Story for the Day: The Doormat
Although the bell that Tomas had installed beside the commons' entranceway had done much to soften the Herald's raps on the door of the commons each morning, it had done little to dampen the noise around the Den Asaan's residence upon the whole. There was a great deal of bustle in the outer hall as of late as the number of tenants in Castle Diras had increased, and though some of the inhabitants were his brothers, Rautu was inclined to be disturbed by any clamor regardless of who made it. Peace was needed for his serenity in the mornings and quiet for his reflective meditations in the evenings. The evenings that were filled with noise were spent either in the training yard or in the bed chamber with his mate where the giant could expel the chief his frustrations, and the morning disturbances suffered from the Herald were quelled by the messenger's demise, but even these assurances of silence were not enough to appease the giant's want for tranquility.
There were so many general comings and goings in the commons as of late that the increase of sound was followed by an increase mud in the main room of the commons brought there by the many feet trudged through the spring mud. The Den Asaan hardly found this cause for concern, as he rather enjoyed watching his mate clean the floors of the commons in her bent position, but the added work of cleaning every evening after a day of training was of some bother to the commander. After one particular instance of spending the better part of the evening on her hands and knees, she declared a more acceptable solution must be found. She had been used to clean the farmhouse in Tyferrim growing up and was therefore well versed in the practice, but a home in the commons, an apartment so high and tucked away in the keep, should not require the same style of care. This was not to be borne, and to relieve her frustrations, the commander volunteered to take over the patrol of the capital for the evening to take in the warm and soothing air. Her mate agreed to accompany her, claiming he would rather endure the hum of the capital than the buzz of the keep at present.
They walked to the marketplace in search of a resolution to their shared problem and it was not long before they found it in the front window of the thatcher's. The commander was the first to notice it and laughed as she drew her mate's attention to a thatched mat comprised of dry grass. The object itself was hardly amusing but the phrase written upon it was. The words 'go away' were scorched into the mat's surface, and upon remarking the mat, the commander thought instantly to take it home.
"I daresay this was made for you, Iimon Ghaala," she laughed, pointing at the mat in the window.
Rautu hummed in approval and gave his mate a small smile. "We will have this for our home, woman," he demanded.
The giant pushed his mate into the shoppe and encouraged her to purchase two of the same mat: one for the front of their residence and one for the entrance to their bedchamber. She attempted to tell him that there was no need for a second when the one to be placed outside the main room was enough, but Rautu proclaimed that though the mat at the door would succeed in keeping Alasdair and the Herald away, it would fail in keeping Otenohi from entering.
"You brother shall enter any room he pleases, regardless of what message he is given," the commander said as they left the thatcher's. "You realize this shall only give him cause to invade our home with even greater frequency than he does already."
"If he disregards this message," Rautu said, pointing to words on the mat, "Then I will take his infiltration as a challenge."
"And, alas, nothing will have changed."
Rautu humphed and wore a look of complacence until they returned to the keep. He debated whether he should not place the mat at the entrance to the stairs leading to the commons to make the message even more prevalent to those who sought to ascend the steps and disturb them with a visit, but he resolved that this would only give the Herald an excuse to differ his visits. He placed it at the foot of the commons door, inspected its appearance numerous times, shifted it a few inches to the left and declared himself pleased with their new acquisition, treating the mat with a nod of satisfaction.
"Now you have no need to shout at the herald," the commander simpered. "You need only give you new friend a staunch pointing of your finger and your demands are instantly conveyed. How convenient." She demonstrated her assertion by imitating the giant's firm scowl and stabbing her finger toward the mat with a stomp of her foot. Her mate was hardly amused and glossed over her mockery by performing the very same actions while demanding she place the second mat inside. She paused and gave the object a thoughtful look. "Perhaps we should place this one in front of the larder so that others should be wary of entering your precious trove."
The commander had not finished her suggestion when the giant took the mat from her hands and did exactly as she proposed. He hastened down the steps and into the kitchen whereupon entering found Martje about to walk into the larder to fetch some butter from the storeroom. Rautu blocked her passage into the room with his immense form, placed the mat at his feet and pointed to it while giving the castle cook a sharp look.
"Look here, you monster," Martje growled, stabbing her fat finger in Rautu's face. "This is my kitchen and I'll go where I need to go."
"No, you will not," the giant bellowed. "You will obey the message of this mat. You will not enter here and you will not touch what is mine."
The commander watched their argument ensue from her place in the main hall and laughed to herself, thinking how the very object meant to rid her mate of commotion had only succeeded in supplying it.