Today, there was an epic battle that took place in my home. Here is what happened:
The Den Asaan had not seen his small enemies in some time. The spider, native to Frewyn’s environs, was scarcely see during the long winter months and though Rautu was assured that his venerable nemeses were either hiding in the ground or had died during the bitter cold climate the situation of Frewyn could afford, the giant was disinclined to believe any such conjectures. The Undu of Sanhedhran, the sand spiders that had slighted the giant in so unjust a manner as to be responsible for the dislocation of his arms, were known on the islands for their trickery. During the rain season, which was the coolest time of year for the north, the Undu burrowed in the sand and waited for prey to step near them. While they were protected from the rain, those who walked along the shores were not protected from the Undu’s bite. A few missing toes were heard of on the islands and even though the spiders of Frewyn where decidedly smaller in size and less vicious in character, the Den Asaan would not relinquish his horror and vehement dislike of them.
From the moment he roused from his meditative state in the early mornings, his hunt began. Relentless in his search, the giant was determined to find a nest and extinguish its inhabitants. He inspected every stone of the Diras castle keep, examined every lose floorboard, and remarked every corner where one spider may have escaped his notice. He mistook cobwebs for spider webs and though he was told the distinction between them, he pulled them down regardless to make certain that webs of any quality could not be used by the more objectionable owner of the two. Small traps were set in the storeroom of the larder, baits were placed in the corners of the commons and on the whole the Den Asaan believed he was prepared for any eventuality.
Each morning when he began his duties, Rautu would take a few minutes to scour the damp portions of the garrison to make certain there were no new developments. The soldiers of the first and second regiment regarded him with some confusion as to the meaning of his task but they knew better than to question their commander while he was occupied and left him to his hunt.
One day, upon returning from his breakfast with Carrigh in the servant’s quarter, King Alasdair witnessed this behavior when walking from the tailor to the courts. He stopped at the sight of the giant kneeling to inspect the space beneath the weapon racks. At first, Alasdair had thought the Den Asaan was searching for something he had lost but when he neared, he heard the gawping recruits discussing the matter between them. Alasdair thought it odd that Rautu should be looking for a spider and believed he must have heard the report incorrectly. He watched with interest for a while until he was sidled by the commander who stood by the king with a complacent expression.
“Can I ask what he’s doing?” Alasdair said to smug woman.
“You may, however you may not be able to make sense of the reply. Shall I tell you anyway?”
“If it involves a disparaging secret, please do.”
The commander smiled and folded her arms. “He is scouting.”
Alasdair seemed bemused by the intimation. “That is what he does, I assume.”
“One would assume. However, he is scouting for something particular that he wishes to eradicate from his keep.”
“Is this something I should be worried about?” Alasdair warily asked, raising his brow.
“Not unless you are concerned for the health of the spiders in the keep.”
Alasdair sighed and he groaned at the commander’s howls of laughter. “His hatred of them is unnatural,” he contended.
“Your hatred of rice pudding is unnatural but I daresay nobody bothers you about that.”
Alasdair stabbed a finger toward the commander. “The taste and consistency is offensive,” he shouted defensively.
“And so the king is acquitted in his dislike and the giant is not?” the commander said with a wry grin.
“I don’t search the larder every day to make certain we don’t’ have any rice pudding lurking about.”
“That is because you forbid its entrance into this keep.”
Alasdair buried his head in his hand and let out a long, decompressing sigh. “Spiders are living creatures. We can’t help but share the castle with them. It’s their home as much as it is ours.”
“The home where the abominable rice pudding shall not tread.”
Alasdair’s intended ridicule of the Den Asaan’s conduct had turned into a mockery of his own and he had done. He huffed and resumed his walk to the courts, muttering to himself that he was vindicated to abhor an odious contrivance as rice pudding when spiders were far more pleasant than such a disgusting dessert.
The Den Asaan had finished his inspection of the barracks and then began his training for the day. When the sun began to set in the early evening, he dismissed his regiment and return to the commons for some rest before his nightly practice of kaatas. He had decided it was time to wash his kilt and cloth, and upon entering his residence he took the basin from the storeroom and began his exertion. When all was clean, he lit a fire in the hearth and hung his garments on the rack to dry them. He went to fetch pelt to wrap round him for warmth when a precarious shadow on the wall stopped him. The darkened silhouette was large and eight-legged. It maintained a bulbous body and two jagged mandibles, and though it was making any movements, its presence, whatever the object may have been, alarmed the giant.
