Well, at least the human was excited about the holiday, however ill-advised taking the trip to Earth with them was going to be…
“Thereitis, thereitis! Earth. Aw… it mostly looks the same…”
“I did tell you that it’s been five hundred years since your departure. Geographically, little has changed.”
“I’m goin’ tae stop in at Wales. Go see what’s happened tae home.”
Rael, a little more prepared, had tried to find Shayde’s ‘home’ on a map. There was no such place as Daffad Gweddyl ar Afon. And no hint that it had ever been. “I haven’t been able to find it on any map,” he warned.
“Aye, nowt’s changed there,” she giggled. “NO! They built a fookain space elevator. Ye wee ripper!”
“It’s for the tourists. COL-lander shuttles are much faster and more convenient…”
His warning went unheeded. “Aw, I gotta have a go on tha’!”
Rael sighed. At least the food was good. Putting up with Shayde in full tourist mode was going to be an absolute trial.
It had been a long hike, over hill and dale and one ford. When Shayde reached the top of the hill, her legs went out from under her. Rael caught up and tried to fathom why water was leaking from her eyes.
It was just an oak grove. And some ancient stone buildings well on their way to complete collapse.
Not knowing what else to do, he sat beside her. “Daffad Gweddyl?”
A faint croak of a voice. “…aye…”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I have no frame of reference. No way to understand…”
Shayde got to her feet and strode towards the grove. Rael hurried to follow her, since it was his job to make sure she didn’t happen to anyone or anything.
“You’re not about to do anything… rash… are you?”
“Jus’ lookain fer a tree,” she choked out.
They all seemed alike, in this part of the grove, where the older trees grew in regimented lines. She was counting to herself and pointing at vegetation as she went. Finally, she stopped at one that seemed to be just like all the others, and threw her arms around it and sobbed like a child.
“M’ babbie brother planted this one. I saw ‘im. Tole ‘im we’d be old together ere it were grown…”
Oh. It had hit her. The sheer gap of time that she’d lost. Rael let her mourn, loaning her his closeness as the tears and the sobs crumpled her up. And then coaxing stories out of her about her adventures in this place. Which included a tour of the ruins. And a lecture to the local archaeologists about where they might find interesting things.
She was right. Almost to the millimetre. Which loaned further credence to her story.
She did come from here. And she could never go back.