It’s Out, it’s Free, and it has Dragons
And you’re all invited to your first Dragon mating.
Meet guests from neighbouring countries, sample their food, and find out what a traditional Drachus six-day mating ceremony really entails.
Enjoy your stay!
Craw Nook’s leader Little Rock
requests the honor of your presence
to witness the mating of
second in command to Little Rock
and his chosen first-mate
Their traditional six-day mating ceremony will start
on the eleventh day of this mating season
at the Gather Bench
in Craw Nook
For all presents, questions, and requests, please contact
Panic (patron to Thumper)
Dominick y Ejna of Ayneia (patron to Buttercup)
written for Sarah, the highest bidder of my Hurricane Sandy Relief Story Auction at Babes In Boyland
Available at Storm Moon Press
Dominick, a winged Phae with a severe stutter, feels more at ease speaking the Drachus sign language than his own Phae tongue. Acting as patron to his partner’s mating ceremony, he meets Lysander and Zachary, who seem to have a thing for redheads and don’t mind that he doesn’t talk. Even though Dominick believes it’s just a casual hookup, he can’t stop worrying he’ll mess up… or want more.
Standing on top of Owain ridge on the border between Ayneia and Craw Nook, I clutched Buttercup and her mate-to-be’s present to my chest. Moving to the edge, I spread my wings, catching enough of the breeze to let it lift me off… as soon as I was ready. I swallowed. Noises from the foot of the ridge, faint as they were, kept me from taking that final step. The hustle and bustle below most resembled blurry rainbow colored ants, but with less discipline. As Buttercup’s chosen patron, I should be mingling with the guestsâa mix of Drachus, Ura, Ganesh, and Phae like meâbut hunger and nausea threatened to turn my stomach at the idea of immersing myself in the crowd for her six-day mating ceremony. Maybe Mother had been right, and I should have declined the honor Buttercup had bestowed on me. But how could I? We’d been working together for close to seven years. I couldn’t abandon her now. Despite my shortcomings, that wasn’t who I was.
Flapping wings alerted me to approaching company, and I scanned the side of the ridge to find out where Buttercup would be coming from. Who else would look for me up here? My family lived a five-hour flight into Ayneia away. I couldn’t help but smile as I spotted her to my far left, climbing up against the steepest side of the mountain.
Buttercup was an average sized Drachus. She had an elongated head twice the size of mine, four hefty legs, a long pointy tail, sharp claws one didn’t want to be in the way of, and a wingspan large enough to shelter a small group of children against the rain. Her pearly pink scales glittered in the sunlight, set off by the dark pink coloring of her belly, her wings, and the tips of her ears and tail. We made quite a pair patrolling the borders between Ayneia and Craw Nook. Buttercup in pink, and me with my red hair, and red, yellow, and orange wings.
She loomed up in front of me, blocking the sunlight. I stepped back from the edge. She hovered a Drachus length away from me, her eyes thin strips of gold, seeming none too happy with me.
Â«I’m sorry,Â» I signed in Drachus, a one-handed sign language created to enable conversations with the nations surrounding their land. It wasn’t the Drachus’ native language. That consisted of many throat aching growls, grunts, and rasps impossible to emulate if one wasn’t built to produce those sounds.
Lips pressed tight, Buttercup shook her head. Â«You promised me you’d try, Dominick. No one expects you to speak anything but Drachus.Â»
Nothing I hadn’t tried to tell myself, but it didn’t make it any better.
Â«Come down with me. Thumper’s becoming impatient.Â»
Buttercup’s mate-to-be, and the formidable second in command to Craw Nook’s leader, Little Rock. His name never failed to make me smile. Partly because Buttercup once told me how he thumped his tail on the ground when he didn’t agree with something as a nestling, and partly because one of my sisters had a pet rabbit with the same name.
Â«I was working up to it.Â» Working up to facing such a large crowd and ‘speaking’ in public, even if signing in Drachus. But mostly, I’d been working up to facing men I’d want to talk to. Men who’d be walking the other way as soon as I opened my mouth, as soon as they heard me mangle my words.
Buttercup flapped her wings creating a gust of wind that blew me backwards. She snorted. Â«Working yourself into a frenzy, more like.Â» She turned in the air, spreading her wings and using her tail for balance. Â«Stop dawdling and fly down with me.Â»
Stamping my feet would make me resemble the juvenile she sometimes treated me as, so I lifted off and hovered alongside her.
Â«You’ll be fine, Dominick. Your Drachus is flawless.Â»
Buttercup knew better than anyone it wasn’t my Drachus I was worried about.
An Invitation To Love © 2013 Blaine D. Arden. All rights reserved