A Courtship of Dragons is a M/M Romance (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. It’s pure fluff ‘n’ stuff and not intended to be anything other than that.
Smooth, Esten, real smooth.
ESTENARVEN WOKE SLOWLY, a feeling of great peace washing over him as he steadily rose back up towards consciousness. The pain and hammering of his overindulgence had faded and even the sour taste was gone from his mouth. He felt like a dragon again.
Yawning, he stretched, long and languid, revelling in the ability to spread out all his legs, though when he tried to flexed his tail it seemed to be stuck. And now that he thought about it, only one of his wings was moving.
He frowned at the discomfort and rolled onto his belly. His second wing was instantly free but hit a wall and his tail still wasn’t moving. Grumbling and muttering, he opened his eyes.
“Awake at last, are we?”
Elder Blazeborn sat in an armchair directly in front of Estenarven’s nose. If he’d stretched just a little further in his half-awake state he would have knocked him clean over. Hunching back in on himself, Estenarven drew in his neck, wings and tail.
At least he tried to move his tail.
Scowling, he looked over his shoulder and found the stupid appendage had somehow become coiled and wedged inside the little room he’d been given to stay in.
The room that was part of Elder Blazeborn’s larger suite.
The same suite he should have been taking care of today.
Belonging to the dragon he was supposed to work for, not snore in front of.
Wincing, Estenarven abandoned all attempts to free his crumpled tail and cringed before his elder. “Umm…”
Khennik wasn’t paying him the least bit of attention. An enormous book of maps lay open across his lap, the thick pages of which he turned with a delicate pinch of his golden claws before he spread a hand to flatten out the next picture in order to study it more closely.
Somehow that made everything worse. Here was Estenarven, sleeping the day away, while his elder was forced to entertain himself by studying maps. Not that there was anything wrong with maps, Estenarven had a deep fondness for them himself but…
Oh, what did it matter? He’d messed up, that was the important thing.
He flattened himself to the floor apologetically – and realised that there was something under his chin.
“As enjoyable as abject grovelling is,” Elder Blazeborn drawled, not looking up as he turned another page, “it’s probably best not to do it when Mastekh is under your chin. It rather spoils the look of the thing.”
“Mastekh!” Estenarven raised his head so high and fast that he cracked his horns against the ceiling.
Ow, ow, ow, ow. He might have slept off his pounding hangover, but by the Family, the lightning bolt that shot through his brain now was worse.
The wheeze that echoed his thoughts had him looking down. Mastekh lay sprawled on the stone floor, flat on his back, a hand pressed against his diaphragm. He looked like he’d been crushed beneath a boulder.
Which, Estenarven conceded as he cautiously lowered his throbbing head, he had.
“I was going to ask if you’d both enjoyed your rest, but I can see the answer well enough for myself.” Elder Blazeborn slapped the heavy book closed and eyed the pair of them. One eyebrow arched as Estenarven curled a claw and hauled Mastekh into a sitting position. The Rainstorm wheezed and bent over, still struggling to get some air into his recently flattened lungs.
This was not how Estenarven imagined he would feel the first time he woke up with Mastekh beneath him.
“At least now that you’ve cleared the door I can finally go out and feed myself.”
Estenarven flinched at this further proof of his neglected duties, and really wished he hadn’t as it sent an answering jolt through his brain and his sore horns.
“I’ll bring you something back, shall I?” Elder Blazeborn smiled ever so slightly as he left his book of maps on the chair and sidled around Estenarven’s bulk to slip out of the door. “Play nicely while I’m gone.”
Estenarven huffed at the wall as the handle clicked shut. There wasn’t even an ounce of play left him right now and a quick glance downwards assured him that Mastekh was even less inclined towards such things.
The Rainstorm was on all fours, attempting to get to his feet, but either his legs were still asleep or Estenarven’s carelessness had knocked more out of him than he’d thought, because Mastekh didn’t get very far.
A quick lift of a foot prevented his fellow aide from landing flat on his face, and Estenarven decided to save Mastekh a lot of bother by picking him up and dumping him on Khennik’s vacated chair. The Rainstorm plopped down on top of the book of maps like a sack of vegetables, looking dazed and unaware of quite what was going on.
Worried about him, Estenarven finally hauled his tail free of his bedroom and shrank to a more manageable size. Crouching in front of Mastekh, he cupped his hands around his face and looked into his eyes.
Watery green-blue stared back, along with a rather soppy smile.
Sibling Stone, it was worse than he’d thought. He hadn’t just knocked the breath out of Mastekh, he’d clearly crushed his wits as well. “Can you stand?”
“Mm.” Mastekh moved forward, but seemed to forget to engage any part of his body in supporting himself. Luckily Estenarven was there to catch him. Mastekh sagged into his arms like a scarecrow missing his stick.
Which wasn’t the worst place he could land. In fact, Estenarven rather liked having his arms full of relaxed Rainstorm. Especially when he nuzzled into his neck like that.
“Mm dreaming,” Mastekh murmured, and Estenarven realised his fellow aide hadn’t really woken up yet. Despite being dropped on the floor, crushed by a Boulderforce and having all the air squashed out of him.
