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Get to know Mason!
Three-thirty in the afternoon is a strange time for a picnic, but you console yourself with the fact that it was never about the inoffensive sandwich you’re swallowing, or the tepid soft drink you’ve got loosely lidded to your left. The mid-afternoon sun is hot through the break in tree cover where you’ve stopped, though, and after a day of careful tracking you need the break. Anyway, as long as the place is correct, then the time is perfect.
You first become aware that you’re not alone by the shushing of tall bushes around the clearing being pushed aside. If you weren’t listening for it, you would have passed it off as wind. The newcomer is surprisingly fast, though, as even though you were expecting it, you’ve only got long enough to turn your head before a powerful foreleg has hooked around your front and pulled you down to the ground.
“Strange place for a casual meal, don’t you think?” A broad draconic frown stares down at you. Their broad foot pins you to the moss, firm but gentle. The markings are just as you’d heard—red and earthy, with highlights the color of rusty clay—this must be Mason. Before you answer, the weight on your solar plexus increases as the dragon’s weight leans halfway onto you. The opposite foreleg swings into vision, and another paw pushes your face to the side, pressing your cheek into the moss.
“I don’t recognize you. You’re a long way off the path.” The paw on your face is smooth and warm. You can feel the muscles beneath soft scales tense as paw-digits flex and pull your head in the opposite direction. For a creature so large, and with limbs so powerful, they’re showing remarkable gentleness. Even though the weight has you pinned, it’s clear Mason’s not attempting to hurt you.
You lay a hand over the taloned paw on your chest. You can feel the subtle movement of scale over scale. For something the legends call ‘armored like the thickest plate’, you never expected a dragons paw to be so supple. Seemingly content that you’re not a threat, the weight lifts from your chest, and the broad paw-digits that made the tracks you’d been following up into the hills spreads out. Twice as wide across as your own hand, the thick digits curl in around the sides of your outstretched hand. Momentarily, you get the sensation of power and strength behind the scaled paw as they flex, squeezing you as if in a handshake.
The paw on your face relents, letting you look up at the dragon. Instead, you feel the powerful digits curl around your chin and cheeks. The dragon pinning you to the ground has a momentary look of concern, replaced by surprise as you let out a shuddering breath. It’d never really crossed your mind that the sensation of a scaled paw pushing your head back into the moss would press quite as many buttons as it is currently. Individual digits stroke your cheek and roam, smooth and soft, over your mouth. The unexpected pleasure must be showing on your face, because above you, Mason’s face has split in a smirk. “Ah, I see.” They say.
You’re about to ask what they mean, when you feel the weight keeping you down disappear completely. A ruddy-colored dragon tail slinks back away between the trees around the mossy clearing in which you sit. “Next time you come,” Mason continues, “Bring another sandwich and we’ll have a picnic for two.”
Story by Kandrel
Artwork by Mystik