Story for the day: Kai Linaa's Cottage
Kai Linaa’s Cottage
Unghaahi and Kai Linaa had arrived in the town of Sethshire at midmorning. Upon receiving Rautu’s correspondence on the acquisition of the cottage, Unghaahi informed his mate that he had a gift for her. She insisted that after all the Den Amhadhri had done for her, providing for her comfort and looking after her well being, that she could not require anything else other than his company and affection when he had already more than satisfied her every need. The giant persisted that this gift was one of great importance and forethought and Kai Linaa relented her conflict. When she had asked what it was, Unghaahi replied that it was impossible to bring the present to her and therefore he must convey her to the present.
Kai Linaa became excited to consider what this immovable gift could be but her worried mind quickly took over her fancies. She began to feel terrible to be in receipt of such a precious and obviously large gift. She felt she had not merited it, she as only the mate of a mighty supreme commander, lead negotiator and Hophsaas master of the islands and although Unghaahi had always treated her with equality and fondness, she felt that such a gift could not belong to her. She begged Unghaahi to return the gift before she had the occasion to see it, but her pleas were ignored.
The Den Amhadhri, tender in character and obliging in every action he performed, had grown accustomed to Kai Linaa’s false sentiment of unworthiness. He was aware that once a slave of Thellis and refugee of the Haven Kai Linaa was subject to believe herself undeserving of the kindness and generosity he supplied. He knew that she would forever be divided in her mind between wishing to accept everything he was desirous of giving her and being hesitant to enjoy it for fear of compassion being taken from her, but Unghaahi’s resolute determination to erase the evils from his mate’s past would not permit her to refuse him and he had become immune to her deprecating notions. The instant she began her refutation of the gift, he lifted her into his arms and marched out of Diras along the Southern Road. She asked numerous times where they were going but she was silenced by the giant’s colossal hand covering her mouth. She spoke through her imprisonment, hoping her muffling would eventually cause Unghaahi to remove his hand from her but the Den Amhadhri was decided. She would not persuade him to relinquish his want to make a gift to her and she quieted as she allowed him to take her to Sethshire.
They reached the cottage in time to see Otenohi, Rautu, Obhantaa and the commander sitting on the front lawn and dividing the meat from the elks. They rose from their places to greet Kai Linaa and the Den Amhadhri, welcoming them with smiles and questions of their journey, making certain to say nothing of the cottage in case Unghaahi had not yet mentioned it.
Kai Linaa, rapturous to see everyone together, misconstrued the gift and believed that a holiday was the understanding. “Oh, Unghaahi,” she exclaimed, throwing her arms around the giant’s thickset waist in jubilation, “I always wanted to visit a cottage. And I’m so happy you invited everyone. This will be the most exciting retreat. Thank you, Ghaala Anonnaa.”
Unghaahi smiled. He was pleased to see how glad she was only to receive a small portion of the gift he had intended and held her hand to prepare her for the fullness of the surprise. “You are most welcome, Ghaala Kai Linaa, but this is not your gift.”
The elven woman looked around at the smiling faces of her companions and then back at her mate in confusion. “It isn’t? But what could be nicer than this?”
Unghaahi knelt to gaze evenly at his small mate and pointed toward the cottage. “This home will be for you,” he said, softly rubbing the back of her hand. “I have always regretted that you did not receive one on Sanhedhran. I am aware we have a residence together at Diras Castle and it is a most generous one, but I am also aware you feel inconvenient for others when you wish to sit in the kitchen or when you come to the barracks to wait for me after training. Here there will be no one to ask for permission. Everything you wish to do may be done with ease, Ghaala. Your brothers and your Anonnaa will share this home with us, as I know you would ask them to be included, and although they have purchased a portion of this house, they have assured me that it belongs to you.”
Kai Linaa raised her hand to her chest in immediate vexation. So much fuss for her, it hardly seemed just. She attempted to breathe but found the task difficult. The more Unghaahi looked at her with his doting expression and light violet eyes the more she was compelled to be silent. She looked down, her face coloured and she could do nothing but cry.
Unghaahi was moved to console her. He sat upon his knees and drew her into the bend of his massive arm, encasing her small frame between his two palms. He rocked her from side to side, whispering phrases of condolence in her ear. He believed he had offended her sensibilities. He was meant to understand the gift of a cottage was overmuch and somehow agonizing to receive. He recalled her similar reaction when he had given her the hangaara pelt while visiting her in the Ankhimari. She had said then the reason for her distressed response was she had never before received so handsome a gift, but current bout of tears was more profound and aggrieving.
