“This is somewhere!” said Gimuse. “I see live trees! Deer kinds of things grazing! A burning sun under a freakish blank blue sky! Lumpy stones, a paved road, a running stream!”
“The blank blue sky is not strange for Basic Ball worlds. You are just used to the Typical Toroid of Hove, where the sky is full of lands,” said Itharieth. “But the rest of that sounds worth considerable cheering and yelling, by Grallion’s scallion!”
“A good start,” said Tultamaan. “Let some people Cheer and Yell. Over yonder, so that the Tumultuous Noise does not Interfere with those Highly Educated and Prepared Specialists whose duty it is to determine if we can actually Live on this new world, or whether the atmosphere is composed of some Clear but Toxic Fume. Or, more dangerously, if the laws of reality require that the Oxygen in our blood slowly transforms itself into deadly Arsenic, as on a world that Quel Quen visited.”
Despite Tultamaan’s exhortation, the celebration was considerable at this first sign of progress. Hyxy and Ngassith copulated energetically in the sky over the camp. After a bit of prodding, Evrath and Charimaan did as well.(†) There was much cheering. There were calls for the third married couple to perform as well, but Roroku’s skills as an Analysis mage were required at the cyclone.
(†) I have seen drakes copulate while flying several times. There are various methods it can be arranged, but I believe the preferred way is to have one drake assume a female shape.
“I miss my mating flight. I don’t miss the ending of it, but the middle — Ah! Three horny dragonesses eager to enjoy drakes at every opportunity!” said Vaareng, crouching at the edge of the camp, watching the air-show. “The rush of wind on my wings, the claspers closing around one of my hemipenises, the applause of my flight-mates at the vigor and energy of my performance!”
Driaith curled his tail. “You must have been a veritable Tólónis!” Referring to a legendary dragon of great sexual prowess.
Driaith hummed. “Though your mating flight is over, and the dragonesses are already distributed, it is not entirely necessary to cease being a great Tólónis. It would be a shame for such skills and vigorous energy as yours to go to waste.”
Vaareng tensed. He was fairly sure he knew what Driaith was about to suggest, and entirely unsure of how he would respond. He tried to divert the conversation. “Arilash, the slut-dragoness of Hove, is potentially available, but spread rather thin. There is hardly any honor to be had from twining with her.” (Perhaps dishonor to be sent away without twining, but Vaareng was not obliged to mention that.)
Driaith counted on his foreclaws. “Arilash is not coming with us. Hyxy is faithful to Ngassith, and has bitten a large chunk out of Sjojarn when he hinted she might be somewhat flexible on that score. Roroku has not defended her chastity at all, but Gyovanth is constantly watching her, and a most suspicious and dangerous dragon is he, so she has had nothing to defend her chastity against. I would not count on twining with Roroku being an option.” He held up a forepaw with no claws out. “Which leaves no true dragonesses.”
“Which is just the number that a bachelor drake should expect,” said Vaareng, quite nervously.
“It leaves a quantity of drakes, though,” said Driaith. “A quantity of horny drakes. A quantity of drakes who are not inclined to be terribly picky. A quantity of drakes who — not to put too fine a point on it — might be willing to transform themselves into dragonesses temporarily.”
Vaareng whispered, “That is not honorable.”
Driaith folded his forepaws and rested his head upon them, as if to indicate that he was not going to shapeshift and fly and twine with anyone just at the moment. “By what measure of honor, Vaareng? Do you not hear the drakes cheering just as loudly for the urning couple Evrath and Charimaan as for the normal couple Hyxy and Ngassith? In this expedition — in the company of bachelor drakes — there is no dishonor in satisfying your body’s demands, so long as you stay in draconic form. There is even honor in doing so with vigor and energy, just as on a mating flight.”
Vaareng sat frozen, terrified.
“Think about it, Vaareng. You could be Tólónis with an eager dragoness again — tonight, even,” said Driaith.
”… Not a real one …”
“As real as bachelors can mount. One who looks and smells and tastes and feels real. One who will squeeze your male members with her claspers and enjoy twining with you just as much as if she was hatched a dragoness,” said Driaith. “One whose honor — and flaws, and prospects, and experience altogether — match yours.”
Vaareng whined, and tried to sort out lust and honor. The scent of entwined couples in the sky didn’t help a bit.