(aka: Pouch Parties!)
Wyngrew societies are by-and-large casual when it comes to romance and sexual relations. This is only to be expected with a species whose fertility is high, and contraceptives nearly non-existent. So much so, that it’s expected for every settlement to have hatcheries dedicated to rearing young wyngrew as a community!
It is an uncommon, but celebrated occasion when two wyngrew decide to come together in a more “official” capacity, becoming a more long-term couple, instead of just a casual fling. Most small towns and isolated villages have no official listings or documentation of whom is married to whom in the general public, and these unions are considered a personal choice, rather than anything to be documented in most cases. In larger towns and cities however, it’s quite the opposite.
Eggs that are produced without a union being documented by the city are considered “derelict”, in which the egg will receive no support from the community, or be cast aside entirely. Because of the difference in how eggs are dealt with between communities, it becomes a very heated topic for debate among foreigners.
In the humble small town unions such as Wynsiph, they take place once two wyngrew decide to settle down with one another for the long-term. This means the two wyngrew have decided to have a closed sexual/romantic relationship with one another and more significantly, decided to raise a family together.
It is often the female who is expected to be the one to propose the union to her chosen male, once egg-bound. To make this proposal, the female buys or crafts an egg-theme decoration that will serve as a gift to the male, if he accepts. This isn’t necessarily always the male that impregnated her, but just whom she chose to help raise her egg and stay with.
The more public announcement of their union is given at their egg’s Pouch Party, where the couple stands together with their egg. To “seal the deal”, the couple will take warm wax dripped from a candle onto the egg. The couple will make imprints in the still-moldable wax with their paws or claws. Others use actual seal-molds with their family crest (if they come from a long-standing bloodline or family of high social standing), or other methods to “mark” the egg as theirs. This usually happens at the close of the Pouch Party, or during the height of celebrations, after opening presents, etc. (Basically the same as blowing out the birthday candles)
The “Union Seal” is universal wyngro tradition, even though every town has its additional traditions, as seen below!
This small farming town’s residence often use the tried-and-true swirl fruit as their proposal gift of choice. Not just any old swirl fruit will do, however. Legend has it that only swirl fruits with one swirl on the entirety of the fruit’s skin is sure to bring the aspiring couple good fortune and security against straying. It’s not uncommon for local farmers to see more than a few thieves in the night trying to sneakily find the perfect fruit.
Wynsiph is pretty equal in terms of who the proposer is, be it the male or female. Sometimes the male will go digging for the perfect swirl fruit in order to impress her before other suitors can, or the female will offer it to a male in hopes that he’ll stick around.
Either way, accepting the fruit results in the couple eating it together during a Pouch Party in celebration, or quietly alone together if they prefer. Eating a swirl fruit together is considered a very intimate experience, so Wyngrew are averse to sharing in other situations because of the stigma.
The folks of Last Notch are less traditional when it comes to union gifts. Instead, a pair of leather boots will usually be commissioned from the local leathersmith with an egg embroidered somewhere on them.
The boots usually give a look into how much wealth the offering Wyngro can put into a relationship. Those with coin to spare are likely to go big: asking for complex designs and high-quality leather to be used in the boot’s make. Those who have little to spare however, can still purchase pre-made simple boots with small eggs designs incorporated somewhere.
Some families even re-use boots if they truly have no other options, though those who walk around in well-worn union boots are often looked down upon. It’s considered quite bad luck to try start a relationship based on someone else’s shoes.
Soul Binding is a union of two noble wyngrew from different communities that are coming together to form a partnership between the two towns. Socially, wyngrew families of high standing expect such an important union to be for eternity, shame be upon those who go back on their vows.
For these social elite, an ancient form of magical binding is used before a public ceremony and celebration. In a quiet place of seclusion, the couple is left alone with an elder (often a Lanturn) capable of this rare form of magic, and have their magic bound to one another. This ritual is irreversible, and can only be performed upon a specific wyngro one time.
Those who have been soul bound are irreversibly marked: once the magic is complete, the couple’s eye colors are swapped. This causes heterochromia in the two wyngrew.
Soul binding is a practice nowadays reserved exclusively for wyngro “nobility”, often town or city leaders in positions of power who need to make a binding deal with another family in equal high standing, using the binding to seal the deal.
Wyngrew who have been soul bound are dispositioned to higher feats of magic when working together with the same magical element. They are also able to more easily work in concert than normal wyngrew.
Due to the diplomatic and practical nature of those who make use of this magic, the great majority of those who are soul bound, are male/female pairings.
Soul bound wyngrew are also blessed in their union with a higher chance of healthy eggs with their bound partner. The goal of this ancient magic is to ensure a couple is as prolific as possible. Increased odds of multiple eggs often seem to be a boon of this magic.
In the event that one half of a soulbound pair dies, the remaining partner more often than not dies shortly after, while displaying symptoms of manaflu (decreased magic levels, illness, etc). It is possible to overcome this and live on after your soulbound wyngro has died, but because most soulbound wyngrew are so connected to one another, the other will usually die of a broken heart. It is as if half of their very being is gone forever, making their magical connection to the world feel void and hollow.
What the fuck is up with Nymble & Dryft??
An anomaly of nature. Soul bound siblings are simply not ever seen in today’s day and age. Only scarce texts talk about it, and the history of what is true or not is often up for debate. If two wyngrew who have each other’s eye color exist without the ceremony taking place, wyngrew are incredibly suspicious about it. Many rumors, mockery, and theories will inevitably circulate.
What about the other “special” eyes? Are they connected to Soul Binding?
Dual irises and iris rings are NOT related to soul binding. They just rare but heard-of genetic anomalies that happen sometimes. Many conclude it to be a result of a shift in the magical tides in nature, as these eye anomalies often happen in waves. Sometimes an entire town will be affected, with all wynglings hatching within a day or two with these strange eyes.