“Ghaala,” he murmured to Kai Linaa, passing his fingers through her rose-grey hair. “This gift is unacceptable for you? Do not be ashamed to tell me. If I have offended you, you must tell me so I do not upset you again.”
Kai Linaa’s only reply was to cry at a more hurried pace. She buried her face in her hands and wept until Unghaahi was forced to look to the commander for explanation. She made assurances of the cottage’s powers of enchantment and as the commander knew Kai Linaa more than anyone other than himself and as well knew the workings of a female mind whether elven or human, he sought her for consultation.
The commander could only smile at the sight, feeling tears of her own forming. “I assure you, Unghaahi. Kai Linaa is very, very happy,” she said, wiping the gentle tears from her eyes. “I have little idea of how your women react to such things but when women on the mainland are excessively pleased that someone should have thought of them, it is a bit overwhelming. Once she calms, she will profess her undying love for you and thank you profusely.”
Unghaahi looked at Kai Linaa bawling in his arms. “Your men do not give gifts of this nature?” he asked with a terror forming over his features.
“Not usually. Couples may purchase a house together or inherit them from their families. I know you have no notion of how much things cost or how much our people earn in a year, but to buy a house for someone is something only the nobility of Frewyn do. It is something many people dream of achieving but rarely ever accomplish due to land rights, taxes, and the fluctuation of wages. Many people borrow from the moneylender to afford their houses.”
“Many of your people have homes. I have seen them,” Unghaahi contended, still attempting to quiet the sobs of his mate.
“They do but they are often owned by a landlord or a noble family to whom the tenants pay a seasonal sum to maintain their dwellings.”
Unghaahi’s eyes widened and he gazed at the commander with a dreadful expression. “Their homes are not their own?”
“Not usually, no,” the commander said gently. “My father owned his home and the land of many surrounding farmsteads in Tyferrim but he lived much longer than was natural for a farmer and purchased uncultivated land upon which he built our home. Not everyone has the understanding of how to do this. You could raze the cottage and rebuild it if you wish. I don’t think this would make her stop crying, however.” The commander smiled as Kai Linaa ceased her sobs for a moment and then simpered as she began her crying anew.
Unghaahi hoped for some guarantee of his mate’s happiness. He took great consolation in the notion that she would have a home of her own regardless of their position in the keep and kissed her warm cheeks in hopes of sharing this sentiment with her. Her wailing became small sniffles. She kept her eyes down and parted her lips to speak. She murmured a few small utterances about always wanting but never having a concrete home. She said many things on the subjects of her past slavery in Thellis, her unremembered time at the Haven, her adoration for the keep, but the portion of her quiet conversation most concerning was her mention of a family. Although she, her mate and all of her brothers were Haanta, she had felt them to be relations of hers and harbored a secretive wish to have them altogether beneath one home where no one else would be able to tread. She knew it was a selfish and artful design and so said nothing of to anyone but her attentive mate had guessed her desire and brought it to fruition without her asking. She thanked him. She thanked him excessively. Finally, with a smile of joy and euphoric exultation threw her arms about the Den Amhadhri’s strong neck, she expressed here sincerest gratefulness and began to cry again. She spoke through her sobs, proclaiming she did not deserve such treatment but she knew her entreaties would be met with an immune glance of happiness at her acceptation. She quieted, she sniffed, but still she could not look up.
Obhantaa Leraa grew fretful through Kai Linaa’s inaudible whispers and strident cries. In his worry, he had picked a few of the wild flowers surrounding the yard and waited for a pause for to present them to her. “Please, Mizoahi,” he pleaded with Kai Linaa. “The khaasta does not want you to cry.” His cat neared her to gain her attention and Obhantaa held out the flowers for her to take. “I do not want you to cry,” he softly said.
Kai Linaa turned to the white giant. His large, beseeching amber eyes and kindhearted gesture had ruined her composure. “Oh, Leraa!” she wailed. She wept on the white giant, huddling into his arms to hide her shame of crying.
Obhantaa was terrified for her and he crushed her in a tight embrace. “We love you, Mizoahi. Please do not cry. I will cry if you cry.” Obhantaa held his head back, forcing his budding tears to retreat.
Kai Linaa managed to laugh at the giant’s preventative actions and was agreed to cry no longer. To weep over the matters of gifts and homes was one thing but to see Obhantaa Leraa, the sweetest creature in all existence was entirely another. She calmed, thanked them for their attendance and turned to her mate with a quivering smile. Once she was easy, the suggestion was made for a meal followed by a tour of the house and Kai Linaa readily accepted.