Books, Free Fiction, Overworld, Serial, Writing

A Courtship of Dragons: Part 50

Courtship Banner 1

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


50
Love

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.

“Oh…”

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 ~

THE END

X ~ X ~ X ~ X


Courtship 7Thank you for reading!Courtship 7

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.

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Books, Free Fiction, Overworld, Serial, Writing

A Courtship of Dragons: Part 49

Courtship Banner 1

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 ||

Estenarven, at last.


49
The Seventh Gift

AFTER WANDERING IN the endless darkness, numb and separated from his body and senses, Estenarven felt life in himself again. It burned at first, painful and sharp, zapping through each of his muscles, running through his bones until his teeth hummed with it and his head felt like shattering.

Then he breathed. A shallow gasp full of pins inside his chest, inside his lungs. Followed by the scent of water lilies and moss. It soothed him.

His skin prickled, burning, burning, burning. Until a cool touch drifted over it, tracking across his body and turning pain to pleasure.

His mouth was parched, but water came.

His ears were ringing, but whispers of affection broke through.

His eyes were last. Heavy eyelids, lightened by kisses. A gaze full of black spots and strained muscles, until a beloved face filled his vision.

“Mastekh,” he croaked in a voice of shattered rubble. “My Mastekh.”

A brief kiss, too brief, but full of life and love. “Esten,” a whisper in return.

Estenarven lifted an arm that felt as heavy as the boulders of his kin and cupped that precious face, more meaningful to him than any number of gifts. And he smiled.

Mastekh smiled back, eyes swimming with tears. One escaped, splashing against Estenarven’s cheek. It burned, but in a good way, scouring him clean.

“Sleep,” his beloved urged. “Rest. There’s no r-rush.”

Except… except… Estenarven fought against the undertow threatening to drag him back into the darkness again. “The gift,” he gasped. “I… Did you…? Do you have it?”

Mastekh stared at him, green eyes shining and stroked a cool hand over his face. “I h-have it,” he whispered, looking deep into Estenarven’s eyes. “The only g-gift I’ll ever n-need.”

Sighing, Estenarven sank back and closed his eyes, taking Mastekh’s hand in his and pressing it against his chest, against his heart. “And I have mine,” he murmured, and let the tide of sleep sweep him away.


Courtship 7~ Last Chapter ~Courtship 7

Or download the ebook – it’s free!

Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.

Books, Free Fiction, Overworld, Serial, Writing

A Courtship of Dragons: Part 48

Courtship Banner 1

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 ||

Khennik muses.


48
Goryal’s Gift

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.

“None.”

“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.

Sort of.

“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.


Courtship 7~ Next Chapter ~Courtship 7

If 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.

Books, Free Fiction, Overworld, Serial, Writing

A Courtship of Dragons: Part 47

Courtship Banner 1

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 ||

Mastekh wakes up.


47
Water Awakening

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.

“Oh.”

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.

Lightning.

Collision.

Pain.

“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.

Estenarven.

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.

Estenarven.

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.


Courtship 7~ Next Chapter ~Courtship 7

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.

Books, Free Fiction, Overworld, Serial, Writing

A Courtship of Dragons: Part 46

Courtship Banner 1

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 ||

A momentary interlude, after all the drama.


46
Um…

“WELL, THAT WAS rather dramatic, and far from what I intended.”

“What in the world did you expect, sending them both to the top of the mountain in the midst of the Storm Season, you crazy old wyvern?”

“There’s no need for names, Reglian. You’ve been spending far too much time with Khennik.”

“Not nearly as much time as you’ll be spending with him after he hears about this.”

“Ah. Yes. He may be a little upset.”

Upset? Goryal, I know you’re old and think you’re subtle, but that is the ancestor of all understatements, even from you.”

“Hyperbole, Reglian, really? I thought archivists were chosen for their intellect and skill with words. Yes. Exactly. See. You turned your furious exasperation into a single look. What a marvellous skill.”

“Sister Storm, help me, Goryal! You may be old and powerful, but you’re not immortal. One of these days…”

“Yes, yes, Reglian, do stop fussing and help me move these two, please. I think I shall have to shrink Estenarven, much though he won’t thank me for it with all those scars his human form will be wearing, but I truly don’t think it’s possible to move him at this size.”

“Not with only two of us, no.”

“There you go again, ignoring all your words and intellect and stating the obvious. It’s not funny, you know.”

