(( I’m posting these all together because I’m too lazy to post them separately. I’ve done five fictober prompts in two days. Maybe there is hope I’ll catch up! ))
“Why aren’t you taking notes?” Zaelith whispered to Aeramin. They both sat on the same bench in the barn as the horse-riding instructor demonstrated how to saddle a horse. Aeramin’s notebook was empty.
“I thought this was common knowledge,” Aeramin replied. “Wait, you know even less about this than me?” Zaelith had helped him pay for this, his first extra-curricular class, but he thought for certain his boyfriend had ridden a horse at some point before coming to Thril Gandir.
“We had horses in the desert, but I never really went near them. We were only five when we came here. How do you remember anything at all?”
“I don’t know. I remember my father going over everything. It was only a short time before the mages came to bring me here. He told me about everything on the farm before I left. I’ll admit I’ve forgotten a lot of it, but I still know how a horse should be saddled. Can’t you just use your ability to figure out some horse knowledge or something?” Aeramin asked. His own specialty was pyromancy with some proficiency with other elements. Many other students could claim the same. Zaelith, on the other hand, was unique in the mage complex. He was the seer of the past.
“Why should I tire myself sifting through history to look at horses when I can just pay attention in class?”
Aeramin shrugged. He supposed he had a point.
Hope for Damiti
Rhavek checked throughout the cave. It seemed everyone had done their chores for the day and had settled down for the evening. He had never thought he would be in this position. It was as if he had traded places with one of the dragon masters. Instead of looking to them now, these lucaja all looked to him for guidance and leadership.
It had not been easy. They had to find a home in the mountains, one that was far enough away from any human or elven settlements, and also wasn’t too near any of the known routes the dragons used. Food was a big issue at first, though some of the lucaja brought with him had previously worked in gardening for another dragon before coming to the master they had escaped from.
Things had now settled into a new normal. Their stores were full for the coming winter, and their crops had done well this year.
He returned to his chamber where Zhugani and their young daughter, Damiti, waited.
Zhugani looked at him as he entered. Her eyes glowed a deep blue, one of his favorite things about her. She was speechless, but she understood much of what Rhavek said. Rhavek understood much of what she wanted to say. Her brow furrowed with worry. He knew that meant Damiti was still sick.
He approached them both. The young girl had already shown some signs of intelligence, but at age four, she still had not spoken her first word. Rhavek was concerned that she was not enough like him.
He sat beside Zhugani and brushed the light hair away from Damiti’s face. Zhugani had given her a cool bath in the stream as he had asked, but the girl’s condition had not improved. He felt her forehead. It was still warm, but he felt that maybe it was a little less than it was earlier.
“Damiti improves. She will get better,” he said, as much to reassure himself as Zhugani.
She looked at him, the worry noticeably lessened. He only hoped his didn’t show.
Aeramin had already gotten his schedule for regular classes. Now he stood in the line for extracurricular classes. He had taken one before, horse-riding, with his then boyfriend/roommate, Zaelith. They had broken up since then and had managed to convince the residence coordinator to let them trade roommates with two other students who hadn’t been getting along. Aeramin moved into a new room with a new roommate.
They got along well enough. Aeramin had been warned by the previous roommate that he was a slob, and it was true. He didn’t clean up after himself, but he also wasn’t there very often, which worked out well. Aeramin had been doing some questionable things to earn a little money so that he could pay for things like extracurricular classes, or maybe even an adahi to visit home. It wasn’t really against the rules, and if it had been, he wouldn’t have even considered it, but just because it wasn’t mentioned in the rules, didn’t mean Aeramin wanted to be the example who got it put there. He was quiet and discreet, as were his clients.
He finally reached the front of the line. He already knew what was offered during his free times. There were a great many things that interested him. Music, art, calligraphy, as well as some outdoors activities. He considered taking the second horse-riding class but figured Zaelith would be taking it. The less time he had to spend with him right now, the better.
The camping class sounded interesting, but it was expensive. Still, it could come in useful if he was assigned an adahi after graduation. The camping class was special as they actually left the mage complex and went camping on the other side of the island for a week after classes concluded for the semester. Aeramin decided to try that one first.
“I’d like to take the camping class.”
The woman in charge of the extracurricular scheduling looked him up and down. “Did you bring a copy of your record from the main office?”
Aeramin pulled it out of his satchel and handed it to her. Only students with good records were allowed to take this class.
She flipped through it. “Your record is good. Do you have the 100 gold pieces fee?”
He handed her a slip of paper from the Thril Gandir central bank. It wouldn’t have been easy to carry around 100 gold pieces. The paper was easier.
“Good, and the 100 gold piece adahi fee?”