Apparently his Puddle was a heavy sleeper. Just one more thing he’d learnt about him that he hadn’t known before.
And the last thing he would ever take advantage of. Which was why he hauled himself to his feet and hefted Mastekh more securely into his arms. The Rainstorm mumbled something against his neck and snuggled closer, making Estenarven smile. One day he might have fun with this, but not today. Instead he carried his limp burden through the door on the far side of the suit and laid him very carefully down on the stone bed within. The covers had all been kicked off when Mastekh had risen that morning, so Estenarven gathered them up and tucked them all around his sleepy Puddle.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, he ran a hand through Mastekh’s fluff of green hair. Turning into the caress, Mastekh wriggled until he was curled up around Estenarven, then heaved out a contented sigh. Estenarven knew just how he felt.
It was right to be here. Right to be next to this dragon. He didn’t want to leave.
He peered around Mastekh’s tiny, private quarters, unsurprised to find it as sparse and cheerless as his own cell on the other side of the suite. Except for the stone bowl on the narrow windowsill, positioned just right so that when Mastekh woke up it would be one of the first things he would see. A stone bowl full of water and containing a single straggly daisy.
The first courting gift. One that had been answered with rock cakes.
It was Estenarven’s move now. He thought back to the box he kept tucked beneath his bed. One that had followed him throughout his life, from his last few years as a dragonling, through his wingling century and onto the wandering ways of his change time. He ran mental fingers through its contents, assessing and discarding each item, until… He smiled.
Yes, that would do nicely.
But not yet. Estenarven looked down at the dragon curled on his side against him, his green hair soft as it slid between Estenarven’s blocky fingers.
No, not yet. He wanted to sit a while longer, enjoying this moment to the fullest. Elder Blazeborn would be back soon and Estenarven would pick up all his dropped and neglected duties, but not yet. Not just yet. He wanted to enjoy this peace for a little while longer, make the most of this gift he’d been given. He’d never seen Mastekh so relaxed and wondered when he’d have the chance to relish such a chance again. If he’d have the chance again. So he sat there, stroking Mastekh’s head, making plans and counting breaths.
Until Elder Blazeborn returned and Estenarven had to leave. But before he joined the elder at the low table, where he was spreading out the food a couple of draco servants had carried up for them all, Estenarven slipped into his own small room and pulled out the box from beneath the bed.
Promising the elder he would join him soon, he returned to Mastekh’s bedside, placed his latest gift on the windowsill beside the daisy, allowed himself one last stroke of his dear Puddle’s hair, then left and closed the door behind him. Mastekh had earned his rest, but Estenarven had apologies to issue and some making up to do.
With the dracos dismissed, Elder Blazeborn watched Estenarven cross the room and raised a golden eyebrow. “Well?”
Unsure quite what he was being asked, Estenarven lowered himself to sit cross-legged at the low table on the opposite to his elder and bowed his head. “All is well.”
The corner of Khennik’s mouth twitched. “Good. Now eat, before I devour the whole lot myself. You and Mastekh have been blocking the door since breakfast. I can’t remember the last time I felt so famished.”
The last tension in Estenarven’s shoulders relaxed and he grinned at his elder in relief. “Shouldn’t we save something for Mastekh?” he asked, even as he picked up a whole chicken for himself. Now that his hangover was gone and his head and horns were no longer hurting so badly, Estenarven realised he was starving too – and with so much food in front of him, it would be rude to feel otherwise.
“No,” Khennik replied, piling his own plate high with pastries and pies and the occasional piece of fruit. “If he wants some, he’ll have to claim it for himself.”
And even though he was courting the dragon’s heart, Estenarven shrugged in agreement. After all, love and romance were all very well in their own way, but he hadn’t eaten anything since the night before. At times like this, it was every dragon’s stomach for itself.
Especially at a time like this, when the pastries were divine and Elder Blazeborn had almost eaten the lot. Resisting the urge to growl at the other dragon – barely – Estenarven snatched two of the last three for himself and hunched over his plate to protect it from the long arm of the elder.
Rolling his eyes, Khennik moved on to the last of the tarts and Estenarven forgot all thoughts of Mastekh in a bid to claim his fair share of the feast. He had to keep up his strength, after all, and there was a lot of him to feed. Slapping Khennik’s grabby hands away from the bread basket, Estenarven seized his share of the rolls and swept the jam and butter dish into his temporary protection.
Elder Blazeborn glared at him over the table before picking up the platter of doelyn slices and slowly placing it on the floor beside himself.
Estenarven narrowed his eyes. So it was to be like that, was it? He reached for the quail eggs and let battle commence.
Who knew Khennik had a playful side?
Anyway, more next Wednesday.
And you may be pleased to know that I’ve finally worked out something of a plot for this thing. Which means I might finally get an idea of how long it’ll be. I would say this is about halfway, but until I write the next few chapters I won’t know.
Regardless, this is finally getting somewhere. Hurrah!
Take care, my lovelies.