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.
|| First Part || All Parts || Last Part ||
The end! At last <3
28th Storm Month
IT TOOK SEVERAL days for both of them to get back on their feet. Mastekh recovered first, since he had so much less to recover from. Except the pain of watching Estenarven sleep so soundly, knowing he’d almost lost him.
All for a stupid lightning-struck rock. A lightning diamond. Not a true diamond but still precious to many. Yet it was worthless to Mastekh. He held it in his hand now, turning it this way and that to admire the rainbows permanently trapped within the fissures carved by heat burning its way through the crystal’s structure, scarred and forever changed, beautiful and unshattered.
Glorious in its own way, but it was worth nothing when weighed against the cost of Estenarven’s life.
Mastekh had almost lost everything, all because of a stupid tradition and a ridiculous idea.
“Is that for me?”
Mastekh looked up and smiled at where Estenarven leant against the door of his tiny room. A casual pose, the kind he’d so often seen his Boulderforce adopt, especially when he was in a flirtatious mood. Necessary today, since he was still too weak to stand unaided for long.
Patting the bed beside him, Mastekh moved over to leave a space and looked at the diamond again. Even without being a true diamond, it was rare and precious enough to still count. “Happy s-seventh gift.”
Estenarven lurched from the door to the bed and sat down with a grunt, draping himself over Mastekh’s shoulders with a sigh. “Let me see it.”
Mastekh held it up in front of both their faces.
Estenarven rested his chin on Mastekh’s shoulder and hummed approvingly. “Very pretty. I’ve never seen one like that before.”
“It’s y-yours.” He tucked it into the pocket of Estenarven’s robe and gave it a pat. “That’s the l-l-last of your g-gifts.”
“Does that make you mine now?” the Boulderforce rumbled, wrapping his arms around Mastekh’s waist and nuzzling his neck.
“I always have been,” he replied, aiming for playful and missing by a human mile.
Estenarven didn’t seem to mind as he planted a hand on the bed to support his weight, using his other hand to tilt Mastekh’s face towards him. His expression serious, he cupped Mastekh’s cheek and rubbed his thumb along his jaw.
“Good,” he whispered. “Because I’m yours, Puddle, completely.”
“Is that m-my seventh g-g-gift?” he teased, managing to hit the right tone this time.
Estenarven smiled. “Only if Khennik hasn’t eaten the real one,” he murmured, leaning in for a kiss.
Mastekh turned his head aside, suddenly too curious for distractions. “Eaten it? W-why would he e-eat it? What w-was it?”
“Nothing important,” Estenarven grumbled, kissing Mastekh under the chin since he couldn’t reach his lips. “Hardly matters now.”
“It m-matters to me,” Mastekh protested, squirming off the bed and getting to his feet.
Estenarven collapsed facedown in the blankets with a groan.
“What w-w-was it?” he persisted, prodding his lover’s back. “T-tell me!”
“Can’t it wait?” Estenarven’s complaint turned into a very un-Boulderforce-like squeak as Mastekh poked one of his rare ticklish spots beneath his arm.
“G-give me my g-gift,” he ordered stubbornly, tickling Estenarven some more. “Or else.”
“Or else what?” Estenarven asked, rolling over and grabbing Mastekh’s arm before he could poke him again. Yanking hard, so that Mastekh sprawled across his chest, putting them nose to nose, he smiled smugly. “Wotcha gonna do now, Puddle?”
Contemplating the gift that lay beneath him, Mastekh spread his hands across Estenarven’s broad chest, petting possessively. It was still hard to believe that all of this was his to touch whenever he wanted.
“Not so bossy now, eh?” Estenarven chuckled.
“Oh, I don’t kn-know,” Mastekh mused thoughtfully, hitching himself higher up Estenarven’s chest. “P-positions like this g-give a dragon i-d-deas.”
“Oh?” Estenarven enquired innocently, craning his neck and angling for a kiss.
“Mm.” Mastekh obliged, brushing their lips together and running his hands down Estenarven’s chest, then up again. Straight into his ticklish armpits. “G-give me my g-g-gift!”
“Ack!” Estenarven rolled sharply, throwing Mastekh to the floor and barely preventing himself from landing on top of him. “Sneaky fiend!” he laughed. “I don’t think you deserve a gift after that little stunt.”
Breathless but proud of himself, Mastekh popped to his feet and tugged on Estenarven’s arm to pull him up. “Come on. The s-sooner you g-give it to m-me, the s-sooner this is over. You’ll be m-m-mine as much as I’m y-yours.”
“Excellent point.” Estenarven heaved himself up and almost knocked Mastekh flat by leaning on him. “Sorry, Puddle. Just prop me up a bit, thanks.” Between Mastekh and the wall, Estenarven made it back into the main room of the suite, where Elder Khennik was sitting beside the fire, flicking through a book of illuminated manuscripts.
He looked up as they staggered into his peaceful afternoon and raised an eyebrow. “Where are you two off to?”
“Nowhere special,” Estenarven panted, resting most of his weight on the back of a settee, much to Mastekh’s relief. “I don’t suppose you know what happened to the bag I brought back from the mountain with me?”
To Mastekh’s surprise, Khennik sat up, golden eyes aglow. “Finally that time, is it? I wondered when you’d remember. I put it in your room.”
Mastekh’s curiosity increased as Estenarven eyed their elder warily. “Untouched.”
Elder Blazeborn gave an offended sniff. “As I have mentioned to you before, Estenarven, I do have some control. Go, give your gift.” He waved them away and went back to his book.
However, Mastekh noticed that the elder didn’t turn a single page in all the time it took for Estenarven and him to lurch their laborious way from furniture piece to furniture piece and eventually the wall, so that they could reach the Boulderforce’s cramped little room.
