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The hatchlings were asleep, and for the first time in what seemed like eternities, I was alone with my lord. AuRel often spent nights outside the cave hunting for our breakfast, while I stayed to protect the hatchlings, and by the time he would return, I would be fast asleep, unable to see him until the morning. But by then, I couldn’t truly be alone with him. Not to mate or anything of the sort (well, not yet,) but to just enjoy the company of my lord I had fallen in love with all those years ago. Suddenly, wingbeats began to approach the cave, and as if my thoughts magically conjured him back to life, AuRel landed inside of our little home, small bird in maw. I stepped away from the magnificent dragon, allowing him to enter peacefully. Upon walking near, I noticed the only thing he had returned with was a single crow, a potential sign for a poor hunt.


“That is not enough to feed our clutch, my lord,” I commented, trying to sound as if I was pitying him rather than shaming him. Perhaps I should have said something different?


Upon hearing this, AuRel turned around and shook his head, walking over. “This isn’t for the children.” He said. He then dropped it onto the stone floor and nudged it to me with a snout. “It’s for you. A gift.”


I looked down at the small animal and felt a prumm begin to rise in my throat when I realized that it was no crow. I looked up to meet his gaze. “This is a raven,” I said.


AuRel nodded. “Yes, I felt like I needed to bring you something nice.”


I tilted my head. “Whatever for? I have all that I ever need!”


AuRel leaned forward and give my griff a quick lick. “ For blessing me with three beautiful children, my love. ” He whispered.


I looked up at him, unable to find something to say. It wasn’t the gift that made me feel this way, but the words that came from it “My lord… Thank you… This means wonders to me.”


“I apologize for all of the things I said about Auron, and for seeming so distant over the days.” He added. “You didn’t deserve either of those.”


Now that I think about it again, AuRel doubting Auron didn’t upset me, it irritated me more than anything, nothing that a tail-smack across his horned head wouldn’t fix, yet hearing him apologize made me forget all of that. It was just like what my mother said ‘It takes a dragon to win a female, but It takes a real dragon to apologize to one.’ “Do not worry, AuRel. I have forgotten all about it anyways. As for your second apology, however, I know you are simply trying to keep us alive, and I love you for that, but I do miss you, a lot.”


AuRel’s head fell. “I understand, my mate. I do. But as you said, I am trying to keep us alive.”


My head turned to the sleeping hatchlings at the sound of Auron sneezing in his sleep. I turned back to my lord, an idea on my mind. “You know, the hatchlings ARE asleep, AuRel…” I gave him a few slow, affectionate blinks.


AuRel turned to the hatchlings, then back to me. “You mean you want to mate again? Ireila, you are weak, and we have a clutch already. We cannot take care of another one at this moment.”


A prumm escaped my lips at his ignorance. “No, That is not what I mean. I am simply saying that perhaps we could make up for that time we haven’t spent with each other.” I walk to an emptier, wider space in the egg cave, laying down, shivering from the cold ground. “Join me, my lord.”


Watching me, AuRel prummed in return at my offer. “I wouldn’t miss the chance to be with my beautiful treasure.” still prumming, he picked up the raven, walking over to join me. “Remind me why you enjoy these things so much?” He said, dropping the bird in front of me with a plop. “I could never enjoy these things, feathery little things.”


I chuckled, remembering the reason of my love for ravens. I was just surprised that AuRel didn’t remember. “You know full well why I do, my lord.” I sneered. “Remember the time in the forest, with the raven and the man?”


AuRel thought for a moment, then suddenly began to laugh. “I remember. I mistook you for another female and offered you the confections.”


I joined in instinctively in his gentle laugher. “You were so confident that I was the dragonelle you were seeking, that you wouldn’t let me refuse!”


“...And so I made sure you consumed them both by standing by and talking with you. Surprisingly, you listened to my tales.” He said, slowly remembering


“...And it was when I told you my name that you panicked and fled away, realizing you had gotten the wrong dragon.” I laughed. “I am so happy you remember that, if it wasn’t for your tall tales, I wouldn’t know where I’d be right now.”


