Tribute to Daius, featuring Lovebird ( DS-12471 ), and Chocolate Fondue ( DS-12407 ), with Rhiin ( DS-9644 ) as the companion.
Version with background and seasonal bonuses highlighted: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ycLnQRoCEiMZY08gY61EtUmj1mYeSfIMTQ70rBKn5jk/edit?usp=sharing
It was a sunny morning, like most mornings around the season; the sun was up, and its rays poured vibrant colors everywhere. The trees and grass were lush and green, too, and it gave the whole scenery a proper fresh, summer feel. Lovebird had gotten up with the sun, like usual, and was almost done with his routined morning preening, which was essential to keeping his red feathers shiny and healthy. Once he finished, he stretched out his wings and body, and took flight to find some breakfast.
Lovebird flew across the green, lively field for a few minutes before his eyes landed on the perfect way to start his day: a couple of voles that were grazing calmly. They noticed his large shadow– clearly outlined by the traitorous summer sun– but Lovebird didn't give them a chance to run away, paralyzing them with the shining white of his underbelly reflected by the harsh sunlight.
Breakfast was pleasant and filling, and it left Lovebird with a need for some refreshing water. Once he arrived at a nearby lake, he bumped into a friend of his: Chocolate Fondue– or just Fondue– a large but gentle Harpia with creamy and brown colors that mixed perfectly. Fondue gave him a loud, cheerful chirp as a greeting, and Lovebird returned it with a chirp of his own, until he noticed his friend wasn't alone. Beside the Harpia, an extremely fluffy Tyto with gorgeous, shimmering pink colors, and a pair of antlers, was drinking some water.
"Cupid! This is Rhiin, I met her a few days ago while hunting." Fondue stepped aside to let both Stryx meet properly, and Lovebird stepped in and gave his acquaintance a polite nod.
"Pleasure." He said, and Rhiin returned the nod with a smile. Fondue turned to Rhiin to make a silent question, which Rhiin nodded to, and he turned back to his friend with an excited smile.
"Rhiin and I were going to race around the forest while the day's still young, would you like to join us?" Lovebird looked between both birds as his eyes started shining with mischief.
The trio had flown to a nearby tree, and were stretching out and warming up to give their best for the race. They had agreed on racing around the lake first: three laps around it, then up till the large sycamore by the end of the forest, then three more laps around the lake, and finally back to the tree they started at.
Lovebird was confident in his abilities, but he looked over at Rhiin, concerned. "Can you… fly with those? Is it fair for us." He stared at her feathered legs, which looked a lot like extra wings, and looked back at Fondue.
Rhiin laughed. "They're just my legs." she stretched one out to prove it. "I can't fly with them any more than you can fly with yours." Lovebird nodded slowly in understanding, and chuckled at the now silly thought of using their legs to fly.
"Ready?" Fondue asked, leaning in to get ready for take off. The two Tytos followed suit.
"Set." Lovebird stated, and all three opened their wings.
"Fly!" Rhiin yelled, and all three took off at lightning speed.
Fondue had an initial advantage due to his size; the leap he took for takeoff was much larger than the one the two smaller birds could take. After a few seconds, and during the first lap around the lake, both Lovebird and Rhiin caught up to him, flying past him after a second of flying neck to neck with him.
Lovebird opted to fly low, talons grazing the lake's crystaline waters and sending droplets that shone bright under the clear sky. Fondue let out a laugh at the show, and joined the action with his long tail, and Rhiin followed with her leg feathers.
Despite the happy and friendly attitude of the trio, the competitiveness remained, and it was only the first lap. In a flash, Rhiin flapped her wings strongly, flying around the lake more quickly than the other two, and leaving them behind.
Fondue let out a squawk in surprise, and started flapping again to gain terrain along his friend.
The remaining two laps went out in a blur, with both Tytos taking the lead for the most part, and Fondue following close behind. Lovebird was leading on the race to the old sycamore, but halfway there Fondue caught up– well rested and ready to keep flapping– and flew past him, teasing with his long tail feathers for a second before flying further away.
"Come on, Cup, you're growing slow!" Lovebird smirked at the challenge, and started using his extra energy to get a boost.
After a few more seconds of flying under the bright summer sky, the trio reached the sycamore. "Rest!" Fondue called out, and all three slowed down and landed on the large tree's higher branches.
"You ok, Fondue?" Lovebird called out from a different branch, resting as well.
Fondue looked down to find a small waterfall between the sycamore's bigger roots, and swooped to get some water. "I'm good, just a little tired. I'm not built for high-sun hours, especially not summer ones." he let out with a chuckle, and Lovebird chuckled back once he made sure his friend was doing alright.
Rhiin spoke once she finished preening some feathers from her chest. "You and I both; I'm glad we decided to rest before the second half." Lovebird was entirely diurnal, preferring the sunniest hours over dawn, but he understood well how difficult working out of one's biological clock could be, so he decided to rest as well, letting his friends take as much time as they needed.
After a minute or two, Fondue flew back up to the branches his friends were in. "I'm good to fly now. Rhiin?" He looked over the other crepuscular Stryx, who nodded with determination.
They got ready , and took off together with renewed energy. The straight line back to the lake was difficult; Lovebird and Rhiin kept flying past each other, but Fondue kept flying past both quite frequently.
Once they reached the lake, they made a show of dipping their tails in the water enough to send a raging line of droplets, but not enough to slow them down. This time, the spectacle had a much stronger energy, and whoever had been close by would've known for sure that they were in heated competition.
The three laps seemed to go by even faster than the initial three, and once they got to the branch they started at, they landed with such strength and so close one to the other than the branch almost broke.
"Ha! My win, disk-faces." Fondue opened his wings in victory while mocking his two pals in good nature. Rhiin had arrived second, and Lovebird third. They all laughed, which seemed surprising after such aggressive energies, but wasn't all too strange considering all three birds' good hearts. The laughter stopped as the branch below them gave in, and they had to scatter around to different branches to not fall with it.
Lovebird had only started his day, but Rhiin and Fondue were rather tired already, so they bid their goodbyes, and the two crepuscular birds left to rest for the day, while Lovebird took off to continue his own, the summer sun shining bright above him.