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.
A trip to the Skylark.
ESTENARVEN COULD NOT remember the last time he had felt so happy. Breakfast had been a delight, teasing Mastekh and being tickled in return had been wonderful, and now he was even enjoying a walk in the rain. Because he had a particular Rainstorm by his side.
Mastekh was humming again; Estenarven loved to hear it. Not that his fellow aide was particularly musical, but the bubbling, rippling sounds only ever emerged when the Rainstorm was happy – and that was a gift beyond price as far as Estenarven was concerned.
So even though he was soaked through by the time the Skylark came into sight, moored at the edge of a vast cave, Estenarven approached the skyship with a light heart.
“Ho, there young dragons, what brings you back aboard my vessel?” Captain Hornvel planted himself at the top of the gangplank, preventing them from taking the last few steps onto the deck. The man was short, even by human standards, but the skyship captain more than made up for his lack of inches with the force of his personality. He ran his ship with a loud voice and a firm sense of duty. Gruff, but not grumpy, the man nevertheless was wary of dragons. And considering how many of them had come aboard the Skylark since the humans had entered the Dragonlands, Estenarven couldn’t much blame him.
“We’re here to clean Elder Blazeborn’s cabin,” he said, keeping his smile to himself since it would be wasted on this man. Estenarven had never met a person more resistant to his charm – thankfully.
The captain eyed the pair of them sceptically, seeming to take extra note of their lack of cleaning supplies. He sniffed. “Think my sailors aren’t capable of cleaning below decks now?”
“N-n-no, of c-c-course n-not,” Mastekh babbled quickly, clearly appalled that the captain might take their presence as a slight.
Estenarven rested a soothing hand on the Rainstorm’s shoulder. “We have every faith in your sailors, captain,” he replied. “But as Elder Blazeborn’s aides, we know our duty. Why should we make extra work for your crew when we’ve time enough to do our own chores?”
Captain Hornvel stared at him for a long, considering moment before inclining his head the tiniest fraction. “Aye, well, see that you do then. We’ll be checking,” he added, standing aside so they could board in peace. “Cleaning cloths and mops and buckets are alongside the galley.”
“Thanks, captain,” Estenarven called, as the man strode swiftly away, already barking a set of instructions to the sailors scrubbing the top deck.
“M-maybe this w-w-wasn’t such a g-good idea,” Mastekh muttered, sticking his soggy hands under his armpits, likely to stop himself from dripping all over the clean deck, as he scurried in Estenarven’s wake. A wasted effort, in Estenarven’s eyes, since the pair of them were already soaked and soggy from walking in the rain. The same rain that even now was getting blown in through the cave mouth and over the freshly scrubbed decks.
“It’s fine. We’re fine,” Estenarven assured him, making for the nearest hatch and catching the faintest smile on the captain’s lips before the man turned away. If Estenarven didn’t know better, he might almost think Hornvel approved of them being here.
Clambering down the ladder, Estenarven was surprised at how quiet it was below decks. It was his first time on the Skylark while it wasn’t in flight, and the lack of crew, Riders and other dragons bustling about made the whole place seem a lot bigger. Lighter too, he thought, passing a golden glow globe that pulsed with the warm heat of Elder Blazeborn’s power.
Now that he was out of the weather, Estenarven couldn’t help but notice the clammy way his silk robe was clinging to his skin. The cool discomfort tempted him to pick up the next glow globe they passed, since the warmth was extremely inviting, but stealing the passage lights would be a sure way to get in Captain Hornvel’s bad books, so Estenarven rolled his shoulders and walked on.
It wasn’t far to the front of the ship, where the great prow cabin had been divided into two, turning a fine state room into a couple of slightly cramped spaces to accommodate Ambassador Jesken and the Rider captain on one side, Elder Blazeborn, Estenarven and Mastekh on the other. It wasn’t a perfect solution by any means, but it certainly beat sharing the rear quarters with Elders Goryal, Leasang and Rishen, plus their own aides and Reglian.
The door to the ambassador’s room had been left ajar, allowing Estenarven to peer in as he passed. The space was dominated by an enormous map table, with a bed and a desk crammed into separate corners either side of the big window. The same window that stretched on into Elder Blazeborn’s room and provided a perfect view of the sunset whenever they were in flight. Which, of course, was the main reason why he had claimed this spot for his elder in the first place. That and the extra quiet away from the rest of the dragons. Elder Blazeborn liked things to be quiet. After a moon of sharing this ship with the Riders and other dragons, Estenarven had come to appreciate a little silence and solitude himself.
“W-w-well,” Mastekh sighed, stepping into the cabin and looking around. “Where to b-begin?”
Estenarven looked around the space and wondered the same thing himself. Unlike the ambassador’s cabin, there was no great map table planted in the middle, taking up most of the space. Instead Elder Blazeborn had a narrow bed stretched out beneath the window and a sturdy desk tucked against the foot. Beyond that, everything else was empty.
When in flight there would be trunks and paper and soft furnishings cluttering everything up, but Estenarven had carefully packed everything and removed it to Highstrike for the duration of their stay. Not because the elder would need all of it, but because it was the surest way to keep everything private and safe. Besides correspondence, maps and personal journals, Elder Blazeborn had a fine set of blankets and pillows, which had helped to make this whole journey bearable for Estenarven and Mastekh – who tended to sleep on the floor of the cabin in whichever corner felt most secure, unless they had moored up somewhere overnight and could sleep outside instead. Even though dragons were hardy and shouldn’t need such things, soft comforts were still nice to have, and Estenarven wouldn’t trust any of his fellow dragons not to steal a blanket or a cushion or even a handkerchief if left foolishly unattended for long. Just because they didn’t need them, didn’t mean they didn’t want them. Jesral kin Lightstorm in particular had very itchy fingers.
None of which was helping him clean the place up. Reaching for the nearest glow globe, which Elder Blazeborn had left glowing softly in the corner, Estenarven studied the grey view beyond the glass and smiled. “I’ll tackle the window and you can sweep the floors?”
Mastekh wrinkled his nose, but nodded. “L-let’s get to w-w-work.”
More next week.
Take care, my lovelies!