On The Wings Of The Past
Vechs could only be described as smitten. While Zisteau didn’t mind listening to him, the continuous - and incredibly repetitive - description of the same event, that Zisteau had seen for himself, was starting to get on his nerves.
“Okay, okay, ENOUGH!” Zisteau finally shouted after Vechs started his fifth explanation on the color of the dragoness’ scales. Admittedly, Zisteau hadn’t actually been there for all of it, the new wing-member following the tradition to do a continued introduction with their own kind after introducing themselves to the whole group, but after how long Vechs had been talking, any possibility of him providing new information was all but naught.
Hunh? Vechs asked, his head popping out from under the lava that he’d been swimming in to look at his rider. After a few minutes of staying in their house/room-like area in the mountain, they’d moved down to their favorite hangout, the lava lakes below the mountain. Zisteau’d been the one to suggest it - partially because he simply wanted to go down to the lakes, but also (or perhaps mostly) because he realized that Vechs’ ramblings would be fairly embarrassing if they were overheard, and the lakes provided privacy. As Vechs was the only one who could really swim in the lava comfortably (or at least to the point of enjoying it), and not even all dragon - and most riders - couldn’t stand the heat that the lava filled the cave with, people other than the two of them rarely went down to the caves.
“Vechs, I don’t mind listening to you and all, but you’ve said that five times now!” Zisteau continued, throwing up his hands in exasperation.
I have? Vechs asked, confused, completely unaware of what he’d been doing.
“Yes!” Zisteau continued, before getting an idea and shifting his voice to a teasing tone. “Ve-echs, do you have a crush on the new dragoness?”
WHAT!? Vechs replied, flailing and nearby splashing Zisteau with lava. No! No, of course not! I mean, she’s been here all of what, a day, how could I have a crush on her? Geez!
On the other side of the mountain, Blame was having a similar issue. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, for him (as he probably couldn’t survive being splashed with lava), he and his dragon didn’t have a hangout to go to the way the dragon-rider pair Vechsteau did. However, he was as prudent as Zisteau in noticing that his dragon probably shouldn’t be overheard, and, lacking in a hideout to go to, suggested they go on a flight instead.
That was how he ended up circling one of the spires at the top of the mountain, with absolutely no way to escape his dragon’s ramblings (if he’d wanted to) unless he was hoping to die in the process. Not only that, but because this was one of their first times out, Aurey was trying to impress Blame with some of her aerial acrobatics, which while he normally would have enjoyed, Blame really didn’t appreciate at the moment - their saddle hadn't been fitted properly yet. That meant that during most of the movements, rather than being able to throw up his arms in joy and trust his leg-straps to keep him in place, he had to hold on for dear life and really, really, hope that the cheap leather of the temporary saddle didn’t give way under the stress.
Luckily for Blame, though, once they’d reached higher altitudes Aurey’d stopped most of the acrobatic maneuvers - as they were harder to execute with the lower amount of lift that the thinner air at the extreme height provided. He hadn't had the heart to ask Aurey to stop earlier, because for one she really seemed to be enjoying it, but it also seemed to Blame like she was being almost overly extravagant in an attempt to impress him - possibly to make up for her lack of skills in the combat departments (not that Blame felt she actually had anything to prove) - and telling her to stop could easily have been taken the wrong way as him not appreciating the one of the three main dragon skills she had.
Now, however, they were simply circling the spire near the top of the mountain, enjoying the cold air and Blame listening to Aurey talk. While he was half-listening, Blame was silently glad that he’d been wrong when he got to the mountain for the first time. Previously, he’d always wondered why while a large, city-sized plateau had been created at what most now considered as the ‘summit’ of the mountain - as it was high enough that from the ground, nothing beyond it could be seen - there was still a massive (nearly a third of the size of the plateau), tall spire left in the center to tower over even that. Before he’d gotten his dragon, he always thought that it never made any sense, and that the stupid pillar of rock was getting in the way (even though there were tunnels through it) and taking up valuable space at the summit.
