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.
KHENNIK RUBBED HIS eyes and sighed. It had been three days since Reglian had burst into his suite, babbling tales of lightning, seventh gifts and Goryal’s interference, but all Khennik had really cared about was what the Thunderwing had been holding. Estenarven, bleeding, smoking and soot-stained. Estenarven was naturally dark-skinned, his grey Boulderforce scales transferring into a deep brown in his human form, but this was a shade darker than anything he’d ever been before.
Ignoring Reglian’s babbling, Khennik had remembered to ask about Mastekh and learnt that Goryal was taking care of him. Then he’d shifted into recovery mode and arranged a bed for the Boulderforce in the main space of his suite, summoned dracos for salves and herb water and done his best to tend to his aide.
Kin Boulderforce were tough dragons. It was something he’d had to remind himself often as he wiped away the soot and soothed on the salves, watching as day by day the wounds became scars and the scars began to fade. But despite the encouraging signs of healing, Estenarven wouldn’t wake.
Desperate and worried, Khennik had finally remembered that he was treating a Stoneheart and had stripped away all the soft bedding, rolled up the carpets and cleared a space until he could lay Estenarven directly on the stone floor. Which had invoked a deep sigh and rapidly speeded up the last of his aide’s healing.
But he didn’t wake up.
Now it was deep into the third morning of Khennik’s watch and he was utterly out of ideas.
Which, of course, was the moment that Goryal decided to appear.
The Starshine had been flitting in and out over the last few days, bringing favourable reports of Mastekh’s recovery somewhere watery and cool – and utterly unsuitable for Blazeborns, which was why Khennik had been forced to stay away – replenishing the supplies of salves and herbs and bringing along soothing incenses for Khennik to burn. All of which had been well received but ultimately useless.
“He won’t wake,” Khennik said, as Goryal came to stand beside his chair, the pair of them staring at where Estenarven slept.
“Still no fever?” the Starshine asked, kneeling down and feeling the Boulderforce’s forehead for themself.
“Good. He’s recovering swiftly, all things considered.”
Khennik clenched his jaw, trying not to consider all those things and just what role this dragon had played in it. After all, it was a well known fact that Goryal Starshine was a first class meddler. But it was also well known that the seventh gift of any dragon courtship had to involve something that was hard to get. Considering the two dragons involved in this particular courtship, Khennik knew it was inevitable that disaster had struck. The only positive in this situation was that at least Goryal had been on hand to rescue them afterwards.
“How is Mastekh?”
“Improving.” Goryal smiled, their chiming voice light with happiness. “I expect him to wake any time now.”
“And Estenarven. When will he wake?”
“Soon,” Goryal promised, passing a hand over Estenarven’s face. “When the time is right.”
Khennik arched an eyebrow, too tired to have any patience with such ambiguous answers.
They simply smiled at him again. “Trust me, Khennik.”
“As these two trusted you?”
Goryal winced. “Ah, well, perhaps not in quite the same way.”
Khennik sighed. Goryal would always be Goryal, a Starshine through and through. “Never mind.” He wasn’t likely to ever get an apology, because it was unlikely that Goryal would ever admit to doing anything wrong. They’d tried to help Khennik’s aides and, if the bag he and Reglian had unwound from Estenarven’s arm on his return could be trusted, they had succeeded. Which would be all Goryal cared about.
Storm cinnamon. By the Family, just the thought of it made Khennik’s mouth water, even at a terrible time like this. He couldn’t imagine what reason Mastekh had also had for visiting such a dangerous place, but had little doubt that it would prove worthy of a seventh gift.
If either of them ever woke.
“Goodness, look at the sun. I must check on Mastekh again before lunch. Don’t lose heart, Khennik, your aides are strong. They will pull through.” Patting him on the shoulder, Goryal scurried towards the door, just as the handle rattled.
“Ah, perfect timing,” they chimed happily, drawing Khennik’s attention as a ragged, bedraggled and exceedingly soggy Mastekh tumbled inside on his hands and knees.
“Looks good to me,” the Starshine announced, stepping lightly over the panting dragon and dancing out into the corridor. “I’m off for lunch. Shall I have the dracos send something up for you, Khennik?”
Growling, Khennik strode across the suite and slammed the door in Goryal’s face, then he scooped Mastekh up and carried him to where Estenarven lay so silent and still.
“Es-Es-” Mastekh panted, sounding half-delirious.
“Hush,” Khennik soothed, lowering to his knees and placing Mastekh ever so gently alongside the Boulderforce. “He’s here. All is well.”
“Esten,” Mastekh sighed, rolling until he was pressed along his lover’s side, head tucked into the crook of his neck.
And Estenarven stirred. For the first time in three days, the Boulderforce moved of his own volition, head turning towards his Rainstorm. His arm shifted, hand rising to his chest to cover where Mastekh’s hand already pressed atop his heart.
Khennik watched them for a long, silent moment. His aides slept on, curled towards each other, wounded but healing. Together.
“All is well.” He nodded once and turned away, going in search of his first meal for three days.
~ Next Chapter ~
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Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.