Sep 27, 2023 6:36 AM
Shameless Emma/Phil fluff. See this top post for Emmalina's backstory.

"Stand forth and do battle!"

Emmalina considers her outfit for a moment. She's been playing dress up in the treasure room again, and she'll look more than a little ridiculous going out to meet someone dressed in a grungy apron and a full matched set of diamond and emerald jewels, but Morath is due back any minute. For the distance he'll have traveled, he'll need sleep, not a fight; Farzil's cave is practically at the other end of the Mountains of Morning. If she's going to head off whoever-it-is, she really ought to hurry. With a sigh, she heads outside.

"Ho, dragon! Stand-" the figure out front breaks off as he spots her and visibly squints at her through his visor. "Uh, Princess Emmalina? Is that you?"

Emmalina manages not to roll her eyes. "No, I'm an unusually tall dwarf with a fancy tiara," she says.

To her surprise, he laughs and removes his helmet. With a better look she pegs him as a knight, not a prince; there's the lack of a crown, for starters, but his armor is well maintained and functional. In her experience, princes adventure in outfits ranging on a scale from 'ostentatious' to 'blindingly ostentatious.' "It's a very nice tiara," he agrees, "but you have to admit it doesn't quite match the apron."

"I have it on the best authority that tiaras match everything," she says loftily, but she's smiling.

"Far be it for me to doubt a princess," he says with a polite bow, but she doesn't miss that he's not, technically, agreeing with her. Which is for the best really, since she's fully aware she's talking nonsense and looks, frankly, absurd. "I am Sir Philip of Marevale, at your service, princess."

Emmalina returns his bow with a curtsy out of habit. "Pleasure to meet you."

"So," Sir Philip says, leaning against the rock next to him and gesturing at the sword at his belt. "About that dragon?"

"Oh!" Emmalina looks up, and breathes a sigh of relief when she doesn't see anything in the sky to the north. "I'm afraid Morath's not here at the moment. He's visiting, um, friends up north."

"Oh," he says with a thoughtful look. "So, there's no one here besides you...?"

The silence sits for a couple seconds before Emmalina realizes what he's suggesting. "Um, well, not right now, but Morath's due back any minute, really, and I..." she trails off weakly. He can fill in with something like worry about being eaten if I annoy him by running away if he likes; it sounds so much nicer than like it here much better than I did at my parents' castle, thanks very much.

"Well, I don't mind waiting," he says. "If you don't object, that is?"

Emmalina blinks at him in astonishment. That's the closest one of her rescuers has come to asking her opinion on the whole matter since... well, ever, really. "Actually, I don't-"

"INTRUDER!" Morath's voice roars from above.

Emmalina, much to her embarrassment, shrieks in surprise. Morath was supposed to be coming from the north, how did he- never mind. Morath stalks out from what is definitely the west and interposes himself between Emmalina and the knight. She hears a ring of steel that must be Sir Philip drawing his sword, and promptly takes three steps back so she's safely back in the entrance to a cave. Being collateral damange would be painful and embarrassing. (And she can see better from here, which doesn't hurt.)

Sir Philip circles Morath warily, moving just fast enough that Morath quickly gives up trying to flame him. Morath, for his part, is- mostly staying in place, as she'd rather expected. Emmalina shifts nervously. Sir Philip had seemed nice enough, but Morath's been good to her, as dragons go. Morath usually has no trouble knocking her rescuers around just enough that they aren't too mortified to return home, but he must be exhausted. Exhausted enough to make mistakes? How badly? She can't tell.

Sir Philip manages to shove his helmet back on just in time to dodge a snap of Morath's teeth, and he retaliates with a sweep of his sword. She can't see around Morath's head anymore but from the ripple of Morath's tail, she suspects it was a hit. Morath's next bite is aimed better, and she hears a yelp as Morath's teeth close on Sir Philip's arm. The dragon spits him out before he breaks a tooth on the plate mail, but from the dents, there will be some nasty bruises tomorrow. Emmalina gulps and risks a step forwards. If Sir Philip can't get close because of Morath's flames, but Morath is too tired to move... and she has a nasty suspicion that Morath stopped flaming because he's too tired to make more, not because of the dodging. At this rate, there'll be no managing who gets hurt.

