Mating Dragons
I shook myself and stood as the banging started again. I walked out of the study, “Merlin!”

The teacher appeared, “Master William?”

I headed for the stairs, “What is that banging?”

Merlin seemed to float after me, “A visitor at the door.”

I glanced at him as the banging started again, “How can anyone find the door?”

He shrugged, “You found it.”

I shook my head and went through the living room and opened the ante room door as the banging started again. I crossed the small room quickly and yanked the outer door open, “What!”

A tiny red haired girl stood in front of me, “MM…aa…ss…tt…ee…rr MM…aa…gg…ee?”

Her stammer made me really look at her. She wasn’t just tiny, she was a wood nymph. I stepped back, “Come in.”

She hesitated and then slowly walked in. I closed the door and turned to lead the way into the house. The anti room door closed behind us as I walked to the comfortable chair and sat down. I looked at the nymph and gesture to the other chair. She was still standing by the door and fearfully crossed to sit on the edge of the chair. I waited and she finally looked at me, “We need your help.”

I glanced at Merlin as he walked into the room with a tall glass of water. The nymph took the glass while I thought about it. I looked at her, “How did you get to this world?”

She shuddered, “The druid sent me.”

I blinked, “You have a druid but need me?”

She looked down, “The druid was old and dying.”

I stood and walked to the window that showed a spring day, “What do you need?”

She stood and came to stand next to me, “We have a dragon that refuses to leave.”

I smiled as I looked at her, “do you have gold?”

She shook her head, “he insists our grove is his and wants us to leave.”

I frowned, that didn’t sound like a dragon. I looked at her, “What’s your name?”

She bit her lip, the name of a nymph was a powerful weapon, “Silky.”

I looked out the window before turning to her, “And what do you offer me?”

Silky looked down, “Companionship.”

I laughed and cupped her face, “You?”

She nodded without looking up. I caressed her and sighed before turning to Merlin, “Pack my things.”

He bowed, “Perhaps it is time to move your home?”

I looked at Silky, “Do you have any solid cliffs near your grove?”

She nodded eagerly and I thought about it before gesturing to Merlin, “Pack.”

He bowed and disappeared which made Silky gasp. I smiled and headed towards the kitchen to prepare a nice lunch. I questioned Silky as we ate to find her home world. After lunch I led her down to the locked door where Merlin appeared and held out my pack. I nodded and slipped it on.

I used a finger tip to begin drawing symbols and glyphs that were already there but needed the power of my magic. I took Silky’s hand and placed my other hand in the center of the door. Like before the door started glowing under my hand and then it seemed to spread. It was different then last time, everything began to glow and blur. When everything stopped Silky gasped.

We stood in a small meadow with the sun shining down brightly. I let her hand go and knelt to pick up the glowing sphere. I stood and looked at Silky as I slipped the pack half off and placed the sphere inside, “How far to your grove?”

She smiled, “Not far, maybe a day.”

I nodded and let her lead the way. The forest around us almost seemed alive and had a waiting feel about it. It was growing dark when I saw the dragon. It wasn’t very old from the color and feel. Silky hung back as I continued towards it. It turned as I approached and growled when I stopped to bow, “good evening dragon.”

It looked at me, “Have you come to kill me?”

I shrugged, “Or talk. May I join you?”

It seemed to think about it and then turned slightly. I walked past its huge shoulder and stopped beside a large boulder sitting in the clearing. Silky had disappeared so it was just the dragon and I. I gestured, “Would you mind if I started a fire?”

I heard the hiss from the trees and the dragon looked amused, “Be my guest.”

I walked around feeling the boulder and then whispered a spell. The boulder glowed red and then blue flames burst forth. I rubbed my hands and sat, “Much better.”

The dragon snorted and a tiny curl of flame slipped out. I took my pack off and leaned against it as I sat, “Now, it seems we have a problem. The wood nymphs say this is their woods and you say it belongs to you.”

The dragon curled its tail around to the side of its body and it lay down, “I have claimed it.”

I smiled as I slipped a small meat pie out of my pack, “Now we both know that isn’t true.”

I began eating ignoring the dragon as it continued to stare at me. Finally it brought its head down closer to me, “What do you propose mage?”

I chewed the last bite and pulled a water bottle out and looked at the dragon, “Finding out what you really want.”

It relaxed as it looked around and then almost whispered, “Do you know anything about female dragons?”

I was surprised and shook my head, “Not really. I imagine they are like most females.”

The dragon put its head on the ground, “There’s a female dragon not far from here. I was hoping to learn something from the nymphs that would help me… mate with her.”

