Terrin smiled as he sat up, wind blowing through his long hair. He couldn’t hear anything, other than the sound of Zan’s wings flapping, through the sound of the roaring wind. His legs were wrapped tight around Zan’s scaly frame. His ribs expanded under Terrin’s legs as he drew in another deep breath, entering a downward spiral. Though he was well in control, he let them free fall from their shocking altitude. As he unfolded his wings from his side, the wind caught them and carried them just above the treetops as they headed back towards the kingdom that had been in Terrin’s rule for just over five years now.
“Back home so early?” Terrin shouted over the wind.
“I’m hungry, though we could stop for a snack and continue if you’d like?” Zan joked, as he flew over the herds of cattle that roamed the fields just outside of the large walls that protected the city, which had grown a significant amount since the two races had joined together to live in peace. The cows mooed their disapproval and began to scatter, when Zan’s red wings covered them in shadows.
“Stop that. You know they don’t produce milk when you scare them,” Terrin laughed. Zan only roared in response, the sound nearly shaking the earth. With the kingdom in the north, fields to the south, and woods to the east, all that was left was the divide to the west. The once black rock, created when the large red dragons covered the earth in their molten fire, had since softened and had sprouted an unusual flower. The red and black blossoms covered the divide, creating a small field running down the incline to the lands once belonging to the dragons. Though now it had been renamed The Lowerside, due to it’s lower elevation it formed a deep valley. The Upperside, once belonging to only humans, was so named for it’s higher elevation, creating a steep drop to the sea that required creative thinking to make a path down the cliff side to the harbor below.
As Terrin looked over his beautiful green land, he couldn’t help but smile. A few of the white mountainous dragons soared through the skies. They were more reclusive than the friendly and sarcastic reds, or the ancient and social blue water dragons. They prefered to stay on their mountain tops, or hiding in their caves. The fire dragons like to be in the kingdom. People had long grown used to the sight of the red behemoths flying over their heads. Children used them as jungle-gyms, playing on their large scaly bodies. Terrin had even been trying to convince a few volunteers to step forward to be used in combat for his highest ranking generals, but it was proving to be difficult as neither side was willing to step forward. So far, Terrin had been the only one to ride one of the scaly beasts, besides the head of the guard when the king had been hurt.
“What do you think they’re doing here?” Terrin asked, looking up as the snake like creatures headed towards the castle on feathered wings.
“I’m not sure, but I would bet four cows it’s not good,” Zan said, as another herd scattered underneath him.
“Another one, my lord,” the head of the guard, Xavier, spoke. Since the day Terrin had returned from the dragons land with Zan beneath him he had trusted this guard. He was the only other person to have ridden a dragon, he had been head of the guard when his father was king, and he would always remain head of the guard. Terrin had to admit that they had become close friends.
“Told you,” Zan said, as he shifted into human form. Since Terrin had become king, he had removed the large window in the front of the castle. It provided a great entrance for the scaly behemoths.
“A Zar?” Terrin asked, glancing at the three snake like dragons who were coiled neatly to his right.
“Yes, my king,” Xavier nodded. Terrin turned to the air dragons that blinked at him with beady black eyes, waiting patiently to speak.
“Thank you for coming to me with this.” Terrin bowed to them. They uncoiled partially, revealing their heads, topped with feathered crests the same as their pearly white scales.
“We were concerned,” the dragon said, drawing out the second ‘c’ in concerned, much like a snake.
“Understandable,” Terrin nodded. “What happened?” He sat down on the throne that had once belonged to his father, and now to him.
“Askirzar, grew sick,” the creature drew out the ‘s’ sounds again. “He attacked his own brood. Many died,” the snake-like dragons were beings of few words.
“How many?” Terrin asked.
“Sixteen,” he spoke again, taking an extra long time to say the number, drawing out both of the ‘s’ sounds.