Sure enough, it only takes a few more rounds before Morath takes another hit from the sword, and this time, his tail flails more violently- right into Emmalina. Getting thrown into one of the boulders outside the cave door isn't quite debilitating, but it's painful, undignified, she's pretty sure she's damanged her jewelry, and did she mention painful? Of all the people to get injured in this ridiculous mockery of a fight, it had to be her. Suddenly, she is entirely done with this situation. She manages to scramble to her feet and plants her hands on her hips. "All right, that's ENOUGH," she shouts.

Two sets of eyes of wildly different sizes turn to her with matching expressions of astonishment.

"This is ridiculous. Morath, you can barely stand up. Don't look at me like that, your scales are practically turning gray. Go to bed." Morath opens his mouth to say something, and Emmalina glares. "And don't say you'll flame me. Even if you weren't too tired to manage it, you fireproofed me yourself."

"Clearly a mistake," Morath grumbles, but he backs inside quickly enough.

"And you," she rounds on Sir Philip. "What kind of knight fights a dragon that's too tired to flame him?"

"How was I supposed to know? I was a little preoccupied at the time!" he says defensively.

Emmalina sighs. She supposes he has a point, but the throbbing along her side where she hit the boulder is making her cranky. "What are you doing here, anyway?"

"Rescuing... you...?" he says, looking uncertain.

She waves her hand. "No, no, obviously, but why... um. Rescuing? Knighthood? Me in particular? Any of it, I guess?"

"I'm a middle son and I'm good at fighting?" he says. "There's not a lot of respectable middle son jobs out there, and I couldn't exactly go questing without becoming a knight first."

Emmalina considers all the stories about questing middle sons and their probability of success. "I suppose not."

"I, well." He shuffles his feet, which shouldn't be as adorable as it is, given the full suit of armor. "There's a list, you see."

She can't help a smile. "A list?"

"Of princesses with known dragons, and the reward, and, well..."

"My parents are offering a lot, I'm sure," she finishes dryly when he trails off. Sir Philip nods, looking even more embarrassed. "Oh, don't look like that," she says wearily. With a sigh, she removes her (Morath's) jewery- at least one bracelet is definitely dented, she notes unhappily- and sits down on the nearest boulder. Sir Philip picks out a boulder of his own to sit on, wincing slightly as he bumps what must be a nasty bruise on his arm; Emmalina grimaces in sympathy. "Much better. Um, anyway, it's- I mean. You couldn't very well talk to all of us before showing up."

He waggles his head side to side. Emmalina decides to interpret this as I know you're right, but don't want to admit it. "Still rather mercenary."

"It's all mercenary," she grumbles. "Even Morath."

"Your dragon? How is he mercenary?"

Oh, she really, really does not want to get into this. "Ah. It's nothing. You didn't talk to my parents, then?"

"No? That's not expected, is it? They didn't mention anything in school..." he trails off with a frown. "Were you hoping for a message or something? I'm sorry if you were, I didn't realize-"

"No, it's fine," she hastens to cut him off before he can get into how much she must miss and love her parents. (She does love them. She thinks. It's complicated.) "I shouldn't have said anything." There's an awkward silence before she finally mumbles, "I should... go check on Morath, I suppose."

Sir Philip looks at her directly then. She hadn't realized quite how deferential he'd been acting until he wasn't. "Do you not want to be rescued, then?"

"I... maybe?" she says helplessly.

"I know I didn't exactly defeat him, but-"

"-no, it's not-" she realizes she's cut him off, again, and blushes. "That was horribly rude of me, I'm sorry."

He smiles. "I don't mind."

"Dragons mind," she says fervently, picturing some of the dinner arguments she's seen. "But I apologize anyway."

"Well, then, apology accepted. But as you were saying. Do you want to be rescued? I don't- I mean. I wouldn't rescue you against your will, obviously!"

