Amar's note was disturbing. I knew him well enough to know there was more to it than he had written. I had been learning and remembering more and more of my powers. Gammy had been by to visit and had told her that the elementals were gaining courage. They would risk coming out more and more. As I looked into Gammy's face, I realized I how much I had grown to love her despite her bossiness and usual grumpiness, I handed her a plate of doughnuts. Gammy usually grabbed the doughnuts and began devouring them. But this time she just sat there with a serious look on her face.
"The time is here Belinda. Humans are talking about us more. The fae are being seen and recognized. It is time to start reappearing. Even though the majority of books depicting our realm still present us as evil and untrustworthy, there are more and more that speak kindly and truthfully of our realm, our love of nature and beauty. Come, child," she said taking my hand.
We walked outside looking at up at the morning sky. There were clouds filled with nourishment for the earth, the trees were in tune with the wind singing out melodies of strength. They all seemed to be singing "Let us begin again."
l looked at the lines on the face of the old Elf, each line an etching of courage and wisdom. I hugged her and put my arm around her. I said aloud, "Yes, let us begin."
After Gammy left, taking the doughnuts, I went to the lake and watched as the depth of darkness permeated the landscape with an elusive vision usually held captive only by artists. My senses were in full gear and I could slightly hear a melody trill over the waters. I began walking in the direction of the beautiful sounds.
A slim man held his guitar and sang poetry which seemed to be coming from his core. He spoke of tenderness, of injustice, love and remembering. After he finished playing I clapped. He turned nodding. We began to speak. We laughed and shared small talk. The more we spoke I felt but a vague familiarity about him I couldn't place.
"Can't stand not knowing something can you Belinda, you always had to figure things out!"
It suddenly came to me. "Krien Flan! What are you doing here?"
"Waiting for the call, my fae friend, waiting for the call. And I'm not the only one. There are many of us are here, waiting for the right time." He laughed his familiar laugh. "You have felt alone but there are more and more of us."
I hugged him tightly. We had been friends and rivals. He was one of my favorite childhood companions and had spent many hours together as young fae. We knew and trusted each other completely.
I remembered Krien was particularly crazy about the birds, he was forever saving them. Sometimes when humans went hunting them just for the fun of killing them he would make them miss their shot by distracting them at the last minute.
Krien had become a singer, like the birds. "Oh Krien I am so glad to see you." Looking more closely at him she saw that he had become stronger where he only used to be mischievous. "So you bring the light through song?" I asked? "Yes I do," he said emphatically. "I also gain lots of information while I'm at it too! I play in the humans' homes and listen to what they say. The more we understand Belinda, the better our chances are of living in harmony. Many of them care about us you know."
The two old friends laughed and talked and joyfully reunited. The next morning he bowed saying "Belinda, I'm off. I have to go. Wandering is what I enjoy and must do."
Sadly I took his hand. "You must come back and see me, Krien. I forgot how much I miss you." I felt better knowing he was here, somewhere on the planet. As the two friends hugged goodbye, the light got a little brighter, the birds sang more clearly. There are all kinds of love in the world, I thought. Friends are one of the most treasured things we can enjoy.
Our trainings were going well. Herman and Lily were organizing and teaching a great deal themselves. One of the classes they had added was called Transforming Grief. I looked at them fondly knowing they had found purpose and meaning in their lives again, not just through herself.
Dakeh had been spending more time lately with me. She was so funny, she would snort in greeting and filled the house with love when she came. I noticed that Dakeh had gained a little weight. "You need to fly more silly one," speaking to one who wasn't silly at all. I teased her that she should cut back on the marshmallows she would breathe on to roast.
Dakeh was ancient and wise but so loving it was impossible to look into her huge eyes without losing your heart. "If you are staying for dinner, I'll go get some fresh salad greens" I called to her as I walked out the door. Dakeh snorted then fell asleep by the fire. Through my window I could see a beautiful crimson glow reflecting from the firelight speckled with shards of green light coming the tips of her scales. She was such a beautiful being inside and out.
