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.
Mastekh wakes up.
24th Storm Month
MASTEKH WOKE ON a gasp, breaking through the surface and thrashing around as he tried to get his bearings.
Water. He was in water.
By the Family!
He sank mid-flail, swallowing a lungful as he plunged beneath the surface again. Surrounded by cold and dark, his senses evened out and he sighed. Bubbles streamed out of his nostrils and he dived, letting his body line up before he swooped back around and headed for the surface again.
Bubbles in the water, a roar in his ears, he burst upwards once more, filling his lungs with air this time.
The cavern. He was in the cavern, in the pool formed by the underground waterfall. Shaking the moisture from his eyes, he opened his wings and floated for a moment, trying to remember how he’d come to be here.
He looked around, but the cavern was empty. He was alone with no idea of how he’d got to this place, nor how long he’d been there.
Snorting unhappily, he dived back under the water and swam to the edge of the pool. Once there, he crawled onto the moss and sank down. He ached, trembling in every limb as though struggling to recuperate after a long illness.
The proximity of the water and the roar of the falls soothed him and before long his trembling subsided. The ache persisted, but Mastekh ignored it, rolling onto his back in the moss to slough off the worst of his damp. Straightening up again, he pulled his power inwards and shrank to his human form.
His silk robe hung heavy and wet on his frame, and even the small exertion of shifting left him panting and trembling on hands and knees once more.
What, by the Family, had happened to him?
He cast his mind back and back. He remembered night after night of interminable dinners, the brief glory of the free day with Estenarven and the sheer joy of his sixth gift: a golden river forever captured inside the quartz. He remembered handing over his crude little carving and the way Estenarven’s whole face had lit up with delight.
He remembered… sleeping, waking, waiting and serving again.
He remembered sleeping… He remembered Estenarven’s note about the seventh gift.
The seventh gift.
He remembered lightning and rain and the ridgeline. He remembered the tree grove and the crater. He remembered the diamonds, lightning diamonds. He’d picked one up and raised it to the sky, triumphant that he’d found his seventh and final gift.
Estenarven was there. Falling.
“Ah.” He curled in on himself, the memory of the pain enough to leave him gasping and sobbing and shaking on his bed of damp moss. In the cavern that he could not for the life of him remembering entering.
The last he knew he’d been on top of the mountain, buried beneath a Boulderforce, wracked with lightning, feeling the breath of Ancestor Night, the End Dragon, fierce and icy upon his neck.
Then he woke in water.
Was this a rebirth?
He raised a trembling hand before his eyes, but it looked no different than it always had. Pale, yes, but he was a freshwater dragon and the light was pallid here. Damp and watery, but what else could be expected in a cavern filled with spray. He curled his fingers inwards and studied his nails: black. Where normally they were silver tinged with green, there was no mistaking their dark hue now, as if covered in soot. His fingertips too were unmistakably charred. He looked down at his feet and saw the same pattern repeated, except his soles also bore a jagged, silvery tree-branch pattern.
Still, if that was all he had to show for his adventure, he’d take it.
He was alive.
Thank the Family.
He pushed up onto his knees again and this time managed to make it all the way to his feet. The first few steps were wobbly and weak, but as soon as he had the tunnel wall to lean on, he made quicker progress. Which increased again as more things came back to him – and one thought in particular.
His beloved Boulderforce had been there, had knocked Mastekh down and shielded him from the worst of the storm.
He had saved him.
Mastekh was alive because of Estenarven.
But that didn’t mean his Boulderforce could say the same.
His legs suddenly weakened again, but for a different reason this time. The pain wasn’t all over his body now, just centred on his heart.
He had to find him. He had to know.
Sibling Water, please, please, let him be all right. Let him live.
Stumbling as fast as his shaking legs would allow, leaning hard against the sturdy walls, Mastekh burst into the kitchen, scattered the dracos and hurried onwards, ignoring the calls and questions of his friends.
None of that mattered now.
Only Estenarven mattered, and Mastekh had to reach him, even if he had to crawl.
Reaching the tower stairs, he stared up at flight upon flight of steps and lowered to his shaking knees. Then he crawled, because while the water might have brought him back to life, only one thing had saved him.
And Mastekh would not be parted from him another moment.
~ Next Chapter ~
If, like Mastekh, you’re ready to reach the end, you can download the ebook now – it’s free!
Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.