Almost forgot. I’m not used to posting on Mondays.
A Courtship of Dragons is a M/M Romance tale (it could be short, it could be a novella, it could be any size, I have no idea) told in short scenes, between two young dragons, Estenarven kin Boulderforce Clan Stoneheart and Mastekh kin Rainstorm Clan Flowflight.
Anyway, here’s Estenarven’s take on the relationship so far. Also – cakes!
(They don’t really have much in common with actual rock cakes, other than the name. Yes, I may have been hungry when I wrote this. I certainly was by the time I finished editing it, and I’m not really fond of cakes. If we’re talking chocolate, though…)
I will try and remember to do a proper links page soon. In the meantime, if you missed part one, you can find it here.
ESTENARVEN KIN BOULDERFORCE Clan Stoneheart was hungry. It wasn’t quite time for dinner yet, but he’d missed lunch – and breakfast, now that he thought about it. His day had been all go since before dawn, when a particularly nasty storm had struck the Skylark, threatening to throw the human skyship from the sky and into the cursed Cloud Sea below.
Obeying the orders of Elder Blazeborn, Estenarven had done his best to bolster the ship and keep it airborne, while Mastekh and Jesral kin Lightstorm Clan Skystorm had gone ahead with Elder Goryal in search of sanctuary and shelter.
Which was how they’d ended up here, Highstrike, home of kin Tempestfury. A rocky, spiky, exposed and unforgiving tower that dug down into the crag it had been built upon, while the steep ravine below provided shelter for both dragons and skyships alike.
It wasn’t a place Estenarven would have necessarily chosen to visit or to stay in, but so far the Tempestfury dragons had been welcoming and it was an easy enough place to learn his way around. Getting the Skylark to Highstrike had been only the start of his busy day, though, and Estenarven had spent the rest of it moving Elder Blazeborn’s things to his room, unpacking the necessary blankets, quilts and oddities that would make the elder feel at home, without him even noticing they were there, and making sure he and the other aides knew exactly how best to serve their elders.
Estenarven was exhausted, quite frankly, and his stomach was threatening to take his legs hostage if he didn’t do something about its emptiness soon. Honestly, anyone would think he was still a wingling, needing five big meals a day. He was old enough now that one meal should suffice, but he was a big Boulderforce – even in human shape – and he had been rather busy. No one would begrudge him a mid-afternoon snack to tide him over.
The trouble was, in order to have said snack, Estenarven would have to trudge down fifteen floors to reach the kitchen, and even though it was all down hill, he couldn’t quite face the exertion. Which was why he opted to find his room instead.
Situated off the main area of Elder Blazeborn’s suite, Estenarven’s temporary quarters weren’t much to write home about. He had a bed, an arrow slit window, a tiny alcove that some might deem a dressing area and a wash basin with its own hot water tap. It wasn’t exactly spacious, and too small by far for him to assume his native form inside it, but it would do. He’d had worse and at least he didn’t have to share it with anyone.
Although, he wouldn’t necessarily mind sharing with Mastekh – if only the bed was a bit bigger. Estenarven eyed the item in question now, doubtful he could fit into it on his own, let alone share it with anyone else. True, he was on the larger size for his species, but Tempestfury’s were hardly small. There was no excuse for such puny furniture.
Oh well, he would make the best of it. He usually did.
Filling his basin with warm water, Estenarven washed his face then ran some cold water into his hands for a drink. His stomach gurgled in anticipation, then rumbled its own opinion of such a weak offering.
It was no use, he’d have to visit the kitchens. If not he might start eyeing the furniture and there really wasn’t enough of it for him to pick off a piece here and there. Besides, as a Boulderforce Clan Stoneheart, some might deem a little pebble nibbling to be cannibalism.
Chuckling, Estenarven straightened his dark grey silk robe and left his room, wanting to check Elder Blazeborn’s things one last time before visiting the kitchens.
Warm, sweet, sugary goodness stopped him in his tracks.
Estenarven paused in the doorway, head raised like a hunting hound. He sniffed the air, wondered if he was imagining things and sniffed again.
Food. There was food in the room. Fresh and warm and delicious.
Following his nose, he turned his head from side to side and walked cautiously forward. Knowing his luck this would be a welcome gift intended for the elder – which he wouldn’t be allowed to touch. Except there wasn’t a hint of spice to the scent, nothing fiery or remotely tempting for a Sunlord.
No, this treat was sweet. Not the usual fare one might use to coax a Stoneheart from his lair, but the perfect fodder for this particular Boulderforce.
As he crossed the room, he was drawn to the seating area, where a series of chaises and settees had been arranged to promote conversation. Estenarven didn’t care about that, all that mattered was the table he could now see over the back of a settee.
There was a platter. A stone platter piled high with chunky, round, fist-sized cakes. Flecks of dried fruit showed in one, melted spots of chocolate in another, another was dusted with sugar and icing. They were golden and bulging, and by the Family, he couldn’t resist any longer.
Jumping over the back of the settee, Estenarven landed in a crouch before the table. He reached for the platter, hesitated and glanced over his shoulder.
