A Courtship of Dragons is a M/M Romance novella (I hope, although it keeps growing so who knows where it’ll end up) 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.
In which Khennik gives some advice. Sort of.
ESTENARVEN KNELT BESIDE his bed, studying the meagre belongings he had brought with him on this trip. He’d never been an acquisitive dragon – Boulderforces rarely were – and such a lack of material possessions had never bothered him. Until now. The small stone box inside his travelling case was half full of beans and pebbles, but the sight of them made him smile in memory of all that they meant.
It was the lack of much else that brought on a frown.
A tap on the door made him jump and he instinctively reached out to hide his treasures, only to relax when it was Elder Blazeborn who leant inside.
Sighing, Estenarven sat back on his heels and half twisted towards the door. “Yes, elder?”
Khennik tilted his head, taking in the open box on the bed, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “Fourth gift?”
Estenarven snorted derisively and glared down at his little box of treasures. He’d thought them so special once. Now he could hardly remember why he’d ever considered any of them precious. Stones and letters and scraps. Nothing good enough for his needs.
The Blazeborn elder took another step into the tiny room and asked for permission to sit with a tilt of his hand. Estenarven nodded, balling his fists against the instinctive need to hide his treasures. Just because Boulderforces were rarely acquisitive, didn’t mean they weren’t possessive. And Sunlords were known for their hoards.
Something about the tension in his body must have alerted Khennik, though, because while he sat carefully beside the box and leant over for a closer look, the elder kept his hands carefully behind his back. “You have a lot of pebbles and beans.”
“Second gift,” Estenarven offered in reply.
“Ah.” Khennik tilted his head and squinted. Moving slowly, he looked at Estenarven for permission before gently shifting some pebbles aside to see what lay beneath. “Well, now. Wherever did you come by this?”
Estenarven wrinkled his nose, laying his palms flat against his thighs to stop himself from snatching the tiny object out of his elder’s claws. “Found it,” he grumbled.
Khennik arched an eyebrow and placed the delicate object on the rumpled blanket covering the bed. “Unusual for a Boulderforce.”
Estenarven shrugged, feeling a touch of heat rising to his cheeks. It was an unusual possession for a Boulderforce to keep, especially as it wasn’t made from stone, but despite its small and delicate appearance, this little object held a raft of memories for him.
Reaching out, he scooped up the little figure, carved out of some unknown wood, smoothed and shaped into the appearance of a well-rounded human, sexless and faceless, with only the faintest traces of when it had once been painted. Estenarven didn’t know where it had originated from or how old it was, but it wore its age in the form of scratches and scars and weathered cracks. He’d found it many, many years ago when he’d been barely a dragonling first venturing out of the safety of his kin nest. He’d been digging with Estenarix, pretending that they were fierce dragon explorers searching for new minerals to mine.
They had uncovered five figures that day, of varying shapes and sizes. Estenarix had thought them ugly and boring and tossed them all aside, reburying them in her quest for something solid, something stone, something shiny and exciting. She’d scoffed at him when he’d said he wanted to keep them, so he’d had to sneak back later to dig them up again. He’d only been able to find four of them that time and over the years they’d each been broken and lost.
This was the only one left. It had been through so much with him, so many years, so many miles, so many changes. Yet despite the memories and centuries they’d shared together, it didn’t look like much.
“I can’t give him that,” he said, instead of voicing all the thoughts running through his mind.
Elder Blazeborn watched him quietly, golden eyes scanning Estenarven’s pensive face. “Does it mean that much to you?”
Estenarven stared at the tiny figure, nestled so securely in his palm, and bit back an instinctive denial. It did mean a lot. Khennik wouldn’t judge him for feeling a connection to such a strange object, but that wasn’t what he was asking. Estenarven stroked a finger over the familiar curves, feeling the smooth patches and the rough places, the scratches and cracks and flaking paintwork.
He sighed. “Not more than Mastekh,” he admitted. “But it’s not much of a gift. Look at it.”
Khennik didn’t look at the figure – he looked at Estenarven. “If it means so much to you, Estenarven, it will mean everything to him. As long as you are willing to share its significance. That more than anything contains its worth.”
Estenarven curled his hand around the precious, pathetic object and nodded. Of everything he owned, of all that he cared enough to carry with him, this was what mattered the most. Except for Mastekh.
“Then I have my gift.”
“So you do,” Khennik said softly, smiling ever so briefly before getting to his feet. “I’ll be out for the rest of the day. Elder Gwyllen has invited me and the other elders to dinner. Don’t wait up.” He slipped out of the tiny room, silk robes whispering in his wake.
Leaving Estenarven to frown down at the tiny figure in his hands and wonder how good a gift it would prove to be.
More next week.
Take care, my lovelies!