Dexter slowly walked over to the castle. Mi'ihen it was called. Dexter knew. He had visited all the castles at least once and he had the sketches to prove it. He was quite a good artist, but he wasn't good enough for people to buy his art. Who would need it on Icarus anyway? The castles most likely... but they didn't need pictures of their castles. Those had been done in abundant numbers already.
Dexter wiped these disappointing thoughts from his mind. Today he had nothing else to do than sit and sketch. More than enough to fill a fun day. The sun was warm on his tanned skin and his feet were weary from the walk over here. Dexter soon found a nicely shaped rock and began drawing Mi'ihen in all it's summer pride.
People walked by and looked at his drawings. People always did. Dexter had started drawing draks when he was 12. Now he was 20, 8 years older, 8 years more experienced and 2 years wiser. He grinned. His mom always used to say that being wise came four times as slow as age. He missed her sometimes. Maybe he'd stop by after he had stayed a week or two at Mi'ihen.
Castles always were hospitable...Dexter would soon find out just how hospitable. He looked up and saw the sun was setting. The light reflected in a way that made him think an aquarelle would be perfect for this setting. He'd have to come back tomorrow to this same spot. Now he'd better get inside before all the rooms were filled.

"Excuse me."
"Yes?" a woman just outside the gate said.
"Do you know where I'd have to be for a stay?"
"Oh! You've come to stay! Grand! We need some more people in here for the upcoming event."
"Event? Oh a hatching!" Dexter said and grinned. 
Artists were always wanted at hatchings. Dexter liked doing all the happy faces too, not too mention the draklings.
"My name is Tayli, and this is my drak Kaayri." she said and stopped.
"My name is Dexter and I'd love to stay her for a few weeks at least."
"Oh, you shall, let me ask Kaayri."
How odd to ask a drak if a person could stay. Dexter had never seen anything like this before.
"She says you'll do nicely. Do you mind some work?"
"No.. I'm used to it."
"Great. Shifts start at 7 tomorrow."
Tayli led him to a small room he shared with another young man. Dexter marvelled at this treatment. Normally he found himself in a back room, accompanied by 5 other men or so. He very much liked this room. And his roommate wasn't all that bad either. Joe was his name and the guy was mostly busy shining his boots and making like a recruit in an army as he called it. Shier showing of was what Dexter called it. The man was obsessed! Dexter had never been tidy..nor organised...nor a silent sleeper. He snored. Dexter got great pleasure out of seeing his roommate waking up tired in the mornings. 
On one of those mornings Dexter was cleaning up... yeah, he had to at one day or another... plus he really wanted to go home. His mother would be glad to see him and he had already stayed 2 weeks at Mi'ihen. He had cleaned and drawn every part in it twice already.
"What are you doing?" Joe asked. "Oh my God. You are cleaning... Has the world come to an end?"
"Packing. I'm leaving."
"Aspirants don't leave!"
"But I'm not an aspirant!"
"Then why are you in the aspirant rooms? With another aspirant? Doing aspirant chores? I ask you: Why?"
"I'm just an artist. They asked me to draw the hatching, but it's taking too long."
"No, they asked you to stand. Tayli brought you in. I bet you she asked Kaayri what she thought of you."
"Yeah, so what?"
"That's the Judge! Idiot!"
"Ow... ehm... ok...damn."
"You didn't want this?" insane grin on Joe's face, "You kept me awake for no reason at all?"
"Ehm... yes?"
"I'm gonna kill you!"
Dexter ran out as fast as he could, trying to find that rider that had brought him in here. It seemed to take hours to find her. Finally he found her on the landing flat.
"Ah Dexter." she said, "How do you like Mi'ihen?"
"Ehm, Am I an aspirant?"
"What a silly question, of course you are."
"Oh... ok then." Dexter didn't dare object. He had been judged. He better wait this thing out. Maybe he didn't pair at all...