“He better not have,” Estenarven grumbled, slumping onto the bed and looking around.
Mastekh waited impatiently in the doorway, trying not to hop from foot to foot. Considering how lacklustre he’d felt about his seventh gift before he gave it to Estenarven, he was suddenly excited all over again about their courtship. He might have already won the ultimate prize of Estenarven’s heart but, well, it was still nice to receive presents. Especially when they were a surprise.
“Ah.” Estenarven heaved a sigh of relief and beckoned him over. “Would you fetch me that bag from behind the door, please, Puddle?”
Curious and a little wary now, Mastekh stepped into the room and closed the door. Then he picked up the ragged bag that was almost as tattered as his own foraging sack. This one was more than a little scorched and, as he carried it over to Estenarven, smelt pungently of charcoal.
“Well, go on, open it,” Estenarven encouraged after Mastekh sat beside him and stared at the bag for a long moment.
This was it. The last gift. After this their courtship was over. After this anything could happen. Estenarven might even lose interest. The courtship wasn’t binding, after all. Their relationship could end in another month. There would be nothing left to keep things interesting between them. Why wouldn’t Estenarven lose interest then? Mastekh was not an interesting dragon.
“Puddle,” Estenarven murmured, running the tip of his nose from Mastekh’s shoulder, up behind his ear, filling him with the most delightful shivers. “Open the bag.” He followed his command with a nip.
Shying away, Mastekh bumped back against him playfully and sighed. “I don’t w-want this to b-be over.”
Estenarven rested his chin on Mastekh’s shoulder and smiled. “Silly Puddle,” he chuckled affectionately. “This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning. Of everything. Now open the bag before I resort to tickling tactics of my own.”
Warm hands brushed against the spiral patch of scales low on Mastekh’s back and he twitched. Even with a layer of silk between them, it was still a highly sensitive spot – but only with Estenarven.
“All right, all r-r-right,” he yelped. “I’m o-opening it, I p-p-promise.”
Estenarven rumbled another chuckle and rested his palm flat against Mastekh’s back, stroking up and down in long, soothing strokes. “Nothing is more precious to me than you, Puddle, but let’s finish this properly. Happy seventh gift, love.” He kissed Mastekh’s cheek.
Feeling suddenly shy, he nuzzled his Boulderforce in return and finally opened the bag.
Sticks. Charred, broken, burned-up tree branches and flakes of sooty bark.
“Um. Th-th-thank you?”
Estenarven cracked up, laughing so hard he had to lie down on the bed, gasping in an attempt to get his breath back.
Scowling, Mastekh picked up the sturdiest looking branch and waved it at the highly amused dragon beside him. “I s-see nothing f-f-funny,” he growled, raising the stick warningly.
“Ack, no, don’t hit me with that. Please, Puddle. Don’t waste it.” Estenarven sat up, still chuckling as he seized Mastekh’s wrist and stole a kiss from his angry mouth. “It’s just – your face. Smell the stick, Puddle. Go on, try it.”
“Smell the st-st-stick?” he repeated incredulously. “Is that some w-w-weird Boulderforce g-game?”
Estenarven snorted and shook his head, picking up a piece of bark and inhaling deeply. “Go on,” he urged. “Try it.”
Regarding his lover suspiciously, anticipating a trick at any moment – along with a lungful of charred soot – Mastekh raised the branch towards his nose and sniffed delicately.
Charcoal, yes, but also a surprising sweetness.
“W-what is that?” he whispered, breathing in more deeply and gulping in another gasp, growing more and more enamoured of the scent each time. “It’s like ci-ci-cinnamon, only r-richer.”
“Storm cinnamon,” Estenarven said, looking smug.
“Storm cinnamon,” Mastekh echoed reverently. “Oh.” He looked down at the bounty spilling out of the bag on his lap. “Oh!” He leapt to his feet. “No w-w-wonder!”
“Puddle?” Estenarven lurched after him, but too late – Mastekh was already through the door and running across the suite. “Puddle, come back!”
“Oh.” Mastekh skidded to a halt and, right in front of Elder Blazeborn’s amused eyes, planted a smacking kiss on his lover’s mouth. “I’ll be b-back later. I h-have to go b-b-bake now.”
“I prefer mine in scones, if you please, Mastekh,” Elder Blazeborn called as Mastekh headed for the door again.
He made an agreeing noise and twirled on the spot, storm cinnamon clutched against his chest. As he wrestled with the door handle, too giddy and excited to manage such a simple task, Estenarven caught up and leant against the wall beside him.
“Here.” He twisted the handle. “Don’t be too late.”
“I w-won’t,” Mastekh promised, dancing from foot to foot but knowing it would be rude to simply dash away. Besides there was something he needed to say, something he’d not managed yet and that Estenarven deserved to hear. “I l-l-love you.”
Estenarven’s smile was tender as he reached out and drew Mastekh into a sweet kiss. “And I love you, Puddle. Go have fun.” He nudged Mastekh through the doorway with a wink. “We’ll be waiting.”
“Scones and r-rock cakes for t-t-two,” Mastekh promised, blowing a kiss over his shoulder and dashing down to the kitchens.
Even though their courtship was officially over and life still went on, didn’t mean he couldn’t still spoil his lover whenever he got the chance.
He had to keep Estenarven interested, after all, and if cakes and treats were the way to his Stoneheart, so be it.
~ X ~ X ~ X ~
X ~ X ~ X ~ X
Thank you for reading!
I think you already know that you can download the ebook now for free. But if you want more Mastekh and Esten (and Khennik, Goryal and Reglian and all the others) you can find them all in the Dragonlands series.
<3 <3 <3