AuRel prummed and leaned closer “If my awful memory didn’t weigh me down then, I wouldn’t be here with the most beautiful dragonelle in the world.” He leaned closer, and I felt myself leaning in as well, instinctively pressing my muzzle against his. We stood there for a moment, savoring our scents and our touches. The gesture was small, yet it felt the greatest to me. I hardly didn’t even notice as AuRel began licking the front of my maw as if begging me to open my maw and allow him to taste me. I gently opened my mouth, granting him what he desired, allowing him to wrap his maw around mine, locking us together in a soothing, passionate moment. AuRel pulled away a few short moments later, panting and salivating.


I leaned forward to lick his wet maw. “Goodness, how I love you!” I practically shouted as AuRel nuzzled me in return.


“I love you too, Ireila. I would move spirits and earth for you, and kill anybody who tries too hard you.” He said, pulling me close with his massive tail.


I prummed at his words. “I always remembered you as a dragon who was unable to show affection for long, you always tired out fast.”


“We all have our strengths and weaknesses,” AuRel said. “For example, you have the most marvelous wingspan I have ever seen in my life.” He said, nudging my wings. “ Spread them for me. I want to see every part of you in this darkness. ” Unable to silence my growing prumming, I slowly spread my massive wings in front of my lord, who slowly joined my happy prumms as he admired my wings. “My love, your span is so long you can embrace the world if you wanted to.”


Laughing at the same comment my father had said to my mother one time, I leaned forward so that I may admire them in slower detail. “I can also embrace you if you wish, rewarded, marvelous, I said, watching as AuRel timidly and shyly began to nuzzle and lick my wings.


AuRel, clearly busy, looked up from his task. “You think?” He asked, backing away.


I didn’t know if I could, yet for the pleasure of my lord, I was willing to try. Pointing my wings forwards, I slowly enveloped AuRel in my wings holding the massive dragon in my span. While awkward and a little bit difficult, I pulled it off just fine, and AuRel seemed to enjoy it all as well, I knew from his gentle purring. “Is this good, my lord?”


AuRel only prummed. “Oh, Ireila, your touch and your warmth, so delicate yet passionate. I love it so much.”


I gently pulled away, retracting my wings. “I am glad you did, my lord.” I gave the bronze a gentle lick across his face.


“You have to do that during our next mating. It’ll work so well.” He said.


I tilted my head. “Oh, is that so?” I chuckled. “I’ll make it so that it happens.”


AuRel returned the smile excitedly. “Oh my, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep knowing I am in for a treat this next mating,” He said, captivated by his fantasies.


I laughed again, my sides almost hurting. “You must have patience, my dear! We cannot mate again until after the children leave!” My head slowly dropped upon remembering that, despite how much I didn’t want it, we would have to banish Auron from the egg cave into the Upper World someday. It was our way of life, there was no way to avoid it. Soon, Auron would get hungry for power and attack us all. We couldn’t afford that.


“I know that look,” AuRel said, losing his playfulness. “You know full well that we cannot keep them, as much as you love them. They are destined to do things come the future, Ireila.”


“I understand that, but…” I paused, swallowing the lump in my throat. “But I care and pity them, my lord. I do not harm to come to them. After all, they are our greatest treasures.”


“I know, but you know what might happen. Auron, just like many others before him, is growing, he won’t remain timid, yet daring for the rest of his life. He will grow hungry for our treasures and our home.” He said. “It is our way of life, remember that.”


I nodded. “I understand that, my lord. That won’t bother me again, I promise.”


At that, AuRel prummed and drew his tongue over my face. “Oh, my sweet Irelia, so sweet and compassionate…”


“Oh, my handsome AuRel…” I countered, mimicking his voice. “So clingy yet the best mate one could ask for.”


