Ripe

Another night had come, but with it, it brought the first semblance of peace that Tystnad had known in some time. Overlooking the roof of the world, he sat on the cliff ledge with his feet dangling down. Cradled in the clouds, hung the swollen moon; bursting with the crisp wintery light that suffused the eastern mountains.

Yet, he felt restless. The night felt restless; although, not with foreboding. It was the restlessness brought along by a vibrancy that brimmed to the surface of his skin, allowing a fiery verve to pulse through his veins. He had mistaken it for a renewed surge of magic, as his depleted energies was steadily restored while at rest throughout the day. But magic had an almost electric thrum as it sparked to the surface. Not this. This feeling was sui generis. A tingling heat that had treaded teasingly over his body to coax him out of his cloak and cuirass, leaving him feeling elatedly flustered in nothing but his rolled-up sleeve tunic and form-fitting trousers.

He had stripped himself of other pieces of ornate armour and clothing as well; and while regarding the pile of arcane attire, he felt strangely liberated from the duty that seemed bound to it. He no longer felt he had to bear the weight of its responsibility.

The clouds bellowed then, and caved in, and strands of white were drawn down and then upward as it clung to the gargantuan black body that penetrated the sky. Adjusting his angle, the dragon soared across the cloud bank to cross the space that separated his point of ascent and the cliff’s edge. With two great beats of his wings, he landed with a soft crunch of gravel on the rocky ledge. Halvadere was handsome, even in flight – a majestic beast scaled in midnight black, with wings of smoke and shadow. And as the moon glinted off his obsidian scales, it was as if the dragon was born from his own starry galaxy. Tystnad had no doubt that the dragon could be terrifying in his fury; but there, with those luminous blue eyes staring calmly from a magnificent horned head, the mage doubted that one could fail to be anything but awestruck.

Realising that he may have been staring, the mage glimpsed back out across the night, slightly flushed with colour. He watched as the clouds continued to churn through the path of the dragon’s flight, until it resettled back into the white blanket that draped over the peaks. After a short pause, he heard the slow and steady footfalls of the dragon warrior approaching. Tystnad could feel how his body tensed in anticipation as the the other man came closer. He was perplexed by his own reaction, and yet, it felt familiar in its unfamiliarity. As if he had felt this once before. But he could no longer remember – another curse of living with a mortal mind bound in an immortal vessel.

“Have you… been waiting for me?”

Tystnad looked up then, to find Blackblade looking down with a smile glinting in his eyes, his thick brow furrowed in playful curiosity. “A mage waits on no one,” he teased, “he merely waits, and sees where the witch wind blows.” With that, Tystnad was on his feet, and level with the lively warrior regarding him.

“Then little mage, my belief is that you are a pioneer of that quality among those in your trade.” Blackblade chuckled. It was a deep and comforting sound, that reminded Tystnad of home. Strange – to think of home, when I have never known one, much less felt it. It was not the first feeling that the mage had perused while in the presence of the dragon. And the man had already managed to evoke a lot of them in the short space of time they had known one another.

The dragon warrior unshouldered his cargo, of which mostly notably – aside from food parcels, and perhaps even clothing – were not one, but two large furs.

“Blackblade, I realise the night may be cold, but I would surely have made due with but one of these…”

The tall warrior looked down to the furs, before replying “Well, yes. But I… decided to stay the night as well…”

“Oh.” Tystnad raised his brow in surprise. “I see. But the imperial ring of the city… will they not suspect why it is that you are gone?” In all honesty toward himself, the mage did not much care for the answer. At the same time, he had to suppress the fact that the news sparked a pleasant feeling flowering at his core in knowing that his companion would spend the night.

In reply, Blackblade gave a crooked smile before answering, “I’ll be sure to smooth out the ruffles of imperial rule tomorrow.” He looked at Tystnad then, “For now, I would be an ungracious host by leaving you without food, comfort, or company while you recover.” He stood up then, and removed his own cloak. Save for his own simple traveling attire, he unstrapped a large longsword from his back, throwing it together with the cloak among the bundle.

“I believe I already am recovered.” Tystnad didn’t really know why he was making these idle comments. In truth, he didn’t mind if the warrior stayed the night at all. In an honest appraisal, he was fairly certain that he had been waiting on the return of the dragon to the cave.

The look Blackblade gave Tystnad then, warm and – he dared say – mischievous, made the wizard think that the dragon similarly did not much care for his reasons of not being there. He seemed to be exactly where he wanted to be. “Well, I may need recovery. Shifting in and out of my true form has left me in need of rest – and good company. So, perhaps you could offer the latter.”

The intensity that filled the space between them struck a deep nerve within the mage, and by some impulse, his eyes shyed away. Deep inside, he knew that this was an instinct bred to his nature over centuries. But memory failed him, and he could not remember. He could not recall what instances in his past had led him to be as reserved as he was. As cautious. Trust never seemed to be a fruit that was ripe enough to pick. And perhaps when it was, he refused to believe it possible. He refused to offer it to anyone, no matter how close he came.

But this time… this time he wanted to offer it so desperately…

So lost in thought was he, that he had not seen Blackblade draw closer. So close, that he could feel the heat emanating of the warrior’s torso. Was this too, part of a dragon’s charms? Tystnad still felt that look of his, those eyes piercing through all the defences that the mage had thought impregnable. It compelled his own eyes upward, to drown again in the impossibly human blue of the dragon’s gaze.

Blackblade’s brow knitted in that gently curious way that belied the rough-hewn stitching of his rugged features. He lowered his voice to a tender timbre then, “Where do you go young wizard, when your eyes drift away like that?”

Tystnad didn’t not know how his mind had known the answer, but of it’s own accord, the words passed involuntarily over his lips. “To the place where I was older…” In my memory. In my broken past. Into the abyss of the mystery that surrounded so much of who he was. To when I knew more of the answers.

To when being immortal did not feel like a curse...

His eyes had slipped again, but this time one of the warrior’s rough hands caught his face, and once more gently turned it up to look at him. “Perhaps… you should no longer venture there alone” Blackblade said. By some magnetic pull, he had moved closer. Tystnad knew himself to be fairly tall, but to him, Blackblade seemed monumental.

“Black- … Halvadere. So much confusion rages in that recess of my mind… I can’t -”

Whatever uncertainties he intended to convey remained unspoken. They found no words by which to travel, as Halvadere’s kiss parted Tystnad’s lips and left silence as the only testimony to the cosmic strike of an old legend…

As the stars settled down in its blue dappled light
The moondust lad met the boy draped in night.
Without thought, without cause, by mysterious laws
Their celestial eyes did so meet in that pause.
I heard, I heard, for what fate had to show...
The moment those hearts had seen their shared woe.
And there, oh there, in the fold of his cloak,
The moondust lad drew his heart he had broke.
And then, and then, the boy draped in Knight,
Took both heart, and his hand, holding each of them tight.
He unfolded great wings... that shifted their stars
Their sorrow, their songs, their blight and their scars...
And as those stars all fell down, in their faded white light
The moondust lad left, with his boy draped in night.

Inktober #31

You may want to read the other entries of Inktober. All flash fictions are listed under the October category on the blog.

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