Adahi fee? Wasn’t the cost of the adahi covered in the first 100 gold pieces? Aeramin stammered, “Um, I- uh, thought it was included?” He checked in his satchel but only found one gold piece and a few silvers.
The woman frowned impatiently. “It’s not, and that’s not enough,” she said, indicating the coins he had pulled out of his satchel. “Perhaps you’d like to sign up for something else. Hurry up. There are people waiting behind you.”
Aeramin twitched an ear and frowned. “Okay, the calligraphy class then.” Maybe if he saved up enough, he could take the camping class next semester.
The First Journey
Fhorbach woke as evening approached. Normally, he slept during the night, but he was being sent on a short mission to deliver a message to some lost lucaja in the central mountains. His old master would have never sent him on such a mission. In fact, he had never sent him anywhere except shows with other fancy lucaja. However, Fhorbach had sustained an injury to his left wing, and now the end of it bent at an odd angle. His old master stopped showing him, painting gold on him, giving him cute outfits to wear, and taking him outside, until finally, he was sold to his current master.
His current master did paint him sometimes. The gold paint always felt cool against Fhorbach’s skin, and he really liked the designs. However, he also sent him on messaging missions— Something Fhorbach was not accustomed to doing though his body was built for it. This mission was strange in that it wasn’t to another dragon’s lair. It was across the desert and into the central mountains.
His master had given him specific instructions. Some of the others had reported seeing some lucajas living in the mountains without any dragons to take care of them. Fhorbach had heard the rumors before his master had told him, and he hadn’t believed them at the time. How could a lucaja survive without a dragon to care for them? The entire idea seemed like something one of the more disobedient pets would make up, but then his master confirmed it. Fhorbach did not expect he’d be the one to carry a message to these lucajas to tell them to come west where they would have a home and be cared for, but here he was.
He stepped out of his daytime hiding place. Nighttime flying was safer. No one would see him in the sky, and he could use the stars to navigate. He stretched his wings before deciding he would walk the short distance to the stream. He stepped down carefully, his talons gripping the ground as he made his way into the valley. He was silent, which is why he stopped when he heard a twig snap. It was not from his foot. He tucked his wings in close against his back and hid behind a tree.
He could see a light bobbing some distance away. It seemed to be following along the edge of the stream. He did not see the carrier of the light until the elf made his way closer. His ears pressing the edges of his hat upwards gave him away. He stopped occasionally along his way to pull something up out of the water. It looked like a trap of some sort, but it didn’t appear the elf had caught anything in his traps. Fhorbach was not too close to the stream and felt safe in his spot behind the tree.
Until he noticed the elf’s face. He had no horns, no wings, no tail, and his feet were strange small flat things, but his face drew him in. His strange eyes twinkled in the light of his lantern, and the scruff of hair on his chin was something Fhorbach had only seen on elder dragons before. However, the elf did not look to be very old. His skin was all the same color, unlike Fhorbach’s brown with white spots, but still, Fhorbach felt himself wanting. What was this strange attraction?
He frowned with the realization that he could not follow up on it. The elf could be armed, and in all likelihood, hadn’t seen a lucaja before. Fhorbach’s horns, yellow eyes, and feathered wings would probably be enough to frighten the elf before he even before he saw the claws. The elf was much bigger as well. Fhorbach was small, even for a lucaja. He decided it would be best to just watch until it was safe to continue on his mission.
Hethurin filled the sink with water and soap before putting the empty baby bottles in and casting a spell to move the water around. It would last fifteen minutes. He’d have to double check that everything was clean after, but it was more efficient than washing everything individually.
The baby in the sling cooed quietly. She had grown quite a bit since they had found her in one of the crates of supplies coming into the town. Terellion had come up with her name, Narise.
The door burst open in the front room, and Hethurin went to the doorway between the kitchen and living room to give his daily after-school reminder. “Remember to take off your shoes, Malwen.” It normally wasn’t an issue, but the spring rains brought lots of mud with them.
He smiled at her name for him. It was elvish for ‘magic dad’. It was the easy way for the children to have different names for him and his husband, Terellion. Terellion was just ‘dad’. He gave another short reminder as she ran upstairs to play. “Don’t forget to do your homework before supper.”
“I will.” She disappeared at the top of the stairs and went to her room with her dolls. He’d remind her again later.
The door opened again and Terellion walked in. He stopped to take his shoes off by the door.
“How was your day?”
“It was pretty good. The roof at the school is leaking again, so I put a pot under it. I’ll need to climb back up there once we get another dry day.”
“I suppose with all this rain, leaky roofs are common. Narise’s room has a leak, but I sealed it with a ward against water. It’ll need to be fixed as well with the next dry day.”
“I’ll add it to the list then.” He stood from removing his boots and kissed Hethurin. Narise cooed again in the sling that hung on Hethurin.
Hethurin had never imagined he could be so happy.