Again Dexter was called to the waiting room outside of the deep cavern. He had often worried about this moment. What if he didn't pair? What if Joe paired and someone else would take his place in the shared room? Dexter wasn't overly fond of his roommate but at least he was predictable. 
Finally the mother of the clutch, a forest named Gilvojst, came out and muttered something at one of the less respectful aspirants. Soon after a small night crawled from under her protecting posture and found his match. 
When the others saw their brother pairing and -probably- getting food they scrambled to pair for themselves. A rain was next and she bonded quickly to the dancer in the group. Two more draklings waited below their mother. With growing unease Dexter saw the male ore strut for Joe and pairing him. 
Dexter held his breath. Now all his hope lay with the last of the draklings. He watched as Joe left and just knew he was going to be left again...

"No, not left again," a voice scolded from behind him - the last Drakling.
Dexter turned slowly and faced the little Mud, blinking in bemusement. He had no idea what to say to that. "Did your mother even name you yet?" he finally asked. "I don't think I heard her."

"That'ss becausse you weren't paying attention," the Drakling snorted, but Dexter could feel the laughter in his mind. "I am Xirastos."
"Oh. Okay. You do know that I snore, right? And that I'm notoriously messy and disorganized? You're probably going to go nuts before we even finish our training."
A solemn expression could be seen on the Mud's face.
"I ssee. Well, we'll jusst have to work on that, now won't we?"
Dexter could foresee many an argument in his future, but strangely enough, it didn't matter. He'd get almost as much fun from tormenting this meticulous little creature as he had with Joe! An equally somber expression on his face, with the laughter hiding just behind his eyes, he directed his Drakling towards the cavern entrance, to the food waiting beyond.

Trained by Transport Drendari and Forest Kaaowen


A big brown head burst out of the pile of old canvas. Xirastos, full grown and rather irritated, looked around at his bond.
"Why on Icarus did you lose it here?" he asked.
"Because I was sitting here when I had it and later I didn't any more. It's the most logical place to look." Dexter answered.
Xirastos looked rather pensive when Dexter told him that and continued going through the big pile of canvas. How could one lose an important paper? And why did Dexter let him search for it? He had done the losing... but he was still his knight.
Finally after what seemed an hour of searching but was in fact 15 minutes, Xirastos had a good sense of time so he knew that, the drak found the paper.
"I've got it!" he said, jumping out of the canvas. Xirastos neatly  dropped the piece of paper in front of Dexter and started moving away.
"Don't you want to know what it says?"
"No, not really."
"Not even if it has something to do with you?"
"What?" Xirastos asked lifting his brow in a carefull curiosity.
"I just thought you might want to know one of your brothers has joined the new castle Chindor. You remember the ore right?"
"That's the one. I thought it might be fun to get reaquainted. I think he would love to see us!"
"I think you are crazy... he hated you."
"Nah... that was just play. But just to make sure... Let's surprise him, k?"
Xirastos looked down and sighed. It would be some rough couple of days but he was rather interested in this new place called Chindor.


Doodling, Dexter couldn't help but realise that his hands were yet again drawing the lines of a face. So interesting and crisp, the lines of the face had been haunting him even in his dreams it seemed. Maybe haunting was too big a word because his nights weren't sleepless, in fact he hoped he could draw it as perfect as he did in his dreams.
"Oh, it's that person again." Xirastos sighed sleepily, "Aren't you getting bored of drawing like you do with castles and draks?"
"I don't get bored with them!"
Xirastos looked at him with a doubtful expression. After all, his knight never did stay in the same place for an extended period. A month at most and then they were off again. Not that Xirastos minded much, but he felt he might want to stay somewhere a bit longer. Get to know the people and draks, actually do some work that he could see the end of... maybe sire some draklings...
Now there was a thought. Maybe it was love he needed. And maybe he wouldn't need to look far for it.
"Fancy a mating flight?" he asked boldly.
Dexter turned red and Xirastos knew he'd guessed right.


Dexter is an aspirant at Mi'ihen Castle
Font used is BoisterBlack

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