Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dragons!

This is an except from my short story "The Dragon and his Knight," which appeared in the Mine Anthology in October. The dragon, Justin, is in human form and trying to endure a college history class. His knight, Wells, is just trying to keep him happy.


Justin took the cup of coffee Wells offered with a scowl. He never thanked Wells, who was his prisoner, after all. "I can not endure this much longer," he growled under his breath, then took a swallow.

Wells sighed. He'd known this wouldn't last. "Thanks for trying."

Justin flashed him a quick frown, then unwrapped one of the bagels. "And this is what?"

"It's a bagel. Bread. The white stuff is cream cheese. It's delicious."

"No meat? I liked that thing with the ham and egg you got last week."

"I'll get you a hamburger for lunch."

"Fine."

A couple nearby students stared. In fact, most of the young women in the room had been staring at them -- Justin in particular -- for the last three classes. Justin ignored them all, except one woman, the very first day, who'd dared stare at Wells. The look Justin had sent made her take a seat in back.

Justin took a bite of the bagel, chewed, and nodded. "All right." Their eyes touched, and passion kindled. Justin did a sensuous thing with one hand as he brushed his wild hair out of his eyes, and then sent Wells a sideways look. Heat stirred Well's groin. Justin's revenge, Wells thought. Justin would endure the rest of the class, but he'd keep Wells in a state of arousal the whole time. It was one of Justin's many dragon talents.

This was going to be a long day. Wells opened his thick textbook and tried to focus on the chapter they'd read for homework. Or rather, which he'd read aloud to Justin. He'd taught Justin how to read and write long ago, but Justin had never really gotten the knack of it. The dragon was content to let Wells take the lead in dealing with things human.

And the human world had been worrying Wells lately. Exactly why, he wasn't sure, but this worry was behind the reasoning he'd given Justin for wanting to take a college class. Keeping in touch with the human world had been Well's responsibility, and he'd enjoyed it, making use of the excellent memory and quick wit that had earned him a knighthood in the first place. At first, it had been easy. He and Justin had had all the advantages. Justin's magic and the ability to fly had given them the world, or so it felt.

But suddenly, humans could sail across the sea. Justin could not fly that far, and for the first time, the two of them had used a human-made device for something they could not do on their own -- reach the new world. Then rapidly had come guns and trains and phones and electricity and planes and nuclear bombs. They watched humans reach the moon and fight wars that covered the whole planet, and in the last few years, seen them develop computers that made time and distance truly irrelevant. And it had all happened so fast. Somehow, he and Justin had been pushed into the mountains, but even the great woods of the world were falling.

It was all making Wells so uneasy that he'd talked Justin into going to school.

The professor coughed and started in again. Justin settled back with bagel and coffee, brushing his leg sensuously against Well's and sending another rush of warmth into Well's groin. Wells tried to ignore it and focus on the lecture, jeans getting tighter by the second.

"We're going to finish our lecture today on weapons of the Medieval Period," the professor said, clicking on a projector mounted to the ceiling and touching a few keys on his computer. The screen on the wall was suddenly filled with the images of swords, spears, lances, bows, and arrows.

Then the professor bent down, and Wells heard the sound of something unzipping. After a moment, the professor straightened. In his right hand was a sword.

Wells leaned forward intently.

Justin winced away.

It was a beautiful weapon. A reproduction, Wells knew at once, of a sword made during the High Renaissance, years after the Medieval Period, with fancy filigree work and jewels set into the hilt. The professor gave it a few glamorous and completely ineffectual waves in the air, then laid it across the top of his lectern.

"Swords, of course, were the weapon of choice by the knights, whom as you'll remember from last week, were noblemen who owed their allegiance to a vassal, who in turn served his king in return for a land grant, or fief. If a king declared war on a neighboring kingdom, which he often did, he would call on his vassals for support, and they would ride to his side with their best knights."

A painting of a knight in armor filled the screen. Memory assailed Wells. Armor had been horribly hot, heavy, itchy stuff, but oh, the glory of riding up to the castle, the serfs bowing and bending as he passed, cheering him. In those days, he had ruled the world, or so it seemed, encased in silver, bearing a sword his hand and honor in his soul...

Justin made a very slight, mocking bow, and the sight of Justin's lean, tanned fingers reaching toward him made Wells draw a sharp breath and fight for control of the arousal that had just been threatening before.

"In times of peace, a knight rode the countryside upholding the king's laws and acting with chivalry, the knight's code of honor. He would be expected to aid any damsels in distress from the attack of marauders, or, of course, the wayward dragon."

The professor put up a slide of a dragon about to swoop down on an unsuspecting young woman working in a field, gathering grain into her apron. The dragon, bright red and gold, actually wasn't too far off, Wells decided, though the wings weren't quite wide enough and the neck was too thick. He certainly recognized the glint in the creature's eye as it reached for its prey. Lucky girl, he thought wistfully. Justin could snatch him any day.

The other students laughed at the whimsical painting, nicely covering Well's shift of position as he gave up fighting the inevitable and sought to merely hide it. Justin was trying not to laugh. Wells distracted himself with a sip of hot coffee.

M. Raiya

1 comment:

Jason said...

Dragons are serious sexy!