“Goryal?”

“Yes.”

“Shut up and lift. You take Mastekh, I’ll carry Esten.”

“Are you sure? The storm seems rather partial to him after taking such a large bite, I could…”

“Argue about this all day, yes, I know. But I’d rather we moved. Just because I’m Clan Skystorm, doesn’t mean I actually enjoy getting struck by lightning. Repeatedly.”

“Ah, yes. I see. Of course. You should have said, I could have… Hold on. Better?”

“Please don’t tell me you could have been holding back the lightning all along.”

“All right, I won’t tell you. Oh, don’t look at me like that, Reglian, I was distracted.”

“You’ll be dismembered if you don’t watch it.”

“Violence is not the answer.”

“Perhaps not, but it will make me feel better.”

“Oh, hush, a little lightning won’t hurt you. You’re a Thunderwing, absorb it and turn it into power.”

“I can do that?”

“Of course you can! You’re a Skystorm, aren’t you?”

“No one’s ever taught me that. No one’s ever even mentioned that.”

“Of course they have. I taught you… Didn’t I teach you? Oh. Well, I meant to. Goodness, look at that sky. I do believe it’s time we moved on. Poor Mastekh could do with a soak in the pool and as for Esten… Hm, we have work to do.”

“Not least in figuring out how you’re going to explain this all to Khennik.”

“Oh, that’s the easiest bit of all.”

“Indeed?”

“You’re going to tell him.”

“What? Goryal? Goryal! Get back here, you crazy old wyvern! You can’t just – argh! This blasted lightning. Ow!

A deep and long-suffering sigh filled the lull between the thunder.

“Wretched Starshines. Constantly popping in and out like soap bubbles. Insufferable.” Another sigh. “Ah well, come along, Esten, let’s get you somewhere dry and see what little the storm has left of you. Khennik is going to love this.”


Courtship 7~ Next Chapter ~Courtship 7

Fed up of waiting for the end, download the ebook now – it’s free!

Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.

Books, Free Fiction, Overworld, Serial, Writing

A Courtship of Dragons: Part 45

Courtship Banner 1

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 ||

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.


45
Fury

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.

He hoped.

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.

Storm cinnamon.

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.


Courtship 7~ Next Chapter ~Courtship 7

If you’re finally sick of waiting and ready to reach the end, you can download the ebook now – it’s free!

Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.

Books, Free Fiction, Overworld, Serial, Writing

A Courtship of Dragons: Part 44

Courtship Banner 1

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 ||

What is love without a little risk?


44
Risk

21st Storm Month

MASTEKH WOKE UP cold and alone. Which wasn’t unusual across the course of his life, but it was unexpected after enjoying two mornings in a row of waking with his own personal Boulderforce furnace. Dazed and still a little drowsy after another late night of waiting on Elder Goryal, Mastekh yawned as he looked around Estenarven’s cramped room.

It didn’t take very long, and since there was no possible place for a Boulderforce to hide, he soon realised his lover was gone.

Disappointed, he dropped back onto the bed with a grunt and snuggled back amongst the covers. He knew he should get up, he just didn’t want to. A few more moments wouldn’t hurt.

Something scratched against his cheek and he tried to ignore it, but the irritation broke through his sleepiness and woke him fully.

Sighing in defeat, he swiped the offending thing away and sat up, frowning as a piece of paper fluttered to the floor. He bent over to retrieve it, squinting and twisting the page this way and that until he could make sense of Estenarven’s terrible scrawl. 

Puddle,
Ive gone to fetch your final gift. EB doesnt need us.
See you later.
Love,
Pebble 

Mastekh stared at the word love, tracing it with his fingertip. It was all very well for Estenarven to say such things in the dark and the quiet where no one would hear him, possibly not even Mastekh himself, but to put it into words… He smiled and read the note again.

Then gasped and fought his way free of the blankets. If Estenarven was out fetching his final gift, then Mastekh had to get a move on. Even though he already knew what he wanted for Estenarven’s last present, he still had to actually get it.

Racing across the suite to his own room, he washed his face in the basin and straightened his robe before digging through his meagre belongings for the old foraging bag he used to use in his home forest. Tattered and frayed, held together by knots, it nevertheless would do. He slicked his hand over his hair, smoothing it away from his eyes and hurried back into the main room of the suite.

