A Courtship of Dragons is a M/M Romance short novel (approximately 60,000 words) 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.
And this would be why I don’t recommend taking swimming lessons from a Stoneheart…
SOMETHING WAS IN the water with him. Drifting in his lonely sea of self-pity, Mastekh noticed the instant his sanctuary was invaded. A pulse of magic brushed against him, cold and frantic, tapping along his side as if searching for something.
He frowned and uncurled a little from his ball of misery, just in time to feel something brush against his wing as it plummeted towards the dark depths.
Another pulse, a wave of magic so strong, so familiar that it almost stopped Mastekh’s heart.
Arching his back, he dove, senses outstretched for the one thing that would never belong in the water.
A Stoneheart. Attempting to swim. Sibling Water, what had possessed him?
His nose bumped against a small, plummeting shape and he darted forward with a swish of his tail. Webbed paws outstretched, he gathered Estenarven against his chest and twisted around in the darkness.
By the Family, he was heavy!
Mastekh paddled his back legs and swished his tail, but only succeeded in slowing their descent. Estenarven thrashed once in his grip before falling worryingly still.
Panic tried to take hold, but Mastekh was a Rainstorm Clan Flowflight, he would not let water defeat him.
He opened his wings and, preparing himself for effort and a bit of pain, flapped down as hard as he possibly could. It felt slow and heavy and tugged hard on tendons unused to so much resistance, but it worked.
Bubbles swirled around him as they shot upwards, aiming for the tiny speck of shimmering surface and the safety that lay beyond.
Legs kicking, tail swirling, he beat his wings again and again until, with a great lurch, he hefted them both out of the water and onto the mossy cavern floor.
They landed with a thump and Mastekh instantly stood up, water streaming away from him as he curled his neck and pressed his head against Estenarven’s chest.
Nothing. Cold and hard and silent as stone.
Keening, he folded his wings and draped himself across his would-be lover’s chest, careful to keep most of his weight off the silent dragon. Magic sparked across his scales, sending tingles and shivers running through him as he called the water away from Estenarven.
Steam filled the cavern, but still Estenarven remained stubbornly silent.
“P-please, please, p-p-please,” Mastekh begged, once Estenarven’s robes were dry and his magic was of no more use. He rubbed his head against the Boulderforce’s chest, nuzzled at his throat and nudged his neck.
Worming his snout beneath Estenarven, he rolled the Boulderforce onto his side and, whispering prayers to the Divine Family – and an apology or two – pulled back his tail and slapped Estenarven’s solid back.
A gasp, startled, unexpected and wonderfully welcome.
Mastekh slapped him again – harder – and Estenarven started to cough.
Crooning apologies and encouragement, he patted Estenarven’s cheek with a webbed foot that was the size of the Boulderforce’s human head. Magic sparkled again and this time, when Mastekh called to it, the water inside Estenarven’s lungs answered.
More coughs, a few moans, followed by heavy gasps as Estenarven rolled onto his back, eyes closed, but alive, so wonderfully alive.
“Th… thank you… P…Puddle,” he panted after a long moment.
Mastekh hung his head, every part of him trembling, and collapsed beside Estenarven in the moss.
Groaning with effort, Estenarven rolled onto his side and gripped Mastekh’s nearest leg. Clutching the sodden limb to his heaving chest, he curled around it and let out a deep sigh. Eyes still closed, he seemed to drop into an instant sleep.
Leaving Mastekh staring down at him, exhausted, wrung out and utterly bemused.
“Ah, I see he found you then.” Goryal appeared out of the waterfall mist, smiling benignly.
Mastekh glanced between the dragon he had almost lost and the Starshine he was never quite certain he could trust, and narrowed his eyes. “You s-s-sent him after m-m-me?” he asked in a deceptively calm voice.
Goryal raised their eyebrows. “He would have found you eventually. You seemed determined to sulk down there for an awfully long time and Estenarven was bound to jump in sooner or later. I merely speeded things up a little.”
Unable to deny that Estenarven’s loyalties did indeed know no depths, Mastekh ground his teeth together and glared at Goryal, still angry that the Starshine had stood by and watched while the Boulderforce tumbled into danger.
They were gone.
Growling beneath his breath and calling silent curses down upon the interfering old wyvern’s head, Mastekh shifted until he could curl up around Estenarven, wriggling his tail between the Boulderforce and the moss. He tugged on the foot Estenarven still wouldn’t release, until the Boulderforce was half-sprawled across Mastekh’s narrow chest. Then he draped a wing across Estenarven, to hold off the worst of the waterfall’s spray, and tucked his head alongside his sleeping companion.
Mastekh heaved a heavy sigh and prepared himself to wait for however long it took for Estenarven to wake. There were questions that needed answering and a conversation that had to happen, but they’d both been through an ordeal and Mastekh could be patient.
He owed Estenarven that after almost allowing him to drown.
He could wait. And while he did, he would watch over his would-be lover and make sure he came to no more harm. Pulsing his magic, he gathered the fresh dampness that had settled over Estenarven and dashed it away with a flick of his wing.
He would keep him safe and dry until Estenarven woke and told him to stop.
The gentle rhythm of Estenarven’s heart beat reassuringly against his own and Mastekh closed his eyes, the better to savour their closeness while it still lasted.
More next week.
Take care, my lovelies!