Tribute to Nokt, 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 dusk; the harsh day had given in to a gentle night that calmed down the summer's temperatures and gave way to soft breezes. Lovebird, Rhiin, and Fondue had shared dinner thanks to the fabulous deer meat they were able to hunt through their wondrous cooperation, and they were now resting on top of a tree, fully satisfied with their meals.
They had been resting in silence for a long, comfortable while, watching the sky turn all shades of purple and blue before setting on a blanket of shimmering stars that accompanied a bright, full moon.
“That’s one gorgeous sky…” Lovebird broke the silence with a low coo, to which Rhiin and Fondue nodded softly.
“Almost makes you wanna soar to it…” Fondue unfurled his wings, elegantly flapping them before he took off. “Come on!” He smirked at both Tytos with a shine in his eyes, and flew up to the moon, his long, silky tail leaving a dancing trail behind him.
Rhiin turned to Lovebird with newfound excitement, before flying up to Fondue as well. After a second, all three dragons were gliding through the sparkling night sky, this time slowly, enjoying the calmness the moon washed them with, as opposed to the raging energy the sun filled them with earlier that day.
They didn't really have any direction to go to; the three birds remained flying around the moon and its stars, in elegant shapes, basking in the serenity of the night.
They continued to relax in that way until Rhiin decided to do some tricks. She soared even higher, closer to the moon, before closing her wings, and dropping elegantly towards the ground. Her feathers gave gorgeous flashes of pink and white against the moonlight, and as she reached the ground, she let her wings unfurl in one sharp yet gentle movement that had her soaring back up.
Her two friends watched the display in complete amazement; it was like courting danger in front of the moon– for the moon, for Nokt– and it brought chills up their feathers. They knew Rhiin was a much more experienced bird than they were, but something about the moon's fullness– her shine, her attention towards them, her smile– made them feel a thrill and confidence that was enough.
Fondue gave Lovebird a quiet signal, and both Stryx flew higher into the sky, imitating Rhiin's routine. Once they reached a high enough point, they locked talons– something Rhiin hadn't been able to do alone– and looked into each other's eyes, the thrill of the moment being enough communication for them. At the same time, Fondue and Lovebird turned towards the ground, closing their wings together, and dropping. The force they dropped with was far greater– considering the amount and sizes of the birds this time around– and they started giving bold and risky yet beautiful twirls on the way down.
As they reached the grass, both Stryx parted, unlocking talons and unfurling wings to fly to a different side each.
Rhiin gave them a loud whistle and an excited cackle. "Woo, that sure was something!" she said while flying up to them. "Takes a lot of coordination and trust to pull off something that risky."
Lovebird grinned at Fondue, chest still heaving from the adrenaline. "I didn't expect to drop that quickly, but I think it just made things more exciting."
"Come on, let's try something." Rhiin locked a talon with Lovebird, and flew up again, higher this time. "Close your wings." Lovebird did as told, leaving Rhiin in charge of his whole weight. She locked her remaining talon with him, and started flying fast. Being able to feel the wind against his face without needing to make any effort made Lovebird feel even more excited about the night's ambience.
Fondue followed their lead, quite a few meters below the two Tytos, simply admiring the expertise of it all. After a few more seconds– and once Rhiin was going at an amazing speed– Fondue heard her call. "Fondue, catch!" As she said that, Rhiin swung Lovebird to the Harpia, letting him drop in graceful swirls towards him.
Fondue was a good catcher; he had good reflexes, and the Mafia's training helped, but he had never caught another Stryx midair. He felt a pang of nerves and excitement as he realized Lovebird was falling to him with his wings closed, trusting him entirely.
In a blur of emotions, Fondue caught Lovebird by the talon, letting him bounce softly as he kept on flying. The nerves were replaced by more excitement, and some pride, and Fondue caught himself smiling widely at the success.
"Catch again!" When Fondue looked up, Rhiin was already dropping towards them, wings closed the same way Lovebird's were. Panic flashed across Fondue, but Lovebird found the challenge quite exciting. Fondue had to make an extra effort to keep Lovebird balanced in one of his talons while he shot his free one up, locking it with one of Rhiin's perfectly in the air above him. Lovebird and Rhiin burst out laughing– the scenario all too funny for them– while Fondue sighed in relief, glad he didn't drop any of his friends.
Given his size, Fondue didn't have to make much effort to keep flying with both Tytos hanging from his talons. The laughter faded from the sky, and the birds were once again in comfortable silence, letting the moon's brightness illuminate them as they soared across its vast light.
The calmness of it was broken again when Rhiin opened her wings, using all of her strength to flip Fondue below her, and having Lovebird do the same as her. In a blink, Rhiin and Lovebird were flying side by side, with Fondue hanging below them.
"Woo!" Fondue let out a surprised whistle that didn't break the night's harmony. As he looked up, the stars seemed to glow brighter, the colorful feathers of his friends elegantly adorning the sky above him. Lovebird looked down, and smiled at him.
"The night looks more beautiful than usual tonight…" Fondue pointed out after a minute of stargazing.
"It sure does. It feels more beautiful." Lovebird cooed out as they reached a tall tree, letting the Harpia land on it first, a Tyto landing at each side of him.
Rhiin took in the night's beauty with a deep breath before talking. "It's Nokt; she loves seeing her children dance for her." Lovebird and Fondue looked at her in amazement, understanding the meaning of her words in silence. "We are beautiful, and so the night becomes more beautiful with us in it. And she smiles."
The birds looked up at the starlit sky and its moon once again. It shone brighter than ever.