"Obviously," she murmurs. It doesn't seem all that obvious to Emmalina, actually. There's been at least one or two who she thought might've been tempted by the reward, before Morath drove them off. Griffinmarsh isn't much of a kingdom, as kingdoms go, but it's still a kingdom. It speaks well of Sir Philip, certainly, that he sounds so horrified at the suggestion. "I mean, I don't want to stay here forever. I just don't..." want to go home "...know what else to do, I suppose."

"So you're not looking for a traditional rescue wedding, then?" he says. Emmalina almost hurries to reassure him before she realizes he's trying not to laugh. Not offended, then. Small favors.

"It's not that you're not being very nice about this," she says apologetically. "But really, we only just met."

"Well then. If you don't want the rescue wedding, what do you want, princess?"

"To know the answer to that question?" she says wistfully.

Sir Philip stands up, mostly managing to work around his shoulder, and comes over to wear she's sitting to bow politely to her. "Then I must leave you to consider," he says gravely.

"Leave?" she repeats, startled, as though this wasn't the entire reason she'd come outside in the first place.

"Well, you see, I was told by a very reliable source that I hadn't properly defeated your dragon." She blushes. "And anyway, now he's sleeping and I have some armor repair to do, so."

"He might not be asleep," Emmalina says, thinking even as she says it how inane she sounds. As though that's the part of his statement she should be responding to. But he laughs, so he must not mind.

"He wouldn't dare not, after that scolding you gave us." Not having any idea how to respond to that, Emmalina keeps her mouth shut, but it seems like it's at least adjacent to a compliment? "Until next time, princess." And he starts off down the cliffs where he came from.

Emmalina watches him go, eyes wide and confused. Next time?

Total: 4
Posts Per Page:

Morath is ready for this to be over.

Morath is, at heart, lazy. He is fine with this. He has embraced this about himself. He has adopted his laziness as part of his identity and become one with it. He really doesn't see why everyone else makes such a fuss about it; after all, dragons have so much more time than everyone else to get things done. He abducted Emmalina because her parents did all the work for him, and he kept her because she's been well worth the occasional rescuer, and it's all been working out rather nicely if he does say so himself.

Until this... this... knight.

Sir Philip seems like a perfectly good sort, at least as far as knights go. Emmalina seems to like him at least enough that she isn't sending him away when he stops by, which is more than she's done for any of the others. But they just sit there and talk! Which, on some level, Morath can't blame them. He highly approves of sitting as an activity, and it's much less bother for him if he's not being challenged every visit. But really. Surely there's a limit. If this continues, he'll have to keep going out the back way through the caves any time he wants to go anywhere, which takes twice as long and doesn't let him stretch his wings and he's getting downright stiff, okay. Really, he couldn't be any clearer about staying out of the way if he'd hung a sign.

(It is a sign of how fed up Morath is that he gives this option serious consideration, even for a second.)

Finally, he decides to take drastic measures (for him). He tells Emmalina they're going to spend the day doing a checkup of the caves, haughtily refusing to explain himself when asked. He makes sure he knows where all the treasure is, that she's put back all the pieces she likes to play with and thinks he doesn't know about, that she's keyed him to all the spells she's set up for the housekeeping- generally, he wants to make sure that when she leaves, he won't be stuck trying to re-determine everything she's done without her. That would be, after all, entirely too much work.

Once he's satisfied he won't lose track of anything in his cave for at least a few years, he announces that he's going to visit Farzil again. For a few days this time, seeing how it's such a long flight which he'd rather avoid (which isn't exactly out of character). He makes Emmalina help him find a host gift for Farzil, whines enough about her first seven choices that he's confident she's thoroughly fed up with him, and then flies out of the cave in a very obvious beeline north before ducking around and circling back to hide behind some rocks in the mountain above his cave.

Farzil's cave really is an awfully long flight, and besides. He wants to see what happens.


Philip finds Emmalina sitting outside the cave on her usual boulder, wearing a considering expression he doesn't recognize. Once she spots him, he sweeps a bow. "Good day, princess."

"Hello, Philip," she says with a smile and a raised eyebrow. "Didn't I ask you to call me Emmalina?"

"Sorry, it's a habit," he says apologetically. "What has you looking so thoughtful today, Emmalina?"