Now, he knew how wrong he’d been. He could only really appreciate the ‘spire’, as it was called (because summit was already taken), once he’d flown up there on dragonback. Not only was it magestic, but it also served as a place that dragons who weren’t as great of fliers as Aurey could perch on to take rests on the climb, on as something to latch onto if the thin air started to sap their strength. Currently, he and Aurey weren’t even near the top, circling only the lowest of the three mini-spires that served as the peaks of the main spire. Near the top, for a reason that no one really knew, the spire began to split first into two separate peaks, one smaller and shorter than the other, and then farther above the larger of the two peaks split against to form the two taller of the three mini-spires that served as the true crown of the mountain.
Part of Blame wanted to keep climbing, to see where the other two massive obelisks of stone split, and maybe even to one of the two higher peaks, but the rest of him knew that he shouldn’t, or possibly even couldn’t, at least for now. He wasn’t used to the thinner and much colder air up here, and he could feel it starting to weaken him. He also noticed that as they’d climbed not only had Aurey’s flight become more difficult, she’d also started to sound different - giddier, which meant the air was starting to get to her too, though she probably hadn’t noticed it yet.
But, oh, hey, have you seen his eyes? They’re interesting, they’re like, crystalline, and green… Aurey was saying to Blame as the continued to circle. Blame, happy to move onto a subject Aurey hadn’t already talked to death (even if it was still about Vechs) replied quickly.
“Yeah, but I’ve heard from Z that those aren’t even his real eyes.”
Really? No way! Aurey replied. I’ve never heard of a dragon having a fake pair of eyes!
“Well, they’re not really a fake pair, per say. He’s just said that Vechs’ real eyes are underneath them. He’s compared the green… Scales? I’m not even sure if that’s what they are… To goggles, which Vechs seems to have latched on to.” Blame replied happily.
Latched… on to?
“Yeah, he’s been calling them that ever since. The first week after Zisteau named them, Vechs bought them up at literally every opportunity.”
That’s kinda adorab- Aurey started to say, before cutting herself of once she realized that she was calling another dragon ‘adorable’.
“Aur-ey?” Blame asked slowly. “Do you already have a crush on another dragon?”
WHAT? NO! Aurey basically screamed in Blame’s telepathic version of an ear.
“Oww.” Blame replied reflexively covering his right ear with his hand. “Aurey, that hurt!”
Oh. Sorry…. Aurey replied in a significantly quieter tone.
“Hmm… But you know, for you to reply that way….” Blame continued, his voice taking on a teasing tone.
I don’t! Aurey replied again, equally as vehement, if not as painfully loud. I’ve been here, like, a day. I don’t have a crush on anyone!
Hey! I don’t!
Since Aurey and Blame went out on the ceremonial Pact-flight the next day - a day long journey that was supposed to be used in order to get to better know your new partner, not that it was really needed(even though Aurey had only just joined the wing, she and Blame had known each other for a while, as they had time to learn about their prospective partners while Blame was choosing his dragon) - and Vechsteau had been called off on an emergency mission the day the other two returned, it was nearly two and a half days after Aurey’s introduction before the two riders had a chance to talk with each other (or the dragons to meet).
That chance occurred at the rider meeting on the day of Zisteau’s return. It was held to officially congratulate Blame on getting his dragon - normally held on the day of the pairs’ return, but more importantly, it was a ceremony that the entire Wing attended, so it was held almost as soon as Zisteau and Vechs had gotten back (and weren’t passed out from exhaustion). Once the formal ceremony was over and the cheers completed, the two partners stepped down from the podium to participate in the festivities and to get congratulations from the other riders or dragons as they actually were - congratulations as friends, not just attendees to an ancient ritual.
“Congrats, man, really.” Zisteau said as he made the dual forearm-grasp, where they each clasped the inside of each other’s forearms, just below the elbow, gesture that served as a type of handshake - though more reserved for friends or comrades - in the Wing.
“Thanks, Z.” Blame replied, simply but sincerely.
“No, really. I think you’ve seriously got a great dragoness to stand by your side. I’m not like, saying that to be nice or anything, I really think you do. You two complement each other.” Zisteau said, reflecting on the stark contrast - but balance that was created from - Blame’s highly combat-oriented training and background, and Aurey’s more gracious, peaceful skillset.
“...Thank you.” Blame replied after a brief pause, not really sure how to reply for a second or two.
“So, how is she?” Zisteau asked.
“Aurey? Doing great, as far as I can tell.” Blame replied, which they both knew was saying more than it would with normal people - as a rider’s bond with their dragon (and a dragon’s with their rider) linked their minds, and let each of them almost always and constantly be able to feel the other’s general disposition at the least. “If a bit…. Distracted.”
