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A dragon finds his bond-match in a draftee, but doesn't know how to deal with having a Rider that hates dragons.
Author's note: I started on this ages ago, set it aside, and just started working on it again tonight. I think there's some pacing issues with it, but I can't pinpoint where :/ Any help would be awesome.
Ketsu was starting to think that he wouldn't be able to find a Rider. He'd been going to the socials every single month they'd been held for the past year, ever since he'd turned eighteen – the age all dragons had to be before they were allowed to seek out a rider. Most of his brood mates had already found Riders, they were already in training, getting close to their first flight together. And here he was, stuck on the ground, anxious to battle, anxious to shift into his true form and fly.
A scuffle on the other side of the room caught his attention. He was always eager for a fight, it helped to keep him from getting too restless while he watched his brood mates training for battle. At the center of the fight was a tiny little half-elf, somehow managing with sheer determination to pummel a human into the ground. Ketsu's breath caught in his throat at the sight of him. He'd always been told that when he found the right Rider, he would just … know.
The half-elf stood up, glaring at the crowd that had gathered around him. A draftee, judging by the blue ink on his face. “Who's next?” That was a blatant challenge, and Ketsu couldn't help but answer. He knew it was hard for humans and elves to know their dragons when they saw them, but hopefully a fight would help show this one who he was meant to be with.
Ketsu stepped forward, grinning. “You're sure you want to fight me? I'd hate to ruin that pretty face of yours.”
The little elfling spat on the ground, sneering at the insult to his ability. Despite having taken out a human that was considerably larger than him, this one didn't even have a mark on him. Ketsu was determined to fix that. "I'll take that as a yes, then." Ketsu smirked, getting into a brawling stance.
His would-be Rider was fast, Ketsu would give him that much. There was barely time to react as a furious mass of blond hair and pale skin launched into the air at him. Ketsu swore and brought his arms up, trying to fend off the absolutely feral attacks being flung at him.
This opponent didn't know how to brawl. Didn't obey any unspoken rules of etiquette between friendly fights, even. The little half-elf was out for blood, pure and simple. Despite having a battle lust that put many of his brood mates to shame, Ketsu was frightened of what this Rider might do – to himself or to someone else.
There wasn't much choice. Although it was an option that was rarely exercised in unsupervised fights, it seemed the best course of action. Ketsu dug deep into his chest, feeling the inner fire that burned and that was a constant struggle to keep down. He let most of his safeguards down, only stopping to make sure that no one would get caught up in the blast. This was a call to stop a dangerous opponent, not an attack.
The fire that he let loose went straight up, unable to seriously hurt anyone, although a few might get smoldering debris caught on their sleeves. The half-elf, his future Rider, stumbled backwards and stared at the display with wide eyes. If only he stayed so stunned as others descended on him, grabbing at him to prevent any further violence.
Ketsu stopped the flame abruptly once his little elfling was secured. Although he had a reputation for fighting, he tried not to encourage unnecessary violence. "What is your problem? Do you want to kill yourself?" Some of the others here might not have been so kind to an out-of-hand brawler.
"Get away from me, you filthy lizard." He spat again, this time at Ketsu's face.
While animosity towards dragons and their riders was rare in this part of the country, it wasn't unheard of. And if this little half-elf was a draftee, there was likely going to be a lot of trouble. While the ritual that sped up the dragon's natural bonding process was the Rider's choice, this particular one wouldn't be getting a choice in which dragon he'd be going with – it was all a matter of whoever took him first.
It might not be his ideal situation, to be bonded to a Rider that hated dragons so openly, but at the same time, Ketsu wanted him. Wanted to know why he hated dragons so much, what he might be able to do to stop that – if anything – and most importantly… "What's your name?"
The little elfling didn't answer. The drafter, though, was quick enough onto the scene. "Ellenden Ristaermas. Did you have an interest in him, Ketsu?" The drafter, an older dragon that retired before Ketsu was born, looked over their captive draftee.
"I am not some toy for a horny lizard to take to his bed!" Ellenden snarled, renewing his efforts to twist away from the hold on him.
Ketsu scowled, trying not to give in to the temptation to throw a good, solid punch. It was a bad precedent. "I would never—"
"Ketsu. Is he your Rider?"
Did he really want this? He wanted a Rider, ached for it on a deep level. A dragon just wasn't complete until they'd bonded. It encouraged a lifelong commitment, a desire to keep the person they were bonded to from harm, a friendship, and more often then not, a love. Ketsu would be lucky if he got Ellenden just to be a friend.
"Yes, he is." Gods forgive him if this turned out horribly. He'd heard stories of dragons who'd bonded to people who hated them, defied the bond and tried to run away. The punishment for that was death. A Rider's death was murder on a dragon – most never recovered. Hopefully Ellenden wouldn't try anything so stupid.
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