I thought about it, “Wouldn’t it be better if you just asked her?”

The dragon looked around and brought its head closer, “What if she doesn’t like me?”

I smiled, “everything I have read says you mate and then go separate ways. Was that wrong?”

The dragon sighed, “Yes and no. When two dragons mate it is for life. We do separate after mating but we are always in contact and when one or both of us feels the cycle returning we come back to each other.”

I nodded, “And this female dragon you are interested in is unmated?”

The dragon seemed to nod and I looked around, “Nymphs?”

A few came forward hesitantly into the glow from the burning boulder. Silky was with them and I smiled as I gestured, “Have you been listening?”

They nodded and I smiled, “I think two parts are in order. First you will speak with the dragon about being female so he has an idea. Second, I will travel to her location and speak with her.”

I stretched and looked at the dragon, “could you draw a map for me?”

It nodded and turned to look at the nymphs as they timidly moved closer. I lay back as they started talking and thought about the other dragon. I woke as the sun began to rise and stretched before putting my pack on. I glanced at the dragon with it’s head on its clawed feet and the small piece of parchment that was a map.

I picked the map up and looked it over before smiling at the open slits of his eyes, “I’ll be back.”

I turned and started off. Not even a hundred meters away Silky fell into step with me, “You left the fire burning.”

I smiled at her, “It won’t burn anything except the boulder.”

She looked at me and then ahead of us, “We don’t like fire.”

I nodded, “I understand. Your trees could be harmed.”

She looked at me and nodded. Just from the first look at the map I knew the dragon’s words of not far weren’t correct. The other dragon was over a hundred leagues away. As we walked I began talking to Silky and drawing her out. By the time I settled for the night she was relaxed and snuggled against my side, “You do know that wood nymphs use men to father their children?”

I smiled but didn’t open my eyes, “And use magic to only conceive females.”

Silky laughed, “Yes.”

I sighed, “Sleep Silky.”

It took a week to reach the tall mountain where the other dragon was. When we got there it was to find several nobles and surfs. I continued into the camp ignoring the command to stop from a young squire. As he charged after me, I gestured and whispered a spell. The squire spun and continued to run until he realized he was going the wrong way.

I stopped in front of the nobles as they drank wine and shouted at the surfs putting up tents. I cleared my throat, “Excuse me.”

They turned to look at me and one that was more arrogant than the others walked towards me, “Who said you could speak pheasant!”

I gestured and he crumpled over throwing up. I watched and then looked at the others as they stopped laughing, “I am looking for the dragon. Would you mind telling me where she might be?”

They looked at each other and then at the noble vomiting in the grass. One more sober than the others cleared his throat, “The dragon is up the mountain in an old mine.”

I bowed and turned towards the mountain before gesturing to the sick noble. I started walking as he rolled onto his side holding his stomach. I glanced at Silky, “They were helpful don’t you think?”

She grinned as she skipped to keep up, “I thought they were most thoughtful.”

I walked up a small trail that was almost completely overgrown. It was almost night before I stopped before a mountain stream spilling down through some trees. I cooked a couple of rabbits and relaxed as Silky finally came closer to the fire.

The beating of very large wings didn’t really surprise me, nor did the sound of something huge moving through the brush. I glanced at the dragon as her head suddenly appeared and she opened her mouth to roar, “What took you so long?”

She stopped and looked at me before shifting and then moving closer, “You expected me human?”

I smiled, “We are on your mountain. Of course I expected you.”

She looked at me before narrowing her eyes, “Your magic won’t work on me mage.”

I gestured to the other side of the fire, “Actually, I came to speak to you on another’s behalf.”

She looked around and moved to curl up on the other side of the fire. Silky came out of the bushes and the dragon snorted, “A nymph.”

I nodded, “You’re smaller than the last dragon I met. Is that because you are a female?”

She folded her wings, “Well… yes.”

I sighed and looked up at the stars, “I have been asked to come speak to you. As I am sure you are aware there is a male dragon not to far to the west.”

She looked at me and her eyes narrowed, “And?”

I shrugged, “He is in the nymph’s woods trying to find out what a female dragon would like.”

She snorted, “Nymph’s aren’t dragons.”

I grinned, “But they are female.”

She nodded her head and almost absently looked away as if she didn’t care about the answer, “What is he like?”

I looked at her and waited until she looked at me, “He seems nice for a dragon. His scales are clean and shiny. He seems to be very smart if a little shy.”

I looked at Silky, “If you were a female dragon do you think he would be handsome?”

She smiled as the dragon snorted again, “He was very commanding, very male.”