Elder Blazeborn sat in a chair beside the fireplace, sipping at a cup of tea. “Seventh gift?” he enquired, in the face of Mastekh’s disarray.

“Yes.”

“Know what you’re getting?”

“Y-yes.”

“Try not to get killed. Good aides are hard to find.”

Mastekh gave a distracted nod and ran for the door. He was halfway down the hallway before he registered what Elder Blazeborn had said.

He stopped dead. Good aides are hard to find. Aides, plural. Meaning him as well as Estenarven.

Heat rushed to his face even though no one else was around and he patted a hand against his fluttering heart. It hadn’t been an easy adjustment for either him or his elder, but to know that Elder Blazeborn valued him…

“Oh.”

A smile crept over his face and warmth filled him. Then he started running again. He had a seventh gift to find and, according to Goryal’s advice, he had to battle through the foul weather to the top of this mountain to reach it.

Arriving at the nearest platform, he stepped out into the rain and looked up. Lightning split the sky, followed almost immediately by a heavy growl of thunder.

Perfect.

Shedding his human form, Mastekh uncurled his long body and picked up his raggedy foraging bag once more. Wings open, he slithered off the platform and merged with the storm.

It took no time at all for him to swim his way between the bolts, up and up, right to the mountaintop above Highstrike, where the storm was at its thickest. Vast clouds squatted over the ridgeline, spitting out light and sound and fury and force, but Mastekh was too focused to flinch. Not even when a bolt narrowly missed his wing and showered him with rock shards.

Instead he waited for the worst of the smoke to clear, turned mid-air and pounced on the spot. Blackened rock and charred earth. Useless.

Grumbling, he landed and tucked in his wings, using his claws to pick around the dirt. Nothing of interest caught his attention and he sighed. Overhead the sky snarled, drawing his attention to the highest part of the ridge. The clouds were thickest there, but not so impenetrable that he couldn’t make out the flashes coming at short, sharp intervals.

Just as Goryal had promised.

Flexing his wings, Mastekh folded them in tight against his back and scurried over the broken ground. Sharp stones dug into his paws, but at least the rain streamed straight off his scales. When he reached the bottom of the ridge, he looked up at the broken slope and sighed.

A narrow gully led all the way to the top, jagged and rough but protected from the worst of the lightning flashing about. It was also too narrow for even a slender Rainstorm to fit inside.

Well, it wasn’t supposed to be easy, he reminded himself, forcing his comfortable dragon form to slide away, leaving him shivering and exposed as a human wrapped in silk. Nor would staring at it make it any easier. Sighing, he pulled the strap of his foraging bag over his head, clambered into the gully and began to climb. Digging his claws into the silt and dirt, he hoped that Goryal’s advice would prove worth all this effort.

Lightning spat against the edges of the gully, but Mastekh ignored it and continued to climb. Nothing would stop him from fetching this final gift and completing his courtship. Nothing.

Although, when he crawled, dirty, sodden and panting out of the gully at the top of the ridge, the swirling clouds, pounding rain, howling wind and flashing lightning made him pause. The seventh gift was supposed to be difficult to obtain, but no one had bothered to mentioned it might also be dangerous. Resting on his knees, he studied the storm ahead and gulped, wondering if Goryal’s word could really be trusted. After all, anyone could predict that the storm would be fiercest at the top of the mountain. That didn’t mean the rest of Goryal’s promises were true.

Then he caught sight of flames and rainbow sparks flourishing the highest point.

Just as Goryal had promised.

So maybe there was some truth in the old Starshine yet. All the hopes of his seventh gift and courtship were now resting on it. Clenching his hands in the knotted rope of his bag strap, Mastekh straightened his shoulders, took a deep breath and walked into the heart of the storm.


Courtship 7~ Next Chapter ~Courtship 7

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.

Books, Overworld, Serial, Writing

A Courtship of Dragons: Part 43

Courtship Banner 1

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 ||

Sorry. Not a great week.

Still, at least Esten’s happy.


43
Tease

20th Storm Month

ESTENARVEN SPENT THE next day in a happy haze, uncaring that he was back in meetings and once more serving Elder Blazeborn at dinner. Not only had he spent the last two nights sleeping with Mastekh beside him, but his Puddle had finally relaxed enough to let them explore each other. Just a little, just enough to give them both a taste of what they might one day have. Compared to his previous lovers, some would deem it fairly tame stuff, but Estenarven was giddy with it all. Mastekh was becoming more and more his with each passing day, allowing him closer, trusting him more deeply. Their courtship was progressing beautifully.

