He'd never realised how thick the canopy over Desnind truly was, until he'd tried to go through it. Sohr Khal were not small creatures at the end of the day; exceptionally large wingspans and long, sinuous tails made it difficult for Traveller to find a comfortable spot to rest when constantly being forced to slither between the gaps of thick foliage, wrestling with nature itself for every step. That was just finding a comfortable space to lie down! In the end, it'd barely taken a single trial before they'd both made the promise to keep flying, even if they'd struggle with finding ideal locations for take-off and landing. So they did, though the canopy was so thick that he was forced to navigate through nothing more than pure memory, an old one at that - and when they'd found the right spot, they'd circled it for what felt like breaks, searching for a gap, at least a thinning of the forest roof, to no avail.
With no other choice left, they pulled back, rising as high as they dared, and dove through. They'd picked a region where the branches seemed thinner, but that meant there were much more of them too... and though Traveller tucked his wings tight to his body and Nir'wei shielded his face with both arms, both of them broke through into the dappled shade of the Desnind outskirts covered in small cuts and minor bruises that'd take a few days to clear, at best. At least one of the benefits of such a rich forest - the undergrowth easily cushioned their landing, making it one of the softest by far from the Sohr Khal. Or perhaps Nir'wei was just becoming more used to the jarring sensation of his bones being ripped through his ankles.
From their landing point, it was a small walk to their final destination, and Nir'wei had to say, it looked... smaller than he remembered. The huts were quite clearly in the same style as the rest of the city, far away enough from the bulk of the actual city to be placed... near enough to the ground, instead of pushed to the higher trees like many others in the throng of the capital. The thick box of a house rested mostly on a large platform with supporting pillars pushing back down into the ground, almost like smaller trees in their own right. One thing about it was still exactly as he remembered it though. On the lip of the narrow platform, on the opposite side of the spiral staircase leading to the higher houses, a small set of finely-crafted and terribly worn chairs sat looking over its view of the forest. Nani was sitting on one of them, sewing - he knew it was her from the long wrist-thick braid strung together with tough cords - but as he approached, she quickly noticed him and rose, staring at Traveller with her jaw unabashedly hanging open. "NIR'WEI!"
"Don't worry yourself, I'm coming!" he yelled as she motioned to stand, climbing up the staircase two-at-a-time to catch her in a tight hug. "Moseke above, it's been ages, I know. I'm sorry for not sending more letters like I'd promised." He did actually feel bad for that one - Nani, Ganda and Aunt Ol'ma had been the only ones to see him off on the trial he'd left, and he still remembered tears in all of their eyes. In truth, it'd barely been what, less than five arcs since his departure?
"Oh hush. I never bloody expected it." She chuckled, slapping him on the back with a fair bit of force before she turned to Traveller - who'd reared up while Nir'wei had been distracted, propping himself against the tree with his head ducked down so as to not intrude upon the residents of the upper levels. "Now, mind telling me what in the name of blight this is... and telling it to shuffle back a step? It's about three feet into my personal space and I very much hope it's an outdoor pet." Traveller huffed loudly at that and readjusted his wings, conveniently stretching them out to near enough their full length. Even expecting it, Nir'wei recoiled a little. Nani looked Traveller up and down a second time, perhaps in a different light than before. "Does he understand us?"
"He seems to be able to follow the basics of conversation, even if he doesn't truly understand the words in them." Sohr Khal were intelligent creatures but they weren't capable of completely understanding speech, as far as he knew. Perhaps they were just adept at body language, or reading expressions.
Nani nodded. "Fine. I've got some treats to leave out on the front deck for him while we go inside and chat."
"... Oh, you might need more than just a few," he muttered as Jasper pushed his head out from inside one of Traveller's mounted saddlebags and Greyhide materialised before them, looking expectantly up at his rapidly-paling grandmother.