“We’ll make a trip up there in the next couple of days, our condolences to your dead,” Terrin bowed his head. The white snake nodded sadly, bobbing it’s triangular head as it flexed it’s feathered wings. “We still don’t know what’s causing it,” Terrin began. “But we’re trying as hard as we can.” Terrin stood. “Please, let us know if there’s anything we can do to help your brood.” Without another word, the dragons took their leave. Only Xavier, Zan, and Terrin remained.
“What are we going to do, Terrin?” Zan sat in the throne next to Terrin’s. It was constructed of silver and rubies, next to Terrin’s who’s was gold and a multitude of gems.
“I don’t know. But we need to look into this personally. Maybe when we head down there, we ask to see the body,” Terrin said. “This needs to stop before more dragons die.”
It had been a year since the outbreak started. One day, one of the noble blue serpents that ruled the sea’s had suddenly turned on a ship, and attacked. No one knew why, but both the ship and the dragon were killed in the fight. People turned towards the dragon, pointing fingers and saying the beast had attacked the ship for no reason. Dragons pointed at humans and said that the ship had drifted into the very clearly mapped out blue dragon nesting zones. As the debate carried on, another of the beasts went insane. This time one of the glorious red dragons burned nearly half the kingdom to the ground, before it was shot down, by members of it’s own species this time.
The reds claimed they had nothing to do with the attack, and were just as surprised as the humans were. This proved to be true the next time a similar event happened. Another water dragon drove it’s long serpentine body up the river cutting through the swamp. It forced it’s way up the stream, attacking anything in it’s path until it reached the lava pits that the red dragons occupied. The dragon emptied the lake that sat near the pits, before crawling through the muck and trees to reach the lava pools. It soaked the reds, solidifying the magma and killing four dragons in the process.
By now people were realizing that it wasn’t the beginning of another war. Something was wrong and no one knew what. It wasn’t long after that the wind dragons began to take ill as well. It was random, with no obvious pattern. They would attack anything near them, humans, dragons, even animals. If there was nothing around them, they would take it out on the environment, slamming their heads and bodies into the ground and other natural features until they would die themselves. It was as if the beasts had lost all control of their own free will and their own, usually sound, minds.
“It’s cold,” Terrin muttered, as Zan pushed his way deeper into the mountains. The snow covered peaks were practically uninhabitable by any other species, and Terrin was well aware that Zan wouldn’t be able to last long in the frigid environment. Neither could he.
“Yes,” Zan said, bitterly.
“Lets just go see the brood and the damage done, and then I promise you can take a long hot bath in the lava pools,” Terrin said. He couldn’t help but smile at Zan’s happy groan. As the bright red feet of the fire dragon landed in the snow, not without a little steam from his hot flesh mixing with the icy ground, several white coils of scales made themselves noticeable, though they still blended in fantastically.
“We have saved the body of the passed ones, as you requested,” the snake said. He fell onto his flat stomach, and slithered through the snow with his wings pulled up tight against his body. Terrin followed Zan, as he followed the other dragons. They led them to a small circle of stones, obviously placed there on purpose. The seventeen corpses, including the original attacker, were placed carefully in the snow.
“How did you stop the sick one?” Terrin asked, looking over the dead sadly.
“He flew into a nearby cliffside,” the leader of the air dragons answered, pointing him out, before leaving.
“That’s new,” Terrin said.
“What?” Zan asked.
“None of them have ever stopped attacking anything to end their own lives, unless they ran out of things to attack. But there’s obviously more dragons here.” He looked around.
“Maybe they were too well hidden,” Zan pointed out.
“Like you wouldn’t be able to see a member of your own species?” Terrin looked up at Zan.
“Whatever is making these dragons do this, isn’t exactly keeping their mind intact,” Zan said.
“Their mind... maybe we could find something wrong...” Terrin said, hesitantly.
“You wish to desecrate the dead?” Zan looked at him with a cold gaze.
