The Singsoft Moth is certainly a pretty little specimen, pleasing to two senses; both the eyes and ears. They are rarely, if ever, seen fluttering about during the day, being nocturnal in nature. But, come twilight, flocks of these moths, commonly known as a 'chorus', will emerge from their resting places and commence their search for food. Once breakfast has been found, they will gather atop it and 'sing' whilst they feast. The Singsoft, which is the mothified version of the Lullaby Butterfly, is also known as the "Melodymoth", "Fluttersong", "Nehtor's Voice".
A ‘simple beauty’ is certainly one way to describe the Singsoft. Even though it
is not grand in size or design, this moth is not an eyesore by any means. This
pretty bug usually tends to be a dark colouration, naturally camouflaging it in
the cool shades of night. Though hard to spot, a chorus of these is easily heard
from half a stral away or
even further, depending upon how many it is. The females of this species are the
larger of the two, its wingspan usually around one
palmspan in length. While
the smaller males' wingspan can range anywhere between five to just over eight
This modestly sized moth's triangular wings are the same shape as an outstretched bird’s wing and are covered with a fine fur. The appendages attach on either side of the middle of its’ body, orientating its wings to be held outwards rather than upwards when settled upon flower-tops. However, it can also fold its' wings in so that they're tucked up against the insect's body. While the base and the outer edge of the wings tend to be tinged with a charcoal hue speckled with aeruillian red, the rest of the wing’s base colour is usually a very deep xazure hue. Swirls and streaks and speckles that commonly mark its wings are generally waterberry, Santhran violet, and ithild in colour.
Nestled between the wings on the butterfly's broad shoulders are three hard flecks of shell, each roughly the shape of a triangle with the texture and colour of tree bark. This unique feature vibrates to produce the soft, flowing humming noises that this little critter makes. And come dawn, when this moth seeks refuge down in the crevices of their natural homes, in which to slumber, they'll tuck their wings beneath their shells to blend in with the lumber.
Its round head has a short forehead, the moth’s two large waterberry-coloured eyes taking up most of the space on its face. Fuzzy, tangled elken brown lashes frame its blind-looking orbs. Protruding from the crown of its head are two aeruillian red, clubbed antennas that are about two to three nailsbreadths long. Tucked beneath its round chin is the insect’s thick black, curled proboscis.
The Singsoft’s oblong shaped body curves upwards slightly at either end, and a wide shoulder supporting its wings hides the fat bumps of muscle underneath on its’ belly and sides. Its body is covered in fine fur like its' wings and is usually any shade of grey, from barsa dusk to charcoal, with speckles of Aerullian red. Though not long, only ranging from two to five nailsbreadths in length, its body is as thick as a fat child’s thumb. Six long, fat and furry legs protrude from the middle of its body, the feet sporting soft, hooked hairs.
Just as the names would suggest, the Melodymoth can be a noisy little bug, but
only in the most pleasant of ways. The layered shell on its back is what
provides this insect with this particular ability. In order to sing, it shakes
its shell; this produces the soft humming noise that this moth makes. Because
the males are the smaller of the two, their voices tend to fluctuate throughout
the higher registers, while the larger females usually hum their sweet refrain
in lower registers. However, practically no one moth sounds the same as another,
each of their 'voices' as as unique yours or mine.
The moth's song, however, could be described in so many different ways as it seems almost everyone that listens to a chorus hears slightly different things. The smallest males in a chorus tend to trill almost endlessly in the background of their larger counterparts, the rest of whom together weave a mixture of notes that generally tend to be pleasant to the ears in a rather soothing manner. Females have a more plaintive air to their voices and tend to hold onto a note for extended moments before fading out and then back in. And the overall sound that a chorus produces changes with the temperatures at night, heat causes them to sing in more languid manner, while in cold the tempo picks up.
But, why does this moth sing so sweetly through the night? There are surely an infinite number of reasons that someone could come up with. Myth and lore says that this lovely critter was born of Nehtor's voice during his sorrowful parting lament, and states that they sing to soothe the souls wounded by the wretched. However, through time and careful observation, it has also been noted that the main acts seen while a chorus sang were; finding mates, eating, and mating.
The shell on its back also provides as a bit of extra armor, making the Singsoft that much more resilient to blunt trauma. When chewed, the shell flakes into jagged shards that can easily slice up one's gums and tongue, deterring animals from chowing down on any more of them, and sometimes proving too hard for a smaller animal's teeth to comfortably break.
Territory. The Singsoft's territory spans over a good amount of distance, ranging from the eastern edge of the Zeihphyrian Forests to just south of Varcopas Port. However, during hotter summers, choruses have been spotted so far north as the Quallian Forests.