With that thought in mind, he smiled as he brushed a hand against his hip pocket, where his sixth gift now resided. The thought and effort that Mastekh had gone to in order to replace Estenarven’s battered old wooden figure with a new one handmade by his Puddle… Estenarven hadn’t known his heart could hurt with happiness. Even now it still felt a little too big for his chest, inflated with all the feelings Mastekh stirred within him.

“Ugh, Sister Storm, do you have to ooze?”

Estenarven jerked away from the wall he’d been leaning against and looked down to find Jesral scowling at him. He glanced at his hands and the floor, but he was a Boulderforce, he didn’t ooze.

He frowned in confusion. “What?”

“You. You’re so happy, it’s practically dripping off you.” She waved her hand in front of her face as though dispersing a bad smell. “Stop it.”

Reglian snorted from his desk behind the pair of them, where he was once again getting out of having to serve at dinner by pretending to take notes on the conversation. “Don’t be jealous, Jesral. It’s unbecoming.”

The Lightstorm sneered at the Thunderwing, who smirked back. Just because the two dragons shared a Clan, didn’t mean they liked each other.

Not in the mood to get between the pair of them and one of their bickering spats, Estenarven shook his head. “I thought you were my friend, Jessie.”

Jesral paused her glaring at Reglian to sniff in his direction. “I am.”

“Then you should be happy that I’m happy.”

“I would, but you’re just so nauseating about it. Smiling all the time.”

“I’m a smiley person,” he protested.

“Not like this,” Jesral argued. “You look like you’ve taken one too many hits on the head with a boulder.”

“He’s a Boulderforce,” Reglian interjected, chuckling. “They’re all like that.”

Both Estenarven and Jesral shot him a withering look. He didn’t seem to care, twirling a quill between his fingers and smiling benignly.

“All I’m saying is, can you be a little less distracted, please?” Jesral said, turning her attention back to Estenarven. “If I have to hit you one more time to prompt you to serve the next course, I’m going to break my hand.”

“Maybe you could try not hitting me?” Estenarven suggested.

She glared at him instead, so he opted for Reglian’s solution and smiled.

“Lovebirds,” she growled in disgust. “I thought you of all dragons would never fall for any of that romantic nonsense. Now look at you. A good flirt, ruined.”

“Aw, I’ll still flirt with you, Jessie,” he promised, batting his eyelashes.

She looked at him like he was something disgusting she’d accidentally stepped in. “Save it for Mastekh,” she retorted, flicking her hair over her shoulder and stalking away to stand with someone else.

Estenarven watched her go, shaking his head and sighing, wondering if he would ever understand what was wrong with her.

“Don’t worry, Esten, she’ll get over it,” Reglian said, putting down his quill and linking his fingers together. “Unfortunately for you.”

“What’s the problem between you two anyway?” Estenarven demanded, resting a hip against Reglian’s desk and reading his notes upside down. They looked more like a handful of games of noughts and crosses to him.

Reglian hurriedly covered up his games and shrugged. “Thunderwings and Lightstorms have never got along. Blame that age old question, which came first the thunder or the lightning? We’re simply not meant to be friends.”

“Sounds foolish to me,” Estenarven said, shrugging himself.

“Which is a bit rich coming from a kin Boulderforce, who all the Overworld knows can’t stand the rest of your Clan.”

“I can’t help it if the other Stoneheart kin are full of rubble brains and eroded integrity.”

“Mm,” Reglian agreed, twirling his quill again as the next course was brought in and Estenarven had to step away and serve his elder. By the time he returned, the Thunderwing actually appeared to be doing some work, so he rested his hip against the desk and tried some more upside down reading.

“You missed a bit,” he said, indicating a few runes that had only been half-completed, changing their meaning completely. “Unless you meant to compare Elder Cloudflight to a bat, in which case carry on.”

Reglian growled softly, making the correction and tucking the page out of sight. “Have you exchanged your sixth gifts yet?” he asked, changing the subject before Estenarven could ask about the interesting notes he’d just glimpsed on Elder Blazeborn’s attempts to turn back the Cloud Curse – and the lack of help he’d received so far from his fellow elders.