Rautu growled at the shadow on the wall. He backed away from it and took his weapon into his hands. He knew they would one day return, winter or not. He knew their silence throughout the season could only mean they had designs on a retaliation of gigantic proportions. The consequence of the nemesis’ restored presence was grave and the Den Asaan could not allow it to remain. He followed the shadow’s trail to the fireplace from which it seemed to originate. He attempted to find where the creature made its lair but before he could discern its hideaway, the commander entered the main room of the commons.
She noted her mate’s fretful manner and owed it to the shadow cast upon the wall. She was not alarmed in the least. She knew it to be a mere projection from the firelight and even if it was a real spider and therefore giving the giant due cause for his worry, the sight of the Den Asaan standing bare with only his sword to adorn him was more than she could endure. She laughed heartily at his state, gleaning a sigh and a roll of the eyes from her mate, and neared to see how small the creature was, but when she looked around for a spider matching the one projected upon the wall, there was no evidence to signify its presence. The commander took notice of the kilt and cloth just washed and gained a curious suspicion. “What is it, another hair clot?” she chuckled.
“Do not mock me, woman,” Rautu demanded, standing away from the hearth to search the floor.
The commander observed the eight-legged shade and noticed that it attempted neither to move nor to attack. “You do realize that shadow has been utterly motionless for about five minutes,” she said with smirk.
“They are patient. They wait for one to be close and unsuspecting, and then they strike. I have seen it on the islands, Traala.”
The commander surveyed the clothing hanging before the fire as her mate spoke. Her eyes widened in realization when she caught what the shade was. She decided to play with her mate’s circumspection and declared she had found the spider in question. Her mate prepared his blade but she remarked such action was not necessary and the commander voted to sacrifice herself and take the spider into her hand to toss it out the window.
“Do not touch it, Traala,” the giant shouted in concern. “If it bites, you will be severely wounded.”
“Absurdity, Iimon Ghaala,” the commander said, reaching into the fold of the Den Asaan’s kilt. She suddenly pulled back her hand and hissed in pain. “That little bastard bit my hand,” she declared, cradling her fist.
Rautu ran to his mate and commanded her to open her hand so that he may assess the wound. He uncurled her fingers and saw a small cut in the center of her palm. It began to bleed and the sight of the open wound drove the giant to begin sucking out any noxious venom that may have entered the abrasion. He quickly examined the severity of the gash and ordered his mate to hurry to the door so that he may vanquish the terror. When the commander skittered away, Rautu stood over his prey and raised his sword, bellowing as he displayed his might. He culled the extent of his strength and with one swift motion, he drove his blade down upon the wrack, breaking it in two and thus trapping the spider beneath the edge of his sword.
The Den Asaan removed his weapon from the creature’s body and stood as though he were waiting for it to right itself. When it did not move, he assumed it was conquered and he approached to admire his work, but when he leaned down and pushed aside his warkilt, he noted a small ball of fluff cloven in two. The image at first confused him. He narrowed his gaze and looked again, attempting to understand what had occurred. He was under a mistake he was certain to think he had slain nothing but fluff but the uproarious cackles from his mate had told him that he had. He began to wonder at the wound she incurred on her hand. He demanded that she exhibit her cut and in his confounded state noticed it was not a bite mark but s clean cut, presumably made by one of her own nails.
The Den Asaan grew incensed and he raised his blade to point it at his laughing mate. “You deceived me,” he roared.
“You deceived yourself, Iimon Ghaala,” she said, wiping the tears of mirth from her eyes. “I daresay I have never seen anyone attack lint with such conviction. Such a feat must be rewarded.”
The giant looked away and sulked in a brooding silence as the commander neared to tease him into accepting her want for a heroic kiss. He humphed for being so cruelly tricked, and though he knew his fixation was aberrant he felt his experience justified him to the cause. His powerful shoulders wilted in disappointment. He had been the hero. He had saved his mate from poison, assassinated the intruder, and had done his laundry all in the space of a few moments. He was indomitable and all his feelings of gallant effort and protectiveness had crumbled with the actuality of the situation. His spirits diminished and he could only rest his forehead upon his mate’s in dissatisfaction.
“Someone must keep you sharp when Otenohi is not around to toss you out of trees,” the commander said with fondness in her tone. She grazed her hand through her mate’s draping locks and quietly promised she would never perform such a trick again.
After a bout of vengeful Khopra, the Den Asaan was reconciled but he would still be sensible of a spider’s presence until the day one of them apologized for the transgression against him its kind had committed.