Struggle for dominance. A final acceptance and an unforgiving land.
|The years progressed. Green leaves and grass changed into shades of brown, and birds came and went, while spring heralded the birth of new life for all. The landscape changed too with new streams growing and herds of deer and other wildlife moving into the area providing more lush feeding grounds than ever imagined. Tharga had long since accepted the company of Rainyiis who had so long ago caused her to break into a hasty escape. Rainyiis never left her side for the entire courtship. Years of fresh kills dropped at her side, painful bursts of aggression from her, and shadowing her every move. It was a dangerous thing to do; courtship. However, after a year Tharga finally accepted the other dragon's company.
One day, as Rainyiis walked gingerly towards her, Tharga did not shudder a move. Rainyiis stalked towards her carrying, yet again, another handsome buck for her to indulge in. This day she did not. She turned her head away as in a disapproving fashion. Rainyiis was confused and he picked the large buck up and again slinked towards her, dropping the buck a few feet away. Again, she did not move. Is this a trap? he thought suspiciously. His flanks flicked and twitched with the confusion.
Rainyiis a third time picked the carcass up and this time he lumped it right to her, it's horns grazing the awesome muscles of her relaxed forepaw. Tharga's ear simply swivelled in the direction of Rainyiis, nothing more. Now he was within feet of her, the closest he had ever come to the beautiful dragonness, and he nuzzled the carcass, releasing a few quick snorts. Tharga's body moved and he quickly stepped back and watched the massive dragon take a few rips of the deer before picking it up in her maw. Then the most startling thing occured; she walked towards him with the kill, setting it down in front of him and taking a moment to give him a look before taking off to the skies. This was the sign he had dedicated himself to. She had finally accepted him into her home. He was now to become a permanent figure alongside her. This was a courtship of dragonkin and she had finally accepted his doting and submissive attempts at garnering her as a mate.
A few more months, and more changes of seasons came. The two dragons now lay quietly by the pond near to the cliff lookout. Tharga lay in mid stream with her eagle wings stretched content over the flowing water, catching the rays of the noon sun which complimented the coldness of the glacial stream. The cool breezes of Fall sent small yellow and red leaves floating down into the water, twirling in the current and then sticking onto the scaley flesh of her legs. She smiled inside, she was happy now. This was what she looked for, and had found after so long. She continued to reminisce about the years past with Rainyiis, and she glowed with a new found love inside.
Rainyiis quietly overlooked his pleased love. He would watch her stretch out her wings and then relaxing them again making the feathered tips dip back into the water. Even in this place where no real dangers existed, he would still play sentry and watch the area for any signs of trouble. Nothing today, just his love in the river and some fox kits playing in the wooded area behind them. She really was a beautiful creature to him, a mixture of brute strength melded into a sleek innocent looking body. This dragonness was his, the primal conclusion to a life time of honing his skills. He would never let harm come to his beloved. For many years Rainyiis had fought other dragons for survival and now he had found peace. All this because of one, lone female. He couldn’t wish for anything more. The gentle giant cooed his love to the dragonness in the stream, and she peered back at him and cooed in return.
The mechanics of Draconic mating is a topic of much speculation. Although, the two would successfully go about the airborne ritual of steep climbs and dramatic drops and soaring amongst the mountain peaks, I for the sake of time will not further indulge the topic. These two magnificent beasts would come to finalize their courtship in a most beautiful display of mid air maneuver. Like a caligrapher draws his pen to paper and creates his wonderous work, these two drew upon their love for one another and upon their instincts to create their future. After the wonderous spectacle, both would retreat to the safety of a nearby meadow and he would let her rest as he gathered varying gifts of his adoration. Beautiful stones, fresh meat, and other such items, all would go to her as she lay exhausted from the event. He would soon join her as they would rest together and peaceful in the world they were creating for one another.
The winter was long and harsh with the temperatures diving into a nearly unbearable cold. But with the lush and bountiful summer having now passed, each dragon had ate their fill and had sleepily retreated to the safety and warmth of a den. The last few weeks were spent gathering many bushels of field grasses and tree boughs to line the floor. Not only would this place serve as their winter home, but it would also act as the birthing place for Tharga's young. Tharga now heavy with pregnancy, had eaten more than her usual winter's feed to survive through the months and also to nourish her young growing within. She slept most the time, only awakening to take a few licks of a nearby ice pool. Meanwhile, Rainyiis only part way slept. Even while in his hibernation state, he would awaken more than usual to guard the den from unwanted creatures who would so venture into it's entrance. He lay nearby, waiting and wishing for the cold of the winter months to depart and for Tharga to finally lay the precious cargo she held within her. Rainyiis watched diligently as his mate lay in peaceful slumber alongside him as the snow fell ever so gently amongst the trees of pine and spruce.