Nothing stirred. No one moved. He was alone.
He touched the edge of the stone platter and paused again, sniffing cautiously. Cakes, sweet, tempting and delicious, and the faintest hint of dampness and pond lilies. Mastekh.
Chuckling with delight, Estenarven snatched the topmost cake and took an enormous bite. He groaned, shoving the rest of the morsel into his bulging cheeks. There was nothing dainty or delicate about these cakes. They were thick and heavy and doughy.
Rock cakes. Proper rock cakes. The way they should be baked. The way a Stoneheart would make them. Packed with added sweetness.
Snatching up the platter, Estenarven clutched them protectively to his chest and stood up, looking around the room again. Empty. Still.
Estenarven chewed his delicious mouthful and glanced at the door on the opposite side of the suite from his own. It was closed. If it had been open even the smallest crack he might have approached, but it wasn’t. Probably for the best. He still had fifteen cakes to scoff and right now his manners weren’t at their best.
Hording his prize like an ancient drake of old, Estenarven hurried back to his room where he could enjoy himself in peace.
Halfway there, the main door of the suite clicked open. Estenarven paused, his second cake already on the way to his open mouth.
Elder Blazeborn swept inside with a swirl of bronze silk, heat and fiery power. Golden eyes fixed upon Estenarven and slowly dropped to the platter held protectively close to his chest. His gaze narrowed as Estenarven unconsciously hunched his shoulders inwards and half-turned away, the better to conceal his prize.
The elder’s lips twitched. “Hungry, Estenarven?”
Feeling half-foolish, half-defiant, Estenarven cleared his throat. “A little,” he said, voice thick with the last cake he’d devoured.
Elder Blazeborn snorted. “Carry on then.” He waved him away and Estenarven didn’t hesitate to obey. Any longer beneath those knowing golden eyes and his manners would have prompted him to offer the other dragon a cake, which would be awful.
These rock cakes were his. Mastekh had made them for him.
Scuttling into his room like a fledgling on a kitchen raid, Estenarven shut the door by leaning back against and shoved his second cake into his mouth.
Uncle Stone, that tasted good. Chocolate and sugar and doughy goodness. Nothing could compare to this. He slid down the door, propped the plate on his folded knees and methodically worked his way through the stack.
After his tenth cake, he paused. Now that the sharpest edge had been taken off his hunger, he studied the eleventh offering. He could still smell the water lilies, a little more strongly now that the cakes had cooled and were no longer overwhelming his olfactory senses with temptation.
Mastekh had made these for him.
Mastekh had been thinking of him.
While it was true his fellow aide did enjoy cooking, especially for Elder Blazeborn – using his new found skills to try and win the fiery dragon’s favour – he’d never baked rock cakes before. Had never made anything without the sole intent of pleasing their elder.
He’d never made anything for Estenarven.
Nibbling on his eleventh cake, Estenarven rested his head back against the door and smiled.
The daisy must have worked.
Placing the remains of the cake on the platter, Estenarven licked his fingers and put the rest of his treats aside. He crawled across the floor and pulled his small travelling case out from beneath the bed.
For ten whole days the kiss he’d shared with Mastekh had been all he could think about, but storm winds, troublesome dragons and aide duties had left him little time for action. Until he saw the daisy.
It had been a feeble effort at best, a spur of the moment decision when they’d paused overnight inside a small ravine surrounded by empty meadows. He wasn’t even sure that Mastekh cared. Oh, they’d grown close while working together to look after Elder Blazeborn, but although the kiss had been an enjoyable joint effort, Mastekh had shown no signs of following up on it. He’d barely been able to look Estenarven in the face since.
Then again, Mastekh was so shy and nervy that this wasn’t necessarily a new development and might have had nothing whatsoever to do with the kiss.
But perhaps it had. Perhaps the kiss had overwhelmed him as much as it had Estenarven and now his dear little Puddle was at a loss for how to act next. Estenarven certainly was. Which was why he’d picked the daisy. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, especially as duties had kept Estenarven too busy to worry about it ever since he’d stolen a brief moment to lay it on Mastekh’s pillow.
Now rock cakes.
Estenarven took another bite and opened his case, digging through his meagre collection of belongings to the small box he’d been certain he’d left on the top.
No matter, he soon found it, nestled in a screwed up blanket. He cracked open the lid and smiled at the contents.
If the last ten days had taught Estenarven anything it was that Mastekh was not his usual type of lover, one as bold and brash as himself, unafraid to take what they both wanted without always needing to ask.
No, Mastekh was quiet, he was sweet, he was shy. He wasn’t a taker, nor was he one to be startled by sudden demands.
He needed to be coaxed, wooed, won.
He needed to be courted.
Smiling, Estenarven shut the box and tapped his fingers over the top. Let the gifting games begin. He bit into another rock cake and began making plans.
I don’t currently have any more to add, since time has not been my friend of late.
However, I shall aim to post more on Thursday.
Which should give me time to write more.
Thanks for reading!