The Dragon Prince: Reflections

“Dear Callum”

Written by Michal Schick
Illustrated by Caleb Thomas


Dear Callum,

It was the deepest part of night when I first sat down to write this letter. The moon still was high in the sky, and it was shining so brightly through the window that I could count the threads in my blanket. I thought it would be hours before you fell asleep—before I heard your adorable little snores—and I could get up and write this letter.

But I guess risking certain death to save my life, again, kind of tires you out. I’m pretty sure you were dreaming as soon as you hit the pillow. And then it was just me and the moon and this blank piece of paper.

Instead of writing, I spent most of the night just looking at your face and trying not to cry.

The moon is setting now, and the sky is getting lighter. It’s the hour Runaan called the Assassin’s Warning, when the protection of night is ending, and it’s time to return home. But I haven’t left—I’m still here, still writing this, and if I stay much longer, you’ll wake up and try to stop me… from doing what I know I have to do. Leaving.

But I can’t let you stop me, Callum. No matter how much I want to.

I have to be strong. No matter what. And if you said even one word to me, I wouldn’t be—couldn’t be. If I stay even until your eyes open and you yawn your silly morning yawn, I’ll break. I’ll still be here when the sun rises today, and the next day, and the next…

I should go.
I have to go.

You’re smiling in your sleep, Callum. You look so cute when you do that. I hope that maybe it’s because you’re dreaming of me, and maybe I told you a dream-joke that you’ll remember even after you wake up. That can be my first gift to you.

I know you’ll have other gifts today, to celebrate your 15th birthday. Lujanne will make a delicious grub-cake. (Well, at least it will look delicious.) Ezran is going to sing you the Katolis birthday song—he promised to teach me, but I won’t have time to learn it now. I’ll even bet that Bait will give you an extra happy grunt before he goes back to being his usual grumpy self.

I wish I could stay and eat fake cake and sing songs with you. I wish I could show you the Moonshadow Birthday Dance, and kiss you one more time.

Ach, so much for not crying. I’m getting tears all over the page… Okay, trying to wipe them is making it worse and the words are getting smudgy. I hope you can still read this.

I’ve got one more gift for you, Callum. It’s not cake or kisses, but it’s something more important than that. I’M GOING TO KEEP YOU SAFE. I have to. I love you too much not to.

I still don’t understand what I saw in the Moon Nexus, but I know what it means. I know it in my bones. Viren is alive, Callum, and I am going to search for him… ALONE.

I’m sorry. I know I said that we would go and find him together, but that was a lie. I think Lujanne was right about white lies—they’re an illusion you build with your words to protect the ones you love.

Please don’t hate me when that illusion fades, Callum. I know that this will hurt you, and I know you’ll be angry with me… but don’t hate me. I remember how I felt when my parents left me to join the Dragonguard, like PART OF MY HEART WAS MISSING and I would never feel right again. I thought I hated them when they did that to me. In the beginning, it felt so big and terrible—like raging despair—but, overtime, it became a soft, sweet ache—a reminder of that missing part of my heart.

Runaan and Ethari told me something that helped me understand… well, a lot of things, really. They said that, sometimes, we make sacrifices so that the ones we love don’t have to. It’s part of protecting them—part of protecting you. Taking on hard choices and going to dark places is an act of love. It’s a gift.

So, please let me give you this gift, Callum. Stay safe, and stay in the light. Don’t follow me, and don’t look for me. I don’t think you’ll find me, anyway.

You’re starting to stir, and the moon is almost gone. I have to go, but the sky is the strangest color—purple and gray and gold all mixed together, like there’s a storm wrapped around the sunrise. I’m not describing it right.  It sounds awful, but it’s beautiful. I hope it’s still that color when you wake up. I hope you see it before you see this letter.

And now you’re drooling on the pillow and even that is cute. Oh, Callum… I have to go. I have to. I want to give you one last kiss, but I can’t risk your waking up. I have to go.

I love you.

I wish I could say that we will see each other again, but I don’t know if we will. I hope so. Maybe then, we can share some of Barius’ best cake. Maybe then, I can give you that kiss.

I will think of you under every full moon. Please don’t let this hurt too much. But, if it does—if you feel that soft aching—know that that piece of your heart isn’t missing. It’s not missing at all, Callum: I’m carrying it with me! Always.

I love you.
I love you so much.


Share this article: