The dragon spiralled down out of the sunset, with the orange light setting his skin aflame so that he looked as if he was made of oil and steel. Tia stood and watched, wryly noting the Diamond Throne banner, whilst being careful not to move or speak until the shining one’s feet touched the ground and he furled his wings.
She bowed her head in a formal gesture of welcome.
“Greetings lady,” the voice inside her head was deeper than she expected. This must be a full male, which meant he would be a shifter as well. He would bear watching. Carefully.
“Greetings, bright one.”
The dragon regarded her out of whirling multi-faceted eyes before bowing his head. The silence lengthened, and seemed to Tia that her uninvited guest was trying to make her nervous with his lack of comment. She broke the silence in a deliberately small voice.
“What does my lady mother want of me?”
“Naught. She would merely ascertain that you are well.”
Tia cast down her eyes so he could not see her contempt.
“Perhaps my lord dragon would care to assume his human form and venture inside, to where we can speak in more comfort.”
If it was possible for a dragon to look puzzled, he did so.
“May one ask what makes you think this dragon has a human form?”
For a moment Tia dropped her shield of humility.
“Who am I?” she raised a narrow dark eyebrow.
He thought about that one for a moment before dipping his head.
“One is ashamed.”
Tia was at great pains not to show her contempt for that remark.
“I apologise. It was not my intention to cause you disquiet.”
She felt the dragonish laughter as a vibration that ran right through her skeleton.
“My name is M’a’tsu, and I would be honoured to visit with you.”
“I will leave you to make the change in privacy.”
She turned and made her way across the flower strewn meadow to the grey stone buildings that clustered at the base of the cliffs and the stone stairway to the temple.
M’a’tsu watched her go, enjoying her long-legged stride and the way her body moved under the simple linen robe she wore. He found himself fantasising about tying her up with the rope of her own black hair, which hung in a braid almost to her knees. Giving himself a sharp inward reminder that he wasn’t there for pleasure, he took the necessary time to compose his mind before making the change.
Once he was in his human form, he stretched for a moment enjoying the different sensations afforded by thinner skin. He looked down at his muscular perfection and briefly considered remaining unclothed but the pleasure of the rapidly cooling air against his human flesh had to be balanced against the possibility of giving offence. Accordingly he shifted himself leather trews and a waistcoat, electing to remain barefoot for the sheer delight of the feel of grass beneath him.