Challenge #01098-C001: The Company Kept -- Gallifreya

[AN: This story comes as a sequel to this one ]

He didn't get it. And nobody could understand his side of it either. Derek was not confused or mislead. He knew what his heart wanted, more than anything else in the world. And that was Allethar.

From their increasingly brief times together, he could tell that Allethar's parents had similarly antiquated attitudes. There was talk from both the human and the dragon families about setting up a more... conventional mate.

When talk came to introductions, Derek ran away from his home. He didn't steal anything beyond that which was allegedly his. Which included a hundred head of cattle, a rather lot of gold and jewels, and his clothing and armour.

Not that he planned to be in clothing or armour for very long around Allethar.

It made quite the train and it was a miracle that he got it all out of the keep without alerting his father. Certainly, it paid to know where the sympathetic guards had their duties. It also helped that he was well away from anywhere he was known on sight. By the time dawn rolled around, he could simply say 'yes' to any assumption anyone made of him.

And in a few days, after that, he was at Allethar's mountain, with his beloved Dragon descending to meet him. "Derek, what the hell?" said Allethar in a desperate whisper. "You weren't at our regular abduction place. I was worried sick."

"Sorry, but I had to run away. My parents set up an arranged marriage to straighten me out." Derek nodded to the herd strung out behind him. "So I packed all my stuff and left."

"That," admitted Allethar, "sounds like a fantastic idea."

Derek paid for a boat to hold the cattle, and for Allethar to carry far, far away from their mutual homes. To an island that nobody was using. It had a volcano for Allethar, and grass enough for Derek's herds and future fields. They could build a lair together. And be happy.

It took ten years for their families to find them. By that time there were baby weredragons in the mix[1]. Which stunned both dragons and humans into coming up with a kind of truce.

Derek didn't mind, since it boiled down to 'everyone leaves everyone alone to do what they want as long as nobody gets hurt'. The dragons had to pay for cattle they wanted to eat. The humans had to stop hunting dragons and trade for any hoard they wanted. Royal company by prior arrangement.

It wasn't ideal, but it was a start.

[1] Love and magic together can do some amazing things

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