“He was just going to lie to you, you know” explained Gwen after chasing the talking frog away.
“I know. He’s been popping up now and then. He told me he was lying. Which could have been a lie. But he’s just a frog, isn’t he?”
“Sydney, you have a lot to learn about this place.”
As we look away for a while, Gwen and Sydney chatted for about many things that Sydney would need to know. Gwen didn’t give him many direct answers, just told him things he should seek to learn more about. And suggested ways to do that. By this point, it was getting on towards sundown.
“You should camp in the orchard for the night” offered Gwen. “I need to change, and attend to a few things for a while. The orchard and this garden are under my protection, so you will be safe here tonight. We’ll talk more in the morning.” Gwen disappeared in a swirl of skirts, leaving Sydney somewhat overwhelmed.
He decided that his best course of action was to do as she suggested. She hadn’t quite come out and said that she was the dragon he met earlier, but he wasn’t stupid either. He was a guest in her domain, and she might very well be the most powerful entity he had met so far.
The orchard was just beyond the garden, with a clear space suitable for camping surrounded by fruit trees. It extended as far as he could see in this part of the valley. He made himself comfortable near a grand old apple tree and settled in to contemplate all he’d learned.
My history has taught me a few lessons. First and foremost is to have a way handy to adopt a disguise and slip away. Given what the Fates clearly have planned for me, I am rarely far from pieces of a disguise.
It started innocently enough.
A few pranks, a little harmless fun.
Next thing I know, we are scattering to the four winds, running and hiding from the angry mob carrying pitchforks and torches.
The had taken the innocent events as evidence of something larger, and decided that burning the unknown was their best course. The unknown being, of course, us.
It didn’t help that we had also held ourselves somewhat aloof from the locals. When it came time to light torches, there was no one in the mob willing to risk their own lives or safety to defend us.
That night amid the fires and the hangings I realized that I had to disappear.
And so I did.
I have never returned, at least not in the form I was known then and there.