I looked back at the dragon, “What do lady dragons look for in a male?”

The dragon looked towards the sky, “I’m not sure. I’ve thought about it but…”

She looked at me, “he should be willing to share and… possessive… towards me I mean.”

She nodded to herself, “He should take care of himself, keep clean and…”

She looked at me, “Do you think he reads.”

I blinked and looked at the nymph, “I don’t know.”

I looked back at the dragon, “He did draw a map for me, so he does read some.”

She almost seemed to purr at that, “That’s good, maybe I can…”

She looked at me suddenly, “You’re not with those nasty humans at the foot of the mountain are you?”

The nymph smiled, “He made one sick so the others would tell us where you were.”

The dragon snorted, “I just know I’ll have to eat one. Nasty men, they never bathe or clean themselves.”

I smiled, “Have you ever thought to set the stage. Perhaps lots of human bones with crushed skulls…”

She sighed, “I detest human flesh, give me a cow or deer…”

I shrugged, “Perhaps I could help. I could place an illusion around this part of the mountain and they will see remains when they get here.”

The dragon smiled, (which was a little unsettling), “with maggots and lots of guts?”

I nodded, “I could add those.”

She narrowed her eyes, “And what will you charge me mage?”

I thought about it and smiled wide, “I believe there is an ancient grove of Golden Oak to the south…”

Silky gasped but I ignored her, “Within one year you will bring to the nymph’s grove an acorn from a Golden Oak. You will also meet us at the nymph’s grove when we return there and agree to meet with the male dragon already there.”

The dragon looked at me for a minute before she spoke, “Your illusion better be good.”

I nodded, “It will be.”

She shifted and put her head down, “Are there really worlds with no dragons?”

I nodded, “many.”

She looked at me, “And do you know where our home world is?”

I smiled, “I do and you really don’t want to go there.”

She nodded, “They say we fight against each other for even the hint of gold.”

I shrugged, “Every creature has something that affects them that way.”

She looked into the darkness, “True. Those silly dwarves are crazy over money, mostly silver and elves are crazy about their elder trees.”

I relaxed and Silky snuggled against me. I woke to the hint of dawn and glanced at the dragon as I shifted away from Silky. I stood and stretched and the dragon turned her head, “Those humans are coming.”

I smiled and started for the trail. I walked down a ways before beginning the illusions. I continued them past our camp and further up the hill. The closer to the dragon’s lair the worse they became. When I finished I came back to the camp and Silky looked up from eating small nuts from some tree. I nodded to the dragon, “As long as you return to this mountain the illusion will remain.”

She nodded and glanced towards the trail, “Just in time.”

I smiled, in the distance we could hear men being sick. Even the horses were skittish, fighting to get away. The two men that reached the trail near us were white faced and shaking. They didn’t even make it another hundred paces before turning to run back down the trail in fear. I grinned at the dragon, “They just saw the chewed up armor.”

She grinned back and nodded, “Very well mage. You have fulfilled your part of the bargain. I will meet your male dragon but that is all I will promise to do.”

I bowed, “That is all any lady should promise.”

The dragon shifted, “I think I will go eat one of their beasts.”

She turned and moved through the trees and brush before leaping into the air. I sighed and picked up my pack, “Time to go Silky.”

She smiled as she stood and linked her arm with mine, “Can we go around those men? They smell very bad now.”

I grinned and led her through the brush and trees. A week later we walked into the nymph’s grove to see several arguing with the dragon. I glanced at Silky and then walked closer. I snorted and choked off a laugh as I heard what they were arguing about. The dragon turned its huge head, “Your back!”

His eyes narrowed, “What took so long?”

I shook my head as I pulled the pack off and set it down, “It wasn’t far if I was a dragon. I think we made good time.”

I sat beside the still burning boulder as the wood nymphs moved back into the trees. I pulled out food and started making a sandwich, “The female dragon seemed smart and looked nice for a dragon.”

I ignored the dragon as he moved closer and took a bite before nodding, “Yes, she was very smart. I told her about you and she was a little curious. She wanted to know if you read and I told her you made the map for me.”

The dragon seemed to puff up at that and then sagged, “But what do I say to her?”

I looked at him as I ate and finally sighed, “First, you introduce yourself and inquire if she needs anything.”

He nodded and looked around, “I can do that.”

I smiled at the titters from the nymphs, “Do you have something to drink nearby? Something to eat?”

The dragon sighed, “I didn’t think of that.”

I nodded, “perhaps I could provide the drink but you will need to find food.”

I looked towards the trees, “I believe she said she likes deer or a cow.”

He looked around, “I saw a small herd of deer earlier.”

