First story of the new year: The Party Hat
|Mr. Craw is enjoying his decoration.|
There was a small celebration called in the yeoman's quarters of the keep. Shane, the chief leatherworker of Diras Castle, was having a birthday and though he was not the sort to celebrate it, Tomas had decided to make a small party for his newfound partner in craft. There were many protestations made and they were all ignored. Everyone in the keep was invited to partake in the small celebration, the four giants, the commander, the king and Kai Linaa included. There was the suggestion made of a small cake, which was all the Den Asaan's ambition, and there was music proposed on the side of the king and his intended. Alasdair and Carrigh regaled the attendants with numerous reels and jigs for their appreciation and decorations were made to add to the festivities.
Kai Linaa as the designated master of accoutrements was given the task of doling the hats and thought she knew Rautu would not be pleased to wear such an unnatural contrivance, she gave him one anyway in hopes that he would do her the honor of holding it. He sighed when he saw the hat approaching, its sparkling paper and swirling designs offending his stern sensibilities. He sneered at first but Kai Linaa's inflexible sincerity to be happy had broken him. She was determined to give him a hat and he was equally determined not to wear it.
Otenohi interrupted their small bout of silent difference by asking for a hat for himself. He was readily given one and upon donning it, the inquisitor proudly declared how much he adored his festive ornament and how long he intended to wear it. He proclaimed there was no better hat-wearer than himself and he gave his brother a slow smile as he watched Rautu place the hat on his head.
The Den Asaan twitched with discomfort, feeling the gilded edges of the paper slip through his molded locks. It sat upon his head, pointed and conical and thought the object was inanimate the Den Asaan had gained the notion that the hat was mocking him. A travesty had been placed upon him and though it was shrouded in glitter and gold paper, it was an offensive gesture nonetheless. It pained him to wear it and each time he raised his hand to remove it, he caught a glimpse of Otenohi grinning with utmost satisfaction at his agony.
Otenohi stood with folded arms and an arch countenance, beaming with delight for his brother's unbearable charge. The wearing of anything over the hair of a Haanta was unusual and its rarity ruined the Den Asaan's composure. Otenohi watched him squirm and sigh, fighting each moment to keep the hat upon his head. His brother stood still and made fists of his hands, tremulous with tension as his battle ensued. He attempted his Haakhas meditations, recited the calming scriptures of his people, closed his eyes, walked about in hopes of forgetting the hat was ever there, but there was no action he could perform that would remove his attention from the small conical paper atop his head.
When Kai Linaa noted the struggle, she returned to Rautu and permitted him to remove the hat provided he would not crush it for his enjoyment. She laughed as the giant sighed in reprieve, as though there were a weight being lifted from him, and she made many speeches on the subject of his gallantry and of the brave effort made even though he could not disprove Otenohi's claims. She smiled up at his scowling features and where she believed her kind words of praise would be seen as derision, she was shocked when instead she received a kind pat on the head from Rautu's heavy hand.
The Den Asaan's expression softened. He was not fond of hats or parties but Kai Linaa's skill and craftsmanship with paper was something to be lauded. The hat, though simple, was well made and Rautu could find no fault it its shape or pattern. The parchments were well employed, the colours were elegant, and his discerning taste and careful eye marked no crease in the article. He lifted the exquisite hat and placed it on Kai Linaa's head, as thought to dub her master in her art. The small woman hopped in delight and though the giant did not smile at her, his humph of contempt was subdued.