The subject of his courtship with Mastekh was something which Estenarven was more than happy to be diverted onto and he felt another soppy smile creep over his face. Thank the Family Jesral wasn’t around to see it.

“We have,” he admitted, fully aware that he sounded besotted but not caring because he was. The look of awe on Mastekh’s face when Estenarven had presented him with the gold-veined quartz would remain one of his favourite memories for the rest of his life. His dear Puddle had literally melted over the gift, unable to believe that anyone would give him something so beautiful. Estenarven felt the same way about everything Mastekh had given him, so he knew they were even.

“And the seventh? Have you fetched it yet?”

Estenarven scowled at having his happy memories interrupted again and rubbed his neck. “When would I have had the time?”

“You had yesterday off,” Reglian pointed out. “Surely it didn’t take you all day to exchange your sixth gifts.”

“Not all day, no.” Estenarven sighed, sinking back into memories of what had led up to the gift giving and all the gratitude that had followed. Sibling Stone, if only all free days could be so wonderful…

“So when?” Reglian once more prodded him back to the present.

“I don’t know,” Estenarven growled. “When these meetings end or Elder Blazeborn takes pity on us again, I suppose. Not that it’s any of your business.”

“Ah, but it is, remember.” Reglian raised an eyebrow and tapped a golden claw against the pocket where his little betting book resided.

Estenarven narrowed his eyes. “You shouldn’t remind me about that,” he warned. “I’m still angry with you and Goryal.”

“If you’re truly angry with Goryal then you’d best speed things up. You know they’ve bet on your courtship wrapping up on the twenty-fourth of this month. No one else has gone longer, so even if you and Mastekh exchange your seventh gifts after that, they’ll still win the pot.”

Estenarven growled again.

Reglian smiled. “Better get a move on then, hadn’t you.”

Estenarven gave a sharp nod and plotted how he might convince Elder Blazeborn to give them another day off, preferably tomorrow. He was so preoccupied, in fact, that he forgot to ask Reglian who would win if Goryal was thwarted.

Still, as he curled up with Mastekh in his narrow bed that night, smiling at Khennik’s promise not to need either of them on the morrow, he decided he didn’t care. All that really mattered was securing his seventh gift so that he could make Mastekh his forever.

And if they happened to ruin Goryal’s win along the way, that was just a bonus.


Courtship 7~ Next chapter ~Courtship 7

If, like Reglian, you’re impatient to reach the end, you can download the ebook now – it’s free!

Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.

Books, Free Fiction, Overworld, Serial, Writing

A Courtship of Dragons: Part 42

Courtship Banner 1

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 ||

Finally, a little private time together.


42
Scales

19th Storm Month

MASTEKH WOKE FROM the most wonderful dream, where he’d slept the whole night in Estenarven’s arms, dozing against that strong, broad chest.

Sibling Water, what he wouldn’t give for that to be true, he thought, stretching and yawning, opening his eyes —

And finding that it was true.

“Whuh?” His arms shot out, lifting him above Estenarven’s rock solid chest.

Rock solid, bare chest.

On which he’d been sleeping and… drooling?

Mastekh closed his eyes against the glistening patch on Estenarven’s superbly muscled chest and prepared to move. It would be a struggle, but by the Family, the poor dragon had been used as a pillow all night. He deserved a little consideration.

Before Mastekh could talk himself into doing what he really didn’t want to, strong hands curled around his elbows, drawing him down again.

Mastekh’s eyes shot open and found a sleepy smile awaiting him.

“Morning, Puddle,” Estenarven rasped, his voice rough with slumber. He pressed firm lips against Mastekh’s, drawing the affection out into a long, easy kiss that ended with Mastekh once more sprawled all over him. When Estenarven finally released him, the Boulderforce’s smile was a smug as the Jewelwing who got the diamond. “What a way to wake up.”

Mastekh could only nod in agreement, his hands busy petting their way across Estenarven’s granite hard muscles, enjoying the vital warmth beneath his cool palms. Such a delicious contrast, like the places where Estenarven’s hands had snuck inside Mastekh’s own loosened robe and were resting against his back.

When one of Mastekh’s wandering hands slid along Estenarven’s side and found an unexpectedly ticklish spot, the Boulderforce made a sound of surprise. When Mastekh returned to that same spot, he breathed in deep, arched his hips ever so slightly and flexed his hands. Those same hands that were big enough to span from Mastekh’s waist all the way down to a sensitive patch of his own.