“It’s a necessary evil. If we can stop this from happening again...” Terrin trailed off as he drew his sword. He hesitated a moment, before plunging the tip into the skull of the creature, who still looked the same as the day he died due to the cold preserving his body. Zan shut his eyes and turned his head away as Terrin broke the skull as carefully as he could. “Zan, look,” Terrin said. Zan grunted in disapproval before turning back to the body, and looking into the once solid skull.
“What is that?” he asked.
“It’s supposed to be his brain,” Terrin replied, looking at the small black circle that would be the dragons brain.
“Why is it like that? We don’t like to desecrate the dead, but we do know a decent amount about our anatomy, and it doesn’t look like that I can assure you,” Zan said, squinting at the brain through the rolling gusts of snow.
“I don’t know,” Terrin shook his head. As they leaned closer, suddenly the black ball in the broken skull twitched. They pulled back quickly.
“Did that just..move?” Zan asked.
“I think it did...” Terrin leaned in again, and poked it with the tip of his sword.
“Don’t do that!” Zan shoved him gently with his wing. Terrin looked up at him before doing it again, when the blackness jiggled unnaturally. This time Zan said nothing, just as focused as Terrin was. He leaned in again, and pulled back suddenly with a shriek as his face was covered with black slime. “Ew! Get it off! Get it off!” he shouted telepathically. He rubbed his head in the snow, wiping the black muck from his eyes. “This is why we don’t play with corpses!” he shouted, as Terrin burst into laughter. He spit, letting his tongue roll out of his mouth as he tried to get the muck off his face. Terrin continued to laugh. “Terrin!” he whined, scratching his face with his wing.
“Okay, okay. I’m sorry.” Terrin chuckled, before helping Zan remove the goo from his face. Once he was clean, Terrin wiped off his hands in the snow, and they headed back to the dragons brood. “Okay, noted. No more corpses,” he continued to giggle.
“This is so many kinds of not funny, Terrin,” Zan frowned.
“I know I know,” Terrin said, though he couldn’t stop laughing at the dragons unhappy face.
“I warned you. I said ‘don’t desecrate the dead’. I didn’t even look, and I’m the one who gets brain goo in my face?” Zan complained.
“Oh suck it up, you baby.”
As Terrin and Zan headed back to the kingdom, Terrin let out a sigh of relief.
“It’s so good to be away from all that snow. It’s still freezing, but the mountains are so pretty,” he said, looking out over the brown and green cliffs. Some were speckled with caves and you could see dragons darting in and out of them, long serpentine bodies glinting in the sunlight.
“I’ve never seen this part of the land,” Zan said.
“Really? All that time and you just stayed in the swamps and the lava pits?” Terrin frowned.
“Yes. It’s too cold up here.” He shook his shoulders, as if shaking loose a thick layer of ice on his red flesh.
“You just-” Terrin was silenced by an echoing screech. Zan looked around, confused, before he felt the giant weight on his head. They plummeted towards the ground, a mess of twisting scales and wings. White feathers fell around them, as Terrin struggled to hold on. Zan let out a surprised sqwauk as they fell, sounding more chicken than dragon. He looked down in just enough time to see they were seconds from hitting the grassy plains below the mountains. With a suddenly calm view, he relaxed and twisted them around, air dragon and all. As the other creature wrapped it’s long body around Zan’s neck, Terrin began to shakily climb up the neck of his lover. He reached just behind his head, and drew his sword from his belt. As he plunged the weapon into the white dragons serpentine body, he was met with a hiss and a mouth full of fangs. As the dragon turned towards him, and Zan struggled to keep them in the air, Terrin was faced with the cold black eyes that had replaced the usual sky blue of the Zar dragons. He readied his sword.
The snake unwrapped it’s body from Zan’s neck, giving him time to breath again. But now it began to coil down his body, heading for Terrin who had since backed up to the base of his short tail.