I hopped on my bike and rode to the market. On the way I stopped and chatted with several of the locals when out of the corner of my eye I saw a luminous face. I turned quickly, certain that it was the same glow I'd first seen when I had met Maja, but she had disappeared.
A strong foreboding came over me and I hopped on my bike hurrying home. I walked into the house expecting to see Dakeh but the place was empty. I called and looked all over. Nothing. Although there was no need for alarm as Dakeh came and went and was gone frequently for weeks, something didn't seem right. Zooey was crying. Belinda picked her up and then gave her some catnip to distract her. "Don't worry about Dakeh," I whispered to the still mewing cat, "it is her job to worry about us."
I was awakened at 3am by a shriek that screeched through the air like a giant vulture. I ran outside to see the sky turning blood red though it was night. Then I saw Dakah flailing in the dark sky above. Her beautiful body was pierced by spears. and she was screaming in both pain and rage.
I ran toward her though she was miles away………. I ran and ran finally coming to a clearing where a group of several men surrounded the now lifeless form of my beautiful Dakeh. They were cheering and congratulating themselves. Screaming, I ran to her body. "What have you done?" With pride in his voice, one of the men boasted "We've saved the world from a dangerous creature!" "She's a beauty, ain't she? Let's take the tail as a trophy" said another.
"It took seven of you to take down a creature of love? Cowards!" she shrieked. Thinking quickly I surrounded them with the dust of confusion and blindness. I called the spider clan to bring a golden web and encased Dakeh's body in it. Next, I called a legion of eagles to come. They caught the web in their beaks. "Take her to the Easter Islands, put her in the deepest cave and let us have a vigil of flame going in front of it; a flame that will guard her forever as she has guarded us. The eagles gently lifted Dakah. On their way to the Easter Islands, they circled the world so all the elementals could weep in farewell to their beloved Dakeh.
At the same time as the news was reporting the brave feat of 7 men armed with spearguns saving the world from a dangerous creature, I gathered Gammy, Mr.Bleinkins, The Metzgers, Herman and Lily together. Everyone was grief-stricken. "We will hold a 24-hour vigil, let us drum and chant and join all the elementals in homage to Dakeh."
Incense burned, flowers were strewn around the large circle of mourners. Belinda sat in the center. As we drummed and chanted I wept. The elephants in Africa roared in grief, the whales sang the song of farewell. Birds circled the heavens, wolves howled along with lions. There was a cacophony of sound. All creatures wept for the loss of beauty, innocence, and courage. Upon hearing the sad news in far-off Fiji, Amar held a vigil with his group. Sadness swept over the planet. For three days the earth was shrouded in gray fog.
l was consumed with guilt. I looked at them all and spoke solemnly. "I may have caused this," I told them of Maja, the German woman she had spotted. "I must find her. I know somehow she is involved in this. I am going to find her!"
Just then there was a tiny sound like a mewing or tiny cry. Each one of them looked and looked when over by the fire they spotted a tiny form in a wee blanket. I picked it up. It was a baby dragon with red scales tipped with green. Dakeh's baby!
I realized at once Dakeh hadn't been eating too many marshmallows, she'd been pregnant!
The little one was trembling, so holding it tenderly I wrapped it in a heavier blanket. The small group of creatures of the earth wound around the baby dragon in wonder, all vowing to protect the offspring of the one who had protected them so well for so long.
Mr. Bleinkins spoke, "I think this solves the mystery of how those men were able to sneak up on Dakeh. She must have been woozy after giving birth and when they spotted her she got confused."
"Milika, let's call him Milika," said Delilah."How are we going to keep him safe? He must be kept hidden" Zooey stood near the little dragon licking its face, and purring long into it. They sat and wondered how they could keep their miracle from harm.
Hours later it was decided. There was a monastery in Bhutan that would be safe and one of them would go once a month to be with Milika. They would continue this while the babe was growing and would make sure it became trained in all the senses.
"Listen to this" someone said. On the radio, there was a folk song being sung by a familiar voice. It was Krien. The lyrics were bittersweet. He sang of life, courage, loss, and outrage. It was a song to , for and about Dakeh and her heritage. Dakeh had touched the hearts of so many.
