The boat was still rocking, and when they had recovered themselves, Mairi opened her eyes to see a black and lowering sky overhead. She looked over the side of the boat only to see the storm approaching. She arranged her clothes as did Hamish, and then they took the oars and turned to boat for shore. In spite of all they could do, the storm overtook them before they reached the harbour. The wind howled. The rain lashed down, and the waves grew in size. It was going to be touch and go. Hamish took both oars and strained to row the boat. Mairi kept a look-out for the shore. Water streamed down and plastered her hair to her face, making it difficult to see anything. They had almost reached the shore. They could hear the pounding of the waves on the sand. Mairi was beginning to think they’d be safe, when a huge wave crashed down on the small boat. It capsized very quickly, and Mairi found herself in the water. “Hamish!” She felt herself being sucked under.
“I’m coming, my darling.”
She struck her head on a rock, and then she knew no more.
* * * *
Hamish heard the panic in her voice as his name reverberated in his head. He surfaced, and then he started to swim toward the place he knew she’d been when she sent the message. All was silent.
“Mairi. Mairi, where are you, my love? Answer me. Why don’t you answer?”
The undertow sucked at him. He was losing the battle. He changed to his dragon-form and began to call her name. He dove down under the surface his great wings and powerful hind legs propelled him down. His mind sought hers but found only silence. He sought her everywhere until he was exhausted. He plunged deep into the trough that was carved out by the Skye ice-cap in the time before men. He had to face facts. If he couldn’t hear her mind, then she wasn’t alive.
The huge, green dragon shot out of the sea and bellowed his anguish and pain. The storm raged around him, but he didn’t care. He flew along the coast back and forth, again and again searching for his mate. He soared up to the top of Dun Caan. There he roared out her name. He searched with his mind. In his sorrow and desperation, he pushed himself to the limit, but to no avail. There was no answer. He couldn’t find even a faint trace of her mind, or of the essence of her. She’s dead, and it’s my fault.He gave one more bellow of despair, and then he gave up. I can’t stay here. I can’t go home and live on without her. There’s nothing left for me now, and I have no reason to live. With a final roar, he powered into the air on his huge wings and arrowed north in a manic flight. He didn’t know where he was going or why he flew, but he had to get away from the place where she’d died. I can’t face them. I can’t look her family and mine in the eyes. I should have kept her safe. I ought to have felt the storm coming and done something earlier. I ought never to have claimed her before the mating ceremony. It was all wrong. This is all due to my loss of control, to my wrong-doing, and she has paid the price. My lovely Mairi, I will never see you again. These thoughts and others of the same sort went round and round in his head. His wings beat increasingly fast, and he flew straight as an arrow toward the north. He’d never left his native land, and now he was on his way. Where was he going? He didn’t care. He just wanted to fly so far and so fast that he escaped the pain. His wings began to feel like lead. I can’t fly much further. It’s time, my love. I’m coming to join you. He began to drop through the clouds, plunging down. To his surprise, he exploded into the clear air above a settlement. He used his wings to brake, and the powerful downdraft made the inhabitants look up at him.
He looked down on them in consternation. I can’t do anything right, can I? I failed to look after her. I didn’t find her body, and now I can’t even end my life. He landed and changed to his man-shape. The locals were oddly dressed to his eyes, but they looked askance at his plaid. They wore beautifully embroidered clothes, and all were smiling and happy. He resented that. His world had come to an end, and still people smiled. It wasn’t right. Don’t they see that she’s gone and my life has no meaning?
“Welcome to Alesund, stranger. Where are you from?” a tall blond man asked.
“My name is Hamish, and I come from the Isle of Skye, far south from here.”
“My name is Knut. I see that you are a dragon shape-shifter. Some of our people still have the ability, but they can’t fly long distances anymore.”
“We’re celebrating my son’s wedding today. Would you like to join us? You will be very welcome,” Knut said.
