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.
Wow, so it’s been a while. I’m so sorry it’s been so long, especially when there were only six chapters left! I shall get the last chapters posted over the next few weeks, so if you are still reading along this way then the end is finally, finally, nigh, and I apologise for the delay.
ESTENARVEN SHOULD HAVE known better than to trust Reglian. The blasted Thunderwing had made it sound so simple. Fly to the top of the mountain in a storm and look for the grove of raggedy trees. According to legend, a very special type of tree grew around here, found almost nowhere else across the entire Overworld. Even then, this special variety could only be found under extremely particular conditions.
“You’re a fool,” he told himself, as he hunkered against the side of the mountain, waiting for a brutal gust of wind to pass. Thunder snarled as if in answer, and Estenarven uncurled enough to crawl forward. Even though his large dragon size made him more of a target in this place of frequent lightning strikes, he was loath to shrink to his human form. At least as a full Boulderforce, he could absorb a direct strike with little more than a few choice swearwords and a new scar for his troubles.
Truth was, it would hurt like fury in either form, but it was less likely to kill him in dragon shape. Unless, of course, he got hit multiple times in quick succession.
The storm chose that moment to punch the ground directly in front of him.
Hissing, Estenarven scrambled back, shaking both front feet and his head as the glancing blow made his ears ring and his claws and teeth buzz. Unpleasant, but not entirely painful. Still, it had barely even brushed him. He’d have to be more careful.
Sinking down, he crawled forward on his belly, looking for these fabled trees and wondering how it was possible for any such thing to survive out here. This mountain range might not be the highest he’d encountered across the Dragonlands, but the sheer number of storms that wrapped themselves around it didn’t make for ideal growing conditions.
Then again, it was the Storm Season, so perhaps it wasn’t like this most of the year. Yet it was also the chosen home of kin Tempestfury, so it probably was.
“Stop waffling,” he growled, aware that he’d stopped moving, allowing his useless thoughts to distract him from his mission. Creeping along like an insect was bad enough, but cowering like a coward under the storm was never going to locate these wretched trees and he’d never find out if storm cinnamon was anything more than a myth.
“Move,” he ordered, and scuttled up the slope like a beetle, scanning the shadows on either side for anything that resembled a tree. He’d originally hoped to fly around the mountaintop, avoiding lightning strikes as best he could while scanning the ground. That idea had failed almost instantly, thanks to the thick, dark clouds that shrouded the peak. Which left him no choice but to land and scuttle.
He should never have trusted Reglian. The Thunderwing had probably sent him on a wild basilisk chase in order to win one of his blasted bets.
“Always question your sources,” he told himself, dashing from one pile of rocks to another and crouching as lightning once more split the sky.
The thunder that followed was close and loud enough to make him flinch, the sound pummelling his scales like a wave.
Another flash, another flinching rumble, but this time something caught Estenarven’s eye.
There. Up on the ridgeline. A tree. No, more. Five trees.
He squinted into the darkness, uncertain of what he’d seen until another flash revealed that there were actually four trees – and a slender figure running between them.
“No,” Estenarven whispered, because surely there couldn’t be anyone else foolhardy enough to come to such a dangerous place at such a perilous time.
Not unless they were also searching for a seventh courting gift, one that was extremely hard to get in order to show their lover how far they were willing to go for them.
“Mastekh!” His roar was drowned out by a boom of thunder, the lightning of which struck right in the heart of the trees.
“No!” Estenarven scrambled over the uneven slope, claws slipping and sliding through the mud and scree as he struggled to get his feet beneath him. Digging in, he opened his wings and shoved himself into the air. It was untidy, ugly, difficult work and barely lifted him off the ground, but he managed to snatch a passing gust of wind to power himself halfway up the ridge. Lightning seared his back, crackling heat all along his spine before striking the ground directly below him.
Estenarven hissed and pushed off again. “Mastekh!” He barrelled into the grove of trees, taking out two of the twisted, gnarled, misshapen things. Charcoal filled the air, along with an unexpectedly sweet scent. “Mastekh!” Estenarven roared, casting desperately around, expecting to see a sprawled and smoking figure cast out along the ground.
Nothing. Only shattered tree limbs and that strangely sweet scent.
Estenarven held still and breathed in deep. He closed his eyes as lightning cracked against the ridgeline once more, then he moved. Cursing himself for a fool, he shrank to his human shape and filled his bag to the brim with charred tree limbs and scattered bark. He didn’t know which particular bit of it made storm cinnamon, so he took as much as he could and hoped it would be enough.
Then he shifted back to full size and, ensuring the bag was tightly tied around one front leg, cast around for Mastekh again.
Lightning flashed so brightly he had to turn away, convinced his eyes would never be the same. Yet even as he pawed at them, the afterimage burned behind his eyelids, showing the highest point of the ridge and the tiny figure outlined against the dark sky.
“Mastekh!” he roared, shaking off his spotty vision and charging out of the ruined grove. Thunder snarled overhead, the wind shrieked and clouds roiled, but Estenarven ignored them all. He had to get to Mastekh, he had to stop him before he got himself killed.
A Rainstorm dragon was soft enough, with his smooth scales and lack of body armour, but his human form was ten times more vulnerable. If he took a direct hit there would be no shrugging it off. Mastekh was composed almost entirely of water – he’d burst and fry all at the same time. Estenarven had to save him.
“Mastekh!” Desperately clawing his way onto the ridgeline, he scuttled upwards as fast as the treacherous ground allowed, not even pausing when lightning bounced off the nearby rocks and crackled over his scales. It burned and stung, sending his muscles into twitching spasms, but he fought through until his body was his own again. Climbing, always climbing, until, finally, he reached the top.
And found Mastekh scrabbling around at the base of an enormous smoking crater.
Estenarven roared, wordless with fear, and the storm answered.
Lightning struck. Once, twice, thrice. Estenarven lost count of the flashes as he leapt into the crater. The bolts zigzagged before him, bouncing from one set of rocks to another, forming a web of livid, crackling power all heading towards the centre of the crater. Where Mastekh knelt, holding a white rock aloft.
“Yes!” the Rainstorm yelled, eyes widening as he suddenly realised what was heading towards him. His face twisted with horror, one hand reaching towards Estenarven, mouth opening in a cry.
They collided – Rainstorm, Boulderforce, lightning and storm. Everything met in a blast of heat and energy.
Estenarven curled up into a tight ball of agony, praying to the Divine Family that Mastekh was safe somewhere within his hold. He couldn’t feel him, couldn’t feel anything as lightning shot across his scales, charred his senses and sent him plummeting into the numbness of nothing.
~ Next Chapter ~
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Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.