HEY! Aurey telepathically butted into their conversation from across the large plaza. Just because I’m over here doesn’t mean I can’t hear you!
“Look, he does have a right to know, he is his ri-” Blame started to say, using both his voice and telepathy, but before he could finish Aurey cut him off.
Nuh uh. No. No way. Aurey said firmly. Sush.
“Fine.” Blame conceded with an eyeroll.
“Hunh?” Zisteau asked, completely lost, and glancing back and forth between Blame and the area that Aurey was in, over on the other side of the podium she and Blame had been on earlier.
“Apparently, because my dragon insists, it’s nothing.” Blame replied, rolling his eyes again in Aurey’s direction.
I noticed that!
“Sorry.” Blame muttered under his breath, (and the telepathic equivalent,) before looking back at Zisteau. “But yeah, it’s nothing.”
“O-okay then?” Zisteau replied, clearly still confused but not going to press the issue.
“So, how’s Vechs?”
“Eh, honestly he’s been a bit of a handful recently.” Zisteau replied, thought despite his obvious small degree of frustration, the comment was still good natured toward his dragon.
“And this is news as of when, exactly?” Blame asked, cracking a smile.
Hunnh? Wazz goin’ on? An almost entirely asleep Vechs asked, from the corner he’d settled and curled up in, eyelids blinking a couple times beneath his ‘goggles’. He was still completely exhausted from the mission he and Zisteau had gone on the day before - as he was the one who’d been flying around at top speed nearly the entire thirty six hours they’d been away. As soon as Vechs had landed back at the mountain, he’d straight-up passed out, still on the landing pad, not even giving Zisteau the time to dismount. He’d remained that way until about an hour before the ceremony, when it had taken four dragons roaring both physically and telepathically to wake him up. He’d stayed on his feet for only as long as absolutely necessary before heading over to the corner to pass back out again.
“Nothing, Vechs. You can go back to sleep now.” Zisteau replied, now also using both his normal and telepathic voices.
Mm-kay, Z. G’night. Vechs head could be seen dropping back to the floor and light snoring came through the telepathic feed for a second or two before the connection shut off - as Vechs had failed to close it before he’d fallen back asleep.
“The mission?” Blame asked, gesturing toward Vechs to show that he was asking about the reason the dragon was so tired.
“Yeah. Day and a half with no food, water, sleep, or any meaningful form rest, most of it spent flying as fast as he could.” Zisteau replied, a tone of sympathy for his dragon in his voice. “At least I had the opportunity to rest in the saddle on the way there and back, but Vechs was flying during that time.”
“Ouch.” Blame replied, understanding. “Aurey seemed like she wanted to sleep for a day after she came back from our Pact-flight, and that was only twenty four, and most of it was at a leisurely pace.”
“You guys flew the entire day?” Zisteau asked, surprised and somewhat impressed. “Really? Most people, like, just spend the day together outside of the mountain. Like, y’know, sleeping and walking and stuff.”
“Yeah, we know… I told her she should take a break, but Aurey saw it as a challenge.” Blame replied, with an undertone of pride for his dragon.
“In that case…” Zisteau replied, before turning his head in the direction of the white dragon. “Grats on your flight, Aurey!”
Thanks! Aurey called back. Oh, and when Vetch wakes up, tell him nice job on the mission for me!
“Hunh?” Zisteau asked, but Aurey’d already shifted her focus away from the two riders before Zisteau could ask for clarification.
“It’s a name she’s taken to calling him. We’ve all told her that’s not how his name is said, and even though I’m sure she knows that too, she doesn’t seem to care.” Blame clarified in place of his dragon.
“Oh. Alright, I will. Speaking of Vechs, I should probably go make he doesn’t, like, roast something with sleep-fire.” Zisteau said, as he started to break away from Blame with increasing urgency as he noticed small jets of flame coming out of Vechs’ nostrils occasionally when he snored.
“See ya, Z!” Blame called before moving to one of the other riders wanting to congratulate him.
A/n: Soo… Ummm…. I may or may not have just had this lying around for about a month without posting it. Oops. On the bright side, I’ve been reminded about this, so there may be more of this coming!