First of all, Owain, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a groom in High Meadow, working with the marvelous winged horse Adain. His rider is Emma, who’s very good to me. I’m sixteen years old, and I have red hair. People say that means I have a temper, but Emma tells them to hush. I was born in Merioneth, near the sea, and came to the mountain town of Tremeirchson when I was eight. I moved to High Meadow when it was founded by Emma and Davyd four years ago.
Tell us about High Meadow.
It’s not a very old place, and most of the inhabitants are young. The majority of the older folks stayed in Tremeirchson when we fled due to bad water. It was critical to move to save the flying horses. High Meadow is deeper into the Welsh mountains than Tremeirchson, in the area called Gwynned. It is remote and hard to find. In the morning, the gray mist comes down from the mountain tops to blanket the town, but it usually burns off by afternoon. High Meadow is supported by patrons from Merioneth, who fund barns to compete in the annual Aerial Games. The Games provide a livelihood for the entire town.
Who’s in charge of High Meadow and how do you feel about them?
Davyd’s in charge of the town. He’s married to Emma. They’re terrific. First Barn is run by Tristan, and Second Barn by Evan. Evan is pretty intense. He has some crazy ideas. I’m glad he’s not my barn leader. Tristan, though, can be weak when it comes to making decisions. So far he hasn’t had any crisis to deal with. Maybe that’s what he needs to be stronger. It’s important for the two barns to work well independent of each other. That fosters a better spirit of healthy competition. If Evan influences Tristan too much, First Barn will lose its autonomy. That would be bad.
Can you tell us about one of Evan’s crazy ideas?
Sure. His latest notion is for a new event for the Aerial Games. Usually the horse perform intricate dances, and they race. Evan thinks an aerial joust will work. It won’t. It’s too dangerous and too hard to see from the ground. Tristan seems to be going along with the idea, though. I don’t know what they are thinking.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
When I became groom to Adain, I was the youngest person ever to hold the position. I’m quite proud of being able to do my duty well to Adain and Emma. You might say Adain and I grew up together under Emma’s watchful eye.
Besides Adain, who is the greatest love of your life?
Is this going to be kept private? You see, I haven’t said anything to her yet. She’s my best friend, but I can’t imagine spending any part of my life away from her. Ana is a groom, too. She’s groom to Clyth, Evan’s horse. We used to work together in First Barn, but when Evan became the leader of Second Barn. Ana left with him. She’s just up the lane now, and we have breakfast in town together every morning, but it’s still hard to be away from her.
What is your greatest fear?
I promised to answer whatever you asked, but this is pretty private. I have nightmares about it, actually, and I haven’t told anyone but Ana about it. Just before I left Merioneth, there was an incident. I don’t remember exactly what happened. My sister was there, then overwhelming grief. My mind blocks out the memories. I am afraid that someday I’ll remember that I was responsible for my sister’s death.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Davyd would say ‘sir’ is my most overused word. I respect him, you see. I call him ‘sir’ because of that. I know he wants me to call him Davyd, but it seems too familiar. He is well respected in town, and Emma, his wife, is well respected in the barns. I suppose I should call her ‘sir’ too. Or ‘ma’am,’ it would be ‘ma’am.’
Which young person do you admire most?
Davyd and Emma are both older than me. Nia is, too, but closer to my age. I’ll pick Nia. She’s a First Barn rider. Nia has a lot of skill and confidence. Some people say she has too much confidence, that it’s arrogant. I don’t think so. Nia is destined for great things. In fact, I’ve heard rumors that she is being considered as leader for Third Barn when it gets ready to open. That would be an amazing opportunity for her, to be the first female barn leader. I know she can do it, but I don’t know how our current barn leaders, Evan and Tristan, will react.
What is your motto?
If you are loyal to others, they will be loyal to you.