“Terrin, hold on,” Zan’s calm voice called to him. Terrin did as he was told, and sheathed his sword, before crouching down and locking his hands around the scales and spikes that surrounded him. As soon as Zan felt he was holding on as tight as possible, he fell into a downwards barrel roll. Terrin felt his head spin as he lost track of what was up and what was down. The dragon had been caught off guard and was thrown from the red scales on Zan’s back. It hissed as it caught itself in the air with ivory wings. Zan pulled out of the roll, and headed back to the kingdom.
“What are you doing?” Terrin said, confused as he glanced back at the pursuing dragon.
“I won't kill my own kind, Terrin,” Zan said, angry.
“It attacked us first.”
“He! You forget that we’re not mindless beasts, he has a brood, and probably offspring. I won't end his life,” Zan said, Terrin swallowed. He looked back again, going pale.
“Zan, where did he go?” He looked around, and up, not seeing the other dragon anywhere. Zan took a moment to look over his shoulder, a scowl crossing his reptilian face.
“I don’t-” He cried out as rows of teeth sank into the soft flesh of his neck. Blood gushed from the wound as he beat his wings harder, no longer really moving forward but only hovering in place. He shook his head, trying to free himself from the dragons jaws. He took off, up into the blue sky. He rolled and tumbled as he tried to force the dragon to loosen it’s jaws, Terrin could do nothing but grasp to his body helplessly as he listened to the cries and shrieks of his love. As Zan began to panic and flop around in the air, Terrin finally lost his grip and began falling to the ground. When he realized he had lost his rider, he blinked before looking down. Terrin screamed as he fell, hands outreached for his dragon mate. With a look of pure rage, Zan forced the creature from his neck, taking several chunks of flesh with him. He drew in a deep breath, and blasted the other creature with a wave of pure heat. It shrieked and hissed as one of it’s wings burned away, leaving a few charred feathers left. It fell slowly, gliding to the edge of a nearby mountain. Without hesitation, Zan dove towards his falling mate. Terrin wasn’t far from the ground now, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to make it. He gave it everything he had, but it was hopeless. As he reached the ground, Zan had only enough time to see a flash of green before Terrin was gone. He blinked, and spread his wings to stop himself, though he couldn’t make it in time.
Terrin could see nothing but black. He could hear the ever familiar beat of leathery wings around him and smiled. Zan had saved him. He knew he would. As he smiled wider, and attempted to see, there was a moment of confusion. If Zan had saved him, how was he holding him. The red behemoth he loved so much had no arms in his dragon form, only red bat-like wings. Suddenly, a sound so loud he felt his ears ring resonated around him. He blinked and looked around the dark space, seeing nothing. Suddenly, the sounds of wings beating stopped, and he felt the familiar feeling of a landing. Suddenly, there was light. He squinted and held a hand above his eyes to try to block out the sun but it was no good. He frowned as he looked around, seeing only a wall of green. He was set down roughly, onto his feet, stumbling in the grass. He fell on his ass, and looked up, eyes going wide. A very large, very green, dragon stood before him.
“G-green,” he sputtered out. The dragon narrowed his eyes. He looked similar to Zan’s species. At least more so than the others. His scales were a bright emerald color, though it was obvious that they had faded with age, and they were missing in many places from battle scars and other old injuries. Unlike Zan, this dragon had four legs, and then a pair of wings sprouting from its shoulders. Green whisker-like appendages sprouted from it’s snout and hung down past it’s mouth quite a ways. It’s eyes were a shocking contrast to it’s green scales, shining like a ruby.
“Good, we know you aren’t color blind,” he spoke in Terrins head, sighing a deep dragon sigh. A sickly sweet smell washed over Terrin, he knew from books that their defense was a toxic breath they were able to breath at will. Obviously that wasn’t it, but the odor was the same as it was described in the book.
“Z-zan?” Terrin turned his head, suddenly realized his mate hadn’t picked him up. He stood on shaky legs and looked around, panicking.
