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Of Longing, and Flowers

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F&L 1.1

 

"Ah, a crane?"

Gliding silently through the clouds, said bird comes to land gracefully on a nearby cliff, large wings tipped black and scarlet crown evident through the mist surrounding it. Preening distractedly, its feathers fluff agitatedly - as if shaking off fatigue - before tilting back a long, elegant neck to release a fluting call; echoing into the endless clouds. 

"I wonder if it might be alone." 

 

The Lord of Light watches, pausing in his writing and reticent as he sits next to his brother in their pavilion deep in the clouds. Both gazes captivated by their winged visitor, observing how the bird pauses with a cock of its head before cawing forlornly with another furtive stretch of splayed wings, large body tucking into rest as it continues to cry into the skies. 

"A sorrowful call," his elder brother muses, "how sad a sound, for such a beautiful animal." 

The Lord of Night's words turn to a slight laugh of surprise as another crane soon appears from the midst of swirling mist just behind the same cliff; answering call loud as it immediately begins to circle low, rejoining its partner, feathers flared in excitement. Reunited, the two birds trill joyfully in a chorus of song, beaks pointed to the skies in dance with ivory-white feathers trembling as they sway around each other in perfectly symmetrical movements. 

 

"How magnificent." Zewu Jun praises in delight. 

Nodding, Hanguang Jun notes how the beautiful plumage seems to shimmer in soft sunlight; itching to paint their likeness onto paper. 

Simply returning to the calligraphy at hand, he wonders aloud, "one wonders if they travelled alone - it is said that cranes carry immortals, just like us." 

 

"A joy, should they bring some new visitors for us," Zewu Jun agrees with another bright smile, paperwork all but forgotten as he chuckles at the exuberant behaviour of the reunited pair, "fairy cranes are a sign of good luck, and it has been many seasons since any have visited our gardens."  

His younger brother hums distractedly, writing still. For a moment, all that settles between the two is the tinkling of a brush against an ink pot, parchment papers rustling with the gentle breeze moving through their pavilion, coupled with a waft of tea, scenting warmly through cold, misty air with red dates and chrysanthemum.

"Normal beasts would have found it an impossible task, to take flight all this way into our sky palace." Hanguang Jun's whisper of a voice lilts as he finally sets down his brush.

 

"Perhaps they might find the Cloud Recesses to their liking - brood here and bless our gardens with more of their resplendence."

Both deities watch as said cranes tuck around each other in rest upon their perch, and Zewu Jun nods.

"Cranes," his elder brother muses, "they mate for life, do they not?"