at least there wasn’t a mob of angry, mad, blood-thirsty townspeople who wanted my head because they believed I was a witch. We ironed that problem out right away.
 
 
 
                        ~*~*~Epilogue~*~*~ 
 
 
Years afterward, Faylin had completely healed and continued to be just as spry, just as sarcastic, and just as much of a curmudgeon as he had always been. My father stayed home more after the Shadowed Moon and he and Faylin struck up a remarkable friendship—mostly, and ironically, due to the fact that neither could understand a word the other said. They would sit for hours in Father’s study, doing as many things together as could possibly be done without verbal communication; but not too long because Faylin hated being in the house. They would then sit for hours outside, in the gardens, taking walks in the forest; but not too long because Father’s back would begin to act up on him and he would need a rest—though Faylin never complained about his own injury. Faylin learned to read my father’s expressions and gestures almost as well as one hears words. And Father learned what a wolf laugh sounds and looks like.
            Enriad took up residence in an old farm nearby so that the two of us became close friends as well. He even taught, or at least attempted to teach, me how to use a bow. For some reason, Faylin would always look at us knowingly, chuckle, and vacate the premises. I swore that I would never fully understand him. But then, that’s precisely how my father acted, although he also looked at us with woeful eyes. Once, he opened his mouth to say something, only to close it again with a shake of his head and a muttered, “Nah, it can’t be.”
            I found Mimi and after a few rough starts, we rekindled our friendship. She was a great deal more timid than I remembered her to be, or maybe it was that I had been more timid then than I was now. In any case, we enjoyed long trips into the market and through the forest, and talked in our homes. I took a risk once and introduced her to Catalee, praying that all would go well. It went more than well, far more than I could have hoped. Mimi befriended the excitable little vixen to a point where I was almost left out at times. I didn’t mind much.
            When the nights were cold and rainy and there wasn’t much to do but huddle by the fire and talk, Father told me stories of my mother. She was a descendent of the people of Zandar, as Kellen had said. And she too could speak the languages of animals, as I had believed for a long time. Father told me of the times she rocked me to sleep when I was a baby, the times we spent in the garden together. He told me that he had known about her talents before he married her. And around that fire we laughed and cried together. I had lost my mother years before, but I had found her again. And I had found my father.
We never told anyone about Zandar, and most people refused to believe the rantings of some raggedy sailors who claimed to have sailed there and back—twice—leaving a girl, a boy, a wolf, a fox and a hawk in uncharted territory the first time and returning with the remnants of an army the second time, those whom the dragons hadn’t been able to take across the sea.
            The dragons themselves visited frequently—Veilara and Grinl, who traded back and forth with Ditri for the charge of rearing Azteric, and who also brought Phyletus on occasion—and there were many peaceful afternoons spent in Ditri’s cave or, better, in his private little cove. It was these times that I enjoyed the most because there was more conversation. With so many dragons about to help translate, it was easier to have conversations between the few people who knew about our secrets and the animals. Now, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any incidents because, as I said, Faylin’s sharp tongue might have handicapped any friendship with anyone who didn’t know him. And though I would hate to be called manipulative, there were times—at first—where I or one of the dragons would soften Faylin’s words in the translation, so as to gently ease the others into his type of character. And once they realized that sarcasm was just his nature, they accepted it.
            I went out one evening when we had all been visiting together in Ditri’s cave once again and heard a sound which was vaguely familiar. With a smile, I placed the sound and went towards it: Faylin was singing again. This time, he was singing a popular dancing song which originally had very melancholy lyrics, but it was melancholy no longer. Faylin had changed the lyrics and transformed a song—once about a romance between a young lord and a farmer’s daughter who both died tragic deaths in the end—into a humorous, yet scathing view on human relationships in general.
            I sat beside him and listened a while, trying and failing to hold back tears of laughter. Finally, I gave up any attempt at being offended and joined in on the chorus.
            Faylin was, to his chagrin, remembered as a hero. But then, we all were, though only we and a couple hundred others scattered around the continent knew about the entire ordeal.
            Still, we were considered an odd bunch, my father and I, Mimi, and Enriad. We tried not to keep to ourselves but it was always difficult and sometimes nearly impossible to go out and live normal lives with humanity when we couldn’t tell them about the fascinating and wonderful creatures who lived and walked beside us and just beyond us every day.
            Leviathan, or Hevan, or one of many other names for the prince of darkness, had been dealt a heavy blow. The war was not over—would not be over until the end of time—but a battle, a large one, I liked to believe, had been won.
There came times now and then that I felt closer to HolyOne, and there were times when I felt the experiences I had been through distanced me from him. But I knew that that wasn’t right, I knew that he was all around us. He was everywhere, always; and he had shown me that every step of the way, though I kept forgetting. He had been there by my side in the midst of the battles. He had guided each and every footstep along the way. And he had been the strong one, the victor, who had shown but an ounce of his great strength on the night of the Shadowed Moon.
 
 
                                                The End

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