Habitat/Behaviour. A flock, which is commonly called a ‘chorus’, can range in numbers anywhere from three to thirty strong. Seeing them in larger groups than that is unusual, though seeing many flocks together at once should there be an ample food source is not unheard of. A chorus is composed of no more than eight females, while the number of males tends to be two or three to one. Each chorus of moths is formed shortly after hatching-season. Only moths that sing in harmony with each other will form groups, and will mate with each other at various times throughout their lives.
Since this bug is partial to more temperate climates, it migrates as the seasons change. Being nocturnal in nature, they hide in any crooks or crannies that they can find in the tangle of pretty much any tree's roots. Because of this, they can tolerate especially hot days in their shady holes. Though, once night becomes too cool, they will move on to warmer places. Peculiarly, a flock of these moths practically never slumbers at the base of a tree more than once, almost always on the move around the area that they've chosen to loiter in for a while.
On windier days, when the sky is overcast, it is not completely unheard of to see a chorus of these moths burst from the roots of a tree and flutter about before settling back down to resume their rest. This, however, provides some lucky predators, such as birds and other animals unhindered by its armoured back, the chance to snag just a nibble.
While this moth may seem undaunted by other animals or people, sometimes refusing to give up its perch until the very last second, its boldness comes in numbers. Seeing one of these moths by itself is very unlikely, as they tend to flutter around in flocks. And approaching a smaller grouping of them will only end with them skirting away before you're even at an arm's length.
Diet. Female larvae, which are born in pairs, will immediately head for the trees in search of what will be its final meal. While it is scuttling toward the forest's edge, the caterpillar will devour bits of the alth'ho grass, that is so common across the Narfost Plains, as it goes. When the bug has reached a tree, it will climb up and eat parts of the leaves, and even the bark of softer trees. The male larvae, however, will eat whatever grass or leaf is available to it in the area that it is born.
In adulthood, the Singsoft is more interested in flowers than leaves or bark. A multitude of night-blooming flora acts as part of this lovely moth's diet. The Evening Princess and Dreamer's Breath flowers certainly attract the most attention from this insect, also the flowers of the le'matice vine.
Mating. All female Singsofts are born along the northern-most parts of the Narfost Plains on the first wet days of spring. Unremarkable at first in size and appearance, being barely a nailsbreadth in length and as brown as the dirt it's crawling through, they grow quickly. The tiny furry, brown caterpillars will leave their pebble-like shells behind and retreat into the Sharadon Forests to escape the heavy rains. Once they've reached the treeline, they then climb high into the boughs to gorge themselves on the leaves and bark over a five day period, barely stopping for rest. In this time they will molt their skin several times, the shells on their backs forming with each molting, and will grow an entire nailsbreadth in length. Once they are fat and full on their last day of feasting, the prepubescent female moth will slink its way into a cranny or crevice beneath a tree branch and begin cocooning itself.
Meanwhile, the males, wherever they may have been lain, will hatch around the same time as their future mates. They will then fatten themselves with whatever non-poisonous leafy plants that they can find over the span of three days, molting their skins several times in the span of those days. And, just like with the females, with each molting the shells on their backs become thicker. On the morning of the fourth day of their lives, they will cocoon themselves usually in a thickly branched bush. After a gestation period of a week, the male moths will break free of their cocoons and immediately begin the process of inflating and drying their wings. Once they are able to fly, the males will begin their nearly nonstop migration to the Narfost Plains. There, they will meet their mates and begin to form choruses on the first night of their arrival.
A few nights before the last days of spring, the new generation of Singsofts will mate for the first time. Their gentle humming becomes extremely loud, the sound pouring across the Narfost Plains and echoing through the Sharadon Forests. The crescendo of sound that these little moths make when the mating begins can be heard from strals away, on the night breeze in nearby places, such as Bardavos, Seraia, Mehmeish, and Dasai. So loud is it, that they drive away any predators with hearing sensitive enough to hurt that could take advantage of the mating frenzy going on in each of the many choruses. This is also the only time that these moths will become so loud, and the only chance to see this species' entire generation together, in one place.
The females will mate with two different males for each female egg that they lay, which has two larvae inside, along the northern parts of the Narfost Plains in shallow holes that they dig. Each female will lay at least five eggs before the first day of summer, each egg yielding two larvae and all of which will be female. After, they will leave Narfost Plains to move north as the heat of summer increases, and then further south as the days begin to cool, the female moths will mate with two to three males at once and then lay a cluster of twenty eggs usually in a shallow hole that they dig against or underneath the top roots of a tree. Both gender of eggs appear the same and, when first lain, look like a small wet glob of dirt. Over the course of an hour, the outside of the egg will harden and take on a pebble-like appearance. Once winter's chill grabs hold of the land, these sweet moths will begin to die due to the temperature, the eggs however, are able to endure either extreme heat or cold, and will wait to hatch until spring comes again.