The thought of a wedding made Hamish cringe. The happy couple waiting to be united. He couldn’t do that. He didn’t want to offend Knut, but he just couldn’t hold himself together through all of that, and he wouldn’t disgrace himself by crying in front of these strangers.
“I’m sorry, but I have just experienced the loss of the love of my life and I can’t join you in your celebration. I have no wish to cast a pall over the festivities,” Hamish said, and he was hard put to it not to lose control of his voice.
“Surely…” Knut began, but he got no further.
“No! Go and enjoy your wedding. I must go,” Hamish almost shouted, and Knut didn’t finish what he was going to say as he recoiled from the vehemence of the refusal.
Hamish ran out of the settlement to a clearing where he changed into dragon-form, and where the down-draft from his wings wouldn’t harm anyone one. He’d done enough damage already, and he didn’t want to do any more. He rose swiftly into the air. And where am I to go now? My wings are like lead.
She met Hamish the next day as usual. Changing into dragon-from, they flew off together. They left Skye behind, and then they flew over to Raasay. Landing on the west of the island, they changed back to their human-form. As they walked along the shore, they discovered the entrances to some caves. Squealing with delight, Mairi entered one, but she soon came out. She said it smelled dreadful. The next one was better. It had a sloping, sandy floor, and the cave mouth was big enough for them to sit and look out at the sea. Mairi pulled Hamish down to sit beside her. He placed his arm around her, and she rested her head on his shoulder. For a while they sat in silence looking out to sea.
“Have you any idea what the dragon-mating is like?” Mairi asked at last.
“No, I’m too young to be present, and no-one tells me anything if I ask. What do you want to know?”
“I just wonder what else we can do that they haven’t told us. We can communicate with each other over a long distance. At the moment we can’t shield our thoughts from each other. It’s not that I want to shield my thoughts from you, but I wonder if anyone else can read some of what I think. What happens if one of us is hurt? Does the other feel it? I’ve so many questions that no-one will answer,” Mairi said in a petulant voice. Immediately she regretted her tone. It’s not his fault. He doesn’t know either. We have so little time together, What am I about wasting it on things I can’t change? Even one year is such a long time, and we have to wait longer. The time passes so slowly.
“I’m sorry, Hamish, my love. I’m impatient. I don’t want to waste what little time we have together. Let’s forget all about it. Come, my love, kiss me.”
Hamish kissed her hungrily, and she responded. She wanted to forget all her doubts and questions, and so she threw herself into their love-making with even more ardour than usual. His tongue danced over hers. She reciprocated, and he sucked the tip of hers into his mouth. She explored the hot wet cavern, loving the taste and the feel of him. The more she returned his caresses, the more heated they both became. She stripped off his plaid as he began to undress her. When they were both naked, they lay on his plaid on the sand. Her hands were busy with his cock, and his fingers tweaked and kneaded her breasts. Her nipples ached for more, and her hand speeded up, pumping his dick with greater intensity as his mouth found her nipples and he flicked first one then the other with the tip of his tongue, and then he blew softly over her heated flesh. She squirmed under him, wanting more. She was on fire, she burned, and she wanted him on top of her. She pulled him over her, and his hips rested between her thighs. They kissed, and she arched her back, spreading her legs wide he moved his body up to keep in contact with her mouth, and she felt something hot and hard push inside her. At first it hurt. It stung. She didn’t want it anymore. Then he withdrew. It was amazing. She clasped him with her pussy muscles and heard Hamish growl low in his throat as he pressed inside her. He withdrew again, but she rested her feet on his lower back and held on, and then she was lost. She wanted more. She needed more.
“Yes, my love, harder and faster.”
Something strange was happening. Hamish was inside her mind. She could feel his doubts. She knew he thought they weren’t doing right, but as their joint pleasure increased, those thoughts faded. She wondered if he could feel her mind and her pleasure.
“Yes, I can. I can feel it when I give you the greatest pleasure. I know how to find the exact spot. My feelings are amplified by the addition of yours. It’s a wonderful thing.”