Silent Night   1747.12.19*  
Written By: Lyn Cavalier
(2012 Secret Santa) All is calm and bright on the wintry meadow as Kestrel and Beesting take Moon and Raven for a walk.
Posted: 01/15/13      [10 Comments]
 

The silvery light of the full moons reflected off the frozen top-layer of snow. Standing in the shadow of the forest, a pair of elves looked out over the shining meadow. In the distance, they could see a buck pushing his muzzle through the crust to the frozen grasses beneath. Fortunately for the buck, the elves were not hunting.

**That buck would be a fine prize,** Beesting sent wistfully. The tiny bundle she held in her arms squirmed, then snuggled against her.

**We could send for others,** Kestrel offered. The bundle she held did not move, but Kestrel had a feeling it was only a matter of time before her little sister woke up.

She had taken Moon from her mother, offering to give Stormdancer some time to herself. Normally, Leather would have eagerly kept his daughter with him, but he was off on an extended hunt with his sister and a few others. Kestrel recalled her mother looking wistfully upward, wanting to take off in flight, but she would not have let herself. Sometimes Stormdancer would take the babe flying, but there were times when she needed to soar on her own. Even so, she would not have asked anyone to care for her daughter. Sometimes, Kestrel reflected, her mother was too stubborn and independent. So she had eagerly offered to take her baby sister for a time, long enough to give the elder glider time to soar into the beautiful wintry night.

Stormdancer had allowed Moon to suckle, then handed her snow-haired daughter over to Kestrel before she took off. Kestrel had played with Moon for a time, then when the babe had tired, she’d bundled the baby and headed outdoors — though winter, the night was too nice to stay indoors. She’d found Beesting near the Dentrees, pacing and bouncing her own little one. Raven was younger than Moon, but only by a hand of nights.

Kestrel had thought of gliding with her sister, but seeing the young mother, who didn’t really like to be alone, she’d decided to spend some time with her friend. They had taken a walk together, though they hadn’t said much. They hadn’t needed to. Each was content that night, babes in arms. And then they’d reached the meadow. The beauty of it was breathtaking.

Beesting interrupted Kestrel’s line of thought, **No. Not tonight. Prize though it might be, it’s too peaceful here to invite the hunters. We will tell them what we saw, and they can track him tomorrow. Tonight...** her thoughts drifted.

Kestrel could feel it. The silvery reflections all around them, the two moons, the silence of the cold... the cloudy breaths, and the silent babes. It was calm. And it was right. **Let’s go further out,** she suggested.

Beesting nodded, and they wandered onto the open meadow, feeling more and more part of a dream world as they did so. Perfect winter nights like this one were hard to find. Though there was frost, it did not bite. The wind had died. All was silent.

“Waaaaaaaaahhhhhh.” Moon’s cry pierced the night.

Kestrel could only wonder at her sister’s sudden cry, and she readjusted the infant in her arms and pulled her up so that she could look at her. Grey eyes were wide open, staring. She sent an image of Stormdancer’s breast, and Kestrel understood what her sister wanted.

**She’s hungry already!** Kestrel sent, surprised. **Mother won’t be back for a while, yet... though maybe I could still reach her by sending.**

Beesting smiled at her. **You could... or I could feed her.**

Kestrel’s eyes widened - for some reason, it hadn’t occurred to her, though she’d witnessed the tribe’s mothers nursing one another’s infants at different times. **Thank you!** she sent.

Beesting smiled. **It's my pleasure. Just... could you hold Raven for me?**

Kestrel nodded, then held out an arm. Beesting placed her baby boy into Kestrel’s open arm, then took the snowy-haired infant into her own. Kestrel watched as her friend bared a breast and Moon hungrily attacked it. Kestrel laughed.

At the sound of the glider's laughter, Raven stirred, but did not cry. Kestrel looked down and into clear golden eyes. She smiled at him, and he smiled back. She grinned. **I think he likes me,** she sent to the babe’s mother.

**Of course he does! What’s not to like?**

Kestrel blushed. To her surprise, Raven reached upward and grabbed at a wisp of her hair and pulled it. When she returned her attention to him, he sent an image of purple to her. **You want me to glide with you, little one?** she asked openly.

**Your mother takes them flying together sometimes. It seems to calm them — sometimes you’d think they were born from the same womb, the way they act together.**

**May I?** Kestrel asked.

**Of course!** Beesting gave her approval. **I don’t think your sister will be ready anytime soon. She’s very hungry! Your mother may have to nurse Raven when she returns, the way Moon’s eating.**

**I’m sure she’ll be happy to. Just as I’m happy to fly with him.**

Then, Kestrel allowed her magic to flow, and a purple hue enveloped her and the baby. She looked upward toward the two moons, and soon, she and Raven were above the treetops, with only the stars and moons above them, and the wintry landscape beneath them.

Raven giggled, sending to Kestrel the image of his mother on the ground, nursing Moon and looking up at them. Kestrel laughed, too. She hovered in the air, holding the baby close to herself, and wondering for a moment what it would be like to hold her own child one day. It was a good feeling, though she was not in a rush, either. Recognition would hit when it was ready. In the meantime, she had babies enough to play with.

In the distance, Kestrel could see her mother coming toward her. When Stormdancer was close enough, she sent, **My milk dropped. Your sister must be in a growth spurt. Are you gliding with her to keep her calm?**

Kestrel smiled in her reply. **No. This is Raven. Beesting’s below, nursing Moon.**

Stormdancer stopped and hovered, and for a moment, Kestrel wondered if her mother was angry at having wasted time by returning when she wasn’t needed. Instead, the dark-haired glider smiled. **I’ll take him. Knowing your sister, she’s going to drink Beesting dry, and little Raven will get nothing from his mother.**

Kestrel handed Raven over, then glided back toward the ground. Stormdancer followed with the baby boy, and she was nursing him by the time she reached the ground. Once they were done, the mothers switched infants, and the five of them headed back toward the Dentrees.

As they neared, Kestrel spied Whirlwind, Hooksharp, and Axehand. She recalled the buck she and Beesting had seen, and felt an urge to hunt. **Want to go after a prize with me?** she asked them, sharing an image of the buck.

In near unison, the three interrupted the silence of the night with a howl. Kestrel smiled and joined them. The calm, peaceful, silent night was about to get a bit noisy.

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