“I believe that’s the other dragon you were with?” the old green dragon spoke. “That would be him over there.” He raised one giant dragon paw and pointed behind Terrin, who spun quickly. He couldn’t see anything through a cloud of dust that had gathered in the area. “He hit the ground pretty hard. I’m not sure if he’s okay,” he spoke again. Terrin went pale.
“Zan!” he cried out, breaking into a run. He was suddenly scooped up by a large wing.
“Now that’s no way to travel,” the dragon muttered, and walked briskly towards the cloud of dirt that had covered a good portion of the field. Terrin held onto his thick green scales as they approached Zan. As soon as he was close enough, he jumped down and ran to his fallen mate.
“Zan? Zan it’s Terrin, open your eyes!” he shouted, as he stumbled around the crater Zan’s large body had created. He stopped at his face, supporting his weight on Zan’s snout as he moved around to his large eyes. “Goddamnit listen to your king and get up!” Terrin shouted, angry. Zan didn’t move. “Do something,” Terrin looked up at the swamp dragon, who raised an eyebrow.
“Such as?” he looked a little annoyed.
“I don’t know! Your species was known for healing herbs and spells. Heal him!” Terrin shouted. The dragon glared at him blankly for a moment.
“Boom shakalaka. Oops, didn’t work.” He seemed to shrug before turning around and sitting back on his haunches with his tail wrapped around his feet carefully.
“Ugh! I’m glad my people killed all of your species!” he shouted. “You’re worthless!” He turned back to his mate, now in tears. “Zan, please. Please wake up.” He collapsed onto his knees and sobbed on the fire dragons shiny scales.The older green dragon turned his head slightly, looking at the sad sight. Suddenly, Zan drew in a deep breath, letting it out with a sigh, and a few licks of flame poked out from his mouth. Terrin wiped his tears and blinked. “Zan?” he whispered. Suddenly, the large yellow eye opened and blinked as the pupil narrowed to accommodate the bright light of the sun. Terrin smiled and laughed through his slowing tears.
“Ground bad. Air good,” Zan’s weak voice floated to Terrin’s ears.
“You moron,” he stood up and kicked his snout, knowing the dragon would hardly feel it. He backed up as Zan struggled to stand. His back legs were obviously weak as they shook supporting his weight. Dust fell from his scales as he sighed, finally standing straight. Many gaping wounds lined his neck, from the wicked bite of the air dragon. “Are you okay?” Terrin asked. Zan nodded his big head.
“Yes. I think so. Nothing a few hours in the lava pools won't cure,” he said, obviously not so sure. “A-are you okay?” he asked, worried. Terrin nodded and stroked the behemoths snout gently.
“He saved me,” he nodded to the green dragon Zan had yet to notice. “Though he wasn’t anymore help than that.” He glared at the dragon’s still turned back.
“Terrin!” Zan snapped. “Show some respect,” he said, whispering in his telepathic voice, though the other dragon would obviously be able to hear him. “Thank you,” Zan bowed, though it obviously caused him pain. “Thank you for saving my mate,” he said sincerely.
“Mate. Never heard of that before. Things have changed since my time,” he mumbled.
“His time? Who is this guy?” Terrin scowled at his back. “I thought green dragons were extinct. Now I see why if they’re all as charming as this one,” Terrin scowled.
“Remember when we met? I told you about the last remaining swamp dragon? This is him,” Zan nodded his reptilian head.
“So, he’s the king of the swamp dragons,” Terrin said, awestruck.
“You can’t be king if everything in your kingdom is dead,” he muttered, speaking the first words since turning his back on Terrin.
“I would order my people to do it again if all were as rude as you,” Terrin frowned.
“Terrin!” Zan said.
“I knew my people had made a mistake when they agreed to form an alliance with your kind,” he spat, and flew off.
“I can’t believe you just did that,” Zan said, mouth open. The expression was hilarious on one of the big dragons.