The first sign of spring was announced to Tharga in the form of a persistant dripping of water on her snout. She awoke and gave a quick snort, clearing the sinuses of the dust and moisture of her hibernation. She stretched and only then noticed the true growth that she, even while in hibernation, had experienced. Her belly was now swollen out and firm. A slight move of her leg would leave her feeling the eggs within her rolling about. Rainyiis awoke at her movements and he tenderly sniffed along her muzzle, acknowledging her obviously swollen belly, he nuzzled her side. The two beasts had come out of their winter slumber to a new season and a wintery melt in the valley.
The den had become cramped for the two dragonkin and Rainyiis maneuvered himself as well as he could to emerge from the small space. The outside air was damp and cold, and the scent of wet earth and pine was strong in the cold breeze as he pressed his forepaws into the melting remnants of snow. A beautiful view of white field and mountain tops greeted his emergance from the cave, and he stretched out his cramped limbs on the ledge. His mate was awake, heavy with his young and hungry from her slumber. He would need to hunt. After a few moments of surveying the scene he lifted his massive wings and set off across the valley in search of a suitable meal.
Meanwhile Tharga lay inside the den, rolling her legs to find a comfortable position. She was also beginning to make the nest more appropriate for laying her brood. As she tried to comfort herself she used her taloned paws to scrape the soft lining of the den towards her. Before long the dragonness was surrounded by a two foot thick padding of soft grasses and tree boughs. She was prepared and all she awaited was the return of her mate. He would deliver the meal which would give her enough energy to go through the process of birthing the eggs of her young, and quell the irritating rumblings of her ravenous gut. She went to sleep again, tired from the pain of her swollen belly and the effort of preparing the den for her eggs.
As Tharga rested, Rainyiis was out scouting out a large herd of bison which had wandered into the valley. One of these huge creatures would provide a nice meal for Rainyiis and still leave enough for his hungering mate. He lifted silently through the air, only a shadow amongst the snowy fields would be seen. The bison sat grazing in the field at the far end of the valley. The matriarch of the herd standing guard above the feeding members of it's family. Water vapors from the exhales of the beasts lifted above them in a fog like fashion. Rainyiis could smell the musk of the creatures as he flew closer to where they were filling with fresh shoots from the field. Pounding of their hoofs as they dug for more fresh food only mirrored his beating heart, filled with anticipation of his first kill of the new season.
A quick twist of his massive wings brought him from soaring in the skies to a dive unlike any other. The poor bison had but only one bleeting of the matriarch before he latched onto the back of one of the magnificent beasts. His quick descent and attack sent him and his quarry into a roll and Rainyiis tucked his wings smooth against his body to remove chance of injury. His target was dead, spine having been snapped as the weight of Rainyiis over took him and his eyes echoed the loss of life within it; frightened and hollow.
Rainyiis ate feverishly, and he lapped the blood off of the creature as he savored the musky flavor of the creature. This would be more than a fitting catch for his mate. He ripped off a few more portions of flesh as he selfishly considered eating this for his own and catching yet another for his mate. No, he thought as he once again reminded himself of the urgent situation she was in at the den. He would finish his meager meal and then lift the massive carcass into his powerful jaws to begin his flight back to Tharga and the den. With that final bite he did just that, and he began his trip back to the comfort of the winter home.
Even for a dragon, the haste in which Tharga devoured the remnants of the bison was frightening. With little effort she had reduced the once huge carcass to just a few scrapes of bone and sinew. Her fantastic feast would put the gears into motion for the birth of her eggs, for as the meat hit her gullet the pressure on her eggs grew and therein sent her into the contractions of laying her brood. Her flanks twitched. Her breathes quickened, and her nostrils flared with the pain of the process. As the eggs came closer to being laid, Rainyiis took his position outside the cave to observe and protect his mate from dangers abroad. A female dragon is most vulnerable during this time as she is neither able to defend or protect herself from such attacks. So he stood outside, watching and waiting for her to bring forth his and her future into the world; where they would still have an exhausting wait to see the fruits of his and her labour.