OOC special request: I’d love comments, even just ‘hi!’, so I know that people are reading.
And of course Greshthanu had to come poke at Nrararn too. Greshthanu is a neighbor, so he knows how to behave. He didn’t step on anyone or thump anyone with a stray coil of tail.
I waved my forewing in his face. “Greshthanu! Come meet Nrararn. We’ll be spending a lot of time with him over the next while.”
Greshthanu spread his barbels. “Ho, my pleasure! We shall have many memorable contests, I am sure!” He peered a bit more closely. “You would seem to be a sorcerer of some sort, would you not?”
Nrararn smiled back. “My pleasure as well. Yes, I am a sorcerer of sorts.”
“What sorts?” barked Greshthanu.
“Well, the obvious ones,” said my lightning-wrapped fiancé, his attendant sylphs dancing around his head.
“Don’t like guessing games so much, Nrararn,” said Greshthanu. He grinned. “Yeah, I know you’ll use that against me. Every time you do, I’ll accept if you’ll accept a Caramelle against me.” (That’s a kind of duel.)
“And from everything I hear, you’ll do pretty well in fights,” said Nrararn. “That sound fair. I’m a sky mage: winds, storms, airy spirits, and, of course, a plentiful supply of lightning.”
Greshthanu sat on a big stone, and arched his head up. “Fair’s good. I like fair. Hey, speaking of fair, how’d you get the extra mating flights?”
Nrararn blinked at Greshthanu. “I have extra mating flights?”
“Don’t you? Isn’t this your third?”
Nrararn spread his wings a bit. “No…”
I stuck my head up. “You’re thinking of Tultamaan; it’s his third.”
“Tultamaan’s been on mating flights?” asked Greshthanu.
“Oh, yes. He came in last in both of them. He was gone about the same time you were off in the jungle doing whatever it was you were doing in the jungle, so I supposed you missed it,” I said.
“Must be that,” Greshthanu said.
“You know each other socially?” asked Nrararn.
“Oh, sure. Jyothky and Arilash and Osoth and Ythac and I, we all live around here, we see each other a few times a year. You and Llredh, you two are new. I haven’t met Llredh,” Greshthanu answered.
Nrararn looked worried, and said “oh” in a rather small voice.
“Don’t worry, sparky little wizard!” boomed Greshthanu. “Mating flight’s pretty long. After a year or two, old friendships hardly matter. That’s fair about a mating flight!”
“Maybe that’s why they’re so long,” I mused. “Twelve years seems like an awfully long time to me.”
“Twelve years if we play it to the end,” said Nrararn. “Mostly they end rather earlier than that.”
“I must amend myself. Six or seven years sounds like an awfully half-long time to me.”
“I hear it goes pretty fast! All the twining you like!” laughed Greshthanu. “And you get six of us to play with, too. Plenty of variety.”
I flattened my ears at him. I shouldn’t have done. yet.
“Aww, poor Jyothky. You’ll like it when you get used to it!”
I sort of pried my ears off my scalp with my wingclaws. “I hope so. Everyone else does.” I am actually rather worried about this topic, since the part of sex that everyone else talks about liking the most is how it feels.
“How did Tultamaan get three mating flights?” asked Nrararn. I think he was rescuing me from being embarrassed, so I was grateful. Of course he’ll be one of the six drakes twining me in a few days.
“He’s the king’s oldest nephew and kind of favorite, and the king really sat on my parents and the other girls’ about who would go on this mating flight,” I said, and pointed a wing. “They’re flying together now. Trust Tultamaan to spend more time with his important uncle than with his fiancée.”
Greshthanu leaned his head down to me. “You’re offended? I didn’t think you liked him all that much.”
“I don’t, he’s not a bit nice to be around. I will try to be polite to him, and give him a fair chance,” I said.
Greshthanu nodded. “I like fair.”
Nrararn curled his tail. “Well, most of us only get one try at a mating flight. He’s had two extras. Do you like that?”
Greshthanu nodded again. “Yeah, I like that.”
“Oh? Why is that fair?” asked Nrararn, tossing his mane.
Greshthanu laughed. “Oh, Nrararn, it’s not fair. But I’d rather be competing against a drake who’s such an expert at losing. Better than another fresh young drake like you, all full of skills and enthusiasm, with who knows what sort of surprises for me!”
Nrararn laughed with him. “I’m glad to be competing with you, Greshthanu. It should be more fun than with Llredh.” He spread his barbels and smiled at me. “And it should be fun competing for you. I’m glad I came here today. Not that I was about to miss it of course!”
I smiled back at him, a girlish sort of smile (viz. without barbels). I’m sure I didn’t seem the least bit terrified of the prospect. I had been sure to put scent-distorting spells on before the party, though.