“Ah,” Estenarven chuckled, his left hand rubbing down from the base of Mastekh’s ribs to the top of his backside, pausing to circle over a particularly smooth patch. “There they are.”

As the Boulderforce ran his thumb over the sinuous spiral of scales, Mastekh shuddered from head to toe. No one had ever touched his scale patches before and he’d had no idea how wonderful it would feel.

“Sensitive?” Estenarven murmured, blowing a teasing stream of warm air against Mastekh’s flushed face.

“V-v-very.”

“Good.” He played with the scale patch until Mastekh was a trembling puddle of desire, his claws digging ever-so-slightly into the muscles of Estenarven’s chest.

Then the infuriating Boulderforce stopped.

“I’ll keep it in mind for later. Please tell me you have another patch somewhere else.” Estenarven sat up, chuckling as Mastekh slid off him like melting ice.

Sprawled on his back in the covers, Mastekh stared as his Boulderforce leant over and stole a kiss.

“Puddle?” he murmured, stroking his nose over Mastekh’s burning face, which was no doubt currently a deep green shade. “Scales?”

Sensations running too high to form words, Mastekh took hold of Estenarven’s hand and placed it where his robe gaped widely open. There on his rather less than spectacular chest, slightly to the left of centre, a ragged-edged area just a little smaller than palm-sized formed a silky patch on his cool skin.

Estenarven’s smile turned tender as his fingertips traced the edges of the scales before he flattened his hand over the top. “May I?” he asked, touching the edge of Mastekh’s robe.

He swallowed hard, but nodded permission. Nudity wasn’t a taboo amongst dragons, who only wore robes to protect their frail human skins rather than because of any sense of modesty, but Estenarven had always made him feel shy. The Boulderforce was so beautiful and striking and strong, while Mastekh was… not. Just a skinny streak of human skin. His dragon form was sleek and swift, especially when he was in the water, but his human shape was underwhelming in all ways. He really didn’t want to disappoint Estenarven, but with his Boulderforce being so generous with his own body, Mastekh didn’t think it fair to keep hiding. Nor did he want to, not really. He wanted to be touched, even if he would never be admired. He wanted to press his skin against Estenarven’s, to feel his heat everywhere. So he held still when Estenarven brushed aside the edge of his robe and tried not to cringe when those dark eyes roamed all over him.

“Oh, Puddle,” Estenarven breathed, staring down at his pale, skinny, slightly clammy chest.

Mastekh peered down himself, wondering what it was the Boulderforce could possibly be taking so long to look at. His scale patch did look rather nice, actually, shimmering with iridescent hues beneath the golden light of the globe. Mastekh had never spent much time looking at it, but the blues and greens were quite pretty, shifting and shining as he breathed.

“Beautiful,” the Boulderforce sighed, pressing his lips right on the scale patch.

“Oh!” Mastekh arched at the unexpected jolt of sensation. “I – I -” His chest heaved as he tried to breathe after electricity had zapped through every part of his body.

“Very sensitive,” Estenarven purred, licking the scales and chuckling deeply as Mastekh whimpered with pleasure. “Excellent.”

“Sh-shouldn’t we be g-g-getting up?” Mastekh asked weakly, chest heaving, a fine sheen of moisture breaking out across his entire body as he tried to process all that he was feeling. It didn’t help that Estenarven was stroking teasing fingers across his whole chest now and slowly peeling the edges of his robe apart so that he could explore further – and lower. “Esten!”

Estenarven waited for him to collapse back against the covers before nuzzling the opposite side of Mastekh’s chest from the scale patch he’d just licked. Again.

“Not today,” he murmured. “We don’t have anywhere to be today.” He tested Mastekh’s thin layer of muscle with his teeth, nipped a little harder and licked away the sting. Then he looked up to grin. “Elder Blazeborn has given us all the day off.”

“Oooooh,” Mastekh sighed, while Estenarven returned to his explorations. “That’s… that’s very k-k-kind of him.”

“Isn’t it?” Estenarven chuckled, shifting to make himself more comfortable as he moved a little further down Mastekh’s body. “Now all we have to do is find a way to amuse ourselves. Any ideas?”

Mastekh’s reply was a squeak, followed by a moan, followed by a sigh as he surrendered to his delicious fate.


Courtship 7~ Next Chapter ~Courtship 7

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Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.