Story for the day: Gingerbread
It was nearly the time for Ailineighdaeth, the Frewyn holiday of rebirth commemorating the day on which the Gods returned to the heavens and were reborn as constellations. Although the commemoration was set to take place midseason, every preparation was already being made. Glassed candles were being erected, homes were being decorated in the same style and the customary baking of spiced cakes and breads could be detected throughout the cool air of the capital.
The distinctive scent of the particular fare being made for the holiday had roused Rautu from his Haakhas meditations one morning. The aroma was faint but it was a fragrance he had never before distinguished with his keen senses and therefore he became intrigued to know their origin. The Den Asaan donned his trappings and his Sindhaara, much to his great dislike for the Sanhedhran sandals, and went in search of the scent only to find it omnipresent in Diras. The aroma of the spiced breads wafted from the windows of homes and emanated from the dual chimneys of Diras Delights. When he came to the bakery, he prowled outside the display window, attempting to see what mysterious concoctions were being formed but his inspection was interrupted by the sound of his mate’s laughter from behind him.
The commander noted his increase in interest for venturing out into the snowed streets of the capital and acknowledged that only an untried treat could lure him from his lair so easily. She approached him and asked if he should like to enter the shoppe to gain a more comprehensive look at the baking for the holiday. He agreed with an opening of the door and an eager ushering in of his mate. The commander announced their visit with her genial hellos for the workers and asked if they would allow Rautu to watch their mysterious work to appease the giant’s avid curiosity.
There were many apprehensive looks exchanged for they all understood that Rautu’s observation in a kitchen usually led to a staunch supervision, which was then followed by a deliberate denoting of what they were doing incorrectly. They agreed, however, when it was promised that the giant, should he approve of the holiday confection, would be purchasing a large consignment to be delivered to the commons. They moved aside from their stations and permitted the Den Asaan to oversee the production of the bread but when they asked questions as to how the giant found their traditional bread their queries were met with scowls of disapproval.
“Why is this called bread when it has not risen,” the giant demanded, pointing to the flattened biscuits.
The commander stood in front of the suddenly frightened workers and assured them she would distract her mate with a true account he was certain to find ridiculous. “Long ago, when Frewyn was young and its people were still living in tents and mud after the unification, they baked this gingerbread to commemorate the rebirth of the gods. However, since they had no storerooms or larders to keep the bread for a prolonged time, the bread became hard and since it was unleavened, and could therefore still be consumed, it was,” the commander said with a short laugh. “After a while, it became a tradition to make them in such a manner. They’re even baked into shapes to encourage children to assist their mother’s in making them.” The commander took one of the molded and baked objects from the pans before her and gave it to the giant to remark.
Rautu sneered at the article. Its candied eyes and smiling, icing features offended him. He made many assertions on the subject of creating food in the likeness of one’s race and of how indecent it was to consume something that resembled oneself but he was quieted when he was bid to try the bread for his full assessment. He bit the head of the biscuit so its mocking eyes would look at him no longer and upon tasting it, he contended it tasted more like cinnamon than ginger and could never have been mistaken for bread. He ate was he was given in its entirety regardless of his grunts of disapprobation and requested that a few of them be placed into a box so that he may study them more carefully within the confines of his home.
The bakers were paid well and thanked for their patience, and the commander and Den Asaan left Diras Delights with gingerbread for their home. They were nearly passed the shopped when the commander stopped. Something in the side window of Diras Delights had caught her eye. She approached it to be certain and when she was long enough at the window, her mate came to her side to regard what she had found.
Two large gingerbread biscuits were standing behind the glass, one of them seemingly male and the other with female attributes lined out in icing. The male biscuit had white frosting to delineate the hair, a grey icing for the scars and skin, a red for its warkilt, and had scowl marked on its face, remaining in an ever-disapproving state. The female had black icing for the hair, brown for the armaments, and large circles on the chest to differentiate a rather heavy pair of breasts.
The Den Asaan easily discerned his mate but felt that if the scowling gingerbread beside her was meant to be him, it was a decidedly poor representation.
“I see you’ve recognized me well enough,” the commander snickered, pointing to the overlarge and dulcet chest her depiction was given.
“That is not me,” the giant shouted, stabbing his finger at his likeness in the window.
“I daresay it is. They’re captured your smile perfectly. Those must be purchased. I’ll be a moment.” The commander laughed her way into the shoppe and though she was told those two cookies were primarily for display, she offered to pay any price for them if only to keep them in the commons with which to torment her mate. Her keenness for them was apparent and the two gingerbreads of her and the giant were given to her with great pleasure.
When she returned to her mate, he commanded her to give him the one marking him so that it could be tossed into the Diras River or given to the gulls at the bay. The commander refused, claiming that she wished to eat it and the giant groaned, protesting that he should like to have the one of her. She agreed and they began walking back to the keep, watching the many Frewyn families partake in the making of the bread.
“Frewyns take this tradition to heart,” she said, pointing out the many children who were running about the square with some in their hands. “We are champions at the craft. Some even create houses or entire kingdoms from gingerbread if only to make the custom more entertaining.”
The giant contended that food was mean to be flavorful, not entertaining and as well declared that it could not possibly be as savory as it ought to have been as Frewyns seemed altogether diverted with the notion of playing with and decorating their gingerbread instead of eating it.