"Morath's not here," she replies.

Philip tilts his head at her questioningly. "Well, he isn't usually here, is he? I'm sure I'd have remembered more dents in my armor, at least."

That gets a smile out of her. "One fight was quite enough, thank you." Then she gestures back at the cave. "He's usually at least, you know... around. Nearby, back soon. He's gone for almost a week this time." She scowls. "It took him eight tries to pick something to bring his girlfriend, I swear-"

Philip chokes on nothing, sitting down hard on the nearest boulder. "His what?"

Emmalina is nice enough not to comment on his expression, but her eyes are dancing as she sits next to him. "I mentioned her, didn't I? The friend he was visiting when you first came by?"

Came by is a nicer term for it then doing embarrassingly poorly in a fight considering his opponent was barely conscious, but he'll take it. Anyway, he's rather distracted at the moment. "I didn't think-" he splutters. "You don't exactly picture dragons having girlfriends, right?"

Emmalina shrugs. "I don't see why not. You don't picture them with sweet tooths either, but King Kazul's love of cherries jubilee is legendary."

"My brain. It is broken," he deadpans. "Dragons have dessert with their girlfriends. Help. I'm forever scarred."

She giggles, then sighs. Philip considers her. She's got what he's dubbed her 'Princess Face' on, which as far as he can tell is just her attempting to hide the fact that she posseses feelings. He found it pretty impenetrable originally, but they've been talking for a while now, and he has at least a sense- well, it's worth an attempt. "Do you want to talk about it?"

She curls up against his shoulder which he takes as a 'yes', and also: adorable. "I just..." she flails her hands around, which does not in any way make her less adorable. "I just don't want to go home," she mumbles into his shoulder.

Philip does not laugh. He doesn't. He just taps her shoulder gently, saying, "Sorry, princess, I didn't quite catch that?"

"I just- I don't want to go home!" she says, then freezes, eyes wide. He rather suspects she hadn't meant to blurt that out. That's... a wrinkle he wasn't expecting, to say the least. If you rescue someone, you're supposed to have somewhere to rescue them to.

"Does this have something to do with how you never mention your parents?" he asks.

She doesn't quite glare at him- it's not very princessly to glare- but she manages to convey the sensation of being glared at nonetheless. "It's private."

"Well, what am I supposed to tell them then?" he asks slowly, picturing various scenarios. "I don't think 'I rescued your daughter, you should give me the reward but you can't have her back' would go over very well."

"I don't know!" Emmalina says, looking princessly and Definitely Not Cranky. "If I did, I'd've said something sooner!"

"Is there something I can say to them that would work?" he tries.

"I just... I don't want them to know where I am," Emmalina says firmly, then falters. "Well, after this. Obviously they know I'm here now." She sounds awfully bitter about that.

"They sent me after her," a bored voice says from above them.

Emmalina yelps and jumps to her feet, and they both stare up into Morath's face. He's grinning at them toothily. Philip can't decide if he's being threatening or not. Smiles: unthreatening? Teeth: threatening? He's... going to default to 'not threatening', for now, but he pulls his sword closer just in case.

"You're supposed to be on your way to Farzil's!" Emmalina says.

"Yes, I suppose I did say that, didn't I?" Morath agrees.

"You lied?" Emmalina demands, looking scandalized.

Philip, in accordance with his classes, decides that if he isn't fighting the dragon, he ought to be polite instead. "I offer you greetings and good fortune in all your endeavors," he says, standing with a bow. This earns him an approving nod. Deciding to press his luck a bit, he circles back to Morath's first comment. "What did you mean, they sent you?"

"Her parents told me where she'd be and when," Morath explains, tail lashing. "Which has worked out very nicely for me, for the most part, but Emmalina gets all shouty about it."

"I do not get 'shouty' about it!" Emmalina shouts. Both Philip and Morath turn to look at her. She flushes. "Oh, oh-" Philip adds searching for acceptably princessly swear words to his mental list of Adorable Things Emmalina Does. "-bother both of you."

"Well, I'm certainly not going to take you somewhere you don't want to go," Philip assures her.

