Here is my feeble attempt at Paul's challenge.
The Merging of Thear’s Two Moons
May the union of Zosarah and Oxseth bring the warring moons of Picexan and Zo together in peace forever and always.
“Are you running away from your marriage vows so soon?”
Zosarah paused in mid-step. The internal argument lasted only a second before she gathered the gilded sheer layers of material and turned. After so many years of practicing diplomacy, it was easy to smile even when she didn’t feel like it.
“I’m going to ride my dardlizz before the atmosphere becomes too thick with ice shards. Being a wife is new to me. I’m not used to asking for permission before doing something as simple as going for a ride.”
“Is it the custom of your world to ask your husband for permission before each and every decision?”
The icy fog hazily surrounded the newly married couple and settled onto the outer layers and ends of Zosarah’s long green hair. The ice shards on her bangs reflected the flames of the nearest lit lanterns. Even that brilliant sight was nothing to compare to the spark of rebellion in her eyes.
Zosarah crossed her arms and lifted her chin. “Of course not, but it’s my understanding that it is customary on Zo to keep all wives locked into cages. I wanted one night of freedom before that became my fate.”
Oxseth leaned forward. His face was now just inches from hers. “The people of Zo cherish their women and children.”
Something about his gentle tone caused her to relax her stance. “Would you like to ride? I have heard many tales of how fast your gleae’s can fly. ”
“That is what you wish to do on your wedding night? I can think of better activities.”
The shrug was casual but her smile was filled with mischief. “There will be time enough to consummate our vows. We know so little of each other. If we don’t trust each other, how will our people learn to trust the two of us to rule over them? I was thinking of a small challenge between the two of us.”
Oxseth shifted closer and placed a callused blue hand on top of her arm. His expression gave away how much her proposition interested him. “A challenge?”
She didn’t shrug his hand off, but she did back up just far enough away that it fell of its own accord. “A race. If I win, I may pull a feather from the plumage of your gleae. If you win, you may ask for anything you desire.”
His expression darkened. “If a feather is pulled from my gleae’s plumage, he will surely sting me. You would wish such a horrible death on me?”
This time Zosarah was the one to move closer. She placed a hand on top of his. “Trust me, my husband.”
Oxseth bowed in thought and finally nodded. “Lead the way. You set the rules, and we’ll see which one of us will win this race of yours. I always do what is best for my people, and now I’ll do what is best for you and the people of Picexan as well.”
As soon as they were in the air, Zosarah pointed toward the edge of the city. “The winner will be the first one to reach the darkness.”
Oxseth eyed the great distance before sitting up straighter in his saddle. His face was filled with confidence. “I hope you are well-rested, my wife, because I will soon claim my prize.”
Zosarah bowed her head, as if already accepting her defeat, and then lightly tapped her dardlizz’s flank. On that command it lifted all ten appendages and quickly sped toward the edge of the darkness. As soon as Zosarah reached it, she turned and sped back toward Oxseth. Before he could react, she plucked the longest feather from his gleae’s plumage. As expected, it lashed out and struck Oxseth with its powerful stinger.
Hours later she sat poised on the railing of their marriage bed.
Oxseth moaned and opened one eye. “I am not dead.”
He struggled to sit but finally gave up and settled his head back onto the pillow. “I don’t understand.”
“A dardlizz possesses an anti-venom for a gleae’s sting. It will reverse the effects of a gleae’s poison within the matter of a few hours. I set up this challenge so you would know that you can always trust me with your life. The people of Zo and Picexan have no reason not to trust us to lead them. We can work together in all things, and we will always do what is right for us and for them.”
He rose up onto an elbow. “Shall we race again?”
Zosarah stood and slipped the long layers of silk over her head. The garment dropped. “Is that what you wish to do on your wedding night? I can think of better activities.”