Fael grinned and turned as Linna strolled up the cobbled path of Skyhold’s garden, the light that managed to filter through the trees casting shadows like shifting water upon her skin. Quick as wit itself, she caught a piece of his smile and shone it back, her hair like fire, her eyes brighter than any sun. She was fourteen again. So was he.
“Well, that depends,” Fael replied lightly, reaching up to link his hands behind his head. “Does the title mean we have to bow and curtsy to each other? I’m not really sure I have time for that.”
She laughed, and it was exactly how he remembered it. Exactly how it should be, clear as a bell, leaping like a sparrow through the air.
“Do kings and queens really have to?” she asked as she closed the gap between them to stand at his side. A sapling, freshly planted, lay at their feet, reaching its delicate leaves towards the sky. Fael glanced across to see a faint smile on Linna’s lips, as though a stray thought had suddenly arrived to entertain her. “Or we could just change the rules,” she continued, glancing across, eyes glittering with amusement. “After all, we bent them once already.”
“Hm, true,” Fael agreed with a chuckle of his own. “The first friends King and Queen. That was what we decided.”
Linna scoffed. “What you decided!” She swatted him lightly on the arm to punctuate the sentence, then laughed again, her shoulders shaking.
“I just happened to agree.”
Fael made a theatrical show of rubbing where she had hit despite the utter absence of pain. The leaves on the trees shifted above them. He could see their shadows move - see Linna’s hair move - but felt no wind.
He tucked his growing unease into a pocket and filled the space it left with a smirk. “Hey, come on, don’t give me that. Agreeing still counts!”
They laughed until their lingering smiles led them into a comfortable silence. It wrapped them like a sheet, side by side, their eyes resting on the sapling with all the fondness of parents watching a child at play. Five delicate leaves, balanced on a frail stem, shifting in an absent wind. How little it would take for them to fall.
Slowly, Fael became aware of a tugging sensation at the edge of his mind. Nagging. Distant, but insistent, growing stronger with each pull. He glanced across at his childhood friend, her freckled cheeks rosy and satisfied, lifted ever so slightly by that familiar faraway smile. He wanted to reach out - wanted to take her hand - but a traitorous part of him knew the truth.
He would feel nothing.
“… Hey, Linna?”
Something in Fael’s stomach - something heavy - sank.
Is/Was Lin trans? I recall your picture of her as a human looked fairly masculine and now I'm curious whether or not biological sexes can even be accurately applied to dragons at all.
She is, yes. I kinda feel like it would be better for me to address that in the narrative of the story rather than just saying outright, buttttt since I’m working at spare-time-web-content-speed…mmmm. Yeah.
Linnae was not open about her identity when she lived as a human, since while this fantasy setting is way more progressive than actual medieval times (because i just don’t wanna fuckin deal with that tired concept, it’s fantasy, i can do what i want), it’s far from perfect. When she became a dragon, though? Who the fuck cares what cousin Hester thinks anymore, bye. Dragons are freaky jacked up mutants who generally do not retain sexual characteristics anyway, so even among other lizards it’s not really an issue.
But yeah, you got the right idea, basically–biological sexes don’t always carry over from human to dragon, and in the rare case that they do, it’s useless. The amount of arcane contamination that allows someone to become a dragon in the first place totally nukes the ability to reproduce. When you also consider that dragons vary MASSIVELY in form and size, it’s basically impossible to tell which side of the biological binary an individual falls on. You just ask very nicely whether they’d like to be called Sir or Miss or Other and hope they don’t eat you.
If she ever does, it probably won’t be much of a choice! Dragons will only continue to progress into a Stage Three Wyrm if 1. they are incredibly, ridiculously bound to their obsession, or 2. they are continuously exposed to a very large amount of arcane radiation, generally more than their bodies are capable of venting (the glow around their eyes + source of their fire is basically a way to burn off excess energy).
Dragons that make their homes in more magically significant areas may go through this if they live long enough; dragons that intentionally hunt other magical creatures, or are frequently in arcane combat, are practically guaranteed to mutate further (if they survive their lifestyle).
Linnae has a fairly high chance of it eventually happening because she travels with Augustine, who is naturally drawn to strong sources of magic to hunt.
She’d probs look a lot weirder than this if it happened, honestly–I should design it properly. This is a lil phoned in. Basically all bets are off when a dragon hits end stage, and they can get REALLY weird. Linnae’s pretty stable and starts off looking like a fairly classically styled dragon, so she might look a little more ‘normal’, but not by much.
Cold weather can be surprisingly fatal to Glutton Knights, since, y’know, their flesh is fused to their metal armor. Augustine was terribly unprepared for this and only survives their first winter because Linnae is a huge walking furnace. \