"Like I said. If I had an idea of what to do instead, I'd've told you," she says sadly.

"Is there anywhere you've been wanting to go?" Philip asks. "I'm not expected anywhere in particular, I can take you wherever you want. Or if you didn't have anything in mind, I was going to go quest for a missing girl in Toure-on-Marsh after this; you could come along and see if you like it there."

"And then what?" Emmalina asks despairingly. "I've got no money, no particular skills- I'm passable at cooking and cleaning, I suppose, but that's not exactly uncommon outside the Mountains of Morning. Dragons are just weirdly opposed to doing their own chores."

"I resemble that remark," Morath puts in. Emmalina rolls her eyes and Philip grins. "And anyway, why don't you just take some of the treasure?"

Both of them gape at him. "But- that's yours!" Emmalina manages.

"And therefore I can give it to whoever I want," Morath says, nodding. "Such as: you."

"What would you even tell the other dragons?" Emmalina says, looking worried. "Your princess ran off and took your treasure? They'd-"

Morath cuts her off. "You're taking the forest path, it's not that odd."

Philip can't quite help himself. "The forest path?"

"You know." Morath tilts his head in what Philip is starting to guess is the draconic equivalent of a shrug. "Like the King's old princess. Sensible chit, fends off the young idiots for a while, finds a decent one and heads off into the forest with him with everyone's blessing. It happens occasionally." He frowns. "Of course, the ones who show up all excited about being the next one almost never are. Twits, the lot of them."

"We talked about this," Emmalina says huffily. "It's hard not to be a twit when all you do is sit around and play the harp all day."

"You managed, didn't you?" Morath points out. Emmalina, clearly having no idea how to respond to the compliment, turns bright red and shuts up. Philip adds another item to his list.

"My thanks for being designated 'decent'," Philip says drily.

Morath grins at him, with only slightly fewer teeth. "She hasn't driven you off yet, has she? None of the others lasted past the second visit. Got to count for something."

Philip smiled to himself. The thought was strangely encouraging.


Morath leads the way into the cave, followed by Emmalina and then Philip. When they get to the hallway, Morath stops short, blocking most of the passage. Emmalina only just manages not to step on his tail. "I'm sure Sir Philip wouldn't mind waiting in the kitchen, would he?" he says, not sounding especially questioning and smiling with lots of teeth.

Emmalina mentally awards Philip ten points for managing to say "I will happily await your return," without visibly flinching.

Once they reach the treasure rooms and Philip is safely out of earshot, Emmalina nudges Morath as he starts to rummage around. "You know I wouldn't have let him steal anything."

"But I'd have to add him to the spells and it takes aaages," Morath whines. "Here, maybe- no, not that- perhaps this..."

Emmalina watches Morath scrambling about and tries very, very hard not to laugh.

"What about- hmm, no, that was a present wasn't it... I could- no, no, I think it might be cursed... this would work if I could just find the other one-"

"You gave the other one to Farzil three trips ago," Emmalina reminds him. "You said sharing the set between your hoards was romantic."

"I did, didn't I?" Morath sounds like he's trying to be displeased, but the dopey grin somewhat interferes. "Well, that won't do, then. This instead, then, it doesn't even work on dragons."

Emmalina looks at the pile that's been growing in front of Morath. It's not an especially large pile, as piles go; dragons are awfully fond of their treasure, when all's said and done. Mostly it's jewelry he's damaged over the years and not bothered to repair- including, much to Emmalina's embarrassed amusement, the set she'd been wearing when she first met Philip- but there's some things in there that aren't as obviously intended to be sold. A couple minor magical items Morath doesn't need or want, some of the simpler potions she'd learned to brew, even a magical sword for Philip ("and make sure you don't give it to him until after you leave!"). Seeing him add the small, delicately wrought gold tiara she likes to wear whenever he needs her to dress up is especially sweet. Altogether it's more than enough to set her up somewhere quiet if she's careful about her money, even if she keeps a couple of her favorites.

"Thank you, Morath," she says. "You didn't have to do this."

Morath's tail lashes in what she recognizes as embarrassment. "Well. You know. You're a good sort. And- hey!"

