New Year's Day story: High Five
Frewyn is an ancient land of mythical beings and magical happenings, but sometimes I like to incorporate modern practices into the world. I showed Rautu the high five and he was all over it, mostly because it involves acceptable hitting.
The commander and Den Asaan returned to the Diras Castle keep from one of their usual evening patrol when and odd occurrence caught the giant’s curious and suspicious eye. Two of the royal guards newly knighted were participating in a ritual of exultation that the Den Asaan had never before seen. He stopped with his mate to examine the practice, watching the two lift their opposing hands and slap their palms together. The giant listened to the elated conversation between the guards and he noted that each time there was a general accord or happy exclamation among them it was immediately followed by the connecting of the two hands. Such stridence the giant believed was not normal, as he had never witnessed this ceremony within the garrison between the men of his regiment. He watched them for some time, counting each instance of the clap performed, and when the number of claps became excessive, he pointed to the two royal guards and demanded an explanation from his mate.
“That is an interesting tradition you’ve discovered, Iimon Ghaala,” the commander said with a laughed, finding the giant’s intense sense of interest amusing. “What you are witnessing is an old and powerful ritual, one of the oldest ever practiced in Frewyn as well as among the rest of the mainland, I believe.”
The giant made a few remarks on the subject of something so ridiculous-looking being so common and became appalled but engrossed with how many times the conversation between the knights had warranted the use of this undisclosed ritual. “What is the purpose of this?” Rautu grunted, pointing to their two hands connecting once again.
“It is called a High Five, as in the raising of the five fingers to convey the action,” the commander said, performing the explication with her own two hands. “When something wondrous happens and two or more people wish to express their approval and excitement without being terribly intimate, this high five is done to covey the equal sentiment. It is believed that this tradition began ages ago when the clans were only just united under one king. Many of them were not pleased with their new neighbors, however since they were forbidden from fighting in any manner but did not wish to be too forthcoming with those of clans Old Frewyn’s didn’t enjoy, they would hit their hands together to share happiness from fortuitous news without having to embrace. It proved an excellent tactic and soon many clans began doing this until everyone in the mainland followed. There are others who believe this customs is even older than believed. Some think its origin came from trade markets during the time of separation. Different clans who could not speak the same language would raise a single hand up as a greeting and them hold it out as a means of friendship. If the hand was hit, the companionship was agreed and if not, no hand was offered and the originator of the celebratory gestures was left with an unwelcome feeling.”
The giant sighed for the complication of a practice so simple and dropped his shoulders in disappointment, as he believed the tradition to have a much more significant meaning. He was displeased for the self=imposed deception and urged his mate to continue their walk into the keep.
“You may believe, Iimon Ghaala, that by the simplicity of the gesture it is easy to perform but I assure you, this is not so,” the commander added in hopes of assuaging the giant’s saddened sentimentality. “Many miss the initial motion, incurring much shame when the custom is not completed in proper form. As well, there are many variations that might confuse those who are not familiar with them. I daresay you could not do it so easily.”
The giant stopped his commanding stride at the challenge and prepared his hand in the proper position. When his mate reciprocated, he clapped his hand against hers in customary fashion but he was hardly satisfied. He has succeeded in the exercise but did not find the enjoyment within it that he was promised. “You did it incorrectly,” Rautu accused the commander, “I am certain of it.”
“Well, there is usually a leading-into movement involved and neither one of us made the ceremonial declaration of good news before we began,” the commander said, endeavoring not to simper at the giant’s endearing wish to perform such an indispensable movement correctly.
“It requires accuracy,” the giant mused. “Very well. We will find cause for this ritual.”
The commander proposed a perfect ground for their search and asked the giant to accompany her to the arena, where the fighters of the royal houses were training for the coming Clayntroda. The field was rife with those primed for ridicule and Rautu was encouraged to make cruel yet not untrue remarks at the expense of the untrained pugilists. A few biting phrases were made and with each one that gained a laugh, he and the commander performed the expected gesticulation of accordance. With each hit of their palms, Rautu began to understand the necessity of it and the more it was practiced the more he reveled in it. The claps of their hands escalated to great heights, enduing the evolution of the climax before the thunderous hit. When the giant became accomplished enough, the commander believed he was prepared for one true ritual.
She waited for Lady Robert to pass by on her way from the Arena, where she was watching her sponsored fighter, to the gallery to seek some refreshments. The noblewoman said her hellos to the commander and ignored the Den Asaan, which merited a comment on her opulent form impeding her eyesight.
The giant laughed his deep, bellowing roar at his mate’s remark and performed the gesture with great success. He lifted his head and with a proud placing of his hands on his hips, he declared, “I enjoy this custom,” and encouraged his mate to continue her annotations so that he would be compelled to exercise his knowledge of the ancient practice.