Tyron was walking down the corridor towards his dragon’s stall when he heard a sweet tenor singing in the stable. Looking curiously towards the sound he saw the heads of dozens of dragons leaning over their stalls to listen closer to the song.

He didn’t recognize the lyrics but who cared what the man sang, his voice held a heart-stopping purity that made Tyron want to sit and listen with the dragons.

Careful not to disturb the singer, Tyron stepped quietly up to the stall.

Peeking inside he saw a slim man meticulously scrubbing Sir Lyrit’s dragon. The red dragon sparkled from the groomer’s brush and it’s eyes were half closed as it listened to the music. It was as if the groomer had cast a spell on the young dragon. Tyron could tell which scales the young man had already cleaned because he’d never seen a shinier dragon in his life.

Even the claws were sparkling.

At last the groomer tossed cleaner on the beasts and hosed it off. The red dragon surprisingly didn’t protest the touch of one who wasn’t its rider. One of the reason grooming was a short-term occupation, they often didn’t survive the job.

Afraid of breaking the groomer’s spell on the dragon, Tyron continued past to reach his blue. He was supposed to go on maneuvers today. The king was coming into town and his superiors wanted everyone to look their best.

“Hello Blue.” Tyron called to his dragon in a quiet voice. The beast gave him a snort of greetings but his eyes were tilted towards the singer. “He’s got a beautiful voice, doesn’t he? Let’s sneak past so we don’t disturb him.”

Sliding on the leather halter and fastening the saddle, Tyron led his dragon out of his stall. Two steps from the groomer, his dragon ripped out of his hand and shoved his head in the stall containing the groomer and Sir Lyrit’s dragon.

“Well hello there.” The singer broke off to confront the new dragon.

Tyron’s heart slammed against his chest. He’d never forgive himself if the groomer were injured because he couldn’t control his beast. Rushing over he was shocked to see his blue dragon tilting his head back to be scratched under the chin.

“Sorry about that.” Tyron grabbed the halter and yanked his dragon’s head out of the enclosure before the two dragons started fighting.

“That’s all right. Dragons will have their way.”

Tyron would’ve responded but he had to swallow the drool pooling in his mouth. Midnight black hair curled thick and loose around a perfectly formed face and a pair of bright green eyes that glowed with an inner joy he’d never seen before. Bright white teeth flashed at him as the other man held out his hand.

“I’m Derlin, the new groomer.”

Tyron stumbled forward to take his hand. He gave it a quick shake before releasing it. The rush of electricity he got from touching the other man tingled across his spine. “Nice to meet you. I’m Tyron, one of the dragon fighters and this is my dragon.”

“Nice to meet you and Lyner.”

“Who’s Lyner?”

“You’re dragon.”

“Do you give all dragons pet names?”

Blue gave the groomer an approving purr, a strange sound that Tyron had never heard his dragon give before.

Derlin blushed. “Yes, I like to call them by name.”