AuRel snorted at the last part, a puff of smoke rising from his nostrils. “Oh, you…”


I chuckled, licking him again. “That is me,” I said happily. Another thought entered my mind, and I felt the need to make itself known to end this already beautiful night. “You know, while on the thought of being bothered, there is something that has been bothering me. Do you mind if I share?”


“Yes, go right ahead.” He said.


I nodded, excitement bubbling on the inside. “I have been quite bothered that we cannot be alone together as often as before, but there is one part about it all that bothers me the most…”


AuRel tilted his head curiously. “Which is?”


Sensing my moment, I placed all of my weight onto the older male, bringing him down to the cave floor and licking him. “That we cannot sleep together when the day is done!” I say, going back to licking immediately thereafter.


I heard AuRel prumm. “Oh, how I have missed it too, Irelia. You ward away bad dreams, and you are incredibly warm..” He looked up in the direction of the hatchlings, then back at me. “I am pretty sure there are enough dead bats to hold them over, so I shall postpone the hunting trip for now. This night should be about you…” He licked my neck a few times, the motion causing me to prumm happily at the feel of his long tongue.


“Oh, AuRel, being with you makes me the happiest dragonelle in the world!” I practically sang. “I love you so much!!”


AuRel rewarded my words with another lick. “Well, I am the happiest DRAGON in the world being with you, my beloved mate. I am so glad I met you.”


“I am so glad your stupidity lead me to you.” I chuckled, pushing his snout away with my own as he tried to lick me.

“Well, I am so glad you blessed me with three wonderful hatchlings, who will live long and fruitful lives, a home filled with treasure, and the best mate a dragon could ask for.” He said, rubbing his snout against mine, and then finally placing his muzzle on my own. “ I love you more than anything, My Ireila. You are the only treasure I need in my life. As long as you are alive and well, I will continue to be the happiest dragon alive.


The words meant so much to me that I wanted to caress, nuzzle, and lick him and never, ever let go. “Oh, AuRel! I love you too!” I shouted, trying my best to keep my voice in check to avoid waking the hatchlings. “I promise you, I will continue to make you happy as you do me. I am so glad I met you.”


“I am too, my sweet Irelia,” AuRel said, pressing his head against mine. “Tomorrow morning, let us go for a fly, and sing a song to the upper world showing our unbreakable love. What do you say?”


“That sounds like the greatest way to start another beautiful day with you,” I murmured, nuzzling him. “You have a deal.”


“Excellent, my dear,” AuRel said, laying back down. “But for now, I shall sleep. You should too, your eyes look tired.”


It was true, I was very tired watching over the hungry, demanding hatchlings. I deserved a good night’s rest, at least this once. “Okay, my lord. I shall sleep.”


AuRel nodded. “Good.” He said, closing his eyes. “Good night, my beautiful Irelia.” He murmured sleepily.


Another idea entering my mind, I slowly lifted my head and set it down gently of AuRel’s warm belly, savoring his heat and his scent and soft breathing. AuRel reacted to the motion by jumping slightly but did not object. Soon he settled down from the little frightening I gave him, and soon, I wiggled forward until my body was partly on his belly, holding onto him. AuRel, eyes closed and seeming calm, did not object as I laid on him. He even prummed. “Good night, AuRel,” I said in return, nuzzling his neck and relishing his warmth that came from it.


“Good night, Irelia,” AuRel said, yawning. “Have a good rest filled with the most pleasant dreams.”


“Good night, AuRel,” I said in return. “And may you also have the greatest dreams of flight and you mate and children.”


Lulled to sleep by the sound of his slow breathing and his heartbeat, my eyes slowly began to close, and a dream-filled sleep filled with images of Auron and my beautiful AuRel. Just as sleep fully consumed me, I heard the faint sound of dragon steps in the back of the cave, followed by the sounds of fighting and Auron’s challenging voice.

Fight strong and with honor… My champion...