“He was a jerk!”
“He’s the last of his species!” Zan said.
“Whatever. Are you able to fly us back east?” Terrin asked.
“I’m not sure.” Zan rose up onto his back legs and spread his wings, but one only unfolded part of the way before he groaned and fell back down to rest on the appendages, keeping most of his weight off the injured wing. “I don’t think so.”
“Then come on, we have a long walk back to the lava pools,” Terrin said.
“Deja vu,” Zan muttered, in his telepathic link with Terrin.
Zan’s eyes fluttered open as he felt the a wet heat envelope his nipple. He smiled and sighed.
“Good morning to you, too,” he didn’t think he would ever get used to his human voice. He knew Terirn obviously found this form more attractive, and he enjoyed sleeping with Terrin in the castle. He had even given up sleeping under the night sky for him. It was worth it.
“Morning,” Terrin smiled, as he crawled up Zan’s body and kissed him, running his fingers through his black and red hair. “Did the soak in the lava pools help?” he asked, rubbing the bruised flesh all over Zan’s body tenderly.
“Yes, but I’m still sore,” Zan admitted, before furrowing his brow. “I’m also still worried about you,” he said, putting a hand on Terrin’s shoulder. “Are you sure you’re alright?” he asked.
“Of course, that dragon saved my life,” Terrin said. Zan frowned.
“That dragon,” he said, mockingly. “Is Lestrazar. You would do good to show him some respect. Especially after saving you.” Zan rolled over onto his stomach, angry with Terrin. Terrin laid down on top of him, pressing his bare chest into his back, his cock nuzzled in between Zan’s round globes.
“I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean to offend you.” He kissed the back of Zan’s neck lovingly. Zan smiled and turned around on his back underneath Terrin.
“It’s okay...” he smiled, and they shared a short kiss. “I....” Zan swallowed. Terrin turned his head, confused.
“What?” he asked, stroking Zan’s soft hair.
“I’m sorry I dropped you,” he said. “I was scared and I let my fear get the better of me,” he mumbled, tears beginning to form in his eyes. Terrin brushed them away before they could roll down his cheeks too far. Zan turned his head as he cried, not wanting to look Terrin in the eye.
“Look at me, Zan,” Terrin spoke sternly, moving Zan’s gaze back to his own with a finger under his chin. “We all get scared. You had every reason to be. The point is, I’m okay, and you’re okay. Lets just forget about it and move on, yeah?” Terrin asked. Zan nodded. After the attack by the sick air dragon, they had headed home where two other fire dragons met Zan to help him to the lava pools, while Terrin relaxed in his own way. He had wanted to go with Zan, but wouldn’t be any help and needed a good nights sleep himself. Zan had returned to him sometime during the night. Terrin knew he had left sooner than he should have, just to be in his presence. “Why don’t we go get some breakfast?” Terrin asked. Zan nodded again, following Terrin as he climbed out of their bed.
Once they were dressed, Terrin gave him one final kiss before leaving their safe bedroom, and returning to a world full of responsibilities and troubles. He missed their safe haven. It was always so quiet there. Xavier approached him before they were even down the hall.
“How are you feeling, my king?” he asked.
“I’m fine, thank you,” Terrin nodded.
“And you, my king?” Xavier glanced at Zan, who nodded silently. He didn’t enjoy being called a king, but being married to one, you had to get some title, right? “Glad to hear you’re both alright. We have a lot to do to day,” Xavier said as they sat down for breakfast. “You have that rally for the new soldiers. We are sending them to the coast to help clean up the latest water dragon attack,” he said.
“Of course, when is that?” Terrin asked.
“Ten minutes, sire.” Terrin groaned.
“I knew I wouldn’t get breakfast.” He stood up from the table and grabbed a warm roll, and shoved it into his mouth. Zan grabbed a handful of ham and gnawed on it as they headed to the rally.