Story for the Day: Semblance
|Rautu does not care about your pie.|
The Den Asaan was enjoying his peaceful morning by the fires of the commons’ hearth. The Frewyn spring had come: the birds were regaling the glory of the day with chirping song, the warmth of the sun’s rays ebbed between the cracks of the commons’ windows invading the main room with a quiet temperateness, and yet the giant was unappeased. It was colder than he should have liked for a supposed spring morning. It had been a great deal warmer the day previous, much to the Den Asaan’s delectation, and it was all his happiness that the warmer climate should continue, but even the promise of a hint of morning frost offended his sensibilities. It was spring and so it should be, he demanding to himself in his quiet space of the room. He deliberated on the inconstancy of the kingdom’s climate, how the atmosphere promised to belong to one season and then betrayed, belonging to another. The giant grumbled through the remainder of his morning meditation, claiming how disagreeable it was to be so warm one evening and be so frigid the next. The warmth of the sun’s rays were a travesty, tricking him into believing there was pleasurable heat to be found beyond their transparent boundaries, but these were contrivances of the duplicitous Frewyn temperature, which was determined by every means to be cold and unpleasant. The giant stirred beneath his fur trappings, huddling within their folds for warmth and he had done with attempting civility through his rumination. He hurried to the end of his scriptures, eager to begin his morning kaatas in the yard and warm himself through his strenuous training when one of the finer points of the winter weather graced his senses with a visit.
The scent of chocolate wafted through the cool air. Rautu’s nose twitched as he deciphered the telling aromas of a salted butter crust, softened bricks of dark chocolate from Diras Delights, cinnamon and nutmeg, and the delicate sprinklings of fine sugar and sliced roasted almonds. From the distinguishing ingredients, Rautu knew that Martje was not the one in the kitchen, and if she was she certainly was not alone. The chocolate pie being baked in the oven could only be the work of his mate: the added spices and additional garnishings to which Rautu was much obliged to enjoy were the workings of someone with the understanding of how to make a tolerable dessert be unexceptionable. He heard the faint sounds of the iron tin being placed upon the range and he fidgeted with delight. He must go, he must see the freshly made dessert, he must perch over and supervise its cooling. He had not been there for its making, which was a small but reconcilable oversight, but he would be there to judge the object’s perfect and rate it against every other dessert his mate could make. There could be no doubt of it’s being for him, for who else could appreciate the art of festal delicacy more than himself. The sound of the oven door being closed had convinced him: he would prowl the stairs down to the kitchen, he would make his silence approach and he would secret away the pie before Martje could breathe on it and ruin it forever.
The giant shrouded himself in his trappings and slipped into the hall. He hastened down the winding stone only to realize that path may have been expected for this time in the early morning. He stopped therefore and ventured upward to the castle parapets to take the longer route from the training yard. He walked along the battlements and hung upside down from one of the crenels to peer over the yard wall and into the kitchen window. He inspected the oven room to find it empty of life yet full of the object he was so desirous of devouring. It lay cooling on the range, its scent drifting toward him at an unconscious and languid pace. Its rising joys made his eyes glow with ravening ardency and he must have that pie or perish from prevailing hunger until his mate would make him something else.
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The giant let himself down from the crenel and crept into the empty kitchen. He spied the larder and the scullery for anyone who may be hiding near the storeroom or amongst the standing dish racks, but his suspicion waned as he recollected Martje’s heavy and conspicuous steps. He still held some misgiving of his being entirely alone: a dark chocolate pie encrusted with sugared almonds should not be left by itself unless its loneliness was intentional. He saw his mate nowhere in the vicinity, which recommended mischief whether in the making of the pie or perhaps in the consumption of it, and even as he approached it, Rautu retained the misgiving that he was not alone.
His sight would be his deception but his taste would not. He approached the pie with caution, prepared to secret it away to a corner of the larder where he may make all the necessary hums of satisfaction to himself, but when he looked down at the article found a rather odd design: upon the surface had been carved a face resembling his own signature scowl. Two holds had been cut out to make eyes and beneath them was a meandering shaped mouth, downturned at the corners just as his own was. He regarded the semblance with confusion and mistrust. He was not adverse to eating something that bore his appearance but the cutting of the whole had ruined the object’s perfection. He felt he could not eat something someone else had touched, unless it were done by someone in his close acquaintance, but if Martje had been the culprit in making the pie and tricking him into wanting it when her had dug her fat fingers into it, he could not be prevailed upon to be near something so sullied. He scowled and grunted at the pie, its own scowl mocking him in return, and he decided to return to his principle device of training in the yard to rid him of his frustrations.
Once the giant had thundered out of the kitchen, Soledhan appeared from his hiding place in the larder cupboards. The child, donned in his white wolf pelts, melded out of the shadows with his hand over his mouth, endeavoring to suppress his tiny giggles at his father’s frustration. He crept over to the entrance to the yeoman’s quarter past the scullery to retrieve his mother, and once she was collected, Martje was told to come from her hiding place in the main hall. The three culpable parties convened at the stove and looked at their scowling prize with indulgent smiles.
“I told you he should not touch it if he knew you had something to do with it,” said the commander to Martje.
“Aye, well,” Martje scoffed, “If I didn’t put my hand on it, we would’ve never gotten any.”
“I cannot deny that he eats everything I make, for which I am infinities of gratitude. I merely think it hilarious that his abilities are so superior as to detect when someone he does not like has touched something belonging to him.”
“He didn’t have no name on it,” Martje asserted.
“No. However, it does rather resemble him.” The commander looked down at the child climbing her leg. “You did well to carve his smiling countenance, my love.”
Soledhan smiled up at his mother with a twinkle in his eye. “Iimaa?” he said expectantly.“Yes, you may have Utaa’s mouth, as I know you worked so hard on it.” The commander took the cool pie from the stove and brought it to the table whereupon she gave the Den Asaan’s scowl to her son, the untouched slice to Martje and kept the pieces marking his watchful eye for herself. She laughed as she looked down at her plate, thinking of how she felt her mate watching her even now enjoy something without him yet feel that he was not far away.