Winter Musings: Holiday Series Part 3
|Kai Linaa and the Den Amhadhri Unghaahi|
Unghaahi felt the kindness and substance of the embrace he was accorded and though he had not heard his brother’s speech on the Haanta custom, he felt that through the commander’s extended hold she harbored a sadness on his behalf. He smiled with affection and patted his colossal hand along her back. “Amhadhri Anonnaa,” Unghaahi purred in his low voice. “You may believe I have not received any Ostbholaas because you cannot see them. Place your hand on the underside of my hair.” Unghaahi leaned down and allowed her to put her fingers through his draping braids to the underside of his locks. “I have kept those that were given to me as gifts. The largest one in my collection is from a Ghiosa I assisted a long time ago.”
“Did you ask her for your blessed ritual?” the commander asked, feeling around for the largest of the shells.
Unghaahi gave her a fond smile. “No, Amhadhri Bhudhiika, I did not. She was only learning the customs of our people. I did not believe it was appropriate to ask her first ritual to be with me.”
“I’m certain Otenohi would have disagreed.”
“He did,” Unghaahi said with a wide smile, recalling his brother’s avowal at the time. “I am large for the men of our race and I did not wish her first account to be an unpleasant one. Khopra is meant to be sacred and pleasurable and before Kai Linaa, I was unable to succeed with my partners.”
“I daresay Kai Linaa has changed your fortune on that account,” the commander said smilingly as she pulled her hand away from Unghaahi’s braids.
The Den Amhadhri nodded and thrummed. “She has accepted me as I am. I could not have asked for a more incomparable woman for a mate. If I had known that she was meant to be my Ataas Traala, I would have waited another twenty years to receive her. I will never understand how she is able to oblige me.”
“I profess it’s her more magical qualities that permit her to accommodate you so exceptionally.”
Unghaahi laughed his deep, bellowing roar and shook his head, unable to deny the commander’s claims.
The commander was pleased to see the Den Amhadhri well situated with his mate and stood beside him as they continued their patrol through the capital.
They were greeted by a multitude of citizens, all of the wishing to give them good tidings of the day. Numerous children ran toward Unghaahi upon seeing him, all of them wishing for rides upon his boulderous shoulders and some of them pleading with him for games of hide and seek. They hopped up and down for attention and they would not leave until each of them received at least an embrace. When walking away from the children, Unghaahi found a few still suctioned to his legs and where he would have removed them and laughed, he permitted them to stay for as long as they could withstand his commanding strides.
“I see you’re enjoying the Frewyn winter,” the commander said to Den Amhadhri as the last child fled from his feet.
“I am, Amhadhri Bhudhiika. However, I have noticed your people do not share the same sentiment.” He pointed to numerous people about the capital, marked with dour faces and disagreeable expressions as they huddled in their woolen clothing.
“I believe Alasdair and I are amongst the few born Frewyns who adore the cold. There is a trick to surviving a Frewyn winter. Many believe it is the ceremonial hopping in place or huddling in their meager coats that will keep them warm. The truth of it is one only needs the propensity be always warm to be ever-protected from the cold. You and I are the perfect specimens of such a proclivity, as he both abominate the heat, but I fear your dear brother is not.”
The Den Amhadhri and Captain Connors turned to see Rautu shivering in his place. They made a few stifled laughs in his direction as he wrapped himself in his furs and flouted them for their judgment of his ability to withstand the frost.
“What I especially adore about this weather is the unwholesome amount of woman who are determined to wear the latest fashions while leaving their legs bare to be subject to winter’s caprice, as if adopting a quicker stride would save their thighs,” the commander added, motioning toward a few more affluent in Frewyn’s society on their way to the Church for services, walking at a brisk pace and wear the most elegant yet paltry garments.
“Your thighs are nearly bare, woman,” Rautu said, eyeing his mate’s thick legs.
“And pleasantly so, but I’m guarded by a rather heavy fauld and some stockings for added comfort. It is ever so much more agreeable to be cold than hot. Wouldn’t you agree, Unghaahi?”
The grey giant grinned and breathed in the cold evening air. “I would.”
“You are wrong, woman,” the Den Asaan growled, shuddering beneath his furs. “I would implement the training I received for heat regulation but your unreasonable clime makes it impossible.”
“Your brother seems to be doing famously.”
The Den Asaan humphed and gave his complacent brother a vicious glare.
The commander remarked the Den Amhadhri’s meager garment and sandals with a mild concern. “I know you pride yourself on being the champion of winter, Unghaahi, but I must warn you that many in the regiments who are warm creatures such as yourself are warned against not protecting themselves from the cold. You may not feel it but your body may not enjoy the Frewyn frost as much as you believe. The lost of extremities is a very real danger for those stationed in the south. Freezing is a silent death I should not wish upon anyone. Once one is still for too long in the cold, the body heat rises to compensate, which induces a sleep and forces one to die in a happy and frozen slumber.”
Unghaahi considered the commander’s words of warning. He touched his grey skin in several places to make certain he retained the feeling in his limbs. “Your home gives this manner of death much consideration,” he said in a dreadful tone.
“When one is born in the frosts of the coldest kingdom between the continents, such an end much be considered. After two years in Frewyn, I believe your brother has made his peace with our winters.”
The Den Amhadhri noted his brother’s displeased countenance. “May I ask the meaning in your claim?”
“He has found an acceptable substitute to your body regulation techniques,” the commander laughed, and before she could request a demonstration, her mate was upon her.
The Den Asaan was unable to stave off the cold that seeped into his bones and he decided to take the commander’s suggestion. “Come, woman,” he demanded. When she obeyed and came to his side, Rautu lifted his mate’s body against him and shrouded her beneath his furs for added warmth. He walked with her in such a state until he felt the cold leaving his large form but even after he felt the sensation in his mauve-grey skin returning, he kept the commander where she was for the enjoyment of having her close as a consolation when the children of the capital drew too near.