I shook my head, “Just one dragon, you don’t want her to think she’s fat.”

The dragon stopped his turn and looked back, “oh. Uh, how many should I get?”

I sighed, “Just one to share will be enough.”

He nodded and continued to move away before leaping into the sky. Silky giggled as she came closer, “if he was a human we would…”

I laughed, “I’m sure.”

I looked around the clearing before whispering a spell, “Dragon?”

“Who… Oh, it’s you mage. Your spell is very interesting. It even seems to age and the men have finally decided to go away.”

I smiled, “Do you see where we are?”

“Don’t be silly, of course I see where you are.”

I glanced at Silky as she rolled her eyes, “I would very much appreciate your company.”

“I don’t see the… oh, now I feel him. Let me clean up first.”

The spell vanished and I sighed before sitting beside the burning rock, “Tell me Silky, how do you nymph’s keep from freezing in the winter?”

She grinned and moved to sit on my lap, “You mean if we don’t have a current human to warm us?”

I smiled and nodded as I pushed her seeking hands away, “Yes.”

She sighed and leaned against me, “We hunt and wear rabbit skin robes.”

I caressed her before looking around at the few nymphs, “How far away is a human town or village?”

She sighed, “Too far, we have to go almost a week before we can find a man to capture.”

I laughed, “Maybe if you advertise you can get men to come to you.”

She looked at me strangely, “Why would they do that?”

I grinned, “Because lovely nymph, men enjoy the pleasure of the flesh. If they know you are going to just mate with them and send them away, many would want that.”

She looked thoughtful and turned to look at her sisters, “Let me go talk to my sisters.”

I grinned, “You are already pledged.”

She laughed as she stood and walked away. I glanced up as the dragon passed over and disappeared. A few minutes later he walked through the trees and dropped a large buck before coming to lie in front of me, “I feel her coming.”

I smiled, “How long before she gets here?”

The dragon tilted his head, “Maybe an hour.”

I nodded and whispered a spell that made a boulder rise up out of the earth. The dragon was watching me carefully as another spell carved the boulder into a huge bowl. I thought about what drink to make and remembered something from an old text. I summoned a little icy cold spring water and created a large bushel of Habenaria peppers. I glanced at the dragon, “Remember that one.”

He nodded as I created a rainbow of fruit and blended it with honey as it turned to juice and aged. A quarter of the bushel of peppers rose up and seemed to vibrate as they ground together into a fine paste. I added everything together in the bowl and mixed it before looking at the dragon, “Would you taste it before she gets here?”

He dipped his head to smell and his long thin tongue came out to touch the liquid. He shuddered and then seemed to grin, “That is very good!”

I nodded and gestured to the rest of the peppers, “offer those as a treat.”

He grinned and curled his tail around his front feet. I relaxed and waited as he seemed to hum as if he weren’t nervous. The brush on one side on the clearing pushed apart and the female dragon stuck her head out, “There you are mage.”

I smiled as she to played at not being nervous, “I hope you didn’t rush on my account. I would like to introduce…”

I looked at the other dragon to see him staring. I shook my head and looked at the female and she was returning the stare. I sighed, “Would you like something to drink?”

She turned her head to look at me as if trying to remember what I had said. I gestured to the huge bowl and she slithered all the way into the clearing and dipped her head to taste what was inside. She lifted her head and smiled at the male, “This is remarkable.”

I slipped my pack on as the other dragon turned to grab the deer and drop it between them. I found Silky with her sisters as they snickered at the dragons, “Silky? Where is the closets solid cliff?”

She turned to point behind her, “An hour that way.”

I glanced back at the two dragons sipping from the boulder, “They may be awhile.”

I started walking and Silky fell in beside me, “males are so easy.”

I laughed, “It didn’t appear that the female dragon was…”

Silky laughed, “We know.”

I saw the low cliff before I got close. I found a spot in a group of evergreens. I pulled the glowing sphere from my pack and placed it against the granite cliff before pushing. Slowly with a grinding scratching sound it sank into the rock. There was a deep rumbling from the cliff and Silky backed away.

A crack appeared and spread until there was a doorway with the bronze door to my home. I moved forward and looked back at Silky, “Well?”

She slowly walked closer and I turned to put my hand on the door. There was a click and it swung open smoothly. We went through the small entry way and into the comfortable living room with the fire burning in the fire place. I looked around and smiled, “Merlin?”

He appeared, “Master William?”

I smiled, “Everything is okay?”

He smiled, “Of course.”

I nodded, “I’m going to bed. Let me know if a dragon comes knocking.”
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