Original art by WitchOfAvalon!
"I still don't know how you found this place," the diminutive cacomistle practically cooed. "My feet were so sore..."
"Told you it'd be worth it," the larger, dark vixen replied right next to hir while both indulged in the geothermally-heated, soothing waters at their feet. Mindful to keep their travel attire out of their indulgences, they swished their naked legs through the swirling water, feeling eddies of alternating warm and hot liquid pass across them.
Doni gave hir mate a dubious smirk. "Lucky for you. I was going to club you in the knees if we climbed all the way up this path in the dead of night, got here, and it was just a dirt pit you wanted to show me." Hir chuckle at Niko's razzing snort was short and amused, and shi played fingertips daintily into the luminous water. "Is this aether doing this? It feels..." Shi held hir paw forth, focusing on the current before hir. "Mm..maybe so. I've never seen this before, the way the land's aether simply infuses liquid water. As if it may turn to water-aspected crystal."
"It's not crystal, but maybe one day it will be if this wellspring keeps up," Niko affirmed. "We live in such a rich land. As busy as we've been abroad in Othard, it's important to come home to Eorzea and...I dunno... take a bit of time to reflect, you know?"
Doni leans closer, hir tail tucking behind Niko's hip. "I do. You get sentimental when one of us takes a bump on the ass and you need me to rub it better."
Another snort came from above the mistle's ears, a leg kicking the brilliant waters up. "I'll give you something to rub."
"Promise? It's been a while..."
"It has, hasn't it?"
"Mmm..." Doni grinned, then relaxed, slipping hir comparatively dainty white-furred paw into Niko's larger black palm. "You found a good place. I like it. I think I'll keep you."
"I'd hope so. I made that ring and that collar with expensive stuff, and would hate to see them sold for some sort of tasty meal or old vintage spirits." Niko's fingers squeezed Doni's,keeping a comfortable hold as the two remained nestled together, the nightvixen's mirth relaxing into quiet contentment in the rich, living scent of the water and the night. "We need more moments like these. Just us."
Doni's nod could be felt shifting against the vixen's breast, hir smile turning up. "We can come back whenever you like! ..."
The pause was pregnant, and Niko eyed hir little companion and tucked hir own bushier tailplume behind hir, cutting off a bit of the chill breeze. Shi smirked, easily able to read the mischievous glint in hir eye. "So long as I carry you when we do, I bet?"
"Ohh, you sweetheart you shouldn't have to-! ...Yes."
"I won't. That's why we have Taross. And can pay hir with rubdowns and dinner."
Both shared a private giggle that turned into fond laughter, a release that felt like the first since their long sojourn back from the Far East. As if the water held restorative powers people assumed they did, they settled into companionable silence under the moonlight. Light and Dark, members of two different orders of magic that warred bitterly in ancient times and contributed to a flooding of the very continent their scions would strive together to protect. A goofy pair of dreamers and star-gazers we are, Doni thought. Yet we compliment each other well. Perhaps the way White and Black magic were eventually destined to...
A truly beautiful FINAL FANTASY XIV-themed commission by Myra (Witch of Avalon): this piece of seclusion crowning the Long Climb of tropical Vylbrand's Outer La Noscea is Niko and Doni's little hideaway. Nestled by a decrepit hovel none visit, it's been forgotten to time, unmolested by kobolds; a perfect place to lose oneself in another's company. Its hotsprings and stellar view has been, for years, a pleasant little hideaway for a couple who just wants a little alone time. A nice place to take a break from saving the world at large and remembering what's important! I was simply floored by the final variant and the emotion it captures, and it's something that'll be treasured for many years to come.