We sat taking turns holding the baby dragon, sharing stories of Dakeh. As the evening progressed we realized we needed to be more aggressive in our efforts to spread our program.
Earlier that evening, unknown to the others, I had gathered Dakeh's scales to give to my friends. "Dakeh had powerful magic," I thought and suddenly realized that this was why Maja had been so interested. She doesn't realize it but Dakeh's power just became 100 times more potent. This thought strengthened my resolve
"I don't know what I'm going to do yet, but I am going to find Maja" I announced. Gammy looked at me and to my astonishment said simply, "I know where she is."
"Let us render her helpless to think of evil.", I declared. "I will do it."
"No Belinda, she will be on guard with you," Mr.Metzgers said." I am just a Professor, someone not associated with danger or magic. My power is hidden. I will bless her with the inability to deceive anyone. Leave Maja to me"
This was all coming together and I was pleased. It was clear that though we were all thinking differently, working together made us stronger as well as smarter and more clever. I spoke:
"In the past our people had to hide because the church first made us evil, then said we didn't exist. More and more are believing in us now and we aren't associated with evil as much as we are relegated to children, silliness and fluff. More and more believe in our goodness and magic but few know our full power, even ourselves. In the past we hid, now we must be seen, we must make ourselves known, show the children the way. Use our magic."
Milika had fallen asleep in Gammy's arms, safe, loved, not realizing her own mother had died. Our little band would love and protect her as her Mother had loved and protected us.
The next few weeks passed but seemed unreal, almost as if we were walking through a dream. Belinda cried suddenly without warning, as did we all. We found ourselves frequently looking up to the sky and realized we were searching for the familiar and comforting sight of Dakah. But all they found was a hole in the sky as big as the crevice inside all. It was even worse because it seemed so senseless. We were unable to understand the ego that wants to destroy what it doesn't understand. So each one of us wept and robotically went about things until slowly the grayness began to lift.
Milika and ISr little antics helped in each of our renewal. I found myself petting the air the way I used to scratch Dakeh's head, or I would call out to her whenever someone walked in the door. There was an empty spot I thought would last forever.
It was about a week later when I was in the grocery store that I noticed a woman who I thought to be Maja. There was something off though that made me unsure. Suddenly the difference was clear. The luminous quality was gone and in its place were hard edges of bitterness and anger. Angry but unafraid, I went up to her. "Why? Tell me why would you want to take away such a loving presence?"
The woman looked at me with eyes of hate. "You, how could you ever understand any of what I have gone through? Why did I do it?" she spat. "Because I could. How does it feel Princess not to have everything go your way?"
I took a deep breath, then spoke quietly. "You think I don't know pain and that everything has been easy for me?"
"Yes, everything is handed to you. You don't know fear or pain." Maja almost spat. It took nearly every ounce of restraint I had not to lash out at her but I felt a calm come over me and I looked at her sadly "You have no idea who I am and what I have known. What's worse, like many others you've never taken the time to ask. I am not going to waste my time arguing with you. You are too full of blind hatred to understand. Your hate is born out of your fear of not only what you have been taught, but also of what you have not taken the time to learn for yourself. " I was not only surprised at seeing Maja, for the Professor had taken care of her, I was surprised at myself. The next words that came out of my mouth were words that I would never have believed I was capable of saying to one who had taken so much from me: "If you ever want someone to help you come out of the darkness and turn towards the lightness of truth you can call this number."
I handed her a card with Delilah's number on it. "She has helped me feel so loved and safe that my wounds don't show anymore. I should hate you but I don't, I have wasted too much time doing that. I hope you call her. But know this, you may have hurt me and others who knew Dakah, but helping her destruction didn't make you and those like you safer, it made us stronger."
I felt a warm peace entering my body and I felt truly free! Dakeh's face swam before her. And she understood. Holding on to the hate obscured the Light. "I'm catching on my sweet Dakah, I'm catching on!" I thought lovingly. "You keep giving to me even in death."