Usages. While eating the Melodyfly is in no way hazardous to your health, as the fly is not poisonous, its body does not have any known medicinal properties. So, if you really wanted to, you could eat one, I suppose. But the hard shells on the insect's back are likely to cut your gums unless they are removed. And it is said that eating one of these insects will cause unpleasant dreams and a state of restlessness to plague you for the next few nights after ingesting it. This has never been proven, though.
However, the moth's song is thought to possess the power to soothe and possibly help mend the mind, soul and heart of its audience. It has even been prescribed by some as a remedy for things such as night terrors, grief, heartache and restlessness. Also, as a means of lulling fussy babies to sleep and keeping them asleep, as the bug will croon through the entire night.
Apprehending a few of these moths isn't too difficult of a task, though finding a larger chorus of them makes it just that much easier. Catching and putting several or more of these unique moths in a large jar, furnished with some dirt and freshly picked flowers to snack on, makes what many children have been heard referring to as a "Humming" or "Lullaby Jar". However, one has to be sure to collect moths from the same chorus, else they will not sing with each other even while feasting.
Not to mention, most young women seem to particularly like the more lulling sound of the Singsofts, especially on hot summer nights when the moths' sound becomes longer and lazier. So much so, that some women request them as background "music" for their wedding night. And, the more romantic man might even venture out to capture a few musical moths himself to woo a girl. To achieve the slower, more languid sound, the container is placed at least a few steps away from a crackling fireplace, usually in the next room over due to the insect's volume.
These moths even go so far as to inspire some musicians, who attempt to write and compose music that feels reminiscent of the moth's soothingly lulling sound. During the week of mating, some will come to study and listen to the mating songs. One musician that camped in the Narfost Plains for multiple nights during which mating was taking place, commented on the phenomenon:
"There were so many Singsofts flooding the air in a gracefully haphazardous dance, just belting out a completely chaotic jumble of beautiful, woe-be-gone lullabies that, for the briefest of moments early in the night, it became an almost unbearable screaming of noise. But as the night went on and the moon raised higher, the moths became less busy in their songs. And, when the moon was in its zenith in the sky, something happened... the once messy scramble of trilling and crooning, that amounted to little more than a crowd of people all screaming at each other in different languages, suddenly became harmonious. For a time, the females- which you can distinctly hear apart from the rest- hummed in almost perfect unison with each other, the deep bass of their song as rhythmic as the rolling rumble of the ocean's tide."
It has been speculated that the God of
Healing, Nehtor, is the creator of this simple and lovely creature of the
night. Though there is no real lore about this butterfly, it is thought that
they came into existence when the other Gods corrupted that which
Eyasha and Urtengor had come
together to create. So distraught was he by the destruction wrought that, before
he removed himself, he expressed his heart-wrenching sorrow for all the pain in
the world by keening a bittersweet lullaby to the once gentle lands of
Caelereth. And, as he sang his lamenting
refrain, the Singsofts were born of his voice and took flight on
winds to help soothe and mend restless souls,
haunted minds, and stricken hearts.
A peculiar looking man by the name of Jerrik, whom had been travelling by the mating grounds one spring, claimed to have witnessed Nehtor himself form from hundreds of the Melodymoths:
"I saw Him," he said, pointing to
the treeline of the Sharadon Forests, "right there, I saw Him! But not at
first, you see, 'cause it was dark and at first it was just this cloud of
movement near the ground. It hummed and shifted in the dim light of the
wanin' moon, rustlin' across the tops of the grass. Then it stood up! And
I saw that it had just been kneelin' over a patch of bloomin' flowers, as
if it'd been admirin' them. Mind you, I hadn't moved any closer, not bein'
sure what it was and all."
While most may not believe such a story, and I surely do not, it is not completely out of the question to think that maybe it was actually a Hiveling that this man saw. It surely fits everything we know about these transient beings. However, beyond this, there are no documented reports of anyone having ever seen a Singsoft hiveling, and Jerrik vehemently denies the possibility, obviously set in the thought that Nehtor came to him. But if there was one, it would perhaps speak in one of the most hauntingly beautiful voices, as opposed the buzzing of a thousand tiny wings that most commonly make.
"Harmony brings the pieces of the
Researchers. Leifloff Sjugnarr collected many notes and wrote pretty much all that is known about this moth, after hearing them one muggy summer night just south of Bardavos. Curious, he followed the sound to find these lovely moths settled upon a patch of night-blooming flowers and, fascinated by its musical aspect, decided to study them further.