His golden eyes flicked open, blinked, and narrowed to a squint as he finally lifted up his great, horned head. He shrugged the veil of wings. He uncoiled from his most precious gem and lumbered upward, following the airborne trail up through the high tunnel to the opening just beside the cataract.
Only his muzzle appeared at first, shining like tar in the slanting sunlight, but even that merest of appearances stirred notice among the hovering hawks and vultures: Look. Be warned and wary. The master had awakened.
His head slid further out, taking in the day. The clouds had lifted. The sky was polished glass, but the familiar whisper was still there, coming from below. Down on the near shore of the inlet was a scuttled boat. Again his eyes narrowed, trying to figure from the tides just how long ago the wreck had occurred, and whether its victims were still on premise. He hoped not. Men had their place, but it wasn’t here.
…He crawled further out onto the ledge and extended his neck toward the curtain of water, which was fuller today than usual, gushing down from the mountains after all that rain. He helped himself to several gulps. He let the bracing cold beat on his head a while, then shook free with a glistening, majestic explosion, lifted his wings and leapt. He glided most of the way down, turning three wide circles in the crux of the fjord, his great spanned shadow dashing along the cliff-side, flicking across the cataract, then across the blue surface below, around and up and around again three times before finally re-meeting him, claw to claw, on the strand beside the boat...