Hugging a dragon is somewhat logistically tricky, but Emmalina thinks she's managed all right. "I'll miss you."

Morath's scales blush slightly pink. "I suppose you've been tolerable," he grumbles.

Emmalina giggles. "Love you too, you grump."

She bundles everything into a travel sack and starts for the door, but pauses. "If I go pack the rest of my things, will you behave yourself around Philip?"

Morath looks at her woefully. "You have to ask? He's a guest in my home."

Emmalina snorts. "And?"

Morath huffs at her. "Such cheek." Then he smirks. "Fighting is too much work?"

Emmalina laughs. "Okay, that I'll believe."


Honestly, Philip was expecting the entire thing to take much longer than it did. Emmalina comes back to the kitchen wearing sensible travel clothes and carrying a single pack that's small enough that he suspects it of being larger on the inside. Morath isn't with her, which... well. Morath seems like a good type for a dragon, but he's still a dragon, and Philip much prefers this option.

"No tiara this time?" he jokes.

Emmalina frowns. "Oh. Do you think it's a good idea? I didn't want to attract attention, but you're the expert; if you think it'll make people more polite I can dig it out."

He laughs. "That was a joke. It doesn't matter; you look lovely either way." This wins him an Emmalina blush, which he considers a success. "Ready to be off, princess?"

"One more minute," she says apologetically. "I just need to grab some food; most of it's dragon sized but a lot of the human sized portions are my favorites or things Morath doesn't like anyway, so he suggested we take them." She places the bag on the table and turns to root through the pantry.

"Well, that's nice of him," Philip says agreeably, then pauses. "Okay, but first. How suspicious should I be, here? Dragon, being helpful, you see the contradiction here too, right?"

She shrugs. "For you, maybe. Morath's been good to me." Then she looks over her shoulder and grins at him mischievously. "And anyway, I think he just doesn't want to have to remember to throw it out when it goes bad."

Philip considers what he's seen and heard of Morath so far. Yep, that tracks. "Objection withdrawn."

Emmalina laughs and finishes her scrounging. Philip notices that the substantial quantity of food has not changed the shape of her pack any, and considers this mental confirmation that her bag's enchanted. He does like being right about that kind of thing. Unobservant knights are dead knights, as his teacher used to say.

Once she's ready, he looks at her hopefully. "I don't suppose taking this 'forest path' happens to involve an actual path?"

Emmalina looks at him uncertainly. "As opposed to what?"

"The usual path up is awfully, well, exposed. And just because Morath won't bother us doesn't mean the other dragons won't."

"Oh, I see." She frowns. "That's the only one I know of. Maybe we could use some kind of transportation? Oh, but wouldn't we need your horse?"

Philip shakes his head and takes advantage of her distraction to steal her pack. "There's no rush, he's waiting for me back in town; he's too big for that tiny path." He smiles unrepentantly at her raised eyebrow as he shoulders her bag. "At your service, princess."

Emmalina narrows her eyes at him. "You're the one who needs to be able to fight. It's just going to get in your way."

He considers this, reluctantly admits to himself that probably she has a point, and hands the pack back. She stares at him blankly for a second, then shakes her head and digs into the pack. "Well, if we don't have the horse, we can share these. Here." Her hand emerges with a pair of sandals, and she hands him one.

"Th...ank you...?" he manages.

She laughs, probably at his expression. "They're seven league sandals. Apparently some magician made a whole range of seven league footwear, before he realized that no one wanted anything but the boots. I guess most adventurers are all about appearances." Her expression sours slightly, but vanishes before he could ask her about it. "Anyway, Morath used to have a few of the sets - I think he thought they were funny - but the boots thing wasn't just aesthetics; most of the others wore out." The two of them regard the sandals; as far as Philip can tell they look like reasonably sturdy, high-quality sandals, but even sturdy sandals have nothing on a well made set of boots. Emmalina glances at him, the mischevious grin returning. "Be grateful I took the sandals."


"The other set was embroidered satin slippers. With heels."

This Thread Is On Hiatus
Total: 4
Posts Per Page: