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.
What is love without a little 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.
I’ve gone to fetch your final gift. EB doesn’t need us.
See you later.
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.
“Know what you’re getting?”
“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